2016 Spring Training

Sunday lineup, news and reading

The Reds play the Arizona Diamondbacks today in Goodyear at 4:05 p.m. ET. You can hear it on WLW-700 radio. Here’s the lineup:

  1. Billy Hamilton CF
  2. Eugenio Suarez 3B
  3. Joey Votto 1B
  4. Brandon Phillips 2B
  5. Jay Bruce RF
  6. Devin Mesoraco C
  7. Zack Cozart SS
  8. Scott Schebler LF
  9. Brandon Finnegan P

Today marks the first game that pitchers are batting.

Lineup Thoughts

This lineup looks like the closest to the Opening Day order that we’ve seen so far. Manager Bryan Price hinted as much yesterday.

Brandon Phillips is an odd choice to bat fourth, a lineup spot where power is considered important. Phillips had the lowest power number of his career last year, the second lowest among regulars in the Reds lineup. Only Billy Hamilton hit with less power. Out of 141 hitters with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title last year, Phillips ranked #125 in power. Recall last year that Price had decided to bat Brandon Phillips seventh to start the season. If he’s batting fourth because of … mumble, mumble … RBI … mumble, then that’s cause for discouragement.

Phillips

Brandon Phillips / Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

No one asked me, but: Suarez, Votto, Bruce, Mesoraco, Duvall/Schebler, Phillips, Cozart, Pitcher, Hamilton. Flip Bruce and Mesoraco against LHP. Get more plate appearances for the better hitters.

News and Reading

Mark Sheldon reports on Tony Cingrani and his growing comfort with a bullpen role.

“Back end of the bullpen sounds good to me,” Cingrani said. “The back end is basically [innings] seven through nine are similar. Obviously the ninth is the coveted role of the bullpen. But really just the seventh, eighth or ninth are good enough.” Part of the reason Cingrani seems to be performing well is a change in mechanics. The change he made is likely not that noticeable to an untrained eye. But to someone who has endured shoulder injuries the past couple of seasons, the tweak could be a difference maker. “The mechanics are allowing my arm to work more freely with my body. It’s taking a lot of stress off my arm,” Cingrani said. “I’m not pulling off with the front side. I basically have my arm attached to my body as it flows through instead of having my arm behind my body.”

Bryan Price elaborates on the pros and cons of a platoon split in left field. C. Trent Rosecrans talks to Price and Adam Duvall about it.

“I think it’s a way to get two young players to play regularly enough to keep their swings comfortable,” Price said of left field. “It’s like anything if you get somebody who simply out-performs and warrants an everyday status on the club, but we’ve got two relative unknowns at the big league level. I just wouldn’t feel nearly as comfortable having a young guy getting three or four at-bats a week and thinking he’s going to develop and produce. If we’re going to do that with two young yet-to-be-established players, they’re going to have split time.”

Duvall

Adam Duvall / Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

Part of President Obama’s historic three-day trip to Cuba this week involves watching a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National team. Major League Baseball has a long, fascinating history with Cuban players. With the departures of Aroldis Chapman and Brayan Pena, Raisel Iglesias becomes the only Cuban player on the current Reds roster. This ESPN article chronicles 10 Cuban baseball pioneers, including former Big Red Machine cog, Tony Perez.

From Esteban (Steve) Bellán, who in 1871 became the first Latin-born player to compete in a top professional baseball league, to Hall of Famer Tony Perez to “Mr. White Sox” Minnie Minoso, Cuban-born players have been big-league pioneers since the game’s earliest days.

Iglesias.SG

Raisel Iglesias / Photo: Sam Greene, Cincinnati Enquirer

With the controversy swirling about Adam LaRoche leaving the White Sox because the club told him his 14-year-old son was no longer welcome in the locker room, Hal McCoy (Dayton Daily News), as only he can, offers the historical perspective as it relates to the Reds:

Back in the days of The Big Red Machine, sons of players were a constant in the clubhouse ­— Pete Rose Jr., Ken Griffey Jr, Pedro Borbon Jr., Eduardo and Victor Perez, Ed Sprague Jr.

And when the Reds were in Philadelphia and Bob Boone was the Phillies catcher, Bret and Aaron Boone were always in the clubhouse. When Dusty Baker managed the Reds, his young son, Darren, was often a clubhouse inhabitant and wore his own uniform.

Manager Sparky Anderson did have some rules. The kids were allowed in the clubhouse before games and they were allowed in the clubhouse after games if the Reds won. If they lost the kids were not allowed in.

 

29 thoughts on “Sunday lineup, news and reading

  1. Amazing, not only Philips hitting 4th but still insisting with Hamilton leading-off, just unbelievable

    • Probably less of a travesty than Cozart batting in front of anyone not named “Hamilton” or “pitcher.”

      If Price ends up batting Schebler/Duvall 8th and Cozart 7th in real baseball games my head might explode.

    • Really think they are trying to get Hamilton as many spring ABs as possible.

    • I can understand Hamilton hitting leadoff in order to maximize his PA’s. He needs and deserves every opportunity to get ready for the season and to show what he has learned over the past 2 seasons to enhance his ability at the plate.

      That’s sound reaswoning and solid baseball. Hamilton has only has 17 PA’s all spring. The problem with that justification is Mesoraco hitting 6th. If anyone needs work at the plate, it’s Mesoraco, who only has 3 PA’s all spring and is limited to the number of innings he can play defensively.

      Something about the goose and the gander just doesn’t wash.

  2. Was listening to a sports talk show on the radio and the host elaborated on Laroche’s son’s involvement. It went beyond him just being in the clubhouse. He had his own locker and was participating in on field drills with the team before games. He made it sound excessive in that having kids on the field could be a distraction or even interfere with practice. I suppose it’s like a lot of things – it’s hard to judge if you had not witnessed it yourself.

    • I thought it might be something like that. It’s still a workplace first and foremost. Had to get under some of the other player’s skin a bit. I know locker room language isn’t church material, and you don’t want some kid around all the time.

      • Just saw this.

        Several players and staff members privately complained to White Sox management recently about the constant presence of LaRoche’s 14-year-old son, Drake, in the clubhouse. Drake LaRoche, multiple people say, was with the team about 120 games during the 2015 season.

        The officials spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the club has forbid officials from commenting. …

        And simply not everyone felt comfortable with Drake’s constant presence, even called the White Sox’s 26th man.

        Apparently, no one ever told LaRoche. These players and staff members didn’t feel comfortable even sharing it with their own teammates, with several White Sox players saying they never heard a complaint. But they did express their views to management.

      • His son being allowed to participate with the team and get a uniform and locker was a huge part of his signing a contract with the sox prior to last season.This is not a new development.Laroche stated that it “came out of nowhere”and that no team member said a word to him about it.
        He had a choice ,the team or his family.
        He walked away from 13 million dollars for his son!!!!

        • If that’s the case then the White Sox agreed to a ridiculous clause in his contract. Imagine going into the locker room as a ML player and the guy next to you is going through puberty. Sure didn’t sign up for that.

        • I call BS on the whole “he did it for his son” thing. You don’t have to have your kid attached to your hip to show them love. And having a 14 year old skipping school to hang out in a clubhouse full of full grown men, pro athletes no less, is not doing what is best for your son. If LaRoche had shown some professionalism and some respect for his co-workers, his son might have learned a valuable lesson. Alas, he chose to act like a baby when he didn’t get a privilege that none of his teammates, and virtually nobody in this country, gets.

  3. The thought of putting BP with his aging body and low power numbers in the 4 hole doesn’t make sense. Then maybe he is hitting there instead of the 6 spot hoping he can hit for a high enough average to protect JV. The lack of speed with Phillips hitting behind JV looks like a great hitter getting erased with double plays often.

    • I’m going to stretch here: BP batting 4th increases his traditional counting stats like RBIs and will make him more enticing to old school thinking GMs at the trade deadline….?

  4. The fascination of betting BP 4th continues to haunt me plus leave me incredulous. You try like heck to trade him in the offseason and now slot him 4th? Really! Come on.

    • It seems ridiculous to me to have Phillips 4th while Mesoraco is 6th. If Phillips is 4th because there are no other options, that’s one thing. But pushing Mesoraco (and Bruce) down in the order makes no sense.

      And if alternating left and right handed hitters is important, why not put Schebler ahead of Cozart?

  5. The worst thing for this season is having Bryan Price still our manager. #zeroideahowtothinkdifferently

  6. There’s no question the Cuban people have a passion for baseball. I’m sure the Latin American Stadium in Havana will be packed on Tuesday. On a recent trip to Cuba to visit my in-laws, a young man, who is a medical student, filled me in on what was happening in the major leagues and the Cuban league. I forgot to ask him how he got all the info. He had an I-pad, and perhaps he was able to get MLB.com.

  7. As reported by Sheldon…

    “Certainly it’s not etched in stone,” Price said. “Left-handed and right-handed starters could create some variations there. … There are some variations that could happen, but that could be a lineup you could potentially see during the season.”

    I’m sorry, but any linrup with Phillips hitting cleanup goes beyond absurdity. I can profer a good argument for Phillips hitting leadoff, but wait, Price has Hamilton hitting leadoff so he can demonstrate how effective that speed is while heading back to the bench. I can make a lesser argument for Phillips hitting in the #2 hole, but that’s a pretty weak argument.

    Phillips needs to hit in the #1 hole or no higher than the #6 hole behind Bruce.

  8. Also reported by Sheldon…

    Since taking a break from throwing for 10 days while he strengthened his lower back, Reds starting pitcher John Lamb has had a couple of bullpen sessions, including one on Friday. So far, so good.

    Lamb came to camp behind after he had December surgery to repair a disc in his back. Having yet to face hitters, he obviously will not be part of the rotation when the regular season opens, but he is on target to be ready by the end of April.

    April is shaking out to be a … well … shaky month, but by the 1st week of May, the starting rotation could be reassembling with Disco and Finnegan in place from opening day, Iggy joining them around the middle of April and Bailey and Lamb set to go by the beginning of May. Any status on Lorenzen won’t be available until after his 2 week rest and reevaluation. That puts us at the beginning of April before the evaluation for anything beyond tendinitis can even take place.

  9. I really do not understand all the concern about the lineup. With our pitching, we could have the Big Red Machine in its glory out there and we would not score enough runs for It to matter.

  10. Brandon had a wRC+ of 111 in Aug/Sept when he had the majority of his AB’s in the 4-hole. I’d rather have BP at the plate with runners on instead of Jay Bruce.

    For this team though, I’d prefer he batted lead off.

  11. I cannot see Hamilton breaking camp with the Reds. He is coming off of an injury has seen next to zero action with ST 2/3rds over and was a poor hitter to begin with. I hope that even this group making decisions will understand and send him out for a 15 day rehab assignment to start the season.

  12. If the Reds bullpen needs some help, Ross Ohlendorf opted out of his contract with KC. He pitched fairly well with Texas (and their AAA team) in 2015 and with the Nats in 2013.
    He might be one of those late March cuts that Jocketty and Williams said they would be on the lookout for.
    Ohlendorf has his velocity back, averaged 93.7 on his fastball last year with Texas. His FIP (4.94) was about 1.20 higher than his ERA (3.72) was, which may be a concern. But his xFIP was close at (4.09).
    His fangraphs page had this, “A Princeton grad whose major (Operations Research and Financial Engineering) just straight sounds impressive, Ohlendorf wrote his senior thesis on the value of major league draft picks.” Maybe he can help Bryan Price on his bullpen usage habits too.

  13. I’m guessing this is Billy’s last chance…he should be a lead off hitter. If he can’t do it, the team will find someone else.

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