Hello, my fellows in oppression. Let me start with a sad tale. You see, I pride myself on my ability with the words and I had a nice, shiny name all picked out for this column. It was to be called “Uncle Jason Raps with the Kids about How the Base Ball Players of the Cincinnati Reds Baseball Organization Are Performing with Their Baseball Bats.”
But, no. Uncle Steve Mancuso had to come in with his “Thinking Inside the Box” pun and I knuckled under because the man is strong and I am weak.
Now that I have that off my chest, I will proceed…
The purpose of this column is to discuss the week in hitting. I thought I might start by talking about spring stats and then I did some research and it reminded me how worthless spring stats are. They don’t correlate with in-season performance at all. You’re actually much, much better off looking at the various projection systems.
So, instead, I thought I’d start off with my hopes and fears for the Reds hitting this year. Let’s start out with the bad news first…
I’m afraid that the injury to Brandon Phillips’ wrist isn’t what made him so terrible with the bat for most of last year.
I’m afraid that Devin Mesoraco won’t progress.
I’m afraid that Todd Frazier’s best season will always have been 2012.
I’m afraid that Ryan Ludwick won’t hit at all.
I’m also afraid that Billy Hamilton won’t hit at all.
Eww. I don’t know about you, but that gives me the shivers. Now let’s engage in something a little more life-affirming.
I hope that Joey Votto finds his power again.
I hope that Jay Bruce finally has that season.
I hope that it really was just the wrist for Phillips.
I hope that Devin hits like we all believe he can.
I hope that Frazier has a little more BABIP luck.
I hope that Hamilton sees lots of pitches and gets on base all the time.
I hope Ryan Lydwick hits like a number five hitter.
The encouraging thing about this team is that I can imagine more things going right than I can imagine going wrong. That doesn’t mean they won’t be a mediocre or even a bad offense. It just means, it’s not their destiny. On paper, it’s not a great offense, but as people often tell me when I talk about stats other than wins and losses, “That’s why they play the games, nERD!”
So sit tight kids. It’s not even April yet. Let’s see what happens. It might be a fun ride.
Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.