Eno Sarris recently wrote an article on the best pitches of 2016. Quite noticeably, the third best pitch in all of baseball last season was Michael Lorenzen’s fastball. His fastball had slightly better results than former Reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. Wow.

Sarris calls this pitch a two-seamer, but it’s more of a cutter according to Brooks Baseball. We’ve covered Lorenzen’s new cutter and sinker extensively on this site. To summarize, they are awesome; he is awesome.

And thus, some of us are completely frustrated with the Reds decision to put him in the pen. I don’t want to rehash all of that in its entirety. But I do want to add something that confounds me deeply about the decision: the Reds have stated that a number of young starters who don’t make the rotation this spring could pitch out of the pen this season.

The Reds seem intent on having several multiple inning relievers and will pick from their abundance of young starters in order to do so. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though they need to be really careful not to limit a potential good starter to a relief role.

The confusing part is that Lorenzen is not part of this group. He doesn’t get the chance to compete for a spot because the Reds have already deemed him a reliever. That’s beyond strange. As a 24-year-old, Lorenzen has plenty of room to improve his pitches, especially off speed offerings, but his superior hard stuff allows him to succeed while improving other parts of his game.

Now, maybe the Reds are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson, Sal Romano, Amir Garrett, Brandon Finnegan, and others are and will be better starters than Lorenzen. Based on what we’ve seen, I have a hard time believing they know that for sure (fun side exercise: how would you currently rank those guys in terms of future production?).

Maybe Lorenzen has some medical issues that the Reds fear will put him on the DL consistently if he starts. That means they have lied to reporters multiple times about Lorenzen’s health and somehow believe that pitching him as a multi-inning reliever, something that few teams have done in the last twenty years, will protect his arm more than pitching every five days.

Regardless of whether he should be given a chance to start, we need to recognize something spectacular about Lorenzen: in one offseason, he learned and perfected a new pitch to the point that it produced the third best results of any pitch in baseball.

Undoubtedly, that took hours and hours of work. While it happens on occasion, pitchers at the highest level rarely take on a completely new pitch that almost immediately becomes their best offering. Some pitchers find a new grip or arm angle to improve an existing pitch, but a completely new one? That’s extremely unusual.

The velocity of Lorenzen’s cutter is certainly higher out of the pen than in the rotation, though we have no real sample of him using it as a starter. But as such a dominant pitch, it’s hard to believe that he wouldn’t have success with it as a starter.

Nevertheless, it appears the Reds can count on Lorenzen to provide value going forward. That’s something we weren’t sure about after 2015. After 2016, we can now argue about where Lorenzen would provide the most value. The way he did that is quite remarkable. I’m not sure how anyone could not like this kid.

58 Responses

  1. Patrick Jeter

    I’ll bite!

    Future Production Rankings (WAR over their first 6 seasons), as seen by one Patrick Jeter:

    1) Amir Garrett
    2) Brandon Finnegan
    3) Michael Lorenzen (If he started)
    4) Cody Reed
    5) Michael Lorenzen (If he goes to bullpen)
    6) Sal Romano
    7) Robert Stephenson

    • Nick Carrington

      Really down on Stephenson I see, which I understand. High on Finnegan. He will certainly get the chance to solidify a rotation spot this season.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Mostly high on Finnegan because I think he’s a highish floor sort of guy. I think he has a decent shot at being a starter, somewhere, for 6 seasons and posting 1-2 WAR per season. The rest of the guys, other than Garrett, to me, still have a bunch of outstanding risk. Garrett has some risk, but I think he’ll get a shot and I think he’ll be decent.

        Yes, I am quite down on Stephenson. I admit I haven’t seen him pitch a ton, but I haven’t been impressed by anything I’ve ever seen from him. Throw in the fact that he was supposed to be a “flame thrower” and he actually seems to top out at like 94 or so, and I just don’t see how he can succeed without taking huge steps forward in command, which might happen, but probably won’t.

        If I was rating purely ceiling, I’d probably go Reed/Garrett/Lorenzen/Stephenson/Romano/Finnegan. I just don’t see Finnegan ever being more than slightly-below-average to average. But I can see the other guys being above average, in some scenario.

      • Nick Carrington

        That’s an interesting discussion: in ranking these players right now, how do you evaluate floor against ceiling? I agree that Finnegan has a higher floor than most and a limited (but pretty good) ceiling. I’d probably take Reed over him because of the ceiling. Lorenzen as a starter and Finnegan would be really close just as you have them, with Lorenzen having more upside.

        Stephenson averaged 93.1 on his fastball last season (MLB). Not bad but like you, I expected a tick or two more than that.

      • WVRedlegs

        Lorenzen into the rotation and Robert Stephenson to the bullpen. Lorenzen as a starting pitcher makes for a nice starting five. Stephenson might make something of himself in the bullpen.

  2. cfd3000

    Good stuff Nick, and it really does beg the same question we were debating for so long about Chapman. How could you justify not giving a guy with the third best pitch in the majors a chance to start? Sigh. As for the ranking, I would agree mostly with Patrick Jeter, but only because WAR is a counting stat. But for that reason I think Stephenson will end up at least two spots higher on this list because the Reds will continue to,give him chances before giving up on him. In terms of success with rate stats (pick one – SIERA, FIP, xFIP or even ERA) I’d suggest this order: Lorenzen (bullpen), Garrett, Lorenzen (starter), Reed, Finnegan, Romano, Stephenson. And yes, this is a WAG of 1.000.

  3. Tom Mitsoff

    We have to assume at this point is that there is some compelling evidence available to Reds management but not us fans that Lorenzen will not be able to physically handle starting every fifth day. I prefer to think this is the reason for him being slotted in the bullpen, and not stupidity or hard-headedness on the part of management.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I just checked, and he has never pitched more than 156 innings in a season (Reds and Louisville combined, 2015). In college, he pitched 22 innings as a sophomore, and 22.2 innings as a junior before being drafted by the Reds. For what it’s worth.

      • Bob Foist

        I think innings pitched says a lot…some of these guys,Leake comes to mind…took them several seasons to work up to 200 IP.That was one of the strengths of that 2012 Reds pitching staff….5 guys in SR going 200 IP per season.Keeps your BP rested…and your 156 IP in 2015 is right,I buzzed thru column in BF and missed Michael’ IP in AAA..

  4. WVRedlegs

    The Reds need a young RH starting pitcher to step it up, and Lorenzen should be given that opportunity. Robert Stephenson just isn’t going to be the answer. Lorenzen would be an excellent pick to pair with DeSclafani. Iglesias has fallen by the wayside to the bullpen. Finnegan will have the opportunity to see if he has progressed and can repeat his second half of last year. That will be big from the LH side. Reed and Garrett will have to beat out Straily for a rotation spot. Garrett will be held back at AAA for the start of 2017. So this is a big spring training for Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson. One of these two might get moved to the bullpen before spring training is over, especially if Lorenzen takes a rotation spot. I am rooting for Lorenzen to make the rotation, but I won’t be disappointed if fate turns him into a bullpen monster.

  5. Bob Foist

    As I see things you shape your strategy to fit your team…using a one size fits all strategy (Dusty Baker) isn’t most efficient way to use your resources.Reds have an abundance of young,potentially good starters and Cincy is financially embarrassed at the moment…why not take advantage of that and plug a few into the bullpen?? Especially guys who physically struggle (Iggy) to make it thru the season as a starter…and maybe Michael falls into that category.He’s never pitched over 120 innings in a season before in his career.A couple weeks ago on Hot Stove League Marty stated Reds were considering building a 2017 version of 1990 Nasty Boys …if that’s the case then they expect anywhere from 100 to 140 innings from these guys,these guys being Storen,Iggy,Lorenzen. If Reds can fill that 5th spot in starting rotation and build a quality bullpen that can go long innings….that’s a win/win situation.I’m just thrilled Red aren’t going outside Org for another Kevein Gregg or Ohlendorf or Alfredo Simon or trying to use a warmed over Ondrusek or Hoover.I’m good with this…I’ve seen this strategy work before and can’t see any reason it can’t now…

    • Hotto4Votto

      He pitched 120.2 then 156.1 in 2014/15 respectively. He’s building up an innings count as he was never a starter before. The minor league leader for the Reds in IP was something around 156 this year. Lorenzen was building toward an 180 innings or so before mono and elbow injury derailed his season. I don’t know why he couldn’t get back on that track.

      • Bob Foist

        I’m not saying I know why either…but apparently there is a reason.And possible plan is to use 2017 to help Michael work his way back up to being in starting rotation.I’d read on Red’s site that he (Lorenzen) eventually wants to being in SR but for now he is fine with being in bullpen. And it could be Reds can already see that Homer,DeSclafani,Straily,Finnegan and whoever 5th starter is won’t be able to put in the innings they need so plan is to bolster bullpen to take up the slack.The one reason I don’t buy….is that Reds FO is stupid and can’t see what fans see.That makes no sense to me…

      • Hotto4Votto

        I don’t think the Reds FO is stupid, but I have found some of their maneuvers confusing and against common wisdom in some instances. What I do think is that they get a little too fixated on finding roles for guys that they close the door on alternatives before gathering enough data. I also think they tend to be reactionary when taking a beat would have added perspective. We saw it with Chapman (both in a poorly executed and reactionary trade as well as making too early a decision on his role).

      • Bob Foist

        My background is 30 years Research and Engineering so my experience falls back on that.In business decisions like this are made by committee….so that’s what I see here.DW and his staff meet with Kremcheck and his Med guys….DW meets with Bryan Price and his coaches…..DW meets with Big Bob and his accountants.DW meets with Walt Jocketty and his guys to get together both short range and long ranges plans ( I like to think they have a plan) .DW meets with Player development guys…and then all these years of experience (over 70 years between Ted Power and Price) are combined to make a decision…..and it’s still a crap shoot 🙂 .I don’t put much thought into it anymore….I figure Red’s FO has the inputs and the experience to make right decisions working within parameters they have to work in.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Maybe. But I don’t see how that negates what I’ve said about them being reactionary and fixated on finding specific roles before exhausting their viable options. There’s a lot of nepotism at work in the Reds FO, so it honestly doesn’t inspire much faith that they get so much input from so many areas. At some point it becomes too many cooks in the kitchen, and unfortunately I fear too many of the same voices where it becomes and echo chamber.

        I will note, the word I have read is that the Reds actually don’t do much individual planning when it comes to their prospects and development. That a lot of the changes recently in the organization is to try to get a little more streamlined and top-down with development, analytics, etc.

      • Bob Foist

        I have big hopes for Dick Williams and so far I haven’t been too disappointed and I hope he gets away…far,far away…from Walt Jocketty’s way of doing things.And in Lorenzen’s case this isn’t cast in stone,my impression is 2017 he’ll see long innings in bullpen and 2018 they’ll re-evaluate.There’s an article on Red’s MLB site right now they might be shopping for a pitcher to fill 5th spot in rotation,I’m assuming a one year guy like Storen.If they can pull this off…they’ll have a pretty solid SR and BP….they didn’t have either in 2016.

      • greenmtred

        Also, if he were to be used as a multi-inning reliever, and he were used in this way 2 or 3 games a week, wouldn’t he likely stress his arm more than he would as a starter, given the tendency of bullpen guys to throw with maximum effort?

      • Bob Foist

        I’d think you’d have to look that over case by case….in that some pitchers can do this (and are mentally OK with doing this) and some aren’t.Reds had this all in mind last July when Iggy and Lorenzen came off DL….I noted pretty quick that Price was leaving these guys in for more innings and spacing out their rest periods.And looks to me like that time period between first of July and end of season they were taking data and watching how Iglesias and Lorezen did with this new format.They had to kind of tiptoe around with Iggy but Lorenzen did fine…he pitched 50 innings in 35 games….extrapolate that to a full season and you get 100 innings pitched.And ya got a spot starter when you need one….but from what is said on Red’s site none of this has been decided yet,that Price will make a final decision during Spring Training.But I’m a bit excited about this….I am glad to see Cincy get out of their comfort zone and at least consider other options.

  6. WVRedlegs

    Michael Lorenzen and hard work go hand in hand. His story is an incredible one. Jim Day’s sit-down interview with Lorenzen in a restaurant last year was fantastic. The man, not just the ballplayer, Michael Lorenzen has made himself into already at such a young age is a great story. Here’s rooting for Lorenzen to succeed highly.

    • Nick Carrington

      Here, here. What a wonderful human being. He is extremely active in the community, works hard, and does whatever is asked of him. So glad he is a Red regardless of his role.

      • lwblogger2

        Gotta agree with both of you. He seems like the rare, truly good, person.

    • Reaganspad

      Besides all this pitching stuff, 3rd best pitch in the majors, etc, who would you rather give 4 abs to every 5 days, Dan Straily or Michael Lorenzen?

      • vegastypo

        Ha, yeah, most teams wanted to draft him as an outfielder, apparently. The guy can hit. And I’m not talking about Straily here.

      • gaffer

        To be fair the Reds were laughed at when they drafted Lorenzen that high until we said he was a pitcher. His scouting as an offensive player was defense, arm, big looping swing – maybe a 4th outfielder.

      • Preach

        I hope the Reds explore using him in a double switch capacity some this year, if he’s not in the rotation. Putting him in the outfield for a lefty specialist, and bringing him back to the mound to maximize opportunities. He has the mentality which would thrive in the unconventional.

  7. Hotto4Votto

    It seems like a wasted opportunity to not allow him the chance to start, especially as he’s said he’d like to start. No one has claimed that 5th spot so put him in the mix this ST. He’s got the stuff and he’s developed the pitches to effectively use that stuff. Unless the injury concerns have been understated by the Reds, there’s no reason to decide his ultimate role now. Let him sort it out on the field. It is the season of sorting after all.

  8. Yippee

    If this “cutter” continues to develop and he turns into Mariano Rivera-lite, I don’t think anyone will argue with him being used in high leverage situations out of the bullpen or closing. At least I won’t. Considering how bad this bullpen is, I welcome that.

  9. Dan

    Lorenzen’s arm is so awesome that he is neither a starter nor a closer.

  10. IndyRedMan

    I was leading the Lorenzen bandwagon on here in 2015!! The guy needs to start with that arm!! I don’t have the numbers in front of me but he was pitching to contact and getting a much higher % of doubleplays and keeping his pitch total down. It could be a real physical issue on why he can’t start but knowing the Reds its just somebody’s hunch.
    He also needs to pinch hit (or pinch run) more often as well! The kid has legit power and would scare them more then some former Card that was washed up 4 years ago.

    • gaffer

      The issue I see is that Lorenzen could easily ruin his arm throwing 200 innings in a meaninglkess year (based on his arm being very “young”). So, I am fine with 100 innings out of the pen now, but long term a starter.

      • Preach

        Very, very valid point. Use this year to really learn how to pitch and to build up some innings. Use him in various situations to see what works best. Don’t assume lefty/righty split success, as explosive cutters and sinkers can have a way of reversing splits for rightys(Arrendondo, who was never utilized correctly IMO comes to mind). Use this as a development year.

      • David

        I tend to agree with the Gaffer above (Gaffer, what’s a Gaffer? 🙂 ).

        He is not quite one year from a sore elbow problem that sidelined him. I think the pragmatic approach by the Reds is to see how many innings he can pitch this year (out of the pen). If he gets to 80 or 90 innings this year out of the pen, and ends 2017 with a healthy arm and elbow, then 2018 might see him move into the rotation. That was how Brian Price and the rest of the organization saw him 2 years ago.
        I don’t think they are dumb, and see the same things we fans see. But I don’t see them rolling the dice on a guy that might someday be a #1 starter, until they see his elbow problems are behind him. There is no reason to risk an elbow injury and TJ surgery by expecting too much too soon.
        I also think Amir Garrett will start the year in the Red’s rotation, unless Reed and/or Stephenson are really WOW! this spring.

      • Reaganspad


        Use him as a Starter for the first half of the year, get him 70-80 innings and then move him to the pen.

        This would answer your questions in the 2017 sorting season of him as a starter. If he is lights out as a starter, then you know that for 2018 which will be a playoff team.

        The guy is a physical freak of nature and workout warrior. He will be ready physically, and for whatever ailment he had in his arm, I am sure that he has grown 2-3 new muscles that everyone else only has a trace amount of

        I see no reason to not pitch him 140+ this year. That also stops the clock on Garrett who can come in the second half

      • Nick Carrington

        If I believed the Reds were doing this, I’d be really excited. I’m skeptical, especially since he will likely continue to dominate out of the pen. Once the Reds see success in a role, they tend to keep that person in that role regardless of other factors. Of course, they are under new management so that may be unfair.

      • David

        I think that was more of the Dusty Baker way of seeing things. Don’t draw too many conclusions from how Aroldis was handled. I think there was more going on there than any of us will ever know about.

      • Tct

        Its kind of a strange criticism of the Reds when you think about it. The Reds have been more aggressive than anyone in taking prospects thought to be relievers and trying to convert them to starters.

        You never saw much criticism from national writers for not using Chapman as a starter, in part because, IMO, no one outside of Cincinnati ever saw him as anything more than a reliever. After all, if there were teams out there who thought Aroldis could be the next Randy Johnson, then the Reds would not have gotten him so cheaply. Same with Iglesias. Everyone else saw reliever.

        And then there are the college relievers drafted with the intention of making them starters, most notably Cingrani, Lorenzen, and Howard. The way I remember it is that everyone else thought Lorenzen was either a centerfielder or a reliever.

        I am not necessarily saying you are wrong. But it seems that the Reds have really been more open minded about pitching roles in regard to prospects than any other team in baseball.

      • Nick Carrington

        That’s apples and oranges, TCT. Yes, they have drafted relievers and tried to develop them as starters. That’s completely different from bringing up a young starter to help your bullpen (Chapman and Lorenzen) and then transitioning them back to a starter for the long term.

        I’m talking about Adam Wainwright and David Price type situations. I fear the Reds would have kept those two in the bullpen because they had late inning success out of the pen. Maybe not. It’s a small sample size of pitchers the Reds have made that kind of decision on. But in two cases where they had young pitchers with great arms and starting potential (Chapman and Lorenzen), they didn’t even really give them much of a chance to start.

        I’ll give the Reds some benefit of the doubt. They know more than we do about their players. It just looks strange from the outside.

      • Tct

        Price and Wainwright were very different pitchers who had been starters their entire careers and were expected to be starters by everyone.

        I am saying that the criticism is ironic because most teams would never have seen Chapman and Lorenzen as starters in the first place, and they would never have been given the chance to start early in their careers. I could be wrong. We can never know if another team would have used them differently. But at the time they were acquired, it seems like the consensus was reliever.

        And its really too early to throw Lorenzen’s name in there with Chapman as a player that was mismanaged. Lorenzen got almost a full year starting in the big leagues and he was pretty bad. He got hurt, came back out of the bullpen and pitched well. Yes, his repertoire changed a little bit and maybe he deserves anothrr chance to start. And he may get it. It is just too early

      • Nick Carrington

        I think we are both making valid points but different ones. We should commend the Reds for taking low mileage arms with potential and trying to make starters out of them. I also believe we can question or be confused by the Reds developing those arms as starters in the minors, those pitchers displaying real potential as starters, and then the Reds not giving them a chance to contribute to the maximum.

        I don’t consider what the Reds did with Lorenzen as giving him a chance. They rushed him to the majors for some reason. He started only one full season in pro ball, pitching quite well, before pitching in the majors. He needed more time. Most rookie pitchers struggle to some extent. And his pitches have changed drastically.

        Anyway, I see your point and think it’s a good one. My points just different.

  11. larry

    I’d love to see lorenzen, garrett, or other existing reds get a shot at starting…in mlb rumors, they’re reporting Roseanthal is stating that the reds are looking at (cheap) S P in the free agent area. That scares me, I have visions of another simon, marques, et al. signing.

    • CI3J

      If the Reds really sign a starter, that tells us all we need to know about how serious they are about making the “hard decisions” this season. That would also mean they aren’t serious about competing in 2018, which I’ve long suspected they weren’t.

    • Yippee

      Jake Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong, or Edwin Jackson, anyone? lol

    • Craig

      I would be okay with a Travis Wood-type signing (long reliever with shot of making rotation, think Straily last year). We do not want a repeat of last spring where an injury to one (or more) of Disco/Straily/Finnegan thrusts one of the rookies prematurely into the rotation. A few of these guys will still be on innings limits, and I would prefer to give credence to service time considerations while monitoring innings (i.e. Garrett).

      In theory, I am not against bringing in the right veteran to eat up some early season innings. However, given the FO track record, we could see a Lincecum, et al. signing that would be a bad idea from the start. Of course, to repeat Steve’s prior points, the fear in this theory is falling in love with whoever they sign and failing to cash in at the deadline.

  12. Patrick Jeter

    Reds Top 30 prospects write-up just posted over at FanGraphs.

    Spoiler – Senzel, Garrett, Winker are 1-2-3.

    • Yippee

      Another spoiler: Han Solo dies in The Force Awakens

    • vegastypo

      Whatever happened to Eric Jagielo? I thought he and Rookie Davis were the big catches in the Chapman trade, but Jagielo didn’t make the Top 30 here, nor did he make the list of about 20 guys also worth watching. Tony Renda at least made that list.

  13. WVRedlegs

    Reds Top-10 prospect lists out all over the place this week.
    1. Nick Senzel 3B
    2. Amir Garrett LHP
    3. Jesse Winker OF
    4. Aristides Aquino OF
    5. Shedric Long 2B
    6. Taylor Trammell OF
    7. Robert Stephenson RHP
    8. Chris Okey C
    9. TJ Friedl OF
    10. Tyler Stephenson C

    Baseball America:
    1. Nick Senzel 3B
    2. Cody Reed LHP
    3. Amir Garrett LHP
    4. Robert Stephenson RHP
    5. Taylor Trammell OF
    6. Jesse Winker OF
    7. Aristides Aquino OF
    8. Sal Romano RHP
    9. Vladimir Gutierrez RHP
    10. Tyler Stephenson C

    Baseball Prospectus:
    1. Nick Senzel 3B
    2. Amir Garrett LHP
    3. Jesse Winker OF
    4. Robert Stephenson RHP
    5. Tyler Stephenson C
    6. Taylor Trammell OF
    7. Aristedis Aquino OF
    8. Anthony Santillan RHP
    9. Shedric Long 2B
    10. Ian Kahaloa RHP

    Doug Gray’s:
    1. Nick Senzel 3B
    2. Jesse Winker OF
    3. Robert Stephenson RHP
    4. Amir Garrett LHP
    5. Sal Romano RHP
    6. Taylor Trammell OF
    7. Aristides Aquino OF
    8. Vladimir Gutierrez RHP
    9. Anthony Santillan RHP
    10. Nick Travieso RHP

    Some consensus, some disparity. Looks like DG is bullish on the pitching while the national publications aren’t so much.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Cody Reed has nearly dropped from view. (Maybe he is no longer statistically a rookie?)

      • WVRedlegs

        Correct, Reed was no longer considered a rookie by the other 3, so he wasn’t eligible for their lists.
        If you give 10 points for 1st place and 1 point for 10th place for all 4 lists, the totals are:
        1. Senzel 40 points
        2. Garrett 33 points
        3. Winker 30 points
        4. R. Stephenson 26 pts.
        5. Trammell 21 pts.
        6. Aquino 19 pts.
        7. Romano 9 pts.
        8. Reed 9 pts.
        9. S. Long 8 pts.
        10. T. Stephenson 8 pts.
        11. Santillan 5 pts.
        12. Gutierrez 5 pts.
        13. Okey 3 pts.
        14. Friedl 2 pts.
        15. Kahaloa 1 pt.
        16. Travieso 1 pt.

  14. David

    Winker is close to being in the Majors, and has been a Top Prospect for a long time, but I honestly think he is going to be something of a disappointment when he actually arrives and starts to play in Cincy. I hope I am wrong, but I don’t see anything “outstanding” about him since he was in A – ball. He has been a top prospect in a farm system that has actually pretty weak lately with respect to position players.
    I actually think Schebler is a better all around athlete and will contribute more. Winker’s sole claim to Top Prospect status lately has been his high OBP, which is thought to be a good predictor of ML success. I guess we’ll see soon.

    • reaganspad

      I was just thinking about what you wrote David, and it reminded me of when the Reds drafted a catcher in the 2nd round. He had this hit tool that was so good that they stopped him from catching, wanting to protect that hit tool. I thought he was kind of average for power also in the minors.

      He now has a 313 career ML average. Those are hard to find and very valuable.

      I remember Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns and Jay Bruce as minor leaguers. Those guys all tore it up. Kearns even bested Sir Albert at one stop

      Those guys who can truly hit are so rare

      • lwblogger2

        Good call on Votto. He had some pop in the minors but I don’t think most people saw him as a guy with 20-25 HR power most years. I’m worried about Winker’s power as are a few of the minor league experts. Others, including Doug, think that the power will come. I’m hoping that Doug is right and I’m worried about nothing. The thing is though, while the ceiling depends on the power, the floor remains pretty high. At worst, pretty much everyone agrees that Winker should be a solid MLB starting player.

    • Old-school

      Why do you say that? Winker’s stats are elite at every level of the minors x his power at age 22 dropped with a wrist injury. His age 21 AA season in 2015 was great, his age 20 A+ season was fabulous, but fell off at AA on his promotion in 2014, but then tore it up in the AZ fall league and obviously recovered back in 2015 the next year back at AA. His age 19 and 18 seasons were great as well. Dansby Swanson and Andrew Benintendi each had 9 HR last year. Joey Votto didn’t start tearing it up with power until his age 22/23 season. Phillip Ervin is 24 , the Reds #1 pick in 2013 after playing 3 years in college and still toiled in A Dayton for 2 more season and is still mediocre in AA. He hit 13 home runs last year. Nick Senzel is everything you could ask for so far, but low A Dayton at age 21 coming from the SEC was at best a lateral move and perhaps a slight step back in competition. The critique of Winker seems unfair. He is still very young.

      • greenmtred

        He is young and, we hope, will be a good hitter. But he is also, by most accounts, one-dimensional.