After a quick–albeit mostly unsuccessful–trip to Philadelphia, the Reds (23-29) are back in the Queen City for a six-game homestand against the Padres and Phillies. Also, the Warriors won over the Cavs in OT last night, so the road just hasn’t been kind to Ohio sports over the past few days (the Indians did win a road series against the Royals but this isn’t an Indians fan site so we’ll ignore that).

All stats are 2015 actuals (Moscot’s are AAA):

Tyson Ross 3.76 3.15 0.42 11.2% 24.7%
Jon Moscot 3.15 4.20 0.83 8.4% 15.1%

So far in 2015, Tyson Ross has struggled to repeat his stellar performance from last year which earned him an All-Star nod. Instead, Ross leads the National League in both walks allowed and wild pitches, a dubious distinction. In two starts against the Reds last year however, Ross dominated, throwing a complete game shutout in San Diego and going 7.0 innings of three-hit, one-run ball in Cincinnati. Over the two starts, Ross struck out 17 batters. 2015 has been rockier for Ross, but not lacking in consistency. The righty has given up at least two runs in every start, but never more than four runs and has only allowed double digit hits once. He induces a lot of ground balls, doesn’t give up a lot of home runs, and strikes out about a batter an inning. With Tyson Ross, what you see is exactly what you get.

Making his Major League debut tonight in place of the injured Raisel Iglesias is Reds’ prospect Jon Moscot. The right hander is the number 14 prospect in the Reds’ system and was selected in the 4th round of the 2012 draft. Moscot will be the fourth rookie pitcher the Reds run out this season and hopes to follow in the previously successful steps of Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, and Michael Lorenzen. He didn’t get off to the best of starts though…

Brandon Phillips leads things off for the Reds as Jon Moscot bats eighth in his debut:

1. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
2. Joey Votto (L) 1B
3. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
4. Jay Bruce (L) RF
5. Zack Cozart (R) SS
6. Skip Schumaker (L) LF
7. Tucker Barnhart (S) C
8. Jon Moscot (R) P
9. Billy Hamilton (S) CF

The reworked Padres lineup features Derek Norris, Justin Upton, and Matt Kemp in the heart of the order:

1. Will Venable (L) CF
2. Derek Norris (R) C
3. Justin Upton (R) LF
4. Matt Kemp (R) RF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Will Middlebrooks (R) 3B
7. Cory Spangenberg (L) 2B
8. Alexi Amarista (L) SS
9. Tyson Ross (R) P

Jason Marquis is no longer a Cincinnati Red. Well, he’s been designated for assignment, but he’s no longer on the 40-man which has to count for something. Instead, Pedro Villareal has been recalled to the roster, so it’s more of a symbolic letting go than anything. In the meantime, lots of tweets today:


I don’t support this as a reasonable move for the Reds at all, but they got rid of Jason Marquis today, so I guess they used up their quota of reasonable moves. Putting Mesoraco in the outfield just makes a bad team worse and heightens his chance for further injury. Why even risk it on a lost season?


Over the Phillies series (after the game not to be named), a little debate was held in the comments section of this site: is Jay Bruce really a very good player, or is he just average?

No consensus had been reached by the time I had left, but one point was made that Bruce by the numbers has had a better season than Brandon Phillips. By the eye test, that seems absurd. Phillips has been solid all season despite not hitting for any power, whereas Bruce has been streaky and mostly cold at that.

So I wanted to look at the numbers and see for myself if Jay Bruce is better on paper than Brandon Phillips this year. Keep in mind, these numbers are immediately after a three game set in which Phillips went 8-15 and Bruce went 2-14.

I use wOBA because it captures total offensive production more accurately than OPS, and I use wRC+ because as an advanced offensive stat, it makes the most sense to me and is adjusted for park effects.

Phillips:  .311/.346/.394   wOBA .325  wRC+ 103
Bruce:   .222/.340/.398  wOBA .324  wRC+ 102

By those lines, the two are almost completely identical in terms actual batting contribution to the Reds. Contribution may be a strong word though, as neither has really contributed much more than the league average. They haven’t cost the Reds anything however, which is more than Skip Schumaker or Marlon Byrd can claim. In conclusion, yes, by the eye test, Phillips has been the better player. A .311 batting average is never something to scoff at. But on paper, Jay Bruce isn’t necessarily better than Phillips, but he is definitely not worse.

Sorry for the late and tweet-heavy preview today guys. I got off of work only to find out that Iglesias had been DL’d and Marquis DFA’d. There just wasn’t enough time for me to process all of this and get anything of coherence out two hours before game time. It seems for every good thing that happens for the Reds, there’s an equal and opposite bad thing. Dusty’s third law of management.


126 Responses

  1. Pooter

    Marquis is finally gone!!! Why on earth was he on the roster to begin with???

  2. vared

    Got my Reds tickets for my annual summer pilgrimage to Cincy today through redlegnation. Good seats, good prices, piece of cake.

  3. Vanessa Galagnara

    I cannot believe not for a second that Bruce is having a season of equal value to Phillips. It isn’t even close. If advanced stats are saying that they are nearly equal there is something terribly wrong with the metrics. There is about a 70 point difference in BABIP in place because Bruce strikes out 23% of the time and Phillips only 11% of the time. Good things can happen when you actually make contact am I right? If Bruce is whiffing over twice the amount as Phillips and is not even coming close to batted balls in play then how in the world can they be having an equivalent season?
    Here is another one that is more obvious. Despite batting in #4 or #5 hole all season Bruce has one less RBI than Phillips. Sure an old school stat but look at where Phillips has been batting all season. When has he even had a chance to drive in runs and yet he has driven in more runs than Bruce?
    Something very wrong with WRC at least in this comparison.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Didn’t you just say earlier that you didn’t like metrics that depended on what other players on the team are doing?

      Bruce has 24 more walks than Phillips. That’s gigantic. The average walk has a value of .687 runs this year (that’s not theoretical, that’s actual, based on every game so far in 2015). That’s a contribution of more than 16 runs. Bruce also has more than twice as many home runs.

      Until the Phillies series, Bruce was having a clearly better season at the plate than Phillips.

      • Vanessa Galagnara

        No way no how is that possible Steve. Bruce has looked lost more often than found. You seriously don’t think Bruce’s strikeout rate is a significant issue? I know I can’t argue with you about Bruce or Votto so I’ll just drop it.
        Next thing I’ll be hearing is that Bruce is having a better season than Frazier and you’ll use walks to support that argument as well.

      • Steve Mancuso

        You’re not arguing with me, you’re arguing with the facts. Frazier is having the best offensive season of any Reds player right now. wRC+ of 154. You mention Bruce’s strikeouts, but the fact is their on base percentages are almost the same because of Bruce’s walks. Walks (.687 run) aren’t worth as much as a single (.885 run). But they are much closer to being worth a single than they are to zero.

        Bruce is making up the small gap in OBP (and singles) with power. Bruce is hitting with twice as much power as Phillips. Doesn’t that matter a lot? All you’re looking at is batting average. There’s way more to scoring runs than AVG.

      • jdx19

        Strikeouts don’t figured into BABIP. because, you know, balls weren’t put in play.

        You can’t argue facts. As Steve stated, this year, walks have been worth 0.687 runs each. He didn’t state was a single is worth, but off the top of my head it’s around 0.810 runs each. A single is more valuable than a walk. We all get that. So then, is 1 single more valuable than 2 walks? Nope. Are 3 singles more valualbe than a home run and walk? Nope.

        Bruce’s walks alone have accounted for 16 runs of value above BP. Factor in all the home runs and there you go. BPs had lots of singles. That’s good. I’m glad he’s exceeding my expectations. But to be completely baffled as to how Bruce has been as good offensively as BP is baffling to me. It’s really very simple. I don’t know how else to say it.

      • Vanessa Galagnara

        JDX and Steve no need to comment further. I put the shine on Steve said he was right and I was wrong ok?
        Bruce is freaking awesome. Rah rah. If it weren’t for Bruce we wouldn’t have this awesome record!

    • seat101

      Vanessa, In the Book “Baseball By The Numbers” page 9;

      “Studies have shown that a player who strikes out a lot isn’t hurting his team any significant margin versus a player who strikes out far less, assuming their other statistics are the same.”

      To paraphrase the equalizer is that strikeouts rarely turn into double plays.

      • tct

        Unless you’re behind in the playoffs late in the deciding game with a runner on first, Jay Bruce on second, a 3-2 count on Ryan Hannigan, and you decide to send the runners.

        Then, according to the laws of being a Reds fan, a strike out will always turn into a double play.

      • seat101

        That would depend on the number of outs……

        But arguendo, that there are not two outs, I’d have to agree with you. In Great Britain they call it ‘Sod’s Law”.

    • Jeremy Conley

      “There is about a 70 point difference in BABIP in place because Bruce strikes out 23% of the time and Phillips only 11% of the time.”

      BABIP stands for Batting Average on Balls in Play, and does not include plate appearances that end in strikeouts, walks, or a HBP. There are reasons that Phillips has a higher BABIP than Bruce: random variation of where balls are hit, hitting more ground balls, not being shifted on. Striking out is not one of them.

  4. Vanessa Galagnara

    go Jon Moscot! Something we can agree on! Here is hoping that the young man impresses and leaves us excited for a youth movement. Now if only we could get rid of a few of our dead weight bench players and whoever is playing left field tonight.

  5. reaganspad

    Why have Mesoraco in the Outfield? because he can’t catch.

    This is like adding a George Foster to your team mid year. He gets 15 HRs the rest of the way and plays average LF defense. He is a good athlete. If Steve Yeager and Joe Ferguson can do it, Mesoraco can.

    Maybe he has a future catching. if not, Why end his career if he can no longer squat?

    speaking of squat, isn’t that what our current left fielders have been hitting this year?

  6. Vanessa Galagnara

    nice references and I agree!

  7. tct

    I think the reason people were saying Bruce was having a better offensive season yesterday is because going into last night’s game it was true. At least according to wRC+. Philips had a big game and Bruce had a poor one, so now they are pretty much equal.

  8. Vanessa Galagnara

    Why do some games start at 7:05 and others start at 7:10? Actually why can’t all of them just start at 7:00 sharp?

    • seat101

      The extra time is for the media. People tonight at seven and there’s at least one at break maybe two before the game starts.

      Ted Turner when he bought WTC G now known as WTBS used that technique to start all he shows five minutes later than every other network.

  9. Vanessa Galagnara

    What an insane strike zone. Sorry Jon but even your called strikes should be called balls. I sure hope Major League Baseball does something about the gigantic strike zone that is making every pitcher look like a Cy Young candidate.

  10. Indy Red Man

    He’s nibbling but its to be expected. Both hits so far were just dribbled thru the infield

  11. hof13

    This could get really ugly, really soon. He needs that 3rd out.

  12. vegastypo

    The umpiring in the last four games has me wishing that the Reds would keep that strike zone superimposed on the screen on all pitches.

  13. Indy Red Man

    He’s keeping the ball down alright….lol

  14. Vanessa Galagnara

    Here’s hoping he makes it out of the first. Tonight we we get to see why we carry 8 pitchers for the bullpen. We just might use them all.

      • Vanessa Galagnara

        We better not give them any ideas. They might decide to add another pitcher or two and decide that the future of baseball is one pitcher per inning. Yikes!

    • vegastypo

      I’m not sure Villarreal is much of an upgrade over Marquis. But my only beef with carrying that many pitchers was that Marquis was never gonna get used, and Price has little confidence in Badenhop. Just wasted roster spots. I’ll be curious how often Villarreal gets used.

  15. VaRedsFan

    I would bet you might see Cueto come over and lighten the mood with Moscot….pep talk and all. He didn’t look that bad…nibbled a little, and 2 weak hits on good pitches.
    He buckled down and didn’t implode.

  16. Vanessa Galagnara

    The positive is that when they do hit it they aren’t making solid contact. Jon go change your britches and wash the taste of vomit out of your throat. You have a game to pitch now that you are broken in.

  17. wildwestlv

    Blink and you missed BP’s AB.

  18. Indy Red Man

    3-0 with an 0.72 and when someone has our number they keep it. Charlie Morton is another one I can think of

  19. VaRedsFan

    Not sure why Bruce swung at the 3-0 pitch up and in. Jammed himself

  20. charlottencredsfan

    Price gave Jay the 3-0 swing away sign. I like that.

  21. Indy Red Man

    3-0 on Bruce again and he makes an out. He hacked on an iffy 3-0 pitch and got jammed? Bases loaded last night and 3-0 and he went hacking on atleast 2 iffy pitches and hit a weak double play. This “hot” streak isn’t worth the month and a half he takes off

    • jdx19

      Good use of quotes. You are correct. Jay Bruce has been downright awful over the last few weeks.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Moscot getting the maiden start out of the way, so there’s that.

      • jdx19

        Indeed! I don’t think I’ll ever be mad at a rookie doing poorly in his first MLB start.

  22. Vanessa Galagnara

    Jon going to reach his pitch count limit this inning.

  23. jdx19

    Moscot not going to go 4 innings at this rate.

    • jdx19

      Posted before the HR… not going to make it 3 1/3…

  24. jdx19

    SD announcers aren’t having a good game… took them until the 4th pitch to even say “Zack Cozart” during his AB.

  25. VaRedsFan

    THOM! rambling in circles about the Alonso/Latos trade.

    • jdx19

      I wish we could play the Dodgers every game (from a listenability standpoint!)

  26. VaRedsFan

    Votto with the perfect feed on the groundout.

  27. jdx19

    Interesting stat on Matt Kemp… he has the 8th highest BABIP in MLB HISTORY (min. 4000 PAs) at .349.

  28. Indy Red Man

    Atleast Jason Marquis finally got DFA’d. Expecting him to suddenly be a serviceable major league starting pitcher is like hiring Charlie Sheen to be a high school guidance counselor

  29. BigRedMike

    Marquis is not a major league pitcher, but, Thom thinks he is a pro

  30. BigRedMike

    Votto really choking up with 2 strikes

    • jdx19

      Tough AB from Votto there. I love ABs like that. Didn’t really get anything good to hit and he’s standing on 1B.

  31. BigRedMike

    Old 2nd baseman stealing with a power hitter up. Just terrible baseball

  32. jdx19

    So, Derrick Norris leads the league in throwing out runners (18, they said) and we have slow BP try and steal 3rd. Don’t get it.

    Then, the worst RF in the league makes a circus catch… What a disappointing inning.

  33. VaRedsFan

    Gotta agree with the above. As much as I like BP, that was dumb

    • vegastypo

      Down by four now, and he’s trying to steal third? I wasn’t too keen on Bruce swinging 3-0 when the Reds were down 2-0.

  34. jdx19

    SD announcers just said Kemp had been great in the OF this year. Sounds like Thom saying Byrd has been great…

    Here are the 3 worst outfielders in the NL so far based on FG “Def” rating:

    J Upton
    M Byrd
    M Kemp


    • BigRedMike

      A good right fielder would not have had to make a tough catch, would have been routine

  35. VaRedsFan

    He has wasted about 12 of his pitches in 2 AB’s by Ross

  36. vegastypo

    I don’t suppose it could rain hard enough or long enough to bail out Moscot tonight.

  37. BigRedMike

    Skip/Grit has a negative combined WAR over the last 7 seasons. Managers/front offices must love him

  38. VaRedsFan

    Billy’s “D” shows up every night…dandy of a play

  39. VaRedsFan

    Moscot to bat this inning??? I’m hoping not, time for some runs.

    • Janet

      Yeah, ’cause that strikeout was so much more productive than having Moscot come back out after having just retired seven in a row.

  40. Whoa Bundy!

    I disagree with the pre game notes that BP and Bruce aren’t doing that bad. They were supposed to be middle of the line up guys and both aren’t showing much slugging. Good OBP though. Bat them 1-2? Bruce can’t get hits but at least he walks and gets on base.

    • VaRedsFan

      Makes sense, but Votto seems to really like the 2 hole, for whatever reason.

    • Whoa Bundy!

      I want Bruce to hit and hit with power but UGH!

    • mtkal

      I don’t think of BP as a middle of the line up guy anymore, but either way, I don’t think you can fault Phillips much for anything so far this season.

  41. VaRedsFan

    Nice piece of hitting by JV….shift hurt the Padres

    • mtkal

      I’m just on Gameday tonight. They had a shift on for Votto? Do teams usually do that? I guess he does hit grounders to the right side and elevates them more the other way, but I just don’t think of him as a batter that a shift would be that great for, but I could well be wrong.

  42. CommonSense

    Jay Bruce strikes out looking. #shocked

  43. BigRedMike

    Thom saying Mesoraco looks GREAT in LF, In practice

  44. Indy Red Man

    Badenhop giving some little guy some sub 90 mph beef above the belt to jack for a double. Our pen just can’t get it together? 2 outs and nobody on

  45. mtkal

    Does anyone know, is 83 pitches considered a high pitch count for Moscot? Seemed like he had got things together and was rolling. Of course I’m not watching on TV, so. . .

    • VaRedsFan

      Well, they were down 4-0, and he was batting 2nd after the leadoff man got a hit.

      • mtkal

        but. . . but, the bunt is one of our best weapons!

  46. vegastypo

    I’d like to see a replay of that guy rounding third to see if indeed the runner missed the base, as Welsh conjectured.

    • VaRedsFan

      me too. no replays from FSO. Big surprise there.

      • mtkal

        I guess they have plenty of time to see if there is a replay that show it’s worth appealing and/or challenging.

  47. Dennis

    Wow… the superfluous apostrophes in that “So You Think You’re a Reds Fan” question are killing me.

  48. vegastypo

    Since it’s a rain delay, did anybody bring up that a fan was hit with a baseball bat at Fenway and has ‘life-threatening injuries’ ?? Just wow.

  49. Kyle

    As always, great game preview. Since there is a rain delay, I’m going to comment on the Bruce vs. Phillips section. I am a Bruce fan and would take him if it was one player straight up because of his age. However, he has been less valuable than Phillips this season. Getting a 103 wRC+ from a second baseman is a lot more valuable than 102 wRC+ from a RF.

    The Phillips contract was not a good signing IMO because I think you should look at contracts from the time it was signed instead of focusing solely on the results. BP’s contract had the chance to be a disaster with only a little bit of upside value-wise because of his age at the time of the extension. With that said, Phillips has done a good job of giving the Reds pretty good value up to this point. It isn’t his fault they made a bad signing and he is playing quite well. He is no longer an All Star (nor should the Reds have expected him to be at 34), but the guy is a league average offensive contributor so far and still above average to good in the field (if not the phenom he was a few years ago).

    Anyway, I enjoy the debate of BP and Bruce. I think Bruce will provide more value for the year but I definitely am not as sure of that as I was at the start of the year.

    • seat101

      That was an interesting post. I like it when people don’t paint everything black or white.

    • jdx19

      I think you are 100% correct that Brandon, being a 2Bman, is more valuable than Bruce. That’s clearly enumerated in the form of WAR. BP is at 1.1 WAR, Bruce at 0.6 WAR. Takes into account defense, baserunning, hitting, and what position you play.

      The part of the argument I saw was based purely on offense, where the two are so close that a good/bad game for each swings the pendulum the other way.

  50. seat101

    Nobody here, eh? Well, good night. Hope the Reds can pull this one out without me.

    For what it’s worth, going forward, I would take Bruce over Brandon.

  51. RedAlert

    Nice baserunnig Skippy – wow –

    • RedAlert

      This team gets more brutal by the night – like a broken record , over and over and over – it’s the same tired crap game in and game out – bad team, poorly managed , even poorer front office

    • tct

      I didn’t see it. Did Skip take away a base hit from Tucker? The gamecast said a fielders choice to left.

      • RedAlert

        Flair to left that fell in – didn’t seem like he got a good read on it – got thrown out at second after retreating towards bag at first because he thought ball would be caught

  52. RedAlert

    Guess the front office didn’t see enough of Villarreal serve up sky rockets the last time he was up — HAS NO business in the 40 man roster – NONE !!! I mean every single move that Price makes just backfires in his face – he has no feel for managing a club- it’s just unbelievable how clueless he is

    • RedAlert

      This whole organization needs an enima

    • jdx19

      Yeah. Agreed. I’d rather have Gregg than Villareal. Maybe not… but the fact that I had to think about it means everything.

  53. Whoa Bundy!

    Hello? hello? hello? Is there anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me.

  54. jdx19

    There have been about 5 great defensive plays against the Reds the last 2 games.

  55. RedAlert

    Villereal is a human batting practice machine – yet he’s good enough to be in the Reds major league roster – sad state of affairs in Redsland

  56. wildwestlv

    Horrible, horrible scene with that woman hit by broken bat at Fenway. Just awful. Pray she’s alright.

  57. RedAlert

    Only way changes gonna be made with this team is when Big Bob starts feeling it at the gate – and that shouldn’t be too very far away from now – brought it on himself by keeping do nothing Jocketty in the fold – bad decision # 1 – which has led this organization in a tailspin – embarrassing and disappointing where this franchise is at this point in time – sad

    • RedAlert

      Injuries notwithstanding , they need to find themselves a competent field manager and a GM who can keep up with the times – don’t have either right now and that is the owner’s responsibility – it ain’t working Mr. C !

    • Tom Reed

      You are correct. The Reds quandary was accented last year when the owner gave Walt Jocketty two more years as GM. The direction of any organization comes from the top, and the direction of the Reds rests with Mr. Castellini.

  58. vegastypo

    What sticks in my craw is what Steve used to talk about with the Dusty era. You’re in a close game, but trailing by a few runs, so, by all means, empty the bullpen with guys who are least likely to keep you in the game. Badenhop should be the next aboard the DFA train. There’s bound to be somebody else to do a better job.

    So Marquis is gone, Dominguez is gone, Badenhop probably should be gone, and Boesch can’t start over Schumaker. Nice off-season, Walt.

    • vegastypo

      Then I peek at the recap, and how could I have forgotten Kevin Gregg in the Wondefful World of Walt, circa 2014-15 off-season?