2016 Spring Training

Tuesday lineup, news and reading

The Reds play the Kansas City Royals today at 4:05 p.m. ET at Goodyear Ballpark. The game will be televised locally on FSO and streamed on the MLB network. You can listen on WLW-700 radio.

  1. Billy Hamilton DH
  2. Zack Cozart SS
  3. Joey Votto 1B
  4. Adam Duvall 3B
  5. Jay Bruce RF
  6. Jose Peraza CF
  7. Scott Schebler LF
  8. Ivan De Jesus 2B
  9. Ramon Cabrera C

Brandon Finnegan starts on the mound for the Reds, facing his former team.

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Brandon Finnegan / Photo: Sam Greene, Cincinnati Enquirer

Lineup Thoughts

Biggest news is that Billy Hamilton returns to the lineup, although not to center field. He’s been sidelined recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. He does have two previous AB this spring.

Zack Cozart returns at shortstop. Dusty Baker’s heart would flutter seeing the SS batting second. Both halves of the presumptive LF platoon split, Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler, get starts. It’s Duvall’s first game at third base. The versatile Ivan De Jesus plays second base and Jose Peraza gets another start in center.

Photo: Kareem Elgazzar/Enquirer

Jose Peraza / Photo: Kareem Elgazzar/Enquirer

If you needed incentive to watch Brandon Finnegan pitch today, consider that with all the injuries and slowed down starts, you have to think he’s looking pretty good for a rotation slot. That’s unless they decide a left-handed seventh-inning specialist is a more important role. Still no word on Michael Lorenzen’s MRI results. 

Reminder: Grant Freking’s scouting report on Finnegan after the Cueto trade. Also, Grant on Finnegan’s role with the Reds.

News and Reading

Doug Gray offers his thoughts about the in-house options should the Reds have to replace Michael Lorenzen.

That leaves the Cincinnati Reds with a very iffy rotation of four pitchers right now: Anthony DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias, Brandon Finnegan and Jon Moscot. After that, it would seem that there are three guys still in contention for the final spot. Left hander Cody Reed and right handers Robert Stephenson and Tim Melville. The first two names are of big time prospects in the organization, while the latter is a former top prospect who the Reds signed on as a minor league free agent in the offseason. Reed and Melville, unlike Stephenson, are not on the 40-man roster.

Mark Sheldon reports on Raisel Iglesias and his first start yesterday.

The Reds were careful in how they handled Iglesias last season, in part because he did not pitch in 2014 while defecting from Cuba and awaiting a visa to enter the United States. He was also a former reliever learning how to be a starter on the job. At times, that inexperience showed in how he navigated through an outing, especially against a lineup the second or third time.

Raisel Iglesias / Photo: Kareem Elgazzar

Raisel Iglesias / Photo: Kareem Elgazzar

Reminder: After Iglesias struck out 13 in a game last year, Nick Doran wrote about how that feat compared to other great Reds strikeout performances. And our Greetings! post on Iglesias from June 2014.

Zach Buchanan on Jose Peraza’s first start in center field.

It was a less-than-eventful five innings for the Venezuelan, who only had to field a couple line drive hits that fell in front of him.

“It doesn’t feel different,” Peraza said through interpreter Tomas Vera. “I have to keep learning, of course. I’m going to continue learning. I feel happy to play. The most important thing overall is just to help the team.”

Reminder: Our scouting report on Peraza when the Reds first acquired him.

• C. Trent Rosecrans (Enquirer) on the Finnegan/Royals match-up.

The Royals bounced him between the rotation and the bullpen, famously pitching him in the playoffs in 2014 when he became the first player to ever appear in the College World Series and the World Series in the same year. Now, though, he’s a Red and he said he’s only worried about being a Red in 2016.

“It’s just another team,” Finnegan said. “It’d be different if I was starting against them in the season, but it’s spring training and it’s just another day and I’m trying to get ready for the season.”

Longish read from a Reds fan writing for a Kansas City Royals site about Brandon Finnegan, his time with the Royals and World Series rings.

As Brandon takes the mound to pitch against his former team, he’ll remember the feeling when he received the phone call saying that he had been traded to the lowly Cincinnati Reds for eventual postseason hero Johnny Cueto. It was a mixture of shock, confusion, excitement, and even betrayal. Brandon will recall the feelings of trepidation as he donned the uniform of the AAA Louisville Bats, the finest baseball team in Kentucky. More than anything, Brandon will remember the Ring that Got Away: the ambivalent feeling of sadness and pride he felt as he saw his former teammates celebrate a World Series championship without him last October.

David Schoenfield (ESPN) on how Joey Votto’s approach with runners on base compares to other top hitters in baseball. Comes with a quote from new Reds general manager Dick Williams. Williams’ view is a welcome change to previous statements by Walt Jocketty on the same topic.

Anyway, I’m not trying to answer the question of whether Votto should swing more often. This is more to show that Votto’s approach with runners on base isn’t significantly different from the game’s other top hitters. The Reds certainly are OK with his production. Reds general manager Dick Williams happened to be on a panel Friday. An audience member asked if Votto should expand his zone. “Whoever asked that question, I’ll arrange a one-on-one with Joey Votto,” Williams said, laughing. “He hits .360 on pitches in the strike zone and .200 on pitches outside the zone. It strikes me as incredibly selfish to knowingly make yourself a worse hitter to chase an arbitrary statistic … that’s the epitome of unselfishness.”

Warning: Trigger alert for the Brennemen.

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Reminder: Mike Maffie compared Votto hitting with two strikes, all choked up, to other major league leaders.

Since this is election day in Ohio (I’m on a break from working at the polls), here’s a Reds trivia question. No fair looking this up, just answers based on memory or guesses please. Honor system.

Question: Who is the only sitting President to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day in Cincinnati?

69 thoughts on “Tuesday lineup, news and reading

  1. I’m fairly sure the answer to the question is Bush, in 06 (or 07). That’s around the time I first started getting into baseball, and it was a fairly huge event.

    • Agree, It was one of the Bushes. Think you are probably correct it was W. versus his dad. Hopefully I’ll stay out of trouble with Chad and Steve by not offering a value judgement on this…. Has anyone else ever thought how the world might be different today if Bud Selig had not out maneuvered W. for the job W. really wanted, Comish of MLB….

      • Or perhaps a parallel universe in which W was the commissioner and Selig was President of the United States.

        Would Commisioner W have invaded the NBA? Would he have bailed out the Dodgers and Mets? Would President Bud have tried to contract the Dakotas and imposed a luxery tax on California and New York?

        I do like the phrase ” President Bud”

  2. GW Bush was my first thought for some reason, even though I don’t have a specific memory of such an occurrence.

  3. Quirky lineup, but it is spring training. I think the Reds will have to work the waiver wire hard to pick up a starting pitcher to get them bridged up until Bailey and Lamb come back from the DL. Melville has been pounded a bit in spring games. I wouldn’t mind seeing them be proactive and make a trade for a pitcher.
    Answer to trivia: Taft is the only president I can think of that might be it, but I’m not sure on that.

  4. Just tweeted by Jim Day (@jimdayTV)

    “Lorenzen will see Dr Kremchek on Thurs and will develop a game plan from there”

    • Ya I read it was a mild UCL Sprain. It guess at least it was mild and not a complete tear so hopefully surgery won’t be required. I guess in the meantime we can reread that series Steve wrote last year on elbows.

    • Zach Buchanan ‏@ZachENQ 23m23 minutes ago
      Lorenzen has a mild sprain of the UCL. A little tendonitis

      Jim Day ‏@JimDayTV 24m24 minutes ago
      Michael Lorenzen’s MRI showed no tear or structural damage, he has mild sprain of UCL #Reds

    • So what we know is that Lorenzen’s UCL, the “Tommy John” body part is involved.

      It sounds like the better news is that currently the UCL is stretched but NOT showing signs of being torn since the sprain is being called minor. The tendonitis would seem to be a separate but likely related issue as Bailey is known to have had both.

      All in all it is probably fair to say Lorenzen’s elbow is lacking stability and that’s why it is barking.

      I guess we wait to see what, treatment regimen Kremchek comes up with; but, it certainly sounds like it may be a while before Lorenzen is pitching again.

  5. I generally just assume the worst anymore. Reds have a horrible history of shoddy injury reporting since Jocketty took over as GM. I’m assuming a month or two of rest, followed by one throwing session, followed by TJ surgery.

  6. “It strikes me as incredibly selfish to knowingly make yourself a worse hitter to chase an arbitrary statistic”

    Hmmm, I wonder if anyone fits that description on the Reds. Contrast Williams quote with this one….

    “People don’t care about RBI or scoring runs, it’s all about getting on base. Why we changing the game after all of this time? If we all just took our walks, nobody would be scoring runs. Nobody would be driving anybody in or getting anybody over. How you going to play the game like that? People don’t look at doing the things the right way and doing things to help your team win.”

  7. Guessing Taft.

    Also:

    “Now, though, he’s. . . worried about being a Red in 2016.”

    I’d be worried about being a Red in 2016, too.

  8. Taft was the first prez to do it, but in DC.

    I am going with W as well, that was his thing for awhile

  9. Thanks Goodness about Lorenzen. Is it true that Stephenson and Reed only have to spend 11 days in the minors to save a year in service time?

  10. GW Bush. I was at that game!! It was cold, rainy, and miserable and I was sick but I had great infield box seats. I think it was against the Cubs and Zombrano and Harang started for the Reds.

      • I remember that game. Helicopter flyover to start the game was pretty cool.

        Reds did lose big. They tried to make a comeback, but Cubs just kept pounding.

  11. Let’s see if Finnigan shows better command than last outing. He’s going to have to improve his command to be a starter.

  12. MLB.tv is infuriating, as always.

    I have two TVs with two different blu-ray players. Both with MLB.tv app. Generally they work. Today, both are giving separate error message. Everything else works (Netflix, Amazon, etc) and even the Audio works on MLB.tv. Just not video. One is a “network error” message, which is obviously not true. The other, a “source format error,” whatever the heck that means.

    To boot, MLB.tv works fine on my desktop! Video and audio.

    Took the day off work to help the Mrs. with the kid and am going to have to sit in my office to watch rather than on my couch! Rabble rabble!

  13. All kinds of options for Lorenzen. The thing is, they are just about where Lorenzen is status-wise, as in young and unproven. The only difference with Lorenzen, he’s had some experience up here, but nothing more than a breath of air.

    The thing is with me is, we may not know who the starting rotation is going to be. But, we at least have an idea of what group they are going to come from. What about the pen? Who’s going out there? Will one of the young stud starters look to try to make a name at the major league level through the pen? Or, would they prefer to go back to the minors and keep in “starting condition shape”? Then, if the latter, who do we have for the pen? I can’t help thinking we are going to be busy picking up some of the retreads that others let go of. Most of the time not too good. But, Simon did turn out to be decent, didn’t he?

    I see Votto’s BA at balls in the zone and out of the zone. An interesting stat I would like to see is how often does he swing at balls in the zone compared to other hitters, compared to other great hitters, compared to the balls he swings at out of the zone, etc. Because, the argument someone was trying to make was that Votto should swing more. Well, just consider, if Votto gets 10 pitches in the zone, and he swings and gets hits on only 3 of them (thus taking 7 pitches that are in the zone), that’s a 0.300 BA on balls in the zone. Well, then, one would tend to consider, if Votto was to swing at those other balls that are in the zone, then he could be getting even more hits.

    The thing is, with me, I was much happier with how he did last season compared to his 2013 season. He still got on base 300 times during the season. But, his power numbers went up. More HR’s, more doubles, higher SLG, even higher OPS. He showed me he was that notch more aggressive at bat that a team would need. So, could he be swinging more? Sure? But, should he (an entirely different question)? Now, I really don’t think so. If he ever goes back to something like 2013, then I say hit him 1 or 2. But, when he shows the power like last season, I like him in the 3 hole.

    • Nope. Votto swung the bat less in 2015 than in 2013, both at balls in the zone and balls out of the zone. He was just better equipped to hit for power because his injuries were fully recovered, IMO.

      • To take that a step further, 2015 and 2012 were his two lowest swing-rate seasons. These are also his best seasons. Of course, 2012 may have ended worse than 2010 if he’d have played a full year, but that’s beside the point!

        There really isn’t much correlation in my eyes between swinging more and being a better or more productive hitter. WHAT you swing at… that’s the key. Don’t swing at bad pitches.

        • That’s why I specified “how often does he swing at balls in the zone compared”. I don’t care about how much he swings at all. I have always said how much he swings at balls in the zone.

          • You should read what I already wrote. He swung at balls IN AND OUT of the zone more often in 2013 than 2015.

    • It would be a .300 BA if those were all one pitch at bats–pretty unlikely scenario with Joey, wouldn’t you agree? I would also assume that you wouldn’t want him to swing at every pitch in the zone, because, while they might be strikes, they aren’t all hittable with any authority.

      • True. But, then, I never said these were “one pitch at-bats”. I specified 10 pitches in the zone. For instance, if on the 8th pitch in the zone, he got a hit, that could be during the 2nd or 3rd AB.

        Second part, true. But, then, that doesn’t that they all aren’t unhittable with any authority, either.

      • Steve: what I meant was that, in your original comment, you described 3 hits out of ten pitches in the zone. That is a .300 BA if it occurs over ten at-bats, but not if the number of at-bats was less or more than ten. Not important–counting angels on the head of a pin..

  14. Chicago WhiteSox were caught somewhat off-guard by the sudden retirement announcement of 1B/DH Adam LaRouche. Reports say the WhiteSox may have to scramble to find a power LH bat now. Could Bruce join Frazier in Chicago?? Could the Reds get their future SS in Tim Anderson?
    Mr. Williams, Chicago’s Greg Hahn on line 1.

      • What about Bruce and Travieso? And if that would get it done, would you do it?

        • TBH, I haven’t read/seen much of Anderson. But, I don’t think Bruce/Travieso is a “ton,” so I’d say “yes” if Anderson really is a top-notch prospect.

  15. I did not look at other answers, if others tried to answer it first. My guess? Cincinnati’s own Willoiam Howard Taft! A, I correct?

  16. It takes some real lack-of-knowledge to throw Alcides Escobar a strike on the first pitch… Finnegan, you were even his teammate…

  17. When I worked in television news, there was an agreement although unwritten, among all the stations and ESPN that there would always be video of every run crossing the plate. In those days, there was usually just one tape machine running, so no matter what was happening elsewhere on the diamond, they would show the run cross in the plate and then attempt to capture any other action on the base paths.

    There are plenty of tape machines running now, so why do they continue to cut away from the interesting things like the neophyte centerfielder possibly throwing someone out at first just to show someone jogging across the plate?

  18. Back to back shots that knock the glove off the pitchers hand. I have honestly never seen that. Proof that if you tune in, you will see something you have never seen before.

  19. I honestly think a LF of Duvall and Schebler can provide a wRC+ over 100 this year with a decent amount of platooning.

  20. Two fly balls from Billy in 3 PA… my optimism from the bunt in the first PA is gone.

  21. So Moscot has locked down the 4 spot in the rotation? That’s kind of depressing? I know Sampson’s #s didn’t look good by the end last year but I kind of like his arm and it was his first time in the bigs. I hope Reed earns a spot and go from there? Good news on Lorenzen I guess but we’ve heard that before? Mesoraco will be back shortly or in LF…etc etc and the guy ends up as some memory from another lifetime.

  22. I thought it was an encouraging day for Adam Duvall. Against a RH pitcher, he looked struck out on a breaking pitch in the 1st but dropped his hands and slowed his bat to punch the ball through the right side with 1 out and score the first Reds run from 3B. It looked like maybe the 2b should have fielded the ball but that really didn’t matter. Then run was going to score regardless because they weren’t going to get a DP, even if the 2B did field ball. Later Duvall stung a ball through the left side of the IF for another single vs a RH pitcher.

    Also he made three plays without incident in the field at 3B.

    • One of his plays in the field was really nice, charging in to get the ball after it deflected off the pitcher. Bare-handed and got the guy at first..

      Regarding his hitting, The announcers were saying during a game early in the spring that Duvall spent most of the winter trying to work on his swing to cut down on strikeouts. Now, I’m sure lots of guys might say that, but he homered to right-center early in the spring too. So maybe that work will pay off.

  23. Finnegan getting stretched out some yesterday by going into the 5th inning. A good outing against his old mates. It has been impressive that he has seemed to have locked down a rotation spot now, when it looked like he was destined for the backend of the bullpen. I thought he would end up being the closer. But now he looks as if he’ll slot into the #3 spot in the rotation. If Moscot can step up his game here in the last couple weeks of spring training, he can take the #4 spot. That can certainly help with the decisions on Reed and Stephenson and let them both start out at AAA.

    • Even with Finnegan and Moscot, They’ll still need a start or two from somebody else to get them to Iglesias’ projected “ready” date during the second weekend of the season.

      Given the overall situation of the team, one would think Melville would get that call; but he would require a 40 man spot which could create a ripple effect through the whole org in terms of who might end up as odd man out to be exposed to waivers and possible loss to the org.

      It will be interesting to see how they handle it.

      • Reed would also require an additional 40 man spot. Stephenson would not.

        I don’t claim to be a maven on such matters; but, when it comes to “saving” a year on a guy’s service time, I don’t believe it would make a difference whether a guy started the season in the minors or started the season in MLB and later was back in the minors long enough to keep him from accumulating the required minimum number of MLB days for a year of service. A single option is good for an entire season; so, somebody like Stephenson could be shuttled back and forth and the season still “saved” in terms of service time as long as his total minor league time was great enough.

        • I’m like you, but I believe if one were to get sent back down to AAA the service time clock stops, so yeas they could start out on the 25-man roster, and then when Bailey and Lamb return from the DL, one or both could get sent down. But the problem with that is if one or both are pitching very well, you don’t want to send them down and crush their confidence they have built up. Thus the crux the Reds front office finds themselves in. It is a gamble either way though. I think it would be best to start Reed and Stephenson at AAA and look for a pitcher during these last couple of weeks of spring training that might get caught up in a numbers situation and get waived. Or be proactive and make a trade for a starter that could possibly be moved to the pen when Bailey and Lamb return. I’d like to have that kind of insurance from a trade rather than a waiver-wire pickup. Also with a trade, you might be able to get a better starter than Lamb and then move Lamb to the bullpen when he returns from the DL.

        • WV: I liked everything you said until you wanted Lamb going to the bullpen. I like him as a starter

        • Doug Gray and I were having this conversation on the RML site. He basically expressed it’s not worth the risk of losing a year of control to have him come up and pitch a month. The rationale behind this was that if Stephenson is pitching well in his time, and others were not pitching as well or better it would be hard to justify sending Stephenson down. He also expressed that the MLBPA would have an issue with sending Stephenson down in an attempt to pause/stop the service time.

          And overall he makes a lot sense and good points. He’s probably right about the risk/reward. I am of the opinion that the Reds would be able to make it work. Lamb can’t be sent down w/o being exposed to waivers and Bailey couldn’t be sent down w/o his consent (and the Reds would never send him down). Iglesias and Disco deserve the chance to work out any potential issues at the MLB based on last year. At the very least longer than a month or two. So that means that the risk the Reds are taking is that neither Finnegan or Moscot would out perform Stephenson (or in our present reality, no one else would get hurt). As long as one of them is pitching fine, I think Stephenson gets sent down without issue, and pauses his service time clock long enough for the Reds not to waste a year of control. It is a risk, and the reward of pitching Stephenson for a month may not outweigh the future cost/control ramifications if he stays up too long.

        • HV, The total time someone needs to be in the minors to miss out on getting a full year of MLB service time credit is relatively short. It’s less than 20 days; maybe even less than 15.

          If somebody is up then optioned down, by rule they have to stay down 10 days except in cases of subsequent DLing of somebody already on the 25 man roster. So, it should not be that hard to manage.

          I agree the deeper issue is the message it sends to players (as employees); and, also there is a risk the guy gets injured at the MLB level and spends substantial time on the MLB DL which counts toward service time.

  24. With the arms that are likely to start the season in the rotation and the likelihood that they’ll not put up a bunch of innings, I could see the Reds going with an 8-man bullpen.

    • Do you see them carrying 13 pitching slots or going long on relievers and short on pure starters with a 12 slot set up? Given that they are likely to need a 3rd catcher at the onset plus the odds that Cozart and Hamilton are not going to be every day, 9 inning players out of the chute, it could make for a very interesting bench situation if they go with 13 pitchers. For one thing I’d think it makes Peraza a virtual lock to make the team as a super sub.

      • It is an interesting situation with setting the 25-man roster. This Lorenzen injury puts the pitching in a little more fluid situation. With Iglesias, they cannot put him on the DL until his anticipated spot comes up about game #10. He has to get his work in, that is why he is behind. So he has to be on the 25-man roster and that might create an empty spot until the 10th game when his first game start comes up. So the Reds might be playing in reality with a 24-man roster for the first 9-10 games.
        Iglesias might have to pitch out of the pen once or twice during the first week of games then get him on the starters’ schedule by game #6 so he is on schedule.
        What will they do with Iglesias until his first start comes up? Will the Reds play one man short for a stretch of games right out of the gate?

        • Iglesias can pitch in minor league games to get his work in and they can back date the 15 days. He cannot pitch in mlb spring games. If he does they can only back date to the last mlb game he pitches

      • Probably 4 starters to start, so 12 pitchers when they break camp. I think they’ll go to 13 pitchers though when they need a 5th starter. I don’t like the idea because it makes the bench so tight but I think that’s how it might play out.

  25. Okay. With all of the injuries, we have only 3 pitchers to start the season: DeSclafani, Iglesias, and Finnegan. Even if someone (Sampson?) is stretched out as a temporary fill for the not-often-needed-early-season 5th-starter spot, we still need a 4th starter. Should the Reds start the clock on Reed? No, Let him develop properly.

    Despite of our Marquis-redux phobia, I think it’s time for the Reds to explore the market and look at waivers and find a realistic 4th starter option, someone who is better than the very inconsistent in-house options the team has at the moment.

    • You skipped over Moscot. I think he is going to get the ball every 5th day and pitch at least 5 innings, regardless of outcomes, unless his arm falls off. However they probably don’t have Iglesias for the first 10 or so games based on the schedule that had been projected for him….. But yes, the waiver wire/ guys on minor league contracts with walkway clauses loom large.

  26. Just when we thought we might have the pitching rotation figured out, this gets tweeted by Mark Sheldon:
    “Moscot was scratched with left intercostal strain. Should miss couple of days but not more. Did it during BP the other day”

    Zach Buchanan reported it thusly:
    “Moscot scratched with intercostal strain. Not yet in danger of missing start of season”.

    The powers that be are conspiring to have Stephenson and/ or Reed open the year at MLB

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