2018 Reds

A Crowd in the Corners

Recently, one Chaddington Q. Dotson tweeted the following tweet:

If you’re a Reds fan, you probably know who those players are. Player A is Adam Duvall; Player B is Scott Schebler. While I would point out to old Quince – as we sometimes call Chad – that this is Duvall’s age-28 season (he only just turned 29 and Schebler will turn 27 in a month), it’s a worthwhile comparison. They are, largely, the same player. Except not quite.

As noted, there is the age difference, meaning that Duvall’s decline is closer than Schebler’s, at least in theory. Also, Schebler was hurt for a good chunk of the year and playing hurt pulled his numbers down. Duvall has no such excuse. Oh, and last, Schebler seems to have figured out how to draw a walk, as his 8.1% walk rate is just below league average.

Now, I was hard on Adam Duvall a lot on these hallowed electronical pages, but I have since been converted. I think he is a useful player. That isn’t the question. The question is: who should play?

And this is the question because Jesse Winker HAS to play. It’s time. And none of the three can really play an effective center field (though Schebler can fill in when need be). Winker’s OBP makes him a perfect top-of-the-order hitter and the Reds have seemed willing to actually let him hit there. So he plays. Then the question: Schebler or Duvall?

I gotta take Schebler. It’s not that I’d necessarily bet on him to be any better than Duvall next year. It’s that, odds are, there’s a slightly better chance he will be better next year. So you take the odds. You can certainly make an argument for playing all three, and I might even make that argument with you, but the Reds are probably going to be looking to make some trades this winter and Schebler and Duvall are two of their best and most trade-able assets. Because the Reds don’t need both of them. For a fourth outfielder, they’ll likely do just fine with Phillip Ervin, who can probably handle center if Billy Hamilton gets hurt again.

But it’s a very tough call. I keep talking myself in circles here. I don’t really know what I think the Reds should do.  I suppose with the outfield we should lay it out like this:

  1. Winker plays
  2. The Reds need a legit backup CF because Hamilton is fragile
  3. Duvall or Schebler plays
  4. Neither Winker, Duvall, or Schebler is a legit backup CF
  5. Ervin probably is

Thus, the Reds have the following options:

  1. Keep five outfielders.
  2. Trade Hamilton
  3. Trade Schebler
  4. Trade Duvall

And again, I probably go with option 4. Duvall (I think) has the most trade value and is probably still the most likely to decline, but I can also see the case for option 2.

The good thing, however, is that the Reds have at least four and possibly five (depending on how you feel about Ervin) outfielders with real major league value. This is a good problem to have and there probably isn’t a wrong answer. What do you think?

56 thoughts on “A Crowd in the Corners

  1. I’d “trade Hamilton” if only to limit the # of low OBP options for the Manager to put in the lineup. Another option would be to trade Pereza.

  2. Trade no one, UNLESS another team is willing to overpay.

    Odds are, one or more outfielders are going on the DL next year. And there is enough playing time to go around for four starting outfielders. Keep Ervin at AAA to start the year, and he’s the first person called up when Hamilton goes on the DL (which he will eventually).

    The main thing I don’t want to do is give away an outfielder to create playing time.

    • I thought Ervin is out of options, I thought either he makes big league roster or any team can claim him- anybody know his exact situation

    • It’s just from the noise I’ve seen. Duvall has a little more of a track record, too. I might be entirely wrong.

      • I guess I see it as Schebler having more value but Duvall having more of a market as teams might not be willing to meet Schebler’s price tag and he is still somewhat unproven over a full year.

        Although they are both interesting because they were both seen as throw ins initially, meaning the Reds could be placing more value on them then other teams which means the FO will never be satisfied with anything anyone can offer.

  3. I agree that it’s time for some kind of move from the outfield group. I think you trade from the pool of available players to get the best return from the trade. I think based on our situation, the best return is what matters most, not which of the 4 is traded.

    1. Duvall
    2. Hamilton
    3. Winker
    4. Schebler
    etc…

    I personally would like to see schebler get a shot in center field for an extended period to see how far from average he is on defense there. I believe he could be better than Hamilton overall there and be a 2.5 war player.

    How quick will Hamilton’s speed and defensive prowess decline from age 26 – 29?

  4. Trade Hamilton. You don’t need a lead off hitter with a sub .300 on base percentage. This is an easy choice. Joe Morgan once said schebler could be batting .300 if he gets it at some point.

    Duvall is Duvall. Every team needs one because 3 things are gonna happen. Either a HR, Double, or strikeout. He puts a some fear into some pitchers by being a true slugger. I’ll take his numbers if he gave me a .255 with 100 RBI.

    The issue is Hamilton. Let winker learn center. Hamilton just doesn’t have the muscle to take on most power pitchers. Schebler might be a better option at lead off than Hamilton. Imho.

    • Winker does not have the speed or the defensive ability to play CF. He is barely adequate in the field, though I suppose he will get better.

    • Hamilton in center is a must. Just don’t bat him leadoff against lefties. His obp is .320 against righties

  5. Diabetes is no joke and the season is long. I think Duvall would be fine with more rest in the 2nd half. Give him more rest vs righties. Its a pretty straightforward solution imo. Its too complex for Price though….earlier he would sit Mesoraco vs lefties when Barnhart has always been much weaker batting right-handed. I like Schebler but his swing is too long and he loses to many hits to the shift! I’d still rather keep Schebler/Ervin for CF and let Billy do his thing elsewhere. Billy is going to wear down if you play him every day like this year, and he’s so fragile that there’s a great chance that you pay him $6 mil or whatever and he misses half the season. Plus if they trade him, then he can’t lead off:)

  6. Let’s not forget Price. The Reds GM will have to manager-proof the roster in order for Winker or Ervin to even sniff the everyday lineup.

    Hamilton is the only player I’m inclined to trade. I think you can find enough playing time for Duvall, Schebler, and Winker. The bar to replace Hamilton’s production is sooo low, you’d have to be the worst GM in baseball not to upgrade with any choice you make.

      • The undervaluing of his defense by many boggles my mind! No business in the leadoff spot but the Reds don’t have another legit CF option.

  7. For 2017:

    Schebler – 102 wRC+
    Duvall – 100 wRC+
    Hamilton – 65 wRC+

    So, two league average players and one offensive liability, but Havoc! on the basepaths (when he gets on).

    Duvall doesn’t begin arbitration until after the 2019 season, Schebler until after 2020. Hamilton is making $2.5 million and entering year two of arbitration this winter.

    If anyone offers anything of value for Hamilton, trade him immediately. Personally, I think his trade value is limited now and will only diminish each year going forward.

    Duvall – Schebler/Ervin – Winker
    Kivlehan from bench (or whoever else)

    This is the cheapest outfield setup possible, also with the most control and most future growth.

    Start with this in 2018, since it will likely be a sorting of pitching year and assess at year’s end. Duvall and Schebler are still controllable then, and may have raised their value.

    • I don’t know how it would work long term, but they could go into next season w/Billy as a defensive replacement/pinch-runner. In theory, if your pitching improves greatly, then we won’t need 4 diving catches a game just to stay within 3 runs! He could also make a difference on the bases late in a 1 run game! If Schebler/Ervin didn’t hit enough and were complete hacks in CF then you still have Billy.

  8. Defense matters and is the deciding factor between he two. Duvall is above average while Schebler is below average.

    Winker should start everyday and bat within the top two spots of the lineup. Duvall should get the majority of starts but like a catcher start 2/3 of the games due to his condition and proclivity for slumping; he or Schebler batting 6th or 7th is appropriate. Schebler and Ervin can be decent 4th options, with Ervin spelling BH when BH struggles, expect that fairly often throughout the year. Hopefully the reds find better options in the interim. Of course BH bats 8th unless he’s in a hot streak, he has a few of those each season.

    • Took the words right off of my keyboard, Da Bear. There’s opinion being mooted about that defense is less important now than it used to be, considering the surge in power across MLB. If this is true, it’s a transitory condition due to, maybe, the emergence of so many young pitchers who throw hard but have little command, a juiced ball or the ways in which teams evaluate and develop players. It seems likely to me that antidotes to this are being worked upon or will be soon. And in the meantime, no pitcher strikes out 27 guys per nine innings, or even close, so defense has to be considered. Along with offense, of course.

    • Well said DaBear. Except never bat Billy 8th in front of the pitcher. If he is moved it needs to be to 9th

  9. None of these outfielders are the bulwark of durability.

    BHam and Winker appear to be injured with the same frequency.

    Schiebler was on the DL for an insidious, lingering type of injury.

    Duvall doesn’t appear capable of 154 games of above average production as he wears out. Prolly ideal production is 120-130 games.

    I trade no one.

    • only Votto can trade Votto

      Billy is my trade option with a pitching trinket. If he is not traded then Duvall, the all star, almost gold glover, 2 x’s 30/100 has the prettiest resume.

      All depends on what you get in return. they are cheap enough that you can carry all of them again next year. If Cozart is resigned, I definitely want to trade Billy as Peraza can play CF once Senzel is up

  10. Feeling bad about pointing out Adam’s offensive detriments but they scream out:

    .30O On base
    Leads MLB in stranded runners

    Trading him for a leadoff “hitter” or middle of rotation pitcher is tempting.

    • Not offensively detrimental is being in 9th place in the ML with 67 XBH, or being tied for 3rd place with 9 sacrifice flys, or even tied for 23rd place with 9 HBP. Adam’s being paid peanuts & with 4 more years of team control, I see no temptation at all- unless someone offers a top 25 prospect & a couple more top 100 prospects.

  11. Keep Duvall. I think the offense is about equal and Duvall is the best we’ve seen in LF in forever. Winker does need to play RF and that’s just the raw facts. Trade Billy if you cannot bear batting him 8th or 9th. If you do that, you get Ervin or some other young prospect.

    Schebler stays as a 4th and LH bat off the bench. His defense won’t cut it in CF (neither will Winker’s) but if you get the right offer, take it.

    Aside from Winker, none of these guys will be in the Reds OF in 3 years anyway. Billy may benefit from a change in scenery and a club where the manager won’t bat him first. He is way to expensive to use as the mythical late-inning defense or PR situation.

    • He is way to expensive to use as the mythical late-inning defense or PR situation.

      Overall yes…but not for half a season to see what happens? Its basically hedging your bet!

  12. Besides the issue of defense (Duvall much better than Schebler), there is also the issue of becoming left centric in power. Right now you have Votto and Schebler power left handers (and some Scooter on the side) with Duvall and Suarez power right handers (with the likely soon departing Cozart on the side). No one being mentioned would replace the power right handed bat of Duvall.

  13. The central problem is all 3 outfielders aren’t complete players. Joey Votto, Zach Cozart and Eugenio all have individually accumulated more WAR than the 3 combined collectively.

  14. There just seems to be a match made in baseball heaven or the Reds to trade Billy Hamilton (plus pitching) to the Miami Marlins to roam that spacious OF. The Marlins with new ownership might be parting with some assets. The Marlins CF Christian Yelich might be the bestest option to go after for the Reds. The Reds would have to overwhelm the Marlins, but for Yelich overwhelm them with pitching. The Reds would be exceptionally positioned to be trading with a team entering the rebuild phase with all the depth in the younger talent, some that is almost MLB ready, some a couple of years away.
    Yelich is a #3 hitter, but does do well in the #2 hole and leadoff spots. A reason the Marlins might trade Yelich, is he is set to start to earn the bulk of the $49.6M / 7 year deal he signed. He has coming $7M in ’18. $9.8M in ’19, $12.5M in ’20, and $14M in ’21. A team option at $15M for 2022. So he is getting $44.5M over the next 4 years, or $58.3M over 5 years. Not too expensive for a 5 fWAR player. Overwhelm them with young pitching. Mesoraco comes off the books after 2018 and Bailey after 2019. It is very affordable. Overwhelm them with young pitching. Marlins not interested in BHam? Duvall could work out and go to Miami then, and Yelich in LF. It works both ways. Ozuna can play CF in Miami too.

    • I was just going to say pretty much the exact same thing. It may cost a lot in terms of trade package however but it can be done. My trade idea:

      -Hamilton
      -Winker
      -Stephenson
      -Either Reed, Garrett, or Rookie Davis

      Would hate to part with Winker, but that would probably be the headliner. Besides, Yelich is pretty much Winker but with more speed and can play center

    • I think the only young pitching the Reds can overwhelm the Marlins with is giving them back Castillo. But it would still take a package of Castillo and a healthy Disco for the Marlins to talk trade. They’re probably done dealing with the Reds for awhile.

  15. I’m not sold on Winker…yet. History of wrist injuries, average HR power for a corner OF and his defense isn’t going to wow anyone. Yeah, he’ll probably hit for average but does that mean he should start ahead of Duvall, Hamilton or Schebler? One of those three needs to traded in order to make room IMO.

    • I never knew your formal name was “Chaddington Q. Dotson”. Very sophisticated. The things you learn at RLN…

      As for the question you posed, can I choose option C, neither? I’d rather have Byron Buxton. Can we package Schebler and Barrett Astin for him? Oh never mind, I see that the Reds have already released Astin. Oh well…

  16. Roster moves.
    Winker activated from the DL.
    Deck Maguire and Keury Mella called up from AA.
    RP Barrett Astin DFA’d.

    The Reds 2018 schedule is out. They have interleague with the AL Central. That is great news. CHW is rebuilding. DET is moving in the rebuild direction. KC will get hit hard by free agency and may be entering the rebuild again. The Twins can be handled. Just the Indians pose a problem at this time, which the Reds will have 6 games against.

  17. I’m not a big Billy fan. But, his defense is elite,& of course he creates havoc on base paths. I wouldn’t mind keeping him in Center, but he has too bat 8th or 9th. But I don’t like the idea of Peraza & Billy in the same lineup. I’d like to package Peraza in a deal for a starter. I do believe you need a strong defense up the middle.

  18. I will have to go with option 2 but it really comes down to what the Reds want.I personally don’t see Billy being traded.I think his speed and defense are more valuable to the Reds management then anything the other three guys,four if you throw in Ervin,bring to the table.I say that because Billy will finish up his fourth year and they have all been basically the same offensively and yet he still leads off,gets the most at bats.strikes out almost 24% of the time and has shown no power playing in GABP.He will be back for year 5 doing the same.

  19. Nice work, Jason. I feel like none of these options are very satisfying. But, I’d say the first instinct of the Reds FO would be option 1. What’s holding them back is they also want to carry 13 relievers and 3 catchers on the roster so they are a bit strapped for spots on the 25 man.

    • I don’t think they’ll carry 3 catchers next season. Turner can be sent to AAA. This year he had to be kept on the 25-man so that wasn’t an option.

  20. Winker should play everyday in left field. Platoon Billy and Ervin in center with Billy getting most of the starts against right handed pitching. I think it’s time to go back to the idea of platooning Schebler and Duvall in right field. Check out the numbers:

    Schebler – OPS
    2016: .792 vs RHP, .608 vs LHP
    2017: .801 vs RHP, .780 vs LHP
    Career: .803 vs. RHP, .721 vs LHP

    Duvall – OPS
    2016: .795 vs RHP, .795 vs LHP
    2017: .756 vs RHP, .908 vs LHP
    Career: .777 vs RHP, .792 vs LHP

    The splits aren’t drastic, but splitting up the number of starts could keeps all guys fresh. Schebler could also get some starts in centerfield when not starting in right to get Duvall in more games and to give Billy some rest so that he can “wreak havoc on the bases.”

  21. June 1, 2018

    1. Jesse Winker RF
    2. Nick Senzel 2B
    3. Joey Votto 1B
    4. Eugenio Suarez 3B
    5. Zack Cozart SS
    6. Scott Schebler LF
    7. Tucker Barnhart C
    8. Billy Hamilton CF
    9. SP

    Rotation
    Homer Bailey
    Anthony Desclafani
    Luis Castillo
    Sal Romano
    Brandon Finnegan

  22. A thing to consider is the Reds play around 119 of their games in 5 stadiums (GAP, Wrigley, PNC, Busch, Miller) and PNC is the only one which speed in center can be considered a factor (deep left-center gap) in that case to me Hamilton is the odd man out. Billy’s D would definitely be an asset in Miami, Detroit, and even Colorado but if about 73% of your schedule takes place in ballparks with small or average dimensions then you can probably get by with Schebler playing center the majority of the time.

  23. Over the last 2 seasons, according to Fangraphs, Billy Hamilton has a 329 OBP against right handed pitching and only 254 against lefties. A 329 OBP is good enough when added to his defensive and base running value. He should sit against all left handed starters.
    Schebler can play CF in a pinch, is average in the corners. Career 803 OPS vs right handers and 721 vs left.
    Duvall is above average in LF but cannot play center. Career 777 OPS vs right handed pitching and 792 vs left.
    I don’t know where to find Winker’s or Ervin’s minor league splits and they don’t have enough at-bats in the majors to make a judgment from.
    If Ervin can play a decent center field against left-handed pitching then I say we keep him as the 4th outfielder with Duvall, Hamilton and Winker starting against right-handed starting pitchers.
    This keeps Hamilton’s defense in center most games while limiting his offensive short-comings against left-handed pitching. It also provides the most balance with 2 right-handed hitters and 2 left-handed.

      • I don’t know if he’s ever, in his entire baseball life, faced a LHP as a LH hitter in a live game. Heck, I doubt he’s even done it much just goofing around. He was drafted as a natural RH hitter. I don’t think hitting from the left side only is an option. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t even considerably more worse as a LH batter vs LHP.

    • I think all of us can agree the Reds should carry 4 or 5 outfielders and mix and match but it won’t happen.To mix and match you have to be in tune with what the data says and we may know and suggest this or that based on the data but Price doesn’t amange that way.Sure he knows Billy only gets on 30% of the time but in his mind he scores when he does get on not even acknowledging the fact somebody has to drive him in.

      • Most times but there are the occasional Billy runs. Just a little levity don’t anyone go of on me

  24. I think you have to have a CF that can actually play center-field. Therefore, you need to keep Hamilton unless he’s moved as part of a package that includes a CF. That seems unlikely to happen. Duvall plays better defense than Schebler and his power comes from the right side. He’s older however and his OBP is lower. He hits arb a year sooner. I think whoever fetches the most return between Duvall and Schebler is your odd man out.

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