The most important job of a manager is to put his players in a position to succeed.  Since success is not a guarantee, perhaps putting those players in the position where they are most likely to succeed is a better way of stating it.

Managers have many opportunities to maximize the effectiveness of their players.  We discussed one example last week when we talked about lineups.  This week, I’d like to discuss platoons; more specifically, platoons as they pertain to the 2016 Cincinnati Reds outfield and their implementation.

At the mention of “platoon,” your mind likely moved straight to left field, where Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall are likely to split time this year.  While that is the only position we know with near certainty will be platooned, I’d like to propose something: the Reds should platoon all three outfield positions.

Before we get to the numbers, let us talk about why platooning makes sense.  The main reason is the obvious reason; hitters generally have a more difficult time hitting same-handed pitching than hitting opposite-handed pitching. This idea is generally known as “the platoon split.”  Even without a detailed analysis, any casual baseball fan understands this reality. It’s why switch-hitting exists.  It’s why some managers insist on alternating lefties and righties in the batting order. It’s why LOOGYs exist.

There are many theories about why platoon splits exist and some make more sense than others do. The theories based on physics seem the most realistic to me.  For example, a curveball from a right-handed pitcher breaks towards a left-handed batter.  Anecdotally, hitting a ball moving towards you is easier than hitting a ball tailing away from you.  I’ve heard some players say it’s harder to see the ball come out of a same-handed pitcher’s hand and, thus, harder to pick up the ball’s spin and flight.

Regardless of the reason, we know the effect is real.  Here are the platoon splits for the last 3 seasons:

chart1

The 3-year average splits show another interesting phenomenon.  The left-handed platoon split is larger than the right-handed platoon split.  This holds up historically, as well, if we were to look at many more seasons.  The explanation for this is much simpler.  There are more right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers, so right-handed batters get more practice against their same-handed pitchers than do left-handed batters.  That, at least, is the prevailing thought.  It is the most simple, as well, so Occam would likely agree.

Now that we’ve talked about platoons in general, let’s move back to the Reds.  The left field situation lends itself very well to a platoon.  Why?  Well, neither Duvall nor Schebler has proven to be a solid, everyday major league player.  Given the average platoon splits above, it would be logical to conclude Duvall should start against lefties and Schebler should start against righties.  But, logic only gets you so far.  Let’s look at some data:

chart2

These numbers were calculated using all plate appearances at all levels (including winter ball for Duvall and fall ball for Schebler) from 2013 to 2015 in order to get the largest sample possible.

There isn’t a ton to talk about with this chart.  Duvall has only been slightly better against LHP than has Schebler and Schebler has been quite a bit better against RHP than has Duvall.  Perhaps of note is the last column titled “Platoon Split.”  Notice Duvall has a negative split.  Over the last 3 seasons, Duvall has actually been better (based on OPS) against RHP than LHP.   While some “reverse split” guys exist, they are rare given a large enough sample.  Duvall has only faced a lefty 398 times in the last 3 seasons, so perhaps this is a sample size issue, or perhaps Duvall is actually a rare reverse split guy.  There is no way to know without more data.  Likely, Duvall and Schebler will be your LF platoon partners.

If the entirety of this column were to discuss only the left field situation, it would be quite a boring column.  Perhaps it is boring regardless.  Faced with that daunting reality, I will press on!

Here is the above chart, but inclusive of all outfielders in camp that have a non-zero chance of making the roster, sorted by platoon split:

chart3

Before we go further, I will discuss a few disclaimers. First, I know Jesse Winker and Phil Ervin are very unlikely to make the club this year, but since they may figure prominently next season, I have included them for the purpose of comparison. Second, even though we’re looking at a common measure (OPS), given that each player has spent differing amounts of time at different levels of competition, we’ll have to view these numbers through a filter.  For example, Bruce’s .809 OPS against RHP at the MLB level should be considered much more impressive than Adam Duvall’s .809 OPS against LHP at the AA/AAA/MLB levels.  Also, we shouldn’t expect a player’s minor league numbers to match his major league numbers, even though it’s possible. Players usually put up worse numbers when transitioning from the minors the majors.  Third, although I rely almost exclusively on OPS in this column, I am not making the implicit statement that OPS is the best way to measure player’s skill in relation to their peers.  I’d have preferred something like wRC+, but given the disparate info and sources, it was too time consuming to calculate for everyone at all levels of play.

Now with the disclaimers aside, what should we take away from this chart?  Jake Cave has been terrible against lefties?  That’s true.  Billy Hamilton is a terrible hitter? Well, that’s true also.   The main take-away should be that Reds have a vast array of options when deciding how to construct their roster this year.

Let’s examine the “against lefties” scenario in more depth:

chart4

From this chart, we see Duvall has the highest OPS over the last 3 seasons against lefties, so he’s the clear-cut starting LF against LHP, right?  Perhaps not. Yorman Rodriguez has a nearly identical OPS.  The two players arrived at their OPS in two different manners.  Duvall hits for a ton more power.  His 18.1 PA/HR is impressive in a vacuum (think Yoenis Cespedes in 2015), but when you look at how often he hits fly balls (more than half the time) it’s slightly less impressive.  Rodriguez gets on base more often, beholden to a more evenly distributed batted-ball profile.  Getting on base at a .342 clip is above average and would certainly be welcome by all Reds fans, even with inevitable AAA-to-MLB regression.

Since these guys are so close, how do you decide which one deserves the playing time?  Spring training is one way to decide, but as Brennan Boesch taught us all, spring training stats can be deceiving.  Duvall gets some bonus points for hitting a few homers at the end of last year, and Rodriguez likely gets docked a few points, mentally, since he hasn’t played up to expectations.

What if the Reds played them both?  Jay Bruce’s .716 OPS against lefties in his career is not particularly impressive, even if it’s above league average for lefties against lefties.  Even if Rodriguez dropped 50 points off his mostly-AAA OPS, he’d still outpace Bruce, while also providing superior RF defense.  Limiting Bruce’s PA against LHP might also have a related benefit.  When the trade deadline rolls around, if Bruce has, say, 90% of his PA against RHP rather than a normal two-thirds or so, his “inflated” stats might look better to potential trade partners.  This will be especially true if a contender is looking for an extra bench bat, rather than a completely new starting right fielder.  So, why not play Duvall in left and Rodriguez in right against lefties?  It’s worth a shot, right?

Now we address the elephant in the room: Billy Hamilton.  Maintaining a .652 OPS against lefties is atrocious.  Even worse, this involves Hamilton hitting from his natural side of the plate.  Hamilton’s woes have been well-documented on this site and on other national sites recently, so we won’t belabor the issue, other than to say Billy’s defense and base running is his only lifeline to the big leagues right now.  So, what if the Reds had an option to replace Hamilton who could play good defense, get on base, and occupy the same center field that gives Reds players magical leadoff eligibility?  Given Hamilton’s nagging injuries, the Reds’ hand may be forced.  Here’s the chart again sorted by on-base percentage:

chart5

A center fielder has materialized at the top of the chart. Tyler Holt has a Vottoian .402 OBP against lefties over the last 3 seasons, with much of that playing time occurring at AAA or higher.  Given Bryan Price’s perceived desire to bat Billy Hamilton (or any center fielder) first, how would Holt and his .402 OBP against lefties look batting lead-off?  Like a sight for sore eyes:

chart6

Notice the first three batters getting on base at .378 or higher and the 2-through-6 slots all slugging at least .470.  This seems like a formidable lineup if Holt, Rodriguez, and Duvall can translate fairly well to regular MLB play.

Now let’s talk about hitting against RHP.  We’ll go a bit more briskly this time.  Here is the pertinent chart:

chart7

Schebler hits for power and gets on base at a good rate against righties; no need to over-think this one.  Schebler should be a starter against virtually every right-handed pitcher.  Thankfully, that appears to be the plan coming out of spring training.

Now, if Billy were healthy, we know he’d likely be getting playing time in CF despite is abysmal .622 OPS against righties.  Here’s something: Scott Schebler started 38 games in center field last year in AAA.  Do you think his .800+ OPS would play in CF?  I think it would.  The athleticism he has shown so far in spring training makes this idea feel a bit more realistic, as well.

Since Schebler is now in CF, who is in left?  Well, Adam Duvall, of course!  Due to his reverse split over the last 3 seasons, he’s shown he can hit righties at least as well as he can hit lefties.  How about right field?  Jay Bruce has always been fairly good against right-handed pitching and he needs to rebuild that trade value, right?  Bruce starts in right.

How about this lineup against righties?

chart8

This lineup is not as exciting, to me at least, as the lineup against lefties. Suarez looks odd in the lead-off spot, but his .381 SLG against righties doesn’t warrant a middle-of-the-order spot compared to the other mashers.  You could probably have Tyler Holt also play center field in this lineup and lead-off, as he has posted a .356 OBP against righties the last 3 seasons in 1079 PA, rather than Duvall (shifting Schebler to left), but Duvall’s .516 SLG against RHP is pretty nice.  If Jake Cave makes the team, his .365 OBP against righties would also look nice in the lead-off spot if you want to drop Duvall.

Now that we’ve looked at what the outfield has to offer in terms of platoon options, let’s discuss how likely anything I presented above is to happen.  If I’m being honest, “not likely” is probably a conservative way to put it.

If Hamilton is healthy, it is very probable he receives the majority of the center field playing time.  If Bruce is healthy (and still a Red) he’s going to play almost every inning in RF as he tries to resurrect his trade value.  These two incumbents are safe, comfortable choices for Bryan Price.

Tyler Holt may not even make the team out of camp because his prime competition, Jake Cave, is having himself a pretty decent spring and was recently a Rule 5 pick. I feel it is very unlikely both Holt and Cave break camp with the team.  I think this is unfortunate given the numbers above show Cave was overmatched by minor league left-handed pitchers over the last 3 seasons (.587 OPS).  There’s no reason to think he’ll be able to handle lefties in the bigs if he couldn’t handle lefties in the minors.  Based on past performance, Holt seems like the better option.  Holt turned 27 yesterday and Cave is only 23, so perhaps if the Reds invest time in Cave now it will pay dividends in 2018 and beyond. Age and potential role with the team in 2 years are all things that should be considered.

Yorman Rodriguez also has a future in limbo. Given his perceived under performance and the fact that he’s out of options, it’s easy to see him making the team and easy to see him being left off.  There is a lot unknown with Yorman, but it will likely all be figured out sooner rather than later.

Platooning is just one way a manager can “get the most” out of his players.  I sincerely hope Price takes a long hard look at his options instead of taking the easy route and writing the familiar names on the lineup card every day.  After all, this season should be viewed as an immensely important data gathering opportunity on young players.

Join the conversation! 45 Comments

  1. Frustrating that astute use of this information or other, similar information, by actual Reds management, seems highly unlikely. My sense is that unless data like this was ridiculously compelling instead of just highly informative, that it will not be put to good use. Good stuff Patrick. Here’s hoping… At least it validates our collective optimism about Jesse Winker future left fielder!

  2. Why is Steve Selsky’s name not being mentioned at all? Not just in this column but anywhere. He was having a pretty good year in AAA before getting hurt – was probably going to get a call up at some point. Is he still in the Red’s organization? He has hit well at every level and has good plate discipline so not sure what I’m missing here.

    • The injuries to both Selsky and Lutz completely derailed their shots at the show last season and the beginning of this season. Neither Selsky nor Lutz are on the 40-man roster, but they will have the opportunity in AAA to reestablish any potential that remains after their injuries. Selsky is not fast, has no power and plays marginal defense. His only real asset is his hit tool and ability to get on base. That does not make him a valued asset in the Reds organization.

      Even with a full platoon comittment as Patrick opined initially, not all of the platoon option will succeed. Once a platoon option is deemed unsuccessful, another option will be necessary. That’s where Selsky and Lutz have to hang their hats and hopes in 2016. They just need a REAL chance to prove they can or cannot do the job at the major league level after (re)establishing their offensive ability at AAA. They really should be lumped in that same boat with Hamilton to start the season.

      • Couldn’t have said it better myself. Slow OFers with no power aren’t generally the kind of guys who get shots, even with a decent ability to put the ball in play and get on base. If he were an infielder, he’s probably get a very long, hard look.

  3. There is another additional indirrect benefit not discussed as part of the platoon arrangement…the bench! The Reds are down by a run late in the game. How nice to have an option like the availability of Bruce or Schebler to face a RH pitcher or Duvall or Y-Rod to face a LH pitcher. The Reds are down by moer than a run late in the game. How nice to have Cave and Holt to face a RH of LH pitcher, respectively, wth the aforementioned options to follow. Then we can also throw in the DH against interleague competition for even more benefit.

    Based on comments from Price, the Reds are not even sold on a LF platoon. Price is on record as prefering one regular starter in LF rather than a platoon situation.

    • I’m going to start calling him Prusty. I think I’m older than Price and WAR to me is some cool old hippie song but just ignoring all current stats and trends is completely asinine? I wanted them to sign Dexter Fowler….its not like he’s 35 years old? They need obp at leadoff and then Votto in the 2 hole. You constantly put 1-2 guys on at the top of the lineup and you’ll score runs. Talk of Hamilton leadoff and Suarez down below Bruce is ridiculous?

      • Signing Fowler would’ve been completely counter to what they’re trying to achieve. Why would you pay 13 million per year for a guy who makes you slightly less bad for the next 2 years? A 70 win team with a 80 million payroll is more desirable than a 74 win team with a 93 million payroll for the next 2 years.

  4. If the Reds and Billy Hamilton remain committed to Billy being a switch hitter, he should be sent to the minors to try to improve from the LH side of the plate. In 2015, LH Billy had a truly abysmal ,532 OPS accompanied by 25% of the balls he hit being classified as “soft” and a HR/FB rate of 1.2%. That rate would tie him for worst in the league of any hitters who had 400 or more plate appearances last year. LH Billy is not a major league hitter.

    RH Billy is not a great hitter, and strikes out too much (24.1%) but did have a .641 OPS with an 8.3% HR/FB rate. Adding in his base stealing and fielding, RH Billy has something to offer.

    The only reason for Billy to bat LH is to try to increase his OBP. But his L/R OBP was virtually the same at .276/.270. The lousy LH Billy gets 3 times as many plate appearances as RH Billy and is weighing down RH Billy’s performance as well as hurting the team when he plays.

    • You could also argue though that the stats for RH Billy is not a realistic expectation to be replicated if he were to face righties. I would bet if Billy stopped hitting LH his overall numbers would stay the same as his RH would have a significant platoon split.

      • RH Billy may not hit as well against RH pitchers as he does against LH pitchers, but his power won’t just disappear like LH Billy. By power, I am not just talking about homer runs. LH Billy makes very weak contact, with 25% of batted balls rated as soft.

        If you are correct and his RH hitting against RH pitchers is just as bad as LH Billy’s .532 OPS, then Billy should not be playing against RH pitchers. It’s highly doubtful that Holt, Cave, YRod or any of the others would even sniff the number of plate appearances LH Billy got last year if they were producing a .532 OPS.

  5. Excellent write up Patrick. Nice research. This is why I hope BHam starts the season on the DL so we can get a better look at Holt and Cave.
    I know this mostly about the OF, but some INF splits may come into play as well. Your lineup against RH pitching may have to be adjusted a bit by Barnhart catching some vs. RH pitching, Duvall in at 3B for Suarez against some RH pitching, and Peraza leading off and in at 2B or SS vs. some RH pitching. Cozart’s splits are very noticable. His home vs. away is very dubious. He doesn’t hit well at The GAB.
    You have BP hitting 7th vs. both pitching. Good job. He probably doesn’t appreciate it, but we do.
    The platooning makes the bench spots even more important this year.
    However, your last sentence said it all. Good work.

  6. Excellent work. You make a very compelling case for a platoon across all 3 OF positions. If only Price had the guts……

    RF: Bruce/YRod
    CF: Cave/Holt
    LF: Schebler/Duvall

    I love it!

    • Since both Cave and Holt don’t make this team, Cave probably best fits as a split with Billy and/or a PH. I would suggest Duval gets more time than just a RH platoon given his reverse splits and then do Scott S. CF some of the time.

      The best way to look at it may be ask who you want to get the most PA overall (assuming maximizing platoon splits ) which should be Scott.

      • Based on the number I see, even with their relatively small size, I think Schebler will certainly be the best overall hitter of any of the options. Might even be better than Bruce unless Bruce returns to pre-2014 form.

  7. Price got hired on the premise that he would look at real data, such as this, but has proven to be anything but logical. He is really just Dusty a Baker without the charisma. It’s on the GM, whoever that REALLY is to only give him the best players (not Hamilton) since Price clearly can’t make this decision rationally.

    • Recall that Price famously said last season he would rather run a game using hard copy notebooks versus a tablet or laptop. That goes a way toward describing his style. As you said, like Dusty, he is a set piece by the book guy,

  8. “Price got hired on the premise that he would look at real data, such as this…”

    When Price was hired, he made such statements, but I do not believe that was why he was hired. I do not recall an such statements by the GM or owner. I believe both the GM and owner had tired of Dusty’s self-serving public comments and the obvious loss of any positive influence on the major league team’s on-field performance. Price was the easy, safe choice to succeed Dusty once the decision to dump Dusty had been made. I think we all hoped for a more progressive managerial style by Price, but that has not happened. What we got was just more of the ‘safe’ managerial style, just like the decision regarding the hiring of Williams as the new GM, more of the easy, safe options.

    • Agree it was only Castellini who knew why he hired him, but Price CLEARLY stated in his press conference that he was going to base his decisions on performance, accountability and was willing to be flexible in using players in non-traditional roles. He even said he would use Chapman in multiple inning situations! He never actually did this, but that to me sounds like what he told Bob.

  9. Split squad games today. Stephenson goes up against the Cubs. The Cubs are putting up a lineup that is about 75% opening day regulars. This should be a good measuring stick for Robert Stephenson.
    Moscot goes up against the A’s. I only recognized two names on the A’s lineup. Burns and Lawrie. Starting to get into the thick of things now in spring training. Time to start separating the wheat form the chaff.

  10. I am in total agreement with this article, but I’m not that confident we would use the platoon correctly. It’s not always about Lefty /righty.

    I don’t remember who it was, but we had a hitter who splits were completely opposite of the norm, and he was never used in the right fashion.

    I used to get frustrated with the use of Arrodondo. His splits were completely different from the norm, and it was a large enough sample size to show that, but Dusty insisted on using him in the traditional way. I really feel he could have been more successful had the numbers been followed correctly.

    Just because someone is old school, that does not mean they ignore facts. In actuality, old school thinking should rely on trends more than be willing to act outside of the box.

    When someone ignores mounds of data and results, it’s not old school thinking, it’s just bad baseball

    • I like your characterization of “old school”. I would add that perhaps it relied at times to a large degree on inadvertantly selective memory of events (data) rather than the analysis of all available data. This begs the question of why we remember (in our perception) positive things about some players and negative things about other players when on the whole there isn’t that much difference in their performances.

  11. Good thoughtful analysis. I was just wondering if for a guy like Bruce, for example, there is a difference in the OPS facing a LH starter as opposed to a LOOGY? Generally you do get to see a starter more AB’s than a reliever, plus a reliever particularly a LOOGY can go all out with every pitch? Just a thought. If Bruce started against a LH and then in the later innings if a LOOGY came into face him you could pinch hit for him. (I know that’s not going to happen but we are in a theoretical world here). If he didn’t start there would be no reason to pinch hit him in later inning if there was a LOOGY in the bullpen.

    • I didn’t look at starter/reliever splits. But I’d say you’re correct. LOOGYs generally will be better at getting a lefty out than an average lefty starter. Someone like Kershaw, though, is probably better than a LOOGY.

      Either way, Bruce probably only faces ~50 LOOGYs a year, so the overall effect on the numbers would be minimal.

      • Just FYI, Bruce’s career splits vs LH Starting Pitchers: .238/.311/.453 in 1232 PA … That’s out of his 1373 total PA against LH pitchers. Considering his total splits, it would appear that Bruce does fare a good bit better against those starters than he does the lefty relievers he faces. He doesn’t face those LOOGYs a lot though with 141 PA against them by my quick research.

  12. There is an additional issue favoring a full platoon approach, the 2016 factor. The Reds are not going to compete for the playoffs in 2016. The young starting pitching will be inconsistent. The young hitters will be inconsistent. Some of the young pitchers and young hitters will not succeed and no one has a crystal ball to confirm who those players will be.

    The 2016 season needs to be about identifying those players for 2017 and beyond and the Reds have a unique opportunity to make such determinations in 2016 if they are committed to such an action rather than paying it ‘safe’ and making the easy decisions.

    Hamilton may or may not have a future as a major league starter. His speed is unprecedented and inarguably a premier offensive weapon, if he can get on base even at a league average rate. He has fully demonstrated his defensive prowess in CF. He needs to prove his ability to get on base and that needs to start at AAA. This is the first difficult decision that must be made to maximize the benefit of the 2016 season.

    Every other OF candidate, except Hamilton, has proven his ability at the minor league level and the only remaining test is proving that ability at the major league level. That’s the argument for a full OF platoon. Find out who can and cannot play at the major league level! If Holt, Cave, Schebler, Y-Rod, Duvall and Bruce are all given a real, consistent, extended opportunity during 2016, then those questions will be answered. With Duvall capable of filling at 3B and 1B, the Reds can carry a full OF platoon along with De Jesus as a utility IF and Barnhart as a utlity catcher on the 25-man roster. After 3 months of consistent playing time, if anyone proves incapable, then look to other options (Lutz, Selsky, etc.) for the final 3 months. None of the players may prove effective and that’s also a viable solution since the Reds will know that other options are necessary going forward. Y-Rod is the real exception to this since he has not proven himself fully capable at the minor league level, but he is also out of options so the Reds must include him in the 2016 decision process or cut bait now. Bruce may prove he can produce beyond his 2014 & 2015 performances and the Reds may want to excercise his 2017 option rather than trading him in 2016, but 2016 is the time and opportunity to make that decision.

    Peraza is just 22 years old and hasn’t played SS consistently since 2013. Besides Cozart, he may be the most talented defensive SS in the organization. He is almost an exact Hamilton clone, speed and defense with no power and has never proven he perform at the AAA level. Hamilton and Peraza should set up a very nice 1-2 punch at the top of the Bats lineup during 2016 and hopefully both will develope and demonstrate the on base skills they need to be successful at the major league level for 2017 and going forward.

    • Along the line of starting Hamilton and Peraza in AAA…

      [Mets Asst. GM John] Ricco noted that Herrera might not be quite as big-league ready as his numbers indicate. “He’s not a guy we said, ’He’s finished with Triple-A. He’s wasting his time down there,’” said Ricco of Herrera. “I don’t think you see that yet. With each of our top prospects the last few years, whether it be [Zack] Wheeler or [Matt] Harvey or [Noah] Syndergaard or [Steven] Matz, the deal was we want them to come up here and succeed, not just come up and here and have trial by fire.”

      Can we hear that again…

      “…we want them to come up here and succeed, not just come up and here and have trial by fire.”

    • I agree whole-heartedly. The Reds need to be looking at as many newer, younger players as possible this year.

      I really, really think the Reds can be competitive again in 2018, but that’s only if 2016/2017 are used to that effect.

  13. Since baseball is becoming a game of millionaire players and statistically driven business models why not just add say 6 more players to the man roster and move it up to 30. Then every position can be afforded a platoon.
    More millionaires, decrease on stress due to less playing time, and analytic departments working overtime to keep track of L vs. R

    • There has been discussions regarding expanding the available 25-man rosters to accomodate an additional player pool, with only 25 players designated as available for any game.

      • Have you ever through how they might handle starting pitching slots in such an expanded roster scheme? I’ve puzzled over that more than I care to admit and am not sure how I would handle it.

        Best I’ve ever felt about it was having it set up that a pitcher would remain on the “eligible” list at least 4 games after making a start and pitching in at least ?? number of innings or facing at least ?? hitters. But what’s the number of innings or hitters?

        • Yep, I have. If I had any input, I would create a 28-man roster with the ability to designate anyone on the 28-man roster for the game-active 25-man roster on any day along with the posting of the lineup. The normal expectation would be that 3 starting pitchers would not be active for any given game, usually leaving the bench with 2 additional position players and 1 additional pitcher available for the game, but such a move would not be dictated, so there could be situations where 3 additional position players or more than 1 additional pitcher was available.

          The rules for option, DL designations and major league service time would remain the same for the 28-man roster as the existing 25-man roster. If such an arrangement was implemented, it would probably include the implementation of the DH across both leagues.

        • I like your scheme. I’ve always had a 29 or 30 man pool in mind which is why I was puzzling so much over starting pitchers. Holding the size pool back to 28 pretty much takes that issue out of play.

          So, far this spring the Reds have used DH every day even when they are home team or have played a road game versus an NL team. Given the murmurs over the winter, this just underscores to me that it is when and not if the DH arrives in the NL. They may take several seasons to fully implement it; but, it feels to me like the owners have put DH on the CBA table as a low hanging fruit to be plucked by the MLBPA in turn for some concession on the players’ side.

      • Sort of what hockey does.

  14. Two things that caught my eye, one was that as Patrick noted, Hamilton is a terrible hitter; and, two, versus RH pitching, Cozart is even worse than Hamilton based on OPS.

    As this rebuild progresses I hope there is change in the Reds philosophy which recognizes that it is advantageous to accept a slightly less effective defensive player who brings significantly more robust offense to the team over a guy who is essentially a defensive specialist and black hole on offense.

    • Extending my remarks on this subject, there has been some talk on this site and other locations that because of the smaller OF areas at GABP and several of the other NL Central venues that having a defensive whiz CF like Hamilton would allow the Reds to play less than average defenders with strong offensive skills in the OF corner spots since Hamilton could close the gaps.

      However, every coin has two sides. The flip side here as I see it is that playing at least 110 games a year in venues with smaller outfield areas depreciates the value of CF defensive range if a team can field even average defenders on the corners.

      • The second part of your statement resonates the most with me. It would seem like the smaller yards would diminish BHam’s contribution more than any overall team benefit from playing (presumably) better hitters in LF/RF that are worse defensively.

  15. Well written article, all of this rational data can certainly give you a headache. If this is the new analytical approach the Reds new brain trust is counting on their is hope. Now if we could get Cincinnati’s upper and on the field management to buy in we might have something.

  16. The problem with limiting Bruce’s AB’s versus lefties is he leads the MLB in HR’s vs LH pitching the last 6 years (regardless of batter’s side).

    • True, but HRs are only part of the story. Bruce has gotten out 70.5% of the time in his career when facing lefties. That’s bad.

  17. I think Billy Hamilton’s inability to bat left-handed might be affecting his performance from the right side. Also, while Selsky appears to be a minor league fixture, why does Bryson Smith appear to be a non-prospect? By the way Steve JB’s OPS was in the .720s last year not the .920s.

    • He’s a 27 yr old who has only had like 380 plate appearance over the last 2 season. He has no power and no speed. He’s a non prospect because he hasn’t really shown any reason for anyone to consider him a prospect.

      And what’s this about Steve and Bruce’s OPS? I can’t see what you’re referring to.

  18. So, this is interesting. Bruce’s career platoon split (OPS wise) when it comes to starting pitching is a rather small 24 points. It would seem the LOOGYs really drag his overall platoon splits down:

    VS RH Starter: 3368 PA – .251/.322/.466
    VS LH Starter: 1232 PA – .238/.311/.453

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