FanGraphs had a number of pieces about the Reds in the last couple of days, so I thought I’d round them up for those of you who missed them. This is my gift to you.
Eno Sarris took a look at Luis Castillo, and wondered whether he has what it take to become an ace for the Reds:
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve watched the Reds recently, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve probably noticed that they can score some runs. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re among the top five or six in the National League no matter which offensive metric you choose for your sorting, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s based around a core that may only lose Zack Cozart next year. For this team, then, the future is dependent on pitching Ã¢â‚¬â€ and finding an ace among the many different arms theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve acquired over the years. Is it possible they have that ace in Luis Castillo?
Joey Votto is doing that thing again. You know, that thing where he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make outs. That thing where he makes himself the one guy on the Reds worth watching on a regular basis. Under even normal circumstances, Votto is arguably the gameÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best hitter. Over the past three weeks or so, VottoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s caught fire. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s led baseball in average, wRC+, and OBP, surpassing second place in the latter stat by damn near 100 points. In case you havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t heard, Votto has reached base at least two times for 19 games in a row. Only Ted Williams, Pete Rose, and Barry Bonds have put together longer such streaks, and WilliamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ leading streak is but two games away.
Finally, David Laurila has a really interesting interview with Tucker Barnhart that covers a lot of different topics. Definitely worth a read:
Tucker Barnhart has quietly emerged as one of the better backstops in baseball. He leads MLB catchers in Defensive Runs Saved (14) and fielding percentage (.999), and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thrown out 22 of 50 runners attempting to steal. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coming around with the bat, as well. The switch-hitter is slashing a solid .271/.340/.398. Lauded for his leadership, Barnhart is becoming an increasingly vital part of the Cincinnati RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ rebuild.
On which Reds pitchers have the best stuff: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I would say that Raisel Iglesias has some of the best stuff we have, if not the best. Luis Castillo Ã¢â‚¬â€ a guy we got in a trade for Dan Straily Ã¢â‚¬â€ has remarkable stuff. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a joy to catch. Those guys would probably be my choices.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They both have plus fastballs. Iglesias changes arm angles to where heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll drop down to a lower three quarters, but he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t lose any velocity when he does that. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s consistently between 96-100 from both angles, which is really rare. And then Luis CastilloÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s changeup is tremendous. Couple that with the fact that he throws 100 mph, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fun to call a game for him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As a matter of fact, I encourage you to read all of these pieces. Good stuff.