What to make of Lisalverto Bonilla’s 8-inning start?

First, let’s not confuse Bonilla with the Reds’ high-upside pitching prospects. As Jim Walker pointed out in his excellent introduction, Bonilla was picked up off waivers from the Pirates. The Dodgers had allowed Bonilla to become a free agent before that. Bonilla’s resumé is closer to Blake Wood than Luis Castillo.

Contrary to what you might have heard on the radio broadcast though, Bonilla doesn’t have a history of wildness. He’s just a guy who hasn’t been quite good enough to make a major league roster.

Bonilla (26, almost 27) doesn’t have an extra-big arm. He mainly has two pitches, so his best future might be in the bullpen. That’s the way he’s been used through most of his minor league career.

But Bonilla’s fastball moved a lot today and his changeup had the Giants off stride four times through the lineup. C. Trent Rosecrans said on the radio broadcast that Bonilla is scheduled to stay in the rotation for now as the fifth starter even after Amir Garrett returns. If that’s right, this stretch of a handful of starts may be his best and last chance to make it as a major league starter.

Caveats about anemic Giants offense and massive AT&T ballpark apply, but Lisalverto Bonilla pitched quite well and earned another start.

Cincinnati Reds 1 • San Francisco Giants 3 || MLB || FG || Statcast

After grooving a pitch that he paid for in each of the first two innings, Bonilla settled down, at one point retiring 11 Giants in a row. The third run scored against him should have been unearned (see below). Bonilla finished with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks in 8 innings, striking out two on nasty changeups in the 7th.

It’s still early, but Scott Schebler is starting to look like an established major league baseball player. Schebler hit his 10th home run and also doubled, his isolated power standing at .269, which is huge. Schebler’s overall offensive contribution to runs scored (wRC+) of 128. He also did a nice job roaming the expansive center field of AT&T Park.

The Reds had another good day in the field, turning in several nice defensive plays. The exception: Jose Peraza’s bobble of a fairly routine ground ball in the 6th inning with two outs allowing the Giants to score their third run. The ground ball was ruled a hit. Generous home cooked scoring is generous and home cooked. Important reminder that all Hispanic middle infielders are not plus defenders.

Devin Mesoraco barreled up a Matt Moore pitch, whacking it to the left field corner warning track. Mesoraco also stole a base and made a nice throw to second base on a SB attempt. He’s still got a ways to go on his hitting timing. But Mesoraco seems healthy and not fragile.

Jose Peraza had a single and not one, but two walks. That doubled his total for the entire season. Devin Mesoraco had a double and a walk. Bench players Patrick Kivlehan and Arismendy Alcantara (batting 2nd) went a combined 0-for-9. The Reds had 8 hits and 4 walks in the game.

A bit of good news on Homer Bailey’s progress:

29 Responses

  1. Jack

    I think you just about summed it up. Fast game. I thought Peraza should have gotten the error as well.

  2. Geoff

    Such a frustrating game. This team is in a hitting slump the last three games. Time to get the split tmrw.

  3. Geoff

    Shows you the importance of Billy and Cozart in this lineup

    • Keith

      Because that worked really well on Friday night.

      • greenmtred

        Nothing works really well all of the time. Particularly in baseball.

  4. Geoff

    Still 9-4 in their last 13 games. Big game tmrw.

  5. msanmoore

    Sweep at home and split in San Fran … I’ll still take that (we’re gonna win tomorrow, I just know it).

    • Geoff

      Tough park to play at. I’ll take a split on the road.

  6. bouwills

    Should the Reds resume a 5 man rotation in the near future, that would mean Bonilla would face the Rockies at GABP on the 19th. I’m ok with it.

  7. Old-school

    Schebler hit lefty pitching and played cf…he is answering the bell.

  8. CI3J

    My take on things:

    – Bonilla: A soon-to- be 27 year-old with stuff that compares favorably with the soon-to-be 35 year-old Scott Feldman. This is not a criticism, because that means he knows how to pitch. Bonilla doesn’t have the pure “stuff” of someone like Sal Romano or Robert Stephenson, but he has a big advantage over those in that he can locate it, which goes a long way. I’d like to see Bonilla pitch a few more times, and if he gives similar performances, I would not be opposed to him being the #5 starter for the foreseeable future unless/until the young guys figure out how to pitch. Bonilla is younger than both Feldman and Adleman and seems to be a clone of them as far as ability goes, so he wins by default, provided he can keep pitching like this.

    -Schebler: He’s for real. Another thing to note is his BABIP (.259) is still well below his career norm of .296, meaning we should still expect his BA and OBP to keep rising until his BABIP reaches something close to parity. If you were to ask me right now what he’s going to do this season, I’d say .275/.340/.530 seems about right.

    -Suarez: He’s cooled off after a hot start, but what we’re actually seeing is a regression to the mean since his BABIP was (and still is) a little too high, meaning he’s been a bit lucky up to this point. Expect Cozart to go through the same thing sooner rather than later, but both are still very good baseball players.

    -Peraza: The walks were nice, but it still seems like something negative happens with him every game (this time, bobbling the ball, although in the end it didn’t make much of a difference). I’m still not sure he shouldn’t be in Louisville to work on things without so much pressure on him. He seems to have an idea what he needs to work on, let’s give him some time without him being under the microscope. I’d be ok with Scooter manning 2B in the meantime.

    • Geoff

      Several great points. Perazza is so young. Give him some more time in Louisville. We would be fine with Scooter.

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      .340 is way to high for Scott. Lol. .340 obp? He’s a Jay Bruce clone. You can’t say Suarez is lucky, but Scott schebler is the real thing. Suarez has so much upside. He’ll be like encarnacion reaking havoc on MLB pitchers.

      • CI3J

        “Luck” in this case is tied to their BABIP. Based on that, Suarez has been a bit “luckier” than normal, while Schebler has been unusually “unlucky”. Suarez still has a small amount of regression to do, but he’s more or less settled at about the right level. Schebler, on the other hand, still has quite a bit of progression to do, which is why I projected his numbers upward from where they are now.

        I know it doesn’t always work so linearly, but I’m bullish on Schebler. He’s 26 now, which means he’s just knocking on the door of his prime years. I think he may surprise some people this season.

      • MrRed

        Have you looked at their batted ball profiles to see whether that might better inform their respective regression and progression?

    • Carl Sayre

      I think that Peraza is like my take on Suarez just not as talented! I was one of those send this no fielding bum to the minors and then as I watched him he had the ability but he looked “scared”! That assessment is a bit harsh he just wasn’t comfortable as we have moved forward he has confidence and he is becoming a plus defender albeit only slightly! The point is it took Suarez a while to get comfortable, maybe Peraza will surprise us! I was pleasantly surprised by Bonilla’s outing he was very efficient with his pitches and both gofer balls looked to be a lapse in concentration!

    • lwblogger2

      Mostly agree with the exception of Schebler and his BABIP… I don’t think we’re going to see it go much higher than it is now. Early on, before teams had really good batted ball data on him, he had a higher BABIP because teams weren’t shifting on him nearly as much. Now, teams are shifting on him pretty heavily and he’s seeing a dip in his BABIP. I think you may see it come up a bit but probably not to his career number… As a side note, there is nothing wrong with what I’m seeing. I’ll take hus current batting line even if the power regresses some. A guy who I thought was a “nice 4th or 5th OF” is showing to be a very legit MLB starting OF.

  9. GreatRedLegsFan

    Time to shake up the line-up, Duvall and Suarez in a down slide.

  10. Hingle McCringleberry

    You just hope that minor leaguers come up and make a statement. To pitch a complete game is great whether it’s a win or loss.

    Congrats young man! Your time might be now.

  11. VaRedsFan

    I’ve heard Brantly mention this twice about Suarez in the last 2 days. His bat is pointing at the pitcher while he is in the box. Previously he noted that it was more straight up when he took his stance.

    Can someone send a note down to the dugout to address this please?

  12. james garrett

    Great job by Bonilla but offense has taken all 3 games off this series.We should have won them all and we can’t waste good pitching from the starters because we are last in the league in ERA for a reason.Offense will come around I feel but it is still a work in process because of the young guys in the lineup.Schebler is the real deal because he hits it hard,can take it out to all fields,takes his walks and if does get his OBP up around 340 then he gets an extension right now if I am GM.I don’t see him as another Bruce because of two things.His swing is not loopy thus more line drives and he does cut down his swing with two strikes.It would interesting to look at his combines stats from when he came back up last year until now.As for Suarez he may become a monster at third because of his youth and his all round play of offense and defense.What a difference a full year has made at third base defensively.He makes all the plays.

  13. Scotly50

    The Reds let another good pitching performance go to waste. Great job by Bonilla.

    The Reds had more hits, and walks, than the Giants. The Reds could not get it done with runners on. Hope they turn it around Sunday.

  14. Kurt Frost

    After 17 innings and with just about everyone pitching the night before (or the same day) you aren’t giving Bonilla enough credit for going out there and pitching a complete game. I don’t care how old he is or if he is a prospect, that was huge.

  15. spaulson50@gmail.com

    Even when Schebler makes outs, he putting the ball in play. Giants broadcasters Duane Kuiper and especially, Mike Krukow waxed poetic about Schebler. Said this guy is a hitter and dangerous because even when fooled, he can hurt you. Liner to Tomlinson at 3rd with 2 on the example.

  16. doofus

    To soon to pull the plug on Peraza. Yeah, he might be a super-sub type player, but that should be determined down the road. plus, consider the Reds aren’t loaded with capable mid-infield prospects.

  17. doofus

    I’m just enjoying watching some competitive Red’s games for once.

  18. James H.

    A little late to the party for this board, but Steve, I wish you would post an article everyday. Your articles are that good.