Welcome to the first edition of Three Up, Three Down, a new weekly column here at Redleg Nation that will detail which Reds are hot, and which Reds are not. Each week we’ll review the previous week’s’ worth of games, and highlight the three best and the three worst player performances.
We’ve only got one game in the books so far in the 2017 season, but we have quite a bit of Spring Training games to work with. So, who’s up, and who’s down?
1. Rookie Davis and Amir Garrett
So, my first entry in this series, and I’m already breaking the rules. But Davis and Garrett are in the same boat – unexpectedly (especially in Rookie’s case) making the Opening Day rotation. This has to be a huge boost to the morale for these two young pitching prospects, and is likely a huge disappointment for two other young pitching prospects. And yes, you’ve guess it, we’ll get to those two later.
Both Davis and Garrett earned their way into the starting rotation. It’s a move I question whether the previous front office was capable of making, and a relatively forward-thinking approach to building a starting staff. It shows us that the Reds aren’t focused on winning games in 2017 – and depending who you ask, that might be fine – but it also shows the team is focused on winning games in 2018 and beyond. They’re throwing spaghetti at the wall. Let’s hope it sticks.
2) Jose Peraza
Okay, so maybe Jose Peraza won’t get on base at a .400 clip, but the kid can hit the baseball, that’s for sure. Would I like to see more walks? Sure. Do I think his high batting average can be maintained? Probably not. Would I be surprised if BOTH of those things happened? I don’t think I would be.
Peraza is in a key spot in the Reds lineup, a two-hole in which the Reds have really struggled to get premium production in the past few years. In actuality, Joey Votto is probably best suited for this spot, but if Peraza can continue to hit, he might be pretty dang good in between Votto and Billy Hamilton.
3) Scooter Gennett
A nice story here, for sure. Hometown kid comes home, cracks a home run in his first at bat of the spring wearing the uniform of his favorite childhood baseball team. Dat Dude SG struck again in his second AB in the first game of the season, putting a ball in the seats to opposite field in an effort to get the club back in the game. He only succeeded in making the 3-4 loss look a little better in the papers than a 1-4 loss, but at this point, I’ll take it.
I don’t expect Scooter to bring a ton of value to the Reds in 2017. He should, however, provide a pretty good left handed bat off the bench and a semi-reliable glove at second base, two factors that might see him get in the game a little earlier than a standard defensive replacement or pinch hitter might be, as was the case on Opening Day.
1. Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson
Don’t let his parading around town in the back of a pickup truck fool you – Robert Stephenson is no longer the Reds top prospect. Not only was he not made a starter on the Opening Day roster, but he was relegated to the bullpen, a spot in which GM Dick Williams has said will give Stephenson the potential to prove he can get through a major league lineup one time, rather than trying to prove he can do it three times. It seems clear that Williams doesn’t think Stephenson currently has the skill to make it in the majors as a starter, but sees the potential and isn’t quite ready to give up on the young righty. Moving Stephenson to the bullpen for now is a strategy I personally agree with, and one we’ve seen the St. Louis Cardinals perfect over the years.
2) Scott Feldman
Man, that was tough to watch. Scott Feldman’s opening day start was far from dominant, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits and two walks before basically being booed off the field. It wasn’t all bad, and there were times in the game Feldman looked competent, but man, there’s nothing to get you on the wrong side of the Reds fanbase like giving up two homers on Opening Day.
3) Joey Votto
Votto was 0-4 on the day. He’s awful.
I kid, of course.
Who’s on your Three Up, Three Down list? Leave a comment below, or tweet at me either at @JordanBarhorst or @redlegnation. We’d love to hear from you throughout the week to help build next week’s Three Up, Three Down. But don’t let the cynicism get to you just yet. Because baseball is back, and it’s a beautiful thing.