2017 Reds / 2017 Spring Training

The (VERY) early spring training numbers

The Reds finally won a game yesterday, beating the world champs 6-2. The Reds are now 1-6 this spring. Wins and losses are meaningless in the spring (the Cubs went 11-19 last year), and players stats don’t mean much more. That being said, here are some of the early numbers that stand out through the first seven games.

garrett

Amir Garrett has been impressive through his first two starts (4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K). Yesterday, Garrett pitched three scoreless innings against the Cubs (who had Bryant, Zobrist, Heyward, Russell, and Contreras in the lineup). Bryan Price has been impressed with Garrett’s changeup and slider. If Garrett keeps pitching well, he could force the Reds’ hand at the end of the spring (although the Reds would be better off bringing him up in May for service time reasons).

peraza

Jose Peraza is 7 for 12 (1.417 OPS) with 3 stolen bases in 4 games. Peraza had the second-most at-bats of any player for the Reds last spring, and hit .281/.299/.406. It’s encouraging to see the Reds’ new second baseman get off to a hot start swinging the bat, but disappointing that he has yet to draw a walk.

Arismendy Alcantara is just 1 for 13, and has already committed 3 errors this spring. He is out of options, so the Reds could possibly lose him if he doesn’t make the club out of camp. A guy who could be looking to take Alcantara’s spot as the utility man is Hernan Iribarren. He is 6 for 12 so far.

Jesse Winker is 1 for 11 with 1 BB and 5 K. The best bet for Winker would be probably be to start the season at AAA, and get called up around May for service time. If Winker even wants the Reds to think about that, he will have to show something.

Several of the Reds regulars are off to slow starts: Joey Votto (1 for 11), Billy Hamilton (2 for 10), Scott Schebler (1 for 10), and Adam Duvall (1 for 9).

suarez

Eugenio SuarezZack Cozart, and Ryan Raburn have each hit a home run this spring.

Robert Stephenson (1.o IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, o K) and Drew Storen (o.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) were both hit hard in their only appearances. Stephenson will be on the mound again today for the Reds.

All photos are used courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and are used by permission.

63 thoughts on “The (VERY) early spring training numbers

  1. Love it when we beat the Stupid Cubs. But we all can clearly see that Joey can’t hit anymore. I mean, look at those Spring numbers …

    I love to see box scores again. Interesting to see the mix of pitchers and consider who might end up on the 25-man roster.

    • We should all pitch in and get Brennan Boesch a first baseman’s mitt. At least HE can hit in February/March!

      • One of the long standing old school truisms is to never base personnel decisions on spring training or September roster expansion call up performances. Two thoughts here. 1) Is that accurate over time; and 2) how often do teams do it regardless.

        • It always amazes me how often #2 happens. Granted, 9 times out of 10 you’re choosing between Bad Player A and Bad Player B, so it doesn’t matter much, but sometimes you choose a useless veteran over a young guy with upside simply because of a few ABs in March. Mind-boggling!

          • I thought you had coined a new way to say “stuff happens”. I had to go back and read Jim-Jim’s comment to get the proper context. I’m still chuckling. That might make a good RLN T-shirt slogan some day, #2 Happens.

  2. Read a great article from espn about Joey Votto intentionally working harder to step out of his comfort zone and work on forming relationships with the young guys, teach them.

    Of course, if he gets off to a slow start, the same people who have scolded him for “not being a leader” will blame him for being too distracted. A .300 hitter that can’t win no matter what he does in some circles. I think it’s because he’s Canadian. We don’t talk about that out in the open, but let’s just get honest with each other. 🙂

  3. It is still a long way to the end of spring training; but, the potential conundrum of what to do with Amir Garrett is already looming large.

    The by the book solution is to hold him back in AAA at least long enough to create an “extra” year of team control, three weeks or so.

    However recall last spring when Robert Stephenson appeared to be one of the Reds top 5 rotation candidates coming out of spring. The Reds played that situation by the book; and, to date it hasn’t worked out so well. Following two quality spot starts at MLB woven in among AAA time, Stephenson got off the rails at AAA while we were counting down the days until his “permanent” promotion to MLB. To date he still hasn’t returned to the form he flashed in those first two MLB starts.

    So the Reds need to tread carefully where Garrett is concerned. Come the first of April if he looks ready, perhaps even more than ready, for MLB duty, the better course of action may be to put him in the MLB rotation. This would not immediately rule out being able to create an “extra” year of team control along the way during the season. Maybe Garrett would encounter a rough patch during the season and need to go down to AAA for several weeks; that would fit the bill. Another possibility is if as anticipated the team is not competing for the playoffs, they could simply shut Garret down at the end of August and option him to AAA; that would also get the job done.

    • Stephenson was already ‘off the rails’ before the 2016 season with 4.9 BB/9 in 2014 & 4.7 BB/9 in 2015. During 2016 ST, Stephenson had a BB/9=3.1, 9.58 ERA & 1.84 WHIP. Stephenson had not earned a shot as a starter on the 25-man roster to begin the 2016 season and wouldn’t have been called up at all except for the plague of injuries that befell the Reds pitching staff in 2016. I simply can’t buy the argument that Stephenson’s problems are the result of not being promoted at the beginning of the 2016 season.

      • That’s the way I remember it, Cossack. Stephenson hadn’t shown that he had overcome control problems at any point last year. It’s even more dubious to contend that sticking him on the 25 man would have somehow made things better.

        Each player’s situation is unique. Maybe some guys do experience a bit of a mental let down if they are being held back. Seems impossible to quantify. And, for the sake of argument, even if you could prove that this was the case with Stephenson, it should not prove the same result with Garret.

        There’s many good reasons to play things by the book with him. Chiefly, that the Reds aren’t seriously contending this year. So why waste team control over a potentially valuable player to get one or two extra wins this year?

      • Injuries happen thus Stephenson was one of the top 5 candidates available to actually pitch at the start of the season.

        In Stephenson’s two MLB April starts he pitched 12 innings with a WHIP of 1.08 (9H; 4BB). His walk rate was 3 per 9IP in those starts. His ERA was 3.00. They were both quality starts and eventually Reds victories We haven’t seen that pitcher since.

        Thus my point… When a guy appears ready maybe a team needs to run with him until/ unless he fails because it may not be as simple as turning a switch off/ on, especially for a starting pitcher.

        In 2016, had RS been left up with the MLB team early on when he was pitching better, he may have continued to thrive under the challenge of facing MLB competition or he may have faltered just as he did in AAA. If the latter happens, then simply send him down when it does. If doesn’t, they have an MLB starting pitcher.

        We will never know which would have happened. Which brings me back to my original point, why be afraid to risk success?

        • Let’s not jump the gun yet. Garrett has pitched a total of 5 inning so far and Stephenson 1. Your point about Stephenson doing well in his first two games last year should be to not make any conclusions based upon on small sample sizes

    • Garrett is seizing his opportunity while Stephenson gets rocked this spring. Today we’ll see more of what Stephenson brings to the table. If this continues through ST, then the Reds won’t bother with Garrett’s Super-2 status date, but will closely follow the “Bryant Rule” and bring him up on about April 18. That would give him 15 days at AAA. That first 15 days? That is what we have Bronson for.
      The Reds have a 3 game home set with Baltimore April 18-20 and would start him on the 18th. They have another home set with the Cubs on April 21-23 and Garrett would start the game on the 23rd, the last game of this home stand. His first 2 starts would be at home.
      The Reds hit the road for a week and Garrett would get his 3rd start at STL on the 28th or 29th. Not sure how off days are going to affect the rotation.
      After STL, the Reds are back home and Garrett would look to get starts May 4 vs. PIT and May 9 vs. the NYY. May 9 is the last game of this home stand. That would map it out to where Garrett would get 4 home starts out of his first 5 starts. That would be a nice way to get him started in the major leagues, and a small gift to the home fans.

      • I certainly agree Garrett is trying to seize the moment; he said as much back in the off season. I always wonder how much of his attack attitude comes from the time he spent playing D1 NCAA basketball. If that experience was a major contributor to his current attitude then it wasn’t really wasted time after all was it (creds to Henley, Frey et al).

    • I really like your Posting comments on Garrett, specifically your observation that Garrett could, if he breaks with the reds after spring training, be sent back down in say August, once he’s used up his allotted innings for the season. If we explain that plan long in advance of his being sent down’ I’d guess he would be okay with it. I admit that I have a man crush on Garrett. I think he could develop into a ace. I remarked on another posting that the reds may bring him to the bigs right away if he continues to excel, and was admonished because it would cost the reds millions in future contracts if Garrett hits super two status. I think your idea of sending him back down after he hits his inning limit is ideal. That’s, of course, IF he stays with the club.

      • If he’s performing well and they send him down in August his agent and the MLBPA are going to go nuts for at least a couple of reasons:
        1. He’ll stop making MLB money and will make Minor League Money
        2. You can’t transparently and overtly manipulate service time and Super 2. If a guy has been on the roster for 4 months and is performing and you send him down then the MLBPA has justification to file a breach of CBA claim.

        A team can justify holding a guy back for a few weeks by claiming they ” don’t think he’s ready or they don’t want him pitching in the cold.” If you send him down in August…and he’s performing…you need a reason that potentially an arbitrator would accept.

        The Bryant prescident is a smart path for teams to follow so the MLBPA is looking for a test case to prove overt manipulation….so teams need to be very careful.

      • You all are probably correct that the late option scheme is a bridge too far. The service time would likely be much more of an issue than the money for this year. Whether he starts the year at AAA and comes up early or started at MLB and was sent down at the end of August, he would get 5 full months of MLB pay in either case; the difference would come down to a week of so less of MLB pay if he was sent down in August versus being brought up in late April. That amount could easily be buried in his 2018 contract.

    • Amir Garrett is the #1 the Reds have been looking for. No matter the time. He “needs” will come out of Spring in the starting rotation. He is a legit #1.

  4. Um, so saw this headline on Reds/com… Haven’t had time to read the article yet but the headline is “Reds hope Iribarren is a late bloomer”

    Um, that would be a really, really late bloomer.

  5. Adelman had a very good 3 IP start today. Much to my surprise, RStephenson had a 1-2-3 inning so far. Reds scored 5 runs without breaking out the sticks. They had 3 bases loaded HBP’s, a bases loaded BB. and a fielder’s choice.
    Up 7-0 right now.

    • They will count on Adelman to eat some innings in April and May. He could be the unofficial Amir Garrett service time excuse in April. Bob Steve would be the other if he gets his act together.

  6. And, of course, Bob Steve with 2 dominant innings and 4 K’s. Watching this unfold is great theater.

    • I wouldn’t sell short on Stephenson as long as he is healthy. I have a feeling he learned some shoulders up lessons from last season. Like you said, it makes for great theater and eventually a better team to have two or three young guys going at it tooth and nail for spots.

      • 3 hits, including 2 HR, in 1.0 innings of work…

        ER runs or not, Jumbo needs to get his act together or he will get squeezed out of the bullpen and off the 25-man roster lickety split.

        • Any time anybody wants to know how the Reds could find a spot for somebody on the 40-man roster, take Jumbo’s. I don’t know what he provides that the Reds couldn’t get elsewhere, and his mistakes tend to go a long, long way.

  7. I don’t care if it is spring training…

    Two smack-downs against the Stupid Cubbies feels good. Today was a pad-your-spring training-stats kind of day for nearly everyone except Jumbo.

    Cozart has looked good in the 2 games he’s played. He actually got to play defense today while he was standing out at SS and he’s got a 1.262 OPS in his 1st 7 PA, including a HR. He’s playing without that precautionary knee brace from last season. Cozart is just one key injury away from packing his bags.

    Adelman became the 2nd starter to go 3.0 innings. He and Stephenson both had statement games today. How cool would it be for Stephenson, Reed, Garrett, Davis, Romano & Feldman to all get serious and lay solid claims to starting jobs on the 25-man roster?!

  8. I know it’s spring training and the Cubs obviously didn’t bring the “A” team, but it’s still nice to see an almost no hitter from the staff – everyone but Jumbo. Small sample size sure but that can’t be a bad thing!

  9. Drew Storen came into yesterday’s prodigious comeback victory with a whopping 40.50 ERA (3 ER in 0.2 innings). He left yesterday’s game after actually increasing his ERA to 43.20 (8 ER in 1.2 innings). The early spring training results have the $3MM gambit to sign Storen on shaky ground. Hopefully this is just poor early performances rather than an indication of things to come, but it’s pretty ugly right now.

    • If Storen keeps this up do you think the,Reds release him and eat the money or keep him to save face? Hopefully he gets the kinks out and comes around.

      • If he continues getting hit like this for the next several weeks, I don’t think they would have any option other than to release him. Hopefully that won’t be the case.

      • I’ve heard before that veteran players use early spring training to work on stuff and don’t care much about their numbers.

  10. I was listening to the game yesterday evening and I swear I heard Marty or Brantley say Herrera was playing 2B. That had me very excited that any issue with his shoulder had been very short-term and he had been physically cleared by the medical and training staff. I couldn’t understand how he made it back on the field in game conditions without any reporting of progress in his throwing and shoulder discomfort. I quick perusal of the box score this morning not only had Herrera not playing 2B, but not even making a plate appearance. I had poor out-of-town radio reception and may have missed something or misunderstood something. Was there any activity by Herrera yesterday, possibly in a B game or on the minor league field yesterday?

    • the Enquirer reported both Herrera and Disco have started throwing. Disco will throw off a mound per the paper this morning mid next week and start pitching in games after, but not enough time to get to 5-6 innings by Opening Day but on schedule for not much past. They also quoted Kremcheck as saying Herrera has no major shoulder problem- just imbalance in his muscles and should be corrected with a therapy program. Cant help you on Storen though!

        • Herrera is DH. Winker in LF. But, Price has said he will get Herrera at bats. I think the Reds have confidence in his ability to hit. As an aside, while a very limited sample, he is hitting very well. I cant imagine he could hit if he has a significant shoulder issue.

        • DANG! DANG! The pregame lineup was bogus. Herrera is at DH again, but he’s still knocking the ball around at the plate.

  11. After the dominant 2.0 inning, 4-SO performance by Stephenson the day before, the shutdown 3.0 inning performance by Feldman yesterday and the shutdown performance by Reed in the 5th inning yesterday, the Old Cossack let his enthusiasm get ahead of reality, imagining what might be with a solid starting rotation. Then the 6th inning happened and reality came crashing down on that enthusiasm. It was nice to see Reed come back out for the 7th inning before reaching his pitch limit though.

  12. On the topic of very early spring training numbers …

    If the season started today, the players who would have won reserve positions would be Renda, Kivlehan and Iribarren. No natural shortstop nor a natural centerfielder there, so something would have to give. Also, there’s still no clarity on the catching situation. How would you feel with those three on the bench?

    • Tom, you reached the same conclusion and broached the same question the Old Cossack was pondering…

    • The lack of a natural SS or natural CF does not concern me as much as just 1 LH hitter (Iribarren) and all utility players requiring a 40-man roster slot.

  13. Well things certainly turned around during the 2nd week of spring training with some interesting spring training individual performances…

    Starting Infield:

    .500/.611/.786 by Herrera, 1.397 OPS in 18 PA
    .417/.500/.750 by Suarez, 1.250 OPS in 14 PA
    .375/.500/.750 by Cozart, 1.250 OPS in 10 PA
    .450/.450/.600 by Peraza, 1.050 OPS in 20 PA

    .154/.267/.231 by Votto, 0.497 OPS in 15 PA

    Bench & Utility

    .500/.556/.938 by Renda, 1.493 OPS in 18 PA
    .571/.625/.882 by Kivlehan, 1.438 OPS in 18 PA
    .444/.545/.556 by Turner, 1.101 OPS in 11 PA
    .143/.250/.571 by Raburn, 0.821 OPS in 8 PA
    .389/.389/.389 by Iribarren, 0.778 OPS in 18 PA

    .316/.381/.316 by Winker, 0.697 OPS in 21 PA
    .150/.190/.350 by Alcantara, 0.540 OPS in 21 PA
    .214/.294/.214 by Jennings, 0.508 OPS in 17 PA

    • Winker is hitting and getting on base now but still no power.
      Raburn is 36 or nearly and had an awful year in Colorado last year. I cant get excited over him and don’t see him making a rebuilding team on a positive trajectory.
      Alcantara is versatile but defensively are you confident in him as a late inning replacement anywhere and is he the guy to hit the game tying homer in the 8th inning as a pinch hitter or get on base?
      Kivlehan can’t do anymore than he is now…but Tracy Jones was a ST Hall of Famer.
      Jennings looks like the guy Tampa bay didn’t want anymore.
      Renda….I can’t get excited…but maybe he could be a Ryan Freel type guy. He’s certainly playing well.
      Irbarren just hits.

      • It is bothering me that it doesn’t seem like Winker is driving the ball. Watched all his ABs yesterday and nothing was hit particularly hard.Also, the dang Angels announcers kept calling him Winkler. They did it all game.

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