2017 Reds / Three Down / Three Up

Three Up, Three Down – June 6, 2017

The Reds have been in a starting pitching-induced downward spiral as of late. After getting swept in Toronto and losing the Dat Dude Homecoming series against the Atlanta Braves, the Redlegs must have felt good getting a win against the heated rival Cardinals at home last night. None of these losses, with the exception of a few games in Canada, have been huge blowouts. The Reds offense and defense have kept them in games for the most part this season. These Three Up, Three Down lists have started to get closer to broken record territory, but let’s dive in.

Three Up

Most Valuable Player Zack Cozart

Last 7 Days
.304/.467/.913  |  4 HRs |  239 wRC+ in 30 PAs | 23.3% BB% vs 20% K%

 

Zack Cozart has been the most valuable player in Major League Baseball, non-Mike Trout division. Trout is now on the disabled list for what might be two months, which makes the Reds 31 year old Shortstop, who once hit .221/.268/.300 over more than 500 plate appearances in a season, the active major league WAR leader for the season. We’re not in small sample size land anymore. We’re very close to Zack Cozart, National League All-Star game starting Shortstop. We’re close to billions of stories written about a donkey in a clubhouse. We’re getting close to a hell of a return for the hottest hitter and defender in the league at the deadline.

I find it hard to believe that Cozart will only be asked about by teams with a hole at shortstop. This version of Cozart is an upgrade at the most important infield position for every major league baseball team right now.

 

Raisel Iglesias

Last 7 Days
3 IP, 5Ks, 1BB, 1 H, 0ER

The Reds closer hasn’t made many appearances in this column throughout the season, for many of the same reasons Joey Votto doesn’t make an appearance. We’re just so used to him being good, that it’s hard to tell if he’s hot or not. Iglesias is already halfway to his 2016 WAR total in 1/3 of the number of batters faced. He’s been very reliable in the traditional closer’s role, and is making his own case to be a Reds All-Star representative.

 

Michael Lorenzen

Last 7 days
6IP, 2H, 6K, 3BB, 0ER

Much like his bullpen counterpart Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen has been having a fantastic season as well. After tapering off after the blistering first few appearances of the season, Lorenzen has found his groove and has been one of the better late inning bullpen options in the league. He hasn’t given up multiple runs in an appearance since late April, and has only given up three runs since April 28th.

The calls for Lorenzen to start will probably persist as long as he’s wearing a Reds uniform. If Lorenzen hasn’t gotten a start while the likes of Jake Buchanan, Asher Wojciechowski, and Lisalverto Bonilla have, you’ve got to think the Reds front office is set on this young man as a bullpen option.

Honorable mentions: Joey Votto, Drew Storen, Jake Buchanan

Three Down

Billy Hamilton

Last 7 days
.150/.150/.150  |  0% BB%, 35% K%  |  -29 wRC+

For the second straight week, Billy Hamilton leads off both the Three Down list and, unfortunately for now, the Cincinnati Reds batting order. While still providing positive value in the field and on the base paths, Hamilton has been completely ineffective at the plate. The flashes of patience Billy has shown at times this season have been absent for the better part of a month at this point, There’s not much to say about his game at this point that hasn’t been said before. It’s now year four of the full-time Billy Hamilton, leadoff hitter experiment. It should probably be the last, if he keeps up this kind of production.

Amir Garrett

Last outing
2.2 IP, 7H, 8ER, 3BB, 3HR, 1K

It pains me to put Amir Garrett in this list, but it must be done. I love everything I’ve seen from this kid in his Reds tenure off the field, and he’s shown the ability to be a big league pitcher on the field at times. I was right behind the plate in the front row for Garrett’s start against the Braves, and it was clear that there was just something not right with the big lefty. Whether he’s still ailing from his injury, we won’t know for sure unless the club says so. Let’s hope he can get back on track, though. I want more than anything to Count on AG.

 

Blake Wood

Last 7 days
3.1 IP, 5ER, 3K, 2HR

The Blake Wood experiment seems to be coming to an end. I definitely get the transaction, and throughout Wood’s Reds tenure, there have been flashes of it potentially working. But Wood is not the late-inning reliever the Reds are trying to force him to be. The overall stats aren’t horrible – Wood’s 3.72 FIP and xFIP aren’t anything to sneeze at, especially for this pitching staff – but he’s proven that he can’t be relied on with the game on the line.

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

22 thoughts on “Three Up, Three Down – June 6, 2017

  1. I think you nailed it this week Jordan. At some point you’ll have to drop in an Up for the Reds bench. It’s not just that they’re no longer a smoldering pile of rejects and never gonna be’s but they have contributed. Gone are the Dusty Sunday lineups. Yes, there’s a drop off when Cozart or Duvall or Schebler sits, but it’s not such a cliff any more. And with the possible exception of Kivlehan, who I know intellectually is better than my heart wants to give him credit for, any of the bench bats might make some noise on any given night. Right now the only batter I cringe to see up in a key spot is Peraza (and lately Hamilton) and not a bench bat at all. Maybe there’s no one week when they’re Up, but for the season as a whole they’re a big Upgrade.

  2. Chris Welch was talking about Wood the other night, mystified by his lack of success despite a 97mph fastball and a “plus plus” breaking pitch. Just goes to show. What it goes to show, I don’t know, but it does.

    • It goes to show that being able to locate is equally important, if not more so, that simply having good stuff. The inability to throw strikes, and hit targets within the strike zone, is what is holding back guys like Stephenson and Reed.

      • Yes. Also Wood is a guy who goes as the flow goes. When things go slightly askew around him, he doesn’t seem to have that next level he can elevate to in order to escape with no damage. I don’t know if it is mental or physical or some combination of the two; but really good pitchers like Iggy and Lorenzen are able to elevate more often than not and reassert control of the situation.

  3. Billy needs to hit ninth,Peraza 7th and the pitcher in between.In late inning key spots with the game on the line you have to look at pinch hitting for these guys.Billy is not an RBI guy because he has no power and with the infield and the outfield playing in he hasn’t a chance.He also is prone to chase pitches.Peraza has more power and tends to swing at everything.He will put the ball in play because he rarely gets to two strikes but he usually swings at pitches out of the zone resulting in weak contact.Our bench is much better suited to be up in late inning situations then either of these two guys.

  4. I am not sure Alcantra, is a plus bench player. He has done a decent job in center but as far as his on base skills, he is Billy Hamilton light.

  5. Not to be that guy…but I will….

    Cozart’s BABIP is around 80 points higher than his xBABIP, and BABIP takes some 900 AB to begin to stabilize.

    So really, Cozart’s performance is still being influenced by small sample size. If it weren’t, we’d have to conclude he really IS the best player in baseball other than Mike Trout. Which he isn’t.

    I really like Cozart, always have, don’t get me wrong… but he’s been extremely fortunate. Couple that with his newfound discipline, and BOOM… all the WAR!

    • He’s on some kind of roll! In this last month I’ve seen him get a ton of hits where he actually gets an outside pitch off the plate and hooks it off the end of the bat and dumps it into short left or even down the line for a double. Trying to pull an outside pitch is a no-no for mere mortals but he always seems to have enough loft to get it over the infield!

    • This is where I think numbers fall short. If it takes a year and a half for BABIP to stabilize, then it’s barely useful asa measure because there are so many other variables introduced in that time frame that impact a player’s ability to perform: daily player health, intentional mental/physical adjustments, age degradation, defensive shifts, and whatever planetary alignment might be in effect.

      It seems like trying to mathematically corral a cat.

      Also, why is baseball that one area where past performance so dictates future results? Can players not improve/change? We can supposedly adapt as humans.

      Maybe improved analytical tools ARE helping players become better at what they do and they aren’t locked in to who they were a year and a half ago?

    • Not to be that guy….but Todd Frazier was Mike Schmidt in the first half of 2014… He was a top 3 MVP candidate in late June.

  6. Blake Wood has been really, really bad this year. As soon as I see him in a game during a high leverage situation I go do something else as I know the game is over. His last two games against Toronto and Atlanta, as soon as he was warming up before the inning started I got ready to take the dogs for a walk and the games were over before I could get out the door. I knew the carnage was coming, I just didn’t know how quickly it would be there. BAM, home run and the Reds are quickly behind.
    Blake Wood is this year’s JJ Hoover. Once good, but now very bad. A trade or a mercy release is hopefully in the very near future.

    • He’s also 32….if they were truly rebuilding then they’d give his high leverage time to Brice (.158 batt avg allowed).

      • Yes, you are right about Brice. Brice is not getting enough work as it is. Storen-Brice-Lorenzen-Iglesias should be the back end of the bullpen. Being a little generous saying Storen.

    • In all fairness to Wood, he hasn’t been nearly as bad as JJ Hoover was last year. While I don’t think he should be used in high-leverage situations, I’d put him above Buchanon and Bonilla at least as far as depth chart for the pen. As far as the pen, I’d put him above Stephenson and Reed as well.

      He is indeed not a part of the next Reds’ contender though and I’d pitch Brice or even Astin before I pitched Wood in a leverage situation.

  7. Wood has the stuff but 97 right down the middle belt high will be hit.He hangs too many sliders as well.He has had and will have some really good outings because of his velocity and overall stuff and sometimes hitters miss his mistakes.He can be nasty or awful and it doesn’t take but a couple of pitches to see which it will be today.Doesn’t fare well at all with the game on the line.

  8. On this date back in 2004, the Reds were in first place. They came back and beat the Expos with a Barry Larkin pitch hit, he came around to score with two outs (can’t remember who knocked him in) to win the game. It was also special because Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 497th & 498th home runs. The crowd was electric. As soon as he made contact on what would be his 498th home run, it seemed like everyone in the stadium knew it was a home run as soon as he swung. Everyone stood up on their feet and the sound of the crowd went silent. It was the coolest thing i’ve ever witnessed at a baseball game. The best part, it was on my birthday! Have a great day Redlegnation!

    • D’Angelo Jiminez got the game-winning RBI. Jacob Cruz also had a two-run jack in that ninth inning to score Brandon Larson, and Ryan Freel moved Larkin into scoring position.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN200406060.shtml

      That win put the Reds 12 games over .500. Then they went on a dreaded interleague road trip and promptly lost the next seven games. They never sniffed first place for the remainder of the season.

  9. If seen enough of Blake Wood. Definitely down. Think it’s a combo with Garrett of sending him down, which messed with his psyche, and hip injury. He’ll be fine. Cozart is playing at an All-Star level. Good for us if he’s traded.

  10. Cozart is having an amazing run. If he was 21 I would say he might be the next Cal Ripken. Since he is 31 and we have a 6 year record on him I would say the amazing run will end but it is fun to watch. As a short term rental he will not secure anything in a trade. Making it worse there is no team in the pennant races that needs a SS. In the off season he should be able to get a decent contract from some team.

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