Here’s a little Friday grab bag for your reading pleasure.
Not Gonna Happen
With Monday’s July 31 trade deadline looming, circumstances are conspiring against Dick Williams and the Reds front office. It looks increasingly unlikely they’ll be able to make a trade of any importance to further the agenda of rebuilding a winning team.
Scott Feldman (injured)
Zack Cozart (injured)
Devin Mesoraco (too soon after injury)
Tony Cingrani (replacement level)
Drew Storen (replacement level)
Blake Wood (possible, but return would be small)
Here are remaining possibilities, contingent on finding a trading partner who is willing to pay full value (see: Marlins and Dan Straily):
Raisel Iglesias – Given salary, talent and length of control, would bring the biggest return. Remember: Always Be Trading Closers. Trade rumors about Iglesias have quieted.
Wandy Peralta – If Always Be Trading Closers is a thing, then Always Be Trading Relievers is an even stronger corollary. Bullpen arms are moving this trade period.
Scooter Gennett – With the ongoing struggles of Jose Peraza and fragile shoulder of Dilson Herrera, there’s a case to hang on to Gennett based on a suddenly available path to Second Baseman of the Next Good Reds Team. On the other hand, the odds are that his future will look more like his expendable past with Milwaukee than his impressive four months. Classic sell high candidate.
Scott Schebler – Schebler’s value is being undercut by his recent slump. Would be classic sell low situation.
Adam Duvall – The case for keeping Duvall is that he’s cheap and valuable. The case for trading: He’s got value, about to turn 29 and Jesse Winker.
Billy Hamilton – Hamilton’s continued offensive weakness makes him replaceable. He’s about to enter his second arbitration season. His defense would have more value to a team with a large outfield than the Reds.
All that said, it would be a surprise if the Reds got anything of significance done. The players on the second list aren’t in the must-trade category.
The Hard Parade
One of the new statistics collected by StatCast is the exit velocity of balls hit by batters. That’s a number which can be averaged. It’s a new enough stat – only collected since 2015 – that research hasn’t drawn firm conclusions about what it means. Although it’s reasonable to make the assumption that other things equal, it’s better to hit a ball hard than soft. A simple eyeball test reveals the most productive hitters are toward the top of the list.
If you screen for major leaguers with at least 160 balls hit in play this year and sort by Average Exit Velocity (AEV), that produces 234 players – about 8 hitters per team.
At the very top, it’s no surprise to find Aaron Judge (95.7 mph). Judge is two mph ahead of second place Miguel Sano. A few other swing-for-the-fence guys are in the top five. Then you get to Paul Goldschmidt (91.8), Freddie Freeman (91.5), JD Martinez (91.5) and Bryce Harper (91.4). They’re in the top 12. In the next 12, you’ll find Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Correa and Cody Bellinger.
But not all the great hitters are at the top of the list. In the range of the top 75-90, you’ll find Mike Trout (88.9), Anthony Rizzo (88.4) and Nolan Arenado (88.3). There’s clearly a kind of hitter who is still highly productive but for some reason has a slightly lower AEV than the guys at the very top.
So the connection between Average Exit Velocity and Good Hitter is not anywhere near a lock-stop progression. But the players we recognize as strong, capable players at the plate are higher, rather than lower.
Here are where the Reds rate as of today in Average Exit Velocity (mph):
- Scott Schebler (88.3)
- Adam Duvall (88.2)
- Joey Votto (87.0)
- Scooter Gennett (87.0)
- Eugenio Suarez (86.4)
- Zack Cozart (86.3)
- Tucker Barnhart (84.7)
- Devin Mesoraco (83.6)
- Michael Lorenzen (82.3)
- Arismendy Alcantara (81.7)
- Jose Peraza (81.6)
- Brandon Finnegan (79.7)
- Billy Hamilton (79.0)
The first four players are bottom-half of top-100 guys. After Zack Cozart, there’s a big drop.
Out of the 234 players with 160 balls hit, Jose Peraza ranks #229. Billy Hamilton ranks #234, nearly a full mph below #233, Dee Gordon. Hamilton’s year-to-year AEV:
- 2015 – 79.3 mph
- 2016 – 79.8 mph
- 2017 – 79.0 mph
Not much corner turning.
Baseball America just released its Top 10 players with power/speed combinations in the minor leagues. You’ll find two players from the Reds organization – Taylor Trammell (#8) and Jose Siri (#10) – on the list.
On Taylor Trammell:
“The Reds flexed financial muscle in the past two drafts, signing No. 2 overall picks Nick Senzel and Hunter Greene to the highest bonuses in their classes. But don’t overlook the athletic Trammell, a Georgia prep outfielder who shows advanced base stealing instincts now but will develop power as he matures.”
Hard not to be excited about this 19-year-old’s future.
About Jose Siri:
“Siri has a chance to lead the Midwest League in home runs and stolen bases this season, and he would get more play here if he weren’t 22 years old and a fifth-year pro. The right-handed batting Dominican showcases blazing speed and a quick bat, but he must prove his wild hitting approach will work at higher levels.”
Lots of good here, but you hate to see “wild hitting approach” mentioned.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.