Like the entirety of the Reds 2017 season, this past week has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows. We finally saw Homer Bailey pitch on a major league mound for the first time in what seems like forever – only to see him chased from the game in the second inning. We saw Brandon Finnegan come back from injury – only to see him leave the game with an injury. We saw a young star come up and pitch his best – while yet another one of his counterparts was sent back to Louisville for seasoning.
The Reds are solidly in last place in the NL Central, thanks to a few weeks of losing. Any thoughts of contending in 2017 should have been tempered from the start, and now are all but gone. It’s time to turn to watching the trade deadline, and hoping for next year.
But, there are still games to be played. Some of your Redlegs are actually performing pretty well! However, as expected when you see this many losses up on the schedule, a lot of them aren’t up to snuff. Here’s who’s been up and who’s been down over the last week.
.385/.429/.692 | 189 wRC+
With Zack Cozart on the DL for much of the Reds latest losing skid, Scooter Gennett has been given the opportunity to play every day in his stead. Replacing Cozart in the two hole, Gennett has looked right at home in the Reds lineup. In a season like this, a stretch of starts like the ones he’s received is about the best Scooter could hope for. The season is more about getting young guys reps, even if they aren’t performing (I think we all know who I’m talking about). Scooter is definitely building his case as a trade candidate, or preferably, a solid bench bat for the next few years in Cincinnati.
Last 7 Days
Devin Mesoraco: 18PA | .333/.444/.400 | 134 wRC+
Tucker Barnhart: 10PA | .700/.700/1.200 | 399 wRC+
What can you say about Devin Mesoraco? While he certainly isn’t back to his All-Star peak performance, Mesoraco came back from the DL this season as a solid every day regular for the lineup. Expectations were tempered for the Reds catcher this season, and in my opinion they still should be for a while. But, Devin has proven he’s healthy and ready to play, which is more than we could say in 2015 or 2016.
Meanwhile, Tucker Barnhart continues to be one of the best backup catchers in the MLB. On the season he’s batting .285/.335/.411 with 8.4 points in FanGraph’s defensive metric, good for third in the MLB even with his limited playing time. The Reds are in an interesting position here with Tucker – he’s definitely good enough to be starting for more than a few teams in the majors, and would undoubtedly be a great trade chip. However, he’s also one of the better backup catchers we’ve seen come through Cincinnati in some time, and would provide the team with an insurance policy on the fragile Mesoraco. We’ll see how things play out over the next few weeks.
5IP | 5H, 5BB, 5Ks, 2ER (2 solo home runs)
If this were any other starting pitcher, the numbers wouldn’t jump off the page at all. However, with this being a young man making the jump from AA Pensacola to the big leagues, I think you can call Luis Castillo’s first outing with the Reds a success. In a rotation that’s been plagued with inconsistency ever since the Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos trades, a little bit of this kind of performance every once in a while is desperately needed. It looks like Castillo will get a shot to stick in the rotation for a little bit. Let’s hope he bucks the recent trend of young Reds pitchers being wildly inconsistent, and sticks in the rotation for a long time.
Honorable mentions: Tony Cingrani, Scott Feldman, Jesse Winker, Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall
Last 7 days
.200/.231/.240 | 20 wRC+
This three down list will have a few regular members this week. Hamilton continues to struggle in 2017, and you’ve got to start wondering if he’ll ever get it. There’s not anything I can say about his game that hasn’t already been said in this article numerous times – his defense and baserunning continue to be above average, but how long can you live with that slashline? It’s definitely time to find a new leadoff hitter, and it’s probably time to start seeing which teams think Hamilton can be a reclamation piece for their future plans. He has no room in this crowded outfield picture for the Reds, even if he’s faster than else playing the game.
Last 7 days
Again, there’s not much here that I can say that hasn’t been said before. Jose Peraza is currently on pace to get hit by a pitch more often than working a walk of his own this season, which hasn’t happened to a qualified hitter since the early 1900s. He hasn’t taken a walk since May 21st. That kind of approach just won’t cut it in today’s game, especially as a light hitting speed type. Peraza doesn’t have the plus baserunning and defense excuse Hamilton has to stick in the lineup. Peraza’s excuse is youth, which is more credible, and maybe a little more frustrating. It will be interesting to see what the timeshare at second base will be like when Zack Cozart is healthy again.
Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan
Statistics don’t necessarily matter here, but these two starts probably went as bad as anyone could have thought they would go. Bailey got chased from the game early, after clearly having no command on his fastball. Finnegan looked passable in his first three innings, but grimaced on a pitch in the fourth and is likely headed back to the DL.
At what point do we start looking at the Reds medical staff? Somewhere along the line it seems as though someone is doing something wrong. Whether that be trainers, nutritionists, surgeons – something is wrong in the process if we’re seeing this many young pitchers get hurt at this rate.
Who were your three up, three down this week? Let us know in the comments!