The first place Cincinnati Reds (2-1) will hit the road for the first time in 2017. They begin a three game series tonight at the St. Louis Cardinals (1-2) at 8:15 PM. For a second consecutive day, the Reds starting pitcher will be making his MLB debut.
The Cardinals lost two of three to the Cubs in St. Louis to open the season. The Cardinals only scored a total of 8 runs in the series. I previewed the 2017 Cardinals last week.
The following stats are 2017 ZiPS projections
The Reds top prospect Amir Garrett will make his MLB debut this evening. Our good friend Doug Gray wrote about what to expect from Garrett last week. I encourage you to read the entire piece, which also highlights his background.
In the first four starts of the spring, Amir Garrett allowed one earned run over a span of 11.1 innings pitched and he had just two walks to go with nine strikeouts. The next to starts were a bit more of a struggle. In 10.0 innings he allowed nine earned with four walks and five strikeouts. He rebounded well on Saturday in the Reds vs Future Reds game in Dayton. The lefty was dominant in his 3.0 innings of work in his final tune up for the regular season. He finished the spring, including the exhibition game, with a 3.70 ERA in 24.1 innings with six walks and 17 strikeouts.
There’s no denying that Amir Garrett has a big league arm. He performed well this spring for the Reds. After having some hiccups at times in Louisville in the second half with control, that didn’t really show up in the spring. Over four starts in Triple-A, Amir Garrett combined for 21 walks. In the other eight games he had 10 total walks. With only 12 games at the highest level in the minor leagues, and some consistency issues in that time, there is always going to be some concern that you will see that in the big leagues until the player shows otherwise. That’s no different for Garrett.
As noted, we didn’t really see that in Arizona over the last six weeks, and we’ve seen Amir Garrett take big strides forward in short periods of time. In the past, the lefty has been mostly fastball-slider, while tossing a change up in every so often. He’s still likely going to be a fastball and slider guy, but we’ve seen him go with the change up more. Garrett’s become more comfortable and more confident with the pitch in the last year. He’s generally going to be 91-94 with the fastball with more at the top end and the change up and slider will both be in the low 80’s.
There will probably still be some inconsistency for Amir Garrett in 2017. There aren’t many rookies that come into the Major Leauges and just perform every day from the start. The key will be limiting the number of days when he doesn’t have it. In the minor leagues he’s been very good at doing that. When he’s on top of his game, he’s capable of dominating. The fastball andslider combo will be plenty to get most guys out. If he can continue to progress with his change up it could take him to that next level. As long as he’s able to throw strikes, he should be solid, but likely better than that. How many innings the organization will let him throw is a minor issue, as he should be capable and ready to handle 175.0 innings this season. That may require skipping him once or twice to get through an entire year if that is the kind of limit they choose to set for him (he threw 144.1 last season).
Mike Leake will be making his fifth career start against the Reds. Last season, the Reds beat up Leake: 4 GS, 7.25 ERA, 22.1 IP, 29 H, 18 ER. Leake is coming off the first season in his career where his ERA (4.69) was higher than his FIP (3.83). Leake had a career low in BB/9 (1.53). Leake’s BABIP was 0.25 higher than his career average, part of which could be the result of playing with a weaker defensive team.
Leake had a 3.81 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 14 K and 6 BB in 26.0 IP this spring.
Adam Duvall is 5 for 13 (1.313 OPS) with 2 HR and 8 RBI against Leake. Billy Hamilton is 5 for 7 (1.893 OPS) with a HR.
|1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Jose Peraza (2B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Scott Schebler (RF)
6. Zack Cozart (SS)
7. Scooter Gennett (3B)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Amir Garrett (P)
|1. Dexter Fowler (CF)
2. Aledmys Diaz (SS)
3. Matt Carpenter (1B)
4. Stephen Piscotty (RF)
5. Jhonny Peralta (3B)
6. Yadier Molina (C)
7. Randal Grichuk (LF)
8. Kolten Wong (2B)
9. Mike Leake (P)
Scooter Gennett will get his first start of 2017, replacing Eugenio Suarez at 3B. Gennett has NEVER played third base in his professional career (majors or minor league). Gennett did play at 3B on Saturday in the Futures Game.
Adam Duvall (5 for 11, 278 wRC+) and Zack Cozart (5 for 10, 154 wRC+) are off to hot starts for the Reds. The top of the lineup, not so much. Hamilton and Peraza are a combined 5 for 25 with just 1 walk.
The Cardinals don’t have a Joey Votto in their lineup, but they make up for it with a lineup with zero holes. Every Cardinals projected starter has a projected OPS of .718+. The Cardinals also have a nice bench with Matt Adams, Jedd Gyorko, and Greg Garcia.
Two way player
Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs wrote a cool piece today about how Michael Lorenzen’s Officially a Two Way Player.
Other News and Notes
It was nice to get a series win to start 2017. What would be even nicer? Beating up on the Cardinals and putting them in a hole to start the season. Amir Garrett is going to be special at some point. Let’s hope it starts right away. Go Reds!