What would Bryan Price say?
Some Redleg Nation readers have suggested that a reporter should ask Price about his thought process in placing the 140th and 141st worst on-base percentage hitters (out of 157 qualifiers) at the top of his lineup, as happened yesterday (and again today) with Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza.
Clearly, Price has shown that he has a short temper when he feels he has been unfairly questioned by a beat reporter. (Audio: Price rant with 70 f-bombs bleeped out.)
It’s important to realize that each beat reporter has to maintain a decent working relationship with the people they cover. If not, the reporter can get “overlooked” when it comes time for someone like the manager to release breaking news items to the media. In today’s media environment, if you’re not first with a breaking news item, you’re essentially last. Reporters who consistently get beaten by their counterparts from other news organizations don’t last long in the business. So there is a lot for any reporter to think about before approaching the manager and pointing out, in essence, that he appears to be ignoring statistics and analytics that show clearly how certain players perform in certain situations.
Today, Hamilton will be batting righthanded against a lefthanded starter. As a righthanded batter, Hamilton is batting .209, with a .225 on-base percentage (thanks to a 2 percent walk rate as a righthanded batter, compared to a 25 percent strikeout rate).
You have to understand that Price is trying to convince the front office that he should be brought back as the manager in 2018, so he is doing what he thinks gives his team the best chance to win, while at the same time going through the “sorting” exercise. So batting Hamilton and Peraza 1-2 is not some sort of in-your-face statement to fans and critics. It’s what, in his mind, gives the Reds the best shot of winning that day.
So if asked the question about why Hamilton and Peraza are batting 1 and 2, he might say something like this:
“We are eighth in the majors and sixth in the National League in runs scored, despite being only 17th in the majors in team batting average, so we’re doing something right.”
Clearly that would overlook the potential improvements of having people on base much more often when Joey Votto and Adam Duvall come to bat.
Price was asked on a recent radio pre-game show about batting Jesse Winker (he of the .390 on-base percentage) leadoff that day when Hamilton had the day off. Price responded that Winker was not the prototype leadoff batter with speed (I am paraphrasing). It became crystal clear at that moment that in Price’s mind, it’s speed and not on-base percentage that defines who is a leadoff batter and who is not. And it appears that no amount of pleading from Redleg Nation and sabermetricians will change that fact.
We’ll see how it unfolds today as the Reds go for the road sweep against the Braves at SunTrust Park.
Today’s matchup is between a couple of rookie pitchers with many similarities. Both are 24 years old, both came from other organizations in trades (Newcomb came from the Angels in the Andrelton Simmons trade; Castillo from the Marlins for Dan Straily), and both are showing good strikeout pitches but some lack of control at times.
It seems clear that Castillo, if he continues pitching as he has, will start the 2018 season at the top of the Reds rotation. Here are a couple of glass half-full and glass half-empty perspectives on Castillo from authors who don’t follow the Reds every day. Interesting reading.
Raisel Iglesias should be available today after being given an intentional day off in Saturday’s win. The only reliever we’re not likely to see is Asher Wojciechowski, who pitched two innings Saturday.
|CF Billy Hamilton||CF Ender Inciarte|
|SS Jose Peraza||3B Brandon Phillips|
|1B Joey Votto||1B Freddie Freeman|
|LF Adam Duvall||RF Nick Markakis|
|3B Eugenio Suarez||C Tyler Flowers|
|2B Scooter Gennett||LF Matt Adams|
|RF Scott Schebler||2B Ozzie Albies|
|C Tucker Barnhart||SS Dansby Swanson|
|P Luis Castillo||P Sean Newcomb|
News and Notes
Can a player from a last-place team win the league Most Valuable Player award?
Joey Votto builds a strong case to win NL MVP in 2017
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) August 20, 2017
Alex Rodriguez did so in 2003 with the Texas Rangers, and Andre Dawson did with the Cubs in 1987, so there is precedent.
Another spot in the record books for Scooter Gennett …
Gennett is the 7th #Reds hitter to hit 3 grand slams in a season.
2014 Devin Mesoraco was last to do it.
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) August 20, 2017
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) August 20, 2017
Minor league update …
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) August 20, 2017