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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!