2017 Spring Training

Goodyear journal 3/21 – Reed dominant

The Reds played the LA Angels at Goodyear Ballpark today. The weather was beautiful, if maybe still a few degrees too warm for my taste. The ballpark here is one of the newest in the Cactus League, which might explain why it is less developed than other ones. It’s still much nicer than pre-renovation Ed Smith in Sarasota. But you don’t get the impression either Cleveland or Cincinnati is doing much to maximize the fan experience.

Goodyear Ballpark as seen from the third base stands

The stadiums in Peoria and Surprise showed pitch speeds, but Goodyear doesn’t show them despite having a designated space in the lower right corner of their scoreboard for exactly that information. See proof of this claim in the picture below. The guy next to me suggested it’s because the clubs that use this facility are “small budget.” But it can’t be that expensive to have an intern or volunteer put two digits of data – that are already collected – on an electronic board. Come on Goodyear, get it done.

Documentation of pitch speed space on scoreboard

Notes from the Reds vs. Angels

Cody Reed dominated the Angels major league lineup, including Mike Trout. Price let Reed pitch 5.2 innings, the longest appearance for a Reds pitcher this spring. Reed was yanked on a pitch count. He had retired the first two batters in the sixth, striking out the last batter he faced, Kole Calhoun. That made five Ks. Another encouraging sign was the number of swing-and-misses he was getting. In the third inning, with two outs and no one on, Reed struck out the best baseball player in the world. I don’t recommend basing roster decisions on a sample size of one at bat, but I’d consider an exception for striking out Mike Trout swinging. I don’t think I mentioned this yet, the Angels didn’t get a runner to second base against Reed. They only hit two balls into the outfield, a routine out and a line single.

Cody Reed warming up before the game

You can be like the clueless guy sitting behind me who tapped me on the shoulder and asked/said “Wasn’t this guy 0-7 last year? He’s terrible.” or you can get excited about seeing Cody Reed (23, LHP) in the major leagues. I strongly recommend the latter.

 If you’re wondering why I haven’t been reporting on Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen, Blake Wood or (until today) Tony Cingrani, it’s because they haven’t been pitching in major league games. That’s been the case since the Reds off day last Thursday, five games and counting. Reports of non-serious (heh) elbow and back issues for Iglesias notwithstanding, the explanation for this is straightforward: The Reds have an ever-growing list of decisions to make regarding the Opening Day starting rotation and bullpen. Seeing the pitchers who are in contention for those spots is more important than watching the locks. My scout and new housemate Doug Gray tells me Wood and Storen pitched in today’s minor league game.

Bonus Cody Reed pic because today was his day

Tony Cingrani got rocked in his one inning of work by a combination of big league and minor league players.

The Reds faced reliever-turned-starter J.C. Ramirez, who held his former team to a run in five innings. Ramirez struck out six and didn’t walk anyone. When Ramirez was walking to the bullpen to warm up, Tucker Barnhart shouted half-jokingly “So are you a starter now, or what?” Ramirez smiled and the players shared a big hug.

Infield notes: Arismendy Alcantara was third baseman du jour. He made an excellent play charging a ground ball and was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts at the plate. Tony Renda has made several bad plays at 2B in the few games I’ve watched. A two-out error on a throw to 1B – the throw was high by about ten feet on an easy play – cost the Reds B Team five unearned runs. Hard to see them trusting Renda in the field. Zack Cozart is already making all the plays at short. He looks back to normal in the field and hitting. Jose Peraza swung at a ball at eye level on a 3-2 pitch and got thrown out trying to steal later.

The Reds were ahead 1-0 going into the 7th inning and took out their starters. The bench players lost their three innings 9-0. You shouldn’t need more evidence that wins and losses in spring training are meaningless. But today’s game is more proof.

Not a great day for the Reds bench players

Outfield notes: Desmond Jennings singled, but missed a couple other opportunities. Jesse Winker who got the start in left field and struck out two times in three at bats. Ryan Raburn is strong. He hit an opposite field home run on a pitch that looked like it jammed him. Raburn’s power off the bench would play nicely on a different team. Not sure it make sense for him to get a roster spot on this team. But he might.

Defensive play of the game – Goes to Jose Peraza who fielded a ground ball on the third base side of second base (he was shifted toward the bag) and flipped it backhanded *with his glove* to Cozart covering second to get a force out.

The Reds play a night game tomorrow at Goodyear against the Chicago Cubs. Scott Feldman will start against the defending world champions. The Reds for some puzzling reason announced yesterday Feldman would be the Opening Day starter. More on that at a later time. I hope I get to see Cincinnati’s own Kyle Schwarber play.

24 thoughts on “Goodyear journal 3/21 – Reed dominant

    • People are indeed awesome.

      Also, I’m being told by some athletes that the world is flat. I wonder if they think the ball they play with is also flat? Things you can ponder while being hit up by unsolicited, uninformed comments from the peanut gallery out there (and here).

  1. While I have more faith in Reed than any of our other pitching prospects, not named Garrett, I certainly wouldn’t blame a non-reds fan/minor Reds fan, for thinking he “sucks” based upon a simple review of the stats. I’m sure I could easily make that assumption about another team’s prospect upon a quick review of real game results. Not like Reed was/is an uber prospect.

    • If he only looked at win/loss record, which it sounds like he did, then the fan in question really doesn’t understand how to evaluate pitchers.

      • I think that is true of most baseball fans, since people like us (fanatics) are fewer and further between than people like that guy (casuals).

  2. Nice report.

    Let’s try to be kind to Reds fans of all types. After all, we all want the same thing.

    I go to GABP a couple of times a year and spend as much money as I can while there. But, the Reds aren’t going to fill that park with the RLN readership. Most of us are home, watching the game, or all MLB games, on this site, managing fantasy, doing DraftKings, etc.

    “Enlightenment must come little by little—otherwise it would overwhelm.” – Idries Shah

    • “After all, we all want the same thing.”

      I often wonder if that’s really true. Some people just want to enjoy watching baseball or simply be at the game for bobblehead night without being too invested in the inner workings of the game.

      Others, like most folks at RLN, obsess over the game and analyzing it.

      And still others just want to complain, no matter what. It’s like a way to vent all of their life’s frustrations; rational connection be damned. Those are the folks I see (or read their comments) and wonder why even follow baseball if you just want to be miserable and complain about it?

  3. I really needed some good Reds news today; and, Cody Reed’s performance more than filled the bill. Let’s hope he gets on a roll like he was at AAA prior to his call up in 2016 then we can just sit back and enjoy

  4. Thanks for the updates from Goodyear, Steve. So much note can be gleaned from your journals than a box score.

    In regards to the 3-2 pitch that Peraza swung at that was in his eyes, I believe he fouled it off. Point being, his ability to take a walk needs much, much work but his hand-eye coordination is ridiculous. If he can learn a little bit from Votto, I really think we’re looking at a future all star in Jose.

  5. I heard a comment from the reds announcers, that the reds don’t want Peraza hitting second behind Hamilton. He’s such an aggressive hitter that B Ham won’t be able to fully useof b hams base running skills…Okay, why not bat Hamiltton, Votto and then Paraza?

    • I might consider leading Votto off. (ala the Cards leading Carpenter off.) Second seems a better fit than third for Votto in the lineup. Only thing is, Votto wont hit and run, but I guess Hamilton doesn’t need help getting to second.

      • Votto won’t hit and run? Do you have a citation for that? Votto will do whatever the 3rd base coach’s signs tell him to do. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

        Beyond that quibble, I actually agree 100% that Votto should lead off; I was in the small minority with that opinion last time I floated the idea.

        The extra at-bats and relative run expectancy value increase of a walk to lead off the 1st inning (versus walking with 1 or 2 men out, as is usually the case in the 1st inning) outweighs the loss of batting with more men on base in the calculations I’ve done.

    • I’m OK with Hamilton/Votto, but if Peraza isn’t batting 1 or 2, he should probably bat 7th or 8th (or 9th, even) in this lineup. Too many other decent hitters to want Peraza hitting with men on base all the time.

      And batting Votto 2nd in front of Peraza would probably lead to a ton of double play opportunities, even with Peraza’s speed.

    • The hit Peraza leadoff and Hamitlon second. I have a feeling we’re going to see Hamitlon leadoff and Cozart hit 2nd though.

  6. Thanks for all these updates Steve. Spring training got a lot more interesting when our trusty advance man arrived. Hope you’re having much fun out there.

  7. Steve, your reporting on whether guys are playing well against major vs. minor league talent should be standard issue for spring training writers. Great reality check for those who tend to get giddy (or pessimistic) without much merit.

    • Yep. To make claims about how a player is doing in spring training it’s really important to separate performances against major and minor league players. Of course, limiting stats to just vs. major league players would further shrink an already too-small sample size. It’s a real dilemma, especially when teams are in a situation where they have a bunch of roster spots up for grabs.

    • It depends on whether the Yankees see themselves as contenders. I thought they were rebuilding? That said, Yankee Fan demands championships NOW.

  8. Great reporting from AZ. Great, great news on Reed’s solid performance.
    We should see another round of cuts sometime tomorrow. Maybe Friday. Then the last cuts about the 30th. Time is running short for those trying to make the 25-man roster.
    No reason to fret over the batting order. Most of us know it will be BHam, Cozart, Votto, and Duvall at the top of the lineup come Opening Day. Unfortunately. The NL leader in OBP and 3 guys who get on base less than 31% of the time.
    One thing I’d like to see them do on occasion is maybe have Schebler leadoff, then Peraza, then Votto. Have BHam bat 9th in this scenario. So, a batting order would look like Schebler, Peraza, Votto, Duvall, Suarez, Cozart, Barnhart, P, BHam.

  9. The Reds have an impressive collection of young arms that have yet to appear in the major leagues. Castillo, Davis, Garrett, Gutierrez, Herget, Mahle, Romano…yet, it’s Cody Reed who I remain the highest on. Reed is such an imposing figure on the mound. He’s 6-foot-5, has the “Wild Thing” glasses, and throws hard from the left side. When he’s commanding his fastball as he did yesterday, he has two plus pitches and a changeup that flashes above-average. His slider is nearly unhittable when thrown right. Maybe I’m just being optimistic, but two years from now I think we’re going to look back and laugh at those who wrote Reed off after 10 starts.

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