2017 Reds

Running in circles

Say you’ve inherited the job of operating your grandfather’s professional sports franchise. It’s losing more than winning so you need a new blueprint for success. There a healthy sized stack of plans from which to choose and they vary quite a bit. The challenge is deciding which one to implement.

You’re relatively new at this so you seek out advice from the people on your staff. But like you, they haven’t worked for a pro sports organization other than your grandfather’s. That’s a big limitation. You could ask the old guy who’s leaving for advice, but you want to be different from him for a variety of good reasons.

Out of all the possible templates to consider for your team, one in particular was visible right in front of you. As you’ve been groomed the past two seasons for new responsibilities, you watched it succeed on the biggest stage.

And that model was affordable, shiny and new.

***

The Kansas City Royals are defending World Series champions and were one game – one run – away from being back-to-back winners.

According to a certain conventional wisdom the Royals ran their way to victory.

They led baseball in stolen bases in 2014 and were fifth in 2015. They also had the top contact rate in 2015, swinging early and often. According to this narrative, the Royals tossed aside the lessons of Moneyball and won with a club based on speed and slap hitters. They ran before they walked, shunning power and plate discipline. The Kansas City Royals used a new blueprint for winning professional baseball games.

And they did it just as the Reds new front office was paying attention.

In one sense, the Royals are an odd organization to copy. They had losing seasons from 1995-2012. During that stretch, they didn’t finish as high as second in their division. In 2014, they won 89 games; but only once, in 2015, have they won their division. This year, the Royals are three games below .500, 11 out of first place. The currency of successful baseball organizations is regular season championships. The postseason is a well littered crapshoot.

While the Royals were among the leaders in stolen bases, their overall base running number was negative in 2015 and only mildly positive in 2014. And speedy base running is not reason the Royals won. Their main strengths, the ones that translated into winning, were a spectacular defense and a strong bullpen. They Royals ranked first in defense in the major leagues both seasons. Their bullpen was notorious for stifling opponents from the 7th inning on.

***

For decades, baseball experts have debated the strategic value of stolen bases. Managers like Hall of Famer Earl Weaver of the Baltimore Orioles emphasized power, rarely calling for a steal. Others view the stolen base threat as a valuable way to apply pressure to the opposing team.

The cost and benefit tradeoff is simple. A successful steal gains a base but risks a base runner and an out.

As baseball made the turn toward rigor, analysts put a number on Earl Weaver’s strategic intuition. Research on run expectancy shows that stolen base attempts need a 70-75 percent success rate to be worth the risk at the Major League level. Outs and base runners are much more valuable than 90 feet in almost every instance.

Run expectancy tables aren’t theoretical or hypothetical. They are based on what has actually taken place in every major league game that season. In 2016, with a runner at first base and no one out, the team has a run expectancy of 0.87 runs. A successful steal of second base raises run expectancy to 1.09, a gain of .22 runs.

But if the runner is thrown out, the team’s run expectancy drops to 0.27, a loss of .59 runs. The loss is more than twice the gain. The out and base runner are more than twice as valuable than what the extra base is worth. The downside is even worse for stealing third because the team loses a runner at second base if it fails.

There are specific situations when a stolen base is quite valuable. But those are rare. The Brewers stole four bases in one inning against Cody Reed yesterday, but none of them mattered for the runs scored.

Do base stealing threats offer more benefits than just extra bases? Research shows that’s not the case.

The vaunted secondary effects of stealing bases–distracting the pitcher, putting pressure on the defense–do not appear to exist. In fact, most secondary effects argue in favor of keeping the runner on first base. A runner on first is more disruptive to a defense, with the first baseman holding and the second baseman cheating towards second for a double play, than a runner on second. Additionally, studies show that stolen-base attempts negatively impact the performance of the batter at the plate, presumably due to hitters getting themselves into negative counts by taking pitches or swinging at bad balls to protect the runner. (Joe Sheehan)

Over time, most major league organizations have recognized the limited benefits of stealing bases. Since the high point of 1987, the number has declined. The stolen base total in 2015 was the lowest since 1974.

***

November 4, 2015 was the date Dick Williams was promoted to senior vice president and general manager of the Cincinnati Reds. That’s also when he was tapped to take over for Walt Jocketty. Since then, the Reds have traded Todd Frazier, Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce. They made two first round draft picks in June 2016 and finalized a $7 million international signing.

The significant non-pitching returns from those moves are Jose Peraza, Dilson Herrera, Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammel and Alfredo Rodriguez.

The common thread there is speed, base-running speed. Peraza, Herrera, Trammel and Senzel aren’t known for their defense. Peraza and Trammel are zero-power guys. Peraza, Herrera, Trammel and Rodriguez have below-average walk-rates. But what they all excel at is stealing bases. Herrera stole 23 in 2014. Senzel stole 25 in his last year at Tennessee and has 12 already in 39 games in Dayton. Rodriguez was a plus runner in Cuba, finishing third in stolen bases in his league.

That’s not to say there aren’t things to like about those individual players. But as a group, it isn’t power, plate discipline or defense that stands out.

The Reds did acquire Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler. Of the two, Duvall has a chance of making it as a starter for a few years, but that’s no sure thing.

***

The successful pitching element of Rebuild is pure Walt Jocketty. He’s worn out the “can’t have too much pitching” cliché. Progress there has been hard to discern amid the Year of Worst Ever Pitching™ and Cody Reed’s struggles. But the organization has indeed loaded up on promising arms. Likely more than they’ll need.

But building teams on base running has never been Jocketty’s move. His Cardinals teams were anchored by the likes of Albert Pujols, Mark McGwire and Jim Edmonds. The leading base stealer on his 2006 World Series championship team was So Taguchi with 11. Jocketty’s 2010-13 Reds featured Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, defense and pitching.

It’s the new front office leadership that chose the blueprint to emphasize speed and stolen bases. They borrowed it straight from the Kansas City Royals playbook, at least one characterization of it. Like the Royals, the Reds didn’t put a priority on power or plate discipline with their recent acquisitions.

But unlike the Royals, the Reds haven’t invested in plus defense around the field. Of the new guys, only Alfredo Rodriguez is considered an elite defender. It’s unclear if Rodriguez, who has the lightest bat in that group, will beat out Jose Peraza or Dilson Herrera for playing time.

The Reds learned the wrong lesson from the most recent world champion. Yes, stolen bases are exciting plays. Timelines explode whenever Billy Hamilton steals a base (whether he ends up scoring or not). Twitter itself may not survive an entire team comprised of Billy Hamilton’s, which is what the Reds new front office seems to have in mind.

But the bottom line for offense is runs scored, not raw excitement. And what creates runs?

If you look at the ten major league teams that have scored the most runs this year, nine of them are top-ten in power (ISO), seven are top-ten in getting on base (OBP) and only three are top-ten in stolen base success (wSB). The SB correlation is what you’d expect if that variable was randomly associated with run scoring. You see similar results for 2015. In 2014, OBP switched places with power, but stolen bases was still last of the three. In 2016, the average home run creates more than ten times the runs (2.017) than the average stolen base (0.200). The average walk (.690), more than three times.

***

Like the crowd looking for lost car keys under the streetlamp because that’s where the light is, choosing to model the Kansas City Royals because that’s what was on television is understandable. But there were other blueprints for success to choose.

The 2004 and 2007 Red Sox were built with on-base percentage, power and pitching. The 1996, 1998-2000 Yankees were at the top in pitching and on-base percentage. The 2008-10 Phillies won with power and defense. The 1992-93 Toronto Blue Jays were among leaders in power, pitching and on-base percentage. The Big Red Machine led MLB in on-base percentage in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976. They were top five in power and defense each of those years.

And boy, Earl Weaver’s Orioles. They hit with power, got on base, pitched and played defense, winning six division championships in 14 seasons. If only the new guys in the front office had seen those Orioles that beat grandfather’s team in the 1970 World Series.

Soon the Reds will have the uncommitted payroll and depth in pitching and middle infielders to deal for valuable power and on-base skills. That’s the big move they have left to make. It’s too late to throw out the binder, tear up the master plan and start over. But there’s still time to make crucial mid-course corrections.

45 thoughts on “Running in circles

  1. Nick Senzel was drafted for his speed? Seriously?

    Dilson Herrera is now a speedy infielder with no pop? What?

    Taylor Trammel is a raw, toolsy prospect. Most scouts expect him to develop some power.

    Peraza is literally the only guy they have acquired in the last 2 years that fits the Royals mode. You are really reaching here

    • Didn’t say Senzel was drafted for his speed. He’s a good gap/line drive hitter. Didn’t say Herrera had no pop. He’s got a little, but what he has isn’t much of a calling card for the return for Jay Bruce.

      My point – and I don’t think this is a reach at all – is that the recent position player acquisitions haven’t – as a group – been chosen for their power, plate discipline or defense.

      If you disagree with that, point out which of those players you think was chosen for any of those qualities. Rodriguez for defense and that’s about it. His glove may not make it through the log jam.

      • Senzel was chosen for his hit tool and plate discipline.

        Okey and Stephenson were chosen because of their bats at a premium defensive position.

        Trammel is a toolsy, lottery ticket. Every team goes after guys like that from time to time.

        Herrera and Peraza are middle infielders. Middle infielders who have good plate discipline, can play defense, and hit for power are few and far between. They are the most coveted assets in the game. Its silly to criticize the Reds for not getting a Seager, Correa, or Machado because teams aren’t trading those guys.

      • Steve, you make an interesting point about the acquiring talent with speed as a large factor in the decision process. Perhaps the Reds are making an attempt to become more athletic? I would disagree with lumping in Taylor Trammel into the same category as Jose Peraza as “zero-power guys”. From what I’ve read he stands to develop average power, but maybe you’ve seen otherwise and if so could you point me to that information as I’d love to read whatever information is out there.

      • I found this informative because it challenged my long held beliefs. I know you are taking all of baseball into account with your numbers when you should look at players available. The baserunner on 1st without the out as opposed to the runner caught stealing taking all of those attempts into the equation. When you have a base stealer who is successful at a 88 percent clip that will change the equation. I am not in favor of the all speed no pop approach that this FO seems to be following when they will play 81 games at a hitter friendly park. You mentioned speed a number of times as it was a detriment here is a thought speedy players are usually good defensive players that is not automatic but it helps. That old by the book that gets so much grief in these comments has a chapter I like and that is speed and defense up the middle and some pop on the corners. I agree with plate discipline though whole heartedly, it is a real simple concept hitters hit pitches in the strike zone and what is more they drive pitches in the zone.

  2. The arguments are persuasive, but I’m not positive that we’ve proven the premise here — that the Reds are copying the Royals.

    Similarly, I think the analysis is incomplete because it ignores the rest of the organization. The Reds won’t *only* be using the guys they’ve acquired in the last 12 months. They’ll have Joey Votto (OBP and ISO), Jesse Winker (OBP), Billy Hamilton (80 defense), Barnhart (walk rate) or Mez (ISO), Suarez (whatever he is), etc.

    Yes, it’s a little strange that they acquired three fast, high-contact middle infielders in a bunch, but I’m not ready to say “they’re copying the Royals because they watched them on TV.”

    • The rest of the team has to be considered for sure. Mesoraco gone after 2018, that leaves Votto only for power. Is he the 2019 clean up hitter?

      My point is more that there has been a change in priorities since the transition to a new GM was announced. People in the front office have said to me they see base running speed – without mentioning power or obp – as the future of baseball.

      • Do you think Duvall will still be here and playing regularly in 2019? He would be a power bat although low OBP.

      • Well, the front office comments seem to be the crux of your opinion. I’ll defer to you as to whether the source is reliable. (For some reason, you didn’t include it in the original).

        Any other context to the comment? Are they thinking “speed is the new OBP” (i.e. a tool that the market undervalues) or are they just trying to recreate the moves Bob Howsam made in 1971-72 (which were required to accommodate Riverfront’s spacious field and astroturf)?

        • It was an off-the-record conversation. Reliable. Context was explaining the Frazier trade. FO liked Peraza because they saw players like him being where baseball is headed.

      • Base-running speed is the future of baseball, as far as the Reds’ front-office is concerned? This is troubling if true. They hired a couple strong people for their analytics department. If what you say is true, they apparently aren’t listening to them. Just like they really didn’t listen to Sam Grossman (now Assistant GM).

        I like the Reds most recent draft a ton. Senzel is just a ballplayer. He can hit (includes plate discipline) and run, has some power, and I don’t think he’ll be brutal in the field. He’s the guy I was hoping they’d get. I was lukewarm on the Bruce trade but far from thrilled. I would love to know what offers were out there but we’ll likely never know that… We all know how I felt about the Chapman and Frazier trades.

  3. Very nice article, Steve. I especially like the point that there is time for Reds decision-makers to consider midstream tweaks to the strategy…whether that means backing off on speedy base-runners and emphasizing OBP/defense players, or other.

    You prompted a few other thoughts:

    1. What does the history say about the success of teams transforming low-OBP players to respectable or good OBP players? The experiment is on with the Votto-BHam (& Lamb) connection, and we may soon find that Votto’s total value has taken on a completely new look.

    2. You see it in other sports too — the attraction to copy-catting success. For instance, Tennis has rewarded the recent generation of player with the huge serve. Yet, I’ve found that the teams (and players) that achieve success–even if only for a brief moment in time (Royals in ’14 and ’15)–are the teams who figure out the timely pivot that gives them an edge against all the other copy-catters. Novak Djokovic pivoted with the great speed and return of serve (i.e., awesome defense). When we see great upsets in sports, it’s often because someone got wise and made a historic pivot.

    The Reds pitching shows great promise. We’re acquiring more players with higher energy. I don’t see it yet myself, but hopefully the Reds are about to make a historic pivot.

  4. Also, the Billy Hamilton hate on this site continues to baffle me. I think a lot of you guys aren’t paying attention to what most teams are putting in centerfield these days. With McCutchen having a down year, there is only one elite cf in baseball right now. After Trout, the next tier is guys like Fowler, Bradley, and Desmond. Billy is right with those guys. Hes a top ten cf right now and he hasn’t turned 26 yet. Barring injury or a collapse, he is gonna finish the season with 3-4 WAR. So to answer your question about a team full of Billy Hamiltons ; a team full of 3-4 win players would run away with a division title.

    • There’s Billy Hamilton hate on this site? Our founder is the head of the Billy Hamilton fan club.

      But seriously, I’m sure some people don’t think much of Billy. I just haven’t noticed it as much as you have. I’m a fan.

    • The flaw in this thinking is that Hamilton’s value comes primarily from his defense. And in his case, that’s his range. It’s derivative from his speed. None of the other defensive positions are as reliant on foot speed. So it would be impossible to create a team of Hamilton-caliber defenders with players whose main attribute is speed.

      And no one on this site hates Billy Hamilton. Nice hot take, though.

      • I’m trying to be nice about this. But you just wrote a 1000+ word post ripping the Reds for doing something without having a single bit of evidence that they are doing it in the first place. Yet my opinion is the hot take?

        Go back and read what you write about Billy Hamilton. Its almost always derogatory. Hate is a strong word and I probably shouldn’t have used that. But you do not write about Billy the same way you write about Jay Bruce or Homer Bailey. And since Billy got to the majors, he has been far better than those 2 guys. Yes injuries have happened. But Billy is about to put up his second 3+ win season in his first 3 years. Homer has, what one 3 win season in his career? And the only season I can think of where Bruce put up over 3 wins was 2010.

        Don’t get me wrong, I always liked Bailey and Bruce. I’m just arguing for a little objectivity. You have some very obvious biases and it is your right to have them. But don’t get mad if someone points them out

        • We all have our biases. I view my opinion on Hamilton as a counter to what I see as overly enthusiastic opinions of others. Overall, Hamilton has been a terrible, dreadful major league hitter. Hamilton has been a fabulous defender. In the past two years, he’s had a good stolen base percentage and quantity, but as I defended in this post, stolen bases really don’t add up to what other contributions do. I didn’t like the way the Reds rushed him into a major league role including leading off. I thought the choice to go with him on Opening Day in 2014 and provide basically no alternative either to play CF or lead off was a huge mistake by the organization for a season they could have seriously competed. I enjoy watching him play the field and run. Given that he’s obviously going to be used in CF by my team for six seasons or more, I hope he gets better at the plate. Recent signs are promising. If you think my writing in the past hasn’t reflected what I say in this paragraph, that’s your right. It’s insulting that you think I’d need to go back and read what I wrote to know what I’ve said.

          As for not having a single bit of evidence, that’s also in the eye of the beholder. There is all kind of evidence, including inference. I have heard first hand from the front office that they are looking for a team of fast base runners because they see that as the wave of the future. The person said “base running and defense” which at the time I interpreted as the Kansas City model. I think every major acquisition choice they’ve made since Nov 2015 has reflected that philosophy. I call that evidence. You may not. What matters in the end is the kind of players they are acquiring.

          Since you aren’t sitting here with me, you really have no way to know if I’m “mad” or not. I’m not. Why would I take personally something someone said who I don’t know? I wouldn’t interpret all push-back against opinions as the other person being “mad.”

  5. Steve it scares me that our front office sees only speed and nothing else.Surely they can look around and see how valuable OBP and power really play out in MLB.Your article is refreshing and as usual right on the money so maybe we get lucky in that some of our keepers on this team such as Duvall,Suarez and Billy continue to improve their OBP.

  6. Hmm, why would the Reds copy small market, budget strapped KC instead of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia?

    Just a guess: the Reds think speed can win games without costing as much as OBP and power. True, the core of future contending teams is still in the minors, but the bet is the Reds aren’t truly in contention until a good chunk of them are in arbitration years, and if they want the window of opportunity to last, they’ll have to extend some of them.

    The picks of Senzel and Okey, and to a lesser extent the acquisition of Herrera, make me think that they know OBP matters too. I would worry if they went after speed and nothing else, but I don’t think that’s entirely the case here.

    • I think Okey was picked because he was the nearest to MLB ready catcher on the board at the point where that was what the Reds were looking for (#43 overall).

      Okey was the 4th catcher picked. The highest went at #10; so, the Reds were not going to spend the #2 on him. The other two catchers taken ahead Okey were off the board before the Reds next pick (#35 overall) which they used on Trammell. A catcher was taken at #32. We can always wonder but never know if he had been on the board at the 35th pick whether the Reds would have taken him ahead of Trammell.

    • Actually, that’s a good point about market inefficiency. The Reds very well may not feel that speed and defense are the best way to win games but may feel that they are undervalued and therefore easier to acquire. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall in some of these trade negotiations because we could better evaluate the front-office that way. There is just so much we don’t know.

  7. I agree with the main part of the article. The front office needs to look for high ops guys, with plus obp skills who are really good defenders. This is not hard to understand. These need to be the top priority. Where you can find players with the primary skills of good plate discipline and power who have plenty of speed all the better. I think trammel has that potential as does senzel. Herrera I think will fit from a hitting standpoint, based on stats. Not happy with peraza or the trade that brought him at all. Hindsight is 20/20, but if the organization values, 1. ops 2. good plate discipline 3. athletic good defensive players some of the decisions would have been different I believe.

    I like the approach of loading up on arms though. We should have a very good bullpen and good to very good starting rotation soon.

  8. Tough to include Taylor Trammell in this. He’s 18-years-old. Looking at anything other than his scouting report is probably not a good idea. He’s a 50-future power guy. That’s 15-18 homers. For a guy who’s got plus speed and can play in center. That’s power.

    Nick Senzel’s got plenty of power.

    Dilson Herrera’s got 45-50 power, which as a second baseman is plenty.

    Alfredo Rodriguez doesn’t have power. Jose Peraza probably doesn’t have much power, though he’ll have more than Rodriguez if I had to bet.

    No mention of Eric Jagielo, who was acquired for his ability to hit the ball over the fence. Or of Brandon Dixon who also has the ability to hit the ball over the fence. Yeah, both guys have issues to work out to become big leaguers, but if the idea you’re promoting is the Reds are ignoring power, it’s a tough sell when those guys were also acquired and their main selling point is hitting the ball very far.

    I think what the Reds are trying to do is build a more complete team. One that doesn’t rely simply on power, but one that has more guys who are ok at getting on base, guys who can run a little bit and guys who have ok power. Mix in a guy like Votto and Senzel with guys who can be solid across the board in the other aspects and that’s a strong offense. That’s probably what they are shooting for, building that kind of solid all around offense and then mixing in very good pitching.

    • +1

      You don’t want a team full of Hamilton’s, Peraza’s, and Winker’s but having a variety of weapons and a better chance to score runs and win games away from GABP is obviously the goal! I read the scouting reports on Suarez when they first got him and I never read a single one that said he could hit 25 Hrs so its not always that easy to project.

    • I didn’t mention Jagielo or Dixon because I view them as throw-in guys who have virtually no chance to make it in the major leagues. Power hitters on the affiliates may be a plus for some, not for me. Trammel has 0 home runs and 17 stolen bases for Billings in 173 plate appearances. You can draw your own conclusions from that. He may develop some power, but it’s a long ways away and it’s unlikely to be a standout feature. Senzel had 13 home runs in 680 plate appearances in college, with aluminum bats. Some power, but not a power hitter.

      I didn’t say all these guys had zero power. It looks to me like the Reds haven’t put a priority on acquiring power or on-base skills.

      • My conclusion on Taylor Trammell is that he’s 18 and using stats to talk about his future is virtually useless. Derek Jeter looked like a guy who wouldn’t get out of the Gulf Coast League at age 18. Elizardo Ramirez looked like a future ace at age 18. Stats at that age are generally worthless.

        Nick Senzel’s numbers in Dayton over 680 plate appearances would be: 55 doubles, 8 triples and 23 home runs. And that’s at age 21. He’s got more power than you seem to give him credit for.

        Scouting is way more important than stats in the minor leagues, especially early on in a players career. Senzel’s not going to be Giancarlo Stanton, but he’s also not going to be Zack Cozart.

        The Reds just spent the highest draft pick they’ve ever had on a guy who was pretty much the best OBP in the draft according to pretty much everyone. He’s also got some pop in his bat, with some places saying it’s possibly plus power. Heck, he’s even faster than the Reds expected him to be. They weren’t drafting him for his speed or his glove (though both are plenty good on their own merits). They took him because the guy can rake.

        I get the criticism with Alfredo Rodriguez and to a lesser extent Jose Peraza. Everyone else? Seems like it’s trying to force the point, but missing the mark.

        • Agree, the speed thing is only an issue when the other tools or skills are lacking. BHam and maybe Peraza are good examples of players with only 2 major league skills, but I don’t see the others mentioned being in this boat. Trammel is as close to 5 tool as you can get at that age outside of Mike Trout.

          Would love to see numbers on how bad an idea it is to run in a homer happy stadium like ours (probably worse than mentioned).

  9. I’ve always viewed the Cardinals as the model for the Reds to follow. What has impressed me over the past 8-9 years is how the Cardinals have adapted to their circumstances.

    They evolved from an offensive focused team with good pitching to a team with great pitching and just enough offense. This year, they’re on pace to score 253 more runs than they did last year…while giving up 187 more runs. They’ve adopted on the fly.

    Ultimately, if your development system consistently produces good players you can win. As obvious as this sounds, as long as you produce talent, a good organization can find a way to maximize what they have….it also allows you to avoid the boom- bust cycles that are synonymous with small market teams.

    The Giants have shown that the key to success is to just be really really good at something and don’t be really bad at anything. You don’t need to be balanced…you don’t need to be great…or even really good at everything. Just find something in which you can be great and aim for decency at everything else.

    The Reds have a long history of producing talent in bunches….late 60’s, mid 80’s and 2010ish….and then completely letting the pipeline dry up. That’s what needs to change more than anything.

    • I don’t disagree with this. However, the build up in the mid to late 1960’s came on top of an a decade which was not exactly a rotten doldrums, even though the only pennant it produced was the 1961 “surprise”, from 1956 thru 1966, 8 of the 11 seasons were better than .500.

      The ’56 team finished 2 games back (3rd place), the ’62 team finished 3.5GB (3rd place) and the ’64 team finished 1GB (2nd place) in a world where only 1 team in the entire NL went to postseason. Given today’s multiple divisions and wild cards, it would seem like at least a couple of those near misses would have advanced to postseason play.

      To take things a step further, the ’57, ’58, and ’65 teams all finished 4th; and thus, might have squeezed into a WC today.

  10. There’s nothing else to think about with this team. This team lacked pitching, especially from the bullpen. Even if all the pitching was healthy since the beginning of the season, we were still not expected to do anything this season.

    A simple example, this team has 20 blown saves this season. Now, it is easy to say that not all of these games we lost. However, for this comparison, it can still hold. Let’s just say we cut that in half, we’re playing 500 ball.

    I was sorry to see Bruce go. He held a lot of the offense up the first half. But, if we can support that next season, I’d honestly just go after bullpen pitching help. Even a couple of those guys are still young themselves and, thus, may simply be getting some seasoning this season themselves. Personally, I don’t see how Ohlendorf, Diaz, or even Hoover make it here after this season.

    • I don’t think that this team was going to be contending even if healthy, but you can’t cite the saves situation and pretend like that’s only where the injuries came into play. If the starters are healthy, there are probably more games to have been saved in the first place.

      The “base” of the next good Reds team is in place. The key is filling out the other parts.

      • “The “base” of the next good Reds team is in place. ”
        Doug, I love you and respect you, but how can you make such an absurd statement? What exactly is in place?
        The rotation: Bailey and Desclafani.
        Bullpen: Iglesias and Lorenzen.
        Position players: Votto, BHam.
        Bench: Barnhart.

        Nothing else is in place, yet. Now they may have some minor league players in mind for some positions, but hardly in place. They have to win jobs on the major league roster, which they haven’t done yet. i.e: Cody Reed.

        • Have to agree, the” base “better include players in the minors that are stars in the making. This team would basically need EVERY minor leaguer to play to their potential. Even then Votto, Mesoraco, and BHam would all need to play at peak value for 3-4 years.

        • I’m starting to believe that Barnhart can be a starting MLB catcher. I think I’d like him more as a #2 catcher but I he won’t kill the Reds if he ends up starting a few years.

  11. I’m still harboring hope that Peraza will be a plus defender in the majors. Early returns haven’t looked fantastic, though.

  12. The Reds did a nice job obtaining disco and Wallach for Latos and Suarez for Simon.I liked the drafting of an elite catcher in 2015 and a college catcher this year. The Cueto for Finnegan.lamb.reed deal seemed good at the time…I would have liked a top 50 slam dunk prospect but I understand and the acquire pitching depth philosophy. Leake for duvall and a low A prospect was great. The Frazier trade I don’t get. The Chapman trade had nothing to do with baseball. The Herrera trade was more about filling a need and avoiding an self inflicted wound. They get BP’s replacement…good pop…decent defender and can pencil a guy in at 2b as soon as BP is gone. Had they taken the mets Outfielder….then he and schebler….2 guys they traded for….are immediately competing short term for a spot that doesn’t exist? Jesse Winker’s. The real story is how bad the positional organizational depth chart is at AAA and AA. Thank goodness Senzel looks like a keeper…although I think he’s playing at a level below the SEC….let’s get him to high A at least and see how he does.

  13. It seems a little premature to say that we’ve figured out what the new Reds’ front office is going to do to build the whole team. It also seems a little insulting to guess that they have no real idea what they’re doing and just picked the most recent World Series winner, and tried to copy them, poorly.

    That may be the case, and maybe this is a good warning piece that it could have happened, but it seems far from a sure thing.

    The trades of Frazier and Chapman really stung. It seems clear to me that the Reds did not get good value in either of those deals. That said, what I’ve read is that Jocketty is still the man this year, and that the new GM takes over for real in October. I think we should wait until he starts making moves on his own to judge his plan.

  14. I spent a few years in Boston, and went to about 50 games one season. My take on Fenway Park was that power was wasted there; almost anyone could homer when the conditions were right, as is the case at Wrigley when the wind blows out, and as in the case almost always at GABP. Adam Dunn is a good example. He hit monster home runs, but a homer in the 40th row counts the same as a homer in the second row (ahem, Griffey). Dunn would have been more valuable in a tougher home run park like Dodger Stadium or the pre-wuss Comerica in Detroit.

    I think the Reds will be fine with a bunch of guys hitting 20-25 homers, rather than spending–by way of using draft picks, trading prospects or signing free agents–for a 40-homer guy. They have 5 guys (including Bruce) with 15+ homers; they will need some good production next year out of 2B, RF and C, plus at SS if Cozart departs.

  15. The Reds have some strange splits. Their pitchers are pathetic hitters, hitting a whopping .063 total; Brandon Finnegan’s double is the lone XBH. Straily is 0-37.with 30 whiffs. (I like the guy, but geez, have some self-respect and get in a batting cage all winter.) They are 21-18 in day games, but 26-50 at night, primarily because they are out-OPSed at night .821 to .696.

    They also stink against lefties, with a .686 OPS; even Votto (2nd on the team with a .786 v. LH) is mediocre against LH this year. Saurez at .934 is the best hitter against LH. Mesoraco’s bat would be a solid antidote for that, but I don’t think the team can count on him returning to his 2014 form.

    Hamilton has a .393 OBA since the All-Star break, with 29 steals in 28 games.

  16. Like last night, the lineup tonight looks like it was torn straight out of a spring training game scorebook.
    Renda(LF)>Cozart (SS)>Votto (1B)>Suarez (3B)>Schebler (CF)>De Jesus (2B)>Barhart (C)>Holt (RF)>P.
    My first thought is DeSclafani deserves better, but then again, watch them put up 7 or 8 runs tonight.

Comments are closed.