The Reds go on the road to play the Oakland A’s today at 4:05 p.m. The broadcast is available on WLW-700 radio. Here is the lineup:
- Billy Hamilton DH
- Jose Peraza SS
- Eugenio Suarez 3B
- Brandon Phillips 2B
- Brandon Allen 1B
- Adam Duvall RF
- Jake Cave LF
- Ramon Cabrera C
- Tyler Holt CF
Raisel Iglesias makes his second start of spring training.
Billy Hamilton back in the lead-off spot, looking for more plate appearances (see below).
Kind of surprised I haven’t typed Nick Cave yet. Have to fight the instinct every time.
Jose Peraza at short and Eugenio Suarez at third may be an early look at the long-term plans for the left side of the Reds infield. Does Suarez’s bat play at 3B? Last season, the wRC+ for National League third basemen was 103 and 82 for shortstops. Suarez posted a wRC+ of 105. Third base is also a new defensive position for him.
It’s looking more and more like our starting rotation come Opening Day will be: Anthony DeSclafani, Jonathan Moscot, Alfredo Simon, Brandon Finnegan and Raisel Iglesias.
News and Reading
• Zach Buchanan (Cincinnati Enquirer) points out that the bullpen is nowhere near as settled as the starters. Bryan Price just told the beat writers that as of now, J.J. Hoover would be the closer:
Price says if season started today, Hoover would be #reds closer. Still trying to ID rest of roles in late innings.
— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) March 19, 2016
After Hoover, Tony Cingrani and Jumbo Diaz, it’s anyone’s guess:
The list of candidates after that is long. Righty Dayan Diaz has a long history of success in the minor leagues and has a 1.59 ERA this spring. On Friday, Price had praise for Caleb Cotham, part of the package acquired from the New York Yankees for Aroldis Chapman.
Pitchers like Pedro Villarreal, Drew Hayes, A.J. Morris, Layne Somsen and Rule 5 pick Chris O’Grady have all had good outings in spring training games. Right-hander Keyvius Sampson, who recently returned from a bout of elbow soreness, would seem to have the inside track on winning the long reliever role.
• Mark Sheldon (MLB.com) talked to Billy Hamilton after his first start in center field. Hamilton says his main concern this spring is getting enough at bats. He points out that he can always bat in a few minor league games (during spring training).
Hamilton, who has been working on his shoulder with the training and strength staff all spring, felt he would also have enough time to be ready for Opening Day.
“There’s always room to go down and get more at-bats,” Hamilton said. “That’s all that I’m really worried about right now, just getting more at-bats. I can go to the Minor Leagues and get a few hits and here get a few at-bats. Making sure my arm is healthy is the main thing. I look forward to the next couple of weeks.”
Hamilton has two hits in ten plate appearances. No walks yet. You often hear the Reds front office and coaching staff talk about Hamilton needing to raise his on-base percentage. They’re right as can be about that. But it’s always in the context of more bunting or more ground balls. NOT ONCE have I heard a Reds decision-maker say that Hamilton needed to work on his plate discipline to increase his walk-rate. Hamilton’s BB% last year was 6.2 percent. League average is 7.7 percent.
Reminder: Nick Carrington last summer on Billy Hamilton’s hitting woes.
• And you think the Reds medical staff is iffy … Yesterday reports emerged that Bronson Arroyo doesn’t have a torn labrum as first reported, or torn rotator cuff, as second reported. Those injuries would have presented a significant threat to the pitcher’s career. Now, another doctor says Arroyo just has an inflamed bursa sac, which calls for 7-10 days of rest and no surgery. Blame was cast on a misread MRI. Great news, right? But hold on. The Washington Nationals issued a report later saying it still wasn’t clear to them what the nature of Arroyo’s injury is. So we’ll have to wait and see.
• Not specifically Reds-related, but yeah. The cursed life of a Cincinnati sports fan. (Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News)
October 2012: Eight pitches into the opening game of the National League Division Series, Reds ace Johnny Cueto walked off the mound in apparent pain and was visited by his trainer and manager. He did not pitch again that season, and the Reds lost the series in five games to eventual World Series champ San Francisco.
• From the category of Meaningless Statistics dipped in a Meaningless Sample Size: The Reds spring training leaders in RBI are: Scott Schebler (6), Eugenio Suarez (7), Jay Bruce (8) and Adam Duvall (9).
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.