17aea08b-7527-4265-a63d-55d1e44e2041The last eighteen months have been pretty traumatic for Reds fans (see image at right). The roster has been turned over, the farm system has been replenished, and the Reds have lost a lot of games. A lot of games.

The next few months, however, might be the most fascinating moment of the rebuild. The Reds have more questions facing the team — at least in terms of how the big league roster will be composed in 2017 — than at any time up to this point. What to do with second base? Shortstop? Right (or left) field? Where do Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias fit in? Is Eugenio Suarez the third baseman long-term, or will he move elsewhere? Will Homer Bailey be healthy? What about Devin Mesoraco? Is Billy Hamilton the best player in Reds history, or just top-five?

There are plenty of other questions, of course. But how these issues are resolved will go a long way toward deciding whether we need to settle in for the long haul, or whether the Reds have a chance to be competitive in the near-term.

Just thinking out loud here. There likely won’t be any actual news around the Cincinnati Reds until after the World Series, but that won’t stop us from talking about the team, right? So let’s take a look around the interwebs and see what everyone else is saying about the ol’ Redlegs:

–Decent profile of LHP Amir Garrett here:

Leaning back, hands behind his head, Garrett’s posture carried a certain aloofness. Although soft-spoken, his words paint the picture of a competitive and confident player.

“There’s always room for improvement,” Garrett said. “I think I’m, for the most part, pretty much ready [for the Majors] right now.”

Well, I agree, of course. If Amir Garrett isn’t starting games in Cincinnati by June, I’ll be very surprised indeed. I did find this interesting, though:

“He’s a quick learner, he makes adjustments pretty fast,” Louisville manager Delino DeShields said. “That’s rare for a lot of young players. Not just pitchers, but position players as well. It’s one thing to work on stuff in the batting cage and work on stuff on the side, but to be able to take it into the game at 7:05 is something different.”

Those comments are in stark contrast to DeShields’ comments six weeks ago about another Reds pitching prospect, Robert Stephenson, aren’t they?

–Doug Gray notes that three Reds prospects made the International League “top 20” list:

Baseball America finished up their league Top 20 prospect lists this morning when they unveiled the International League list. The Cincinnati Reds landed three players in the Top 20 with Amir Garrett coming in at #16, Jose Peraza coming in at #17 and Cody Reed coming in at #18 on the list.

Doug also identified a couple of semi-surprising omissions from the list. Read the whole thing.

–A couple of days ago, Wick Terrell dove into the question of Dan Straily’s Super Two status, and it’s definitely worth reading his analysis:

How big of a raise? Well, MLBTR initially estimated he’d make some $3.9 million as an arb-eligible player for the 2017 season, guessing that his 2.126 years of service time would just cross their conservative, arbitrary threshold of 2.125 years needed to qualify. However, after sifting through piles of more precise data, their own Tim Dierkes landed on a much more vetted estimate that between 2.127 and 2.131 years of service time would be needed to qualify as a Super Two, which would mean Straily would miss the cut by the most narrow of margins possible: just a single day.

In sum: this could be bad news for Straily’s bank account and good for the Reds’ bottom line.

FanGraphs is running a poll about which bad teams will make the playoffs a year from now. Let’s just say that the Reds are performing about as well in the poll as they did on the field this season.

Over at Red Reporter, a fair look at Billy Hamilton’s 2016 season.

–I thought the “Swing for the Seats” promotion that the Reds held — in which you could take a shot at hitting a home run at GABP to get your season tickets for free — was pretty creative. Looks like two guys won, including someone who “played a half of a season of college ball at Wright State.”

–Lots of good stuff here at Redleg Nation this week. Steve Mancuso fears the Reds are learning the wrong lesson, backward, on Michael Lorenzen. Wesley Jenkins imagines a world in which Major League Baseball employed a European soccer-style relegation system. John Ring wrote about some good memories of interviews with Reds from the past.

Oh yeah, and I predicted that Arismendy Alcantara will be the next Brandon Phillips.

This made my head hurt yesterday:

–Kudos to Bryce Harper:

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 23 Comments

  1. I thought exactly the same thing when I read DeShields comments about Garrett.

  2. The years Garrett spent in a big time NCAA D1 (basketball) program may have put him physically behind the development curve in baseball; but, I have the sense it also may have really honed a competitive edge on him both at the individual level to succeed personally and at the team level to be a leader on a winner.

  3. Incredible that 1 or 2 days (of service time) may end up costing Dan Staily several million bucks in 2017 and also have a significant negative impact on his arb salary rate when he does get there.

  4. Yes, Adam Duvall IS considered the Reds best player by writers who stopped watching baseball in early May…then rampaged through their shallow fantasy league free agent wire in September trying to find a difference maker.

    That is the only way I can make logical sense of that statement.

  5. Is it just me, or do the things DeShields says seem mostly arbitrary? In addition to his lineups, which also seem arbitrary at times.

    • sounds like a future reds manager to me

    • Considering that a failure to adjust at the higher levels is the reason most prospects fail, I don’t think its arbitrary at all.

      When a player struggles and coaches suggest adjustments it usually goes one of 3 ways. Some are stubborn and want to do things their way. Others accept the coaching but don’t have the talent and skill to make the adjustment. The 3rd kind accept the coaching, understand what they need to do, and have the talent to pull it off.

      Assuming the things Deshields said are true and not him just trying to makes a guy look good, then it gives Garrett a decent chance at major leagued success. What did you want him to say? Talk about his FIP and peripherals? Deshields probably isn’t concerned about those things and really he shouldn’t be. His job is development and stats only matter as one of many measures of that development. And when judging a minor league coach, lineup construction is not that big a consideration. I know you don’t like Deshields, but you are reaching on this one.

      • There are the tangible metrics that we can look at to evaluate a player, and then there are the intangible things that we readily discount, but are nonetheless real.
        Lorenzen has a big heart, works hard and wants to succeed. Desclafani is an intense, hard working guy. Finnegan is another guy that burns to work hard and succeed. Straily doesn’t have great stuff, but from what I have read, studies hitters and tendencies intensely, and has a plan for pitching to them that matches his skill set; in other words, he is a smart pitcher (reminiscent of Bronson Arroyo).

        DeShields may be a bit of a jerk, or he may be right that Stephenson is not listening too closely to the coaching he is getting at the minor league level. I’m not there, and I don’t know. But we see the tangible results out on the field.
        Amir Garrett is a real stud athlete. Of course he has the fire to compete. The question about any professional ahtlete is not the will to compete, but as Mike Schmidt once said, do they have the will to prepare?

        • Absolutely! We always have to remember that the players we see in professional baseball were the elite performers during their amateur careers. Many have NEVER had to adjust to adversity, or been in a position where their sheer talent could not compensate against weaker talent.

          Many make it, many don’t. I coached semi-pro summer collegiate league against Albert Pujols when I was only a few years older than he. He was a solid talent then. The talk in the dugout is that he was going to be a solid pro. He lived a few miles from Kaufmann Stadium and played locally…Jayhaw League in the summer as well…and the Royals passed on him. We know the story.

          What happened was that when Pujols met better pitching in professional baseball…he actually got better and exploded. That’s the opposite of the general trend. Adam LaRoche was in this same league.

          My experience with professional scouting has been that teams really are integrated stat/intangible.

      • Gotta agree 100% on the three outcomes and on DeShields. I’m not a big fan of his either but I don’t think his comments are arbitrary. I think he’s very frustrated with Stephenson because he feels like he should be in that 3rd group but he’s in that first group; or at least DeShields thinks he is.

        Folks should keep in mind that at a time Homer Bailey was considered part of that first group too. The light clicked on for him and he was a very nice pitcher for 3 seasons before the UCL injury. If the talent is there, guys can change from that 1st group to the 3rd group.

  6. It’s amazing that educated (allegedly), grown-adults don’t understand it’s almost impossible for a player who makes an out 71% of the time to be better than a player who makes an out around 57% of the time.

    • I’ll hand you an interesting challenge. I agree, but can you show me a time that this actually occured in a real sense. That 29% success rate with a bat would really have to count.

      We’re talking 3 true outcome to the extreme…Adam Dunn in his days seeing a dip in his OBP but maybe hitting 60 HR and they grossly occuring with men in scoring position at an above average rate.

      • Not really a fair comparison but:

        Last year, Kevin Keirmaier made an out 72% of the time and had 5.4 WAR

        This year Votto made an out 56% of the time and had 5.0 WAR.

        Not fair cause they happened in different years . But still its possible.

        • Tct, thanks…thats interesting. Any way you can elaborate on how much their defense was contributing to their WAR?

          I would think that the WAR established by power would be more valuable that WAR established as a singles hitter. Being a singles hitter requires at least one other batter to contribute to a run. Its not invaluable because it doesn’t waste as out, but a HR is atleast one guaranteed run without sacrificing an out.

          Its all interesting. It means that either WAR with Keirmeier and Votto has a quirk, or it is possible to be of more value. I believe its more nuanced. Its not only what a batter does with that successful percentage, but what they do with their failure.

          The most extreme example would be a player that hit a sac fly 71 out of 100 abs….singled the 29 “successes”.

  7. You know, this offseason would actually be fascinating IF the Reds had a manager and a GM who would manage the roster well.

    All these young players? There’s absolutely no guarantee they will get the playing time they need or play the appropriate position to make 2017 a successful rebuilding year.

    I’ll say this right now – The writers at Redleg Nation would be far – FAR more capable at managing this roster than Bryan Price and Walt Jocketty.

    My only hope is that Dick Williams reads this site and believes the very accurate analysis that the authors have done.

  8. You are exactly right in everything you say about the writers at Redleg Nation.They could do a wonderful job in filling out a roster even with all the cost parameters added in to the equation.On another note what is amazing to me is the overall blueprints that are available through out the league on how to rebuild a major league franchise and we are trying to re-invent the wheel.I have mentioned this more then once but how about just coping what another small market team is doing that is having success and lets go for it.Every team works to a budget so find one that is comparable and copy what they are doing.Nothing is secret anymore with all of the data that is readily available on everything and on everybody.Of course tough decisions will have to be made and mistakes will be made but at least lets be proactive in our plan for next year and beyond.No reason we can’t be competitive year and year out with the right leadership.Lets hope Williams and crew do indeed have a plan.Go Reds

    • The single biggest flaw in that thesis (and not being negative to anyone who writes here, because a lot of the writing and analysis is first rate), is that they are comfortably far away from the Reds organization; distant observers.
      Being inside any organization of any type means you know what Management usually wants. You rock the boat at your own career risk. That may sound cowardly and childish, but just think about the LAST time you went into your boss’s office and told him some unpleasant truth about the company or organization you work for. What? You’ve never done that?

      The young, highly regarded prospects in the Reds’ organization have a lot of money invested in them. Are you going to be the one to go up to Castelini and say something like…”That guy should be traded because his advanced metrics indicate he is going to stink as a major leaguer”. Let’s trade Duvall NOW because he just hit over 30 homers and had over 100 rbi’s, but his walk rate stinks and his career might crater next year.

      While that may indeed be TRUE, if you say that thing and turn out to be wrong about somebody, that could get you the heave-ho.

      • Not really talking about the young players. Talking about getting rid of the old players.

        Tell me – what does Management want? To suck? If so, they’re doing a great job.

        I’ve told a boss unpleasant truths and been flayed for it. I’ve also been able to soften a message so that the unpleasant truth it conveys makes it palatable.

        If the Reds organization is full of sychophantic yes-men – we’re F—-ed. You don’t come out of a tailspin like this unless unpleasant truths are discussed and assumptions are challenged.

        • Jesse, that’s the nub. What does Management want? We are told that Castelini “wants to win”, but he hired Walt Jocketty, so what do we tell Bob? Maybe Bob has realized now that Walt was NOT the right guy for the job, and is easing him out. Too bad for the Reds, though.
          Why doesn’t the Front Office tell Bryan Price to play the younger guys, and not play Brandon and Zach so much this year (2016)? IDK. They brought up their top trade player Peraza, and Price didn’t play him until Cozart’s knee gives out. And then, inexplicably, Price gets extended for 2017. What a bunch of mixed messages.

          • They re-signed Price, which reinforces the idea that what he did this year was right. Expect more of the same in 2017. I can’t wait to buy tickets for BP and Cozart, as well as a horrid bullpen, managed terribly.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.


#Harambe, 2016 Reds, 2017 Reds


, , , , , , , , , , , ,