2017 Reds / Three Down / Three Up

Three Up, Three Down – May 23, 2017

 

It’s been a tough week to be a Reds fan. In a way, the week has been great. There are maybe more candidates for the ‘Three Up’ list this week than there has been since the early weeks in the season.

The win/loss record, however, leaves a ton to be desired. Even though most of us came into 2017 expecting the Reds to lose a ton of games, it seems the early successes of the team has already spoiled us a little. Had you said the Reds would be 21-23 on May 23rd at the beginning of the season, a lot of us would have been happy with that. But we’ve seen that this team can have some real success against some real competition. Maybe it’s a good thing we’re a little less pleased with almost-.500 than we might have been at the onset of the season.

With that, let’s take a look at who’s up, and who’s down.

Three Up

Devin Mesoraco

Last 7 Days
.500/.600/1.000  |  1 BB/K  |  300 wRC+ in 10 PAs

Don’t look now, but 2014 Devin Mesoraco has made an appearance. It might only be 10 ABs, but this past week has been blistering for the former All-Star catcher, posting o.3 WAR in 10 ABs. He’s been above average in all three facets of the game, scoring 2.7 Off, 0.4 Def and 0.1 BsR in the three Fangraphs metrics. He’s walked just as much as he’s struck out, and is playing great defense behind the plate.

More importantly perhaps than the numbers is the eye test. Early on in his recovery, it was clear Devin was rusty. That doesn’t look to be the case anymore. He’s smoked quite a few balls to left field, and seems to be crushing fastballs at a rate better than his breakout 2014. That won’t last, of course, because small sample sizes are a sports bloggers least favorite thing. One thing that can be said, though, is that Mesoraco is off to a hot start to his season, just like Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez did at the beginning of their season.

Eugenio Suarez

Last 7 Days
.364/.423/.773  |  0.5 fWAR  |  30.8 K%

And the train keeps rolling. Yet another bounce back performance by a key member of the Reds lineup redeems himself, removing himself from the Three Down list and cementing himself in the Three Up list the next week. I’m starting to think the front office should just hire me.

Suarez has done nothing but be the 9th most valuable position player in baseball according to FanGraphs over the last week. After a week in which he looked lost at the plate more times than not, Suarez showed that making adjustments against the adjustments pitchers have made to face him is a tool in his repetoire. He’s hammered the snot out of the ball this year, showing easy power at times, and continues to play gold glove defense.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Suarez might be the most important piece of the Next Great Reds Team that’s already on the 25 man roster. The skillset he’s shown so far in 2017 is one a team can be built around. His jolly nature on and off the field is one I can definitely get behind as a fan, and the numbers are speaking for themselves. Love me some Geno.

Joey Votto

Last 7 days: .316/.519/.684  |  204 wRC+  |  25.9 BB%, 7.4 K%

 

I wasn’t going to include Votto in this list, because he’s so often included in these things, and there are a ton of other players that deserve to be on this list this week. But how can you ignore what Votto’s done of late? He’s getting on base more than half of the time, walking over a quarter of the time, and shutting up the haters with his bombs and his ribbies. He’s also been playing not-horrible defense, which was a point of his heading into the season.

He’s been the complete package, and I’m not surprised, and I kind of wish he would play forever. He’s the player I’ll be telling my kids about, and this week he’s been amazing.

Honorable mentions: Zack Cozart, Scott Schebler, Jose Peraza, Asher Wojciechowski, Raisel Iglesias, Robert Stephenson, 

Three Down

 

The Entire Pitching Staff

Last 7 days: 388.1 IP  |  4.17 BB/9  |  1.44 HR/9  |  4.87 FIP

We aren’t going to name three guys down this week. We’re going to name 9 guys down. Raisel Iglesias, Asher Wojciechowski, Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen get a pass, because they’ve been mostly good. They’re the only pitchers to have an ERA under 5.00 in the last seven days (in fact, they’re all 3.00 or under), and are probably single-handedly (or, rather, nine-handedly) at fault for the win/loss record sitting as low as it is.

Granted, the leaders of this group are injured. Instead, professional batting practice pitcher Bronson Arroyo is heading out every fifth day and handing out dingers like he’s Todd Frazier’s brother on All-Star weekend. I get his value to the team, and I realize that he’s a crucial piece, and he’s being forced into a starting role because, honestly, there’s no one else there to do it. But the sooner Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, and Anthony DeSclafani can get healthy, the better

As a whole, the Reds are at or close to the bottom of the league in just about every major pitching category. They’re a bottom three team in BB/9, HR/9, HR/FB, FIP, and fWAR. And that’s for the whole season, not just the last 7 days.

It’s an unfortunate situation. If the health was good, this team would be VERY fun to watch. But the health isn’t there, so all we get are flashes. But boy, those flashes are pretty dang good when they come, and painful when they go.

 

Who were your three up, three down this week? Let us know in the comments!

10 thoughts on “Three Up, Three Down – May 23, 2017

    • Thought about it. He ended up just missing the list. He’s up there, though, with everyone else clicking.

  1. Let’s keep the train rolling. Maybe next week the whole pitching staff will be three up. Then I say the Reds should hire you.

  2. Not entirely related, but I just stumbled on something…

    If you took Billy’s best 20 game stretch of his career (at the plate)…then you keep that level of production for 1300 games… you have Joey Votto’s offensive career. Both at 156 wRC+.

    Billy’s stretch happened in mid 2014.

  3. Joey Votto

    Last 7 days: .316/.519/.684 | 204 wRC+ | 25.9 BB%, 7.4 K%

    That’s insane, simply insane, but that’s Votto doing what no one else can do. What I find utterly fascinating is that Votto doesn’t appear to be having a great season just watching him play day to day. Such is the expectation Votto brings to the field…unparalleled excellence. One measuring stick for elite pitchers is a K/BB ration >3.0. Votto had a BB/K ratio >3.5 and he’s not just putting the ball in play while avoiding those pesky SO or even just getting on base. Votto is making an imprint on the game for future players to follow and emulate. Never, never ever give away an out and make something happen while avoiding those outs.

    A 1.005 OPS and a .299 ISO with an 11. 4 SO% and a 16.5% BB% is absurd. Votto is a machine on the field and he’s getting the supporting cast needed to take this team to a serious post-season run.

    • And all this with getting luck on ground balls. For his career he bats around .220 on grounders. This season he’s around .120.

      Ground balls find holes. Votto’s haven’t been finding many.

      And before anyone screams “SHIFT!” this is not a shift issue at the moment.

      • IMO…Hitting LESS ground balls has attributed to the gaudy numbers. And that’s a good thing, when you are hitting the ball hard. His grounders have typically been of the roll over to 2nd base variety. So…MORE air time Joey!

    • And Votto, to no one’s surprise, now leads the team in nearly every important offensive category except home runs (Schebler has one more), average (Cozart – though it’s debatable how important average is), and stolen bases (can’t remember who’s ahead of him). And that’s after another slow start. His at bats are indeed must see TV. And to me the most amazing thing about his success is, as Chris Welsh often points out, he frequently faces tougher pitching than most hitters. Opposing managers bring in their toughest relievers, often their monster LOOGY, just to face Votto. And still he hits. So much fun to watch.

  4. SHIFT!!!

    Seriously, Joey is going to have close to an MVP year, unless he gets hurt. He was so cold in the Spring of 2016, then got unimaginably hot after June 5.

    Asher W. (nope, not gonna do it) should get a couple of turns in the rotation. I give Bronson ONE MORE START, and then call in the dogs on him. I love the guy, but the last start against the Rockies was ridiculous. He cannot fool everybody all the time.

    Homer is working out. Desclafani was long throwing the other day. Finnegan will be working out in the minors soon. If they can get Homer and Finnegan back in late June, and Garret and Feldman can maintain, with either Asher or Adleman or Bonilla being the “5th starter”, this team might make a move.

    I don’t see the Cubs or the Cardinals running away with this, and not the Brewers (now in first place) either. 88 victories may win this division in 2017.

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