The Reds outfield finished 28th out of 30 MLB in teams in 2017 in wRC+ (86). That probably comes as a bit of surprise to some, as the Reds as a team were pretty good offensively (they ranked 15th in the MLB in wRC+ at 96). That was because the Reds employed quite possibly their best offensive infield in team history.

If you look closer at the Reds outfielders in 2017, there some really good platoon splits.

Several things stand out when you look at the platoon splits.

Jesse Winker mashed against RHP, but really struggled in a very small sample against LHP. The minor league numbers for Winker support that he is a much better hitter vs RHP. He had an .888 OPS vs RHP at AAA in 2017, but had a .653 OPS vs LHP.

Scott Schebler was about average against both RHP & LHP, but was slightly better vs RHP. His career OPS splits are a little more drastic: .798 OPS vs RHP (665 PA); .729 vs LHP. It was even more drastic for Schebler in 2016 at AAA: .888 OPS vs RHP, .757 vs LHP.

Adam Duvall was much better vs LHP this season. The career splits aren’t as drastic: .767 vs RHP, .804 vs LHP. One important thing to remember about Duvall is that he is an elite defender in LF. Since the start of 2016, Duvall is tied with Billy Hamilton with 24 defensive runs saved, which is tied for the 10th most of any player at any position in the MLB.

Billy Hamilton was below average against RHP (although his .322 OBP is encouraging), but was miserable against LHP (a .241 OBP is about as bad as you can perform in the MLB). It was the second consecutive season that Hamilton was better vs RHP, as he had a .696 OPS vs RHP in 2016, and was .576 vs LHP. The career numbers support that Hamilton is better vs RHP, but it’s not as drastic as this past season: .643 OPS vs RHP, .601 vs LHP.

Phillip Ervin was really good in 19 PA vs LHP. That is not much to go off, and Ervin’s OPS was actually better vs RHP this season at AAA: .727 vs RHP, .689 vs LHP.

Patrick Kivlehan had a nice season vs LHP in a larger sample than Ervin. Looking at Kivlehan’s last full season in the minors, this was the case as well. In 2016, Kivlehan posted a .882 OPS vs LHP, and .642 vs RHP.

The Reds should absolutely employ a platoon outfield in 2018. Almost all of the teams in the postseason do this to some degree. Here is what I think the Reds should do:

vs RHP: Winker (LF), Hamilton (CF), Schebler (RF)
vs LHP: Duvall (LF), Ervin (CF), Kivlehan (RF)

The first thing that I am sure will puzzle some is platooning Winker. Everyone knows that he needs to get consistent PA at the big league level. The reality is that over the past three seasons in the minors, Winker has a .653, .756, and .654 OPS vs LHP. Winker could only start against RHP, and still easily get 500 PA with pinch-hit appearances, double-switches, etc.

Phillip Ervin might not make the team out of ST, so that could squash him playing CF vs LHP. But, to this point in his career Billy Hamilton has proven he can’t hit LHP at all. Putting Ervin in CF vs LHP is much about Hamilton’s inability than Ervin’s small sample success vs LHP.

Another out of the box option would be to try Mesoraco in RF against LHP. He has a career .796 OPS vs LHP (104 points higher than vs RHP). That could allow the Reds to put Kivlehan in AAA, and free up another roster spot while platooning.

Conclusion: if you were ranking the Reds outfield overall, it would be near the bottom of the MLB. The Reds really need to maximize what they do have. The important thing to remember, is that if the Reds use this platoon every night, they’ll have either Duvall or Schebler on the bench every night. That is a heck of weapon to have. Hamilton on the bench vs LHP, gives you a great speed weapon you can engage at any point in the game.

122 Responses

  1. David Eberly

    Would platooning Winker stunt his growth? I honestly don’t know, but I think the counter-argument to platooning him somewhat strictly might be that he does not learn/develop the ability to handle LHP.

    • JoshG

      I’d like to see what Hitting in a group with Votto does for Winker’s ability to hit lefties before I relegate him to a platoon

    • Patrick Jeter

      Yeah, I agree with this.

      If the plan is for Winker to be an everyday player for “The Next Great Reds Team,” then he needs reps against lefties at the major league level.

      I don’t think he should start EVERY game against lefties, but he should in against at least 1/2 of them, which itself yields a solid plan of rest for Winker. Maybe every other lefty he gets a rest, which would probably let him start something like 130 games? Seems OK.

  2. Bill

    From my viewpoint, the Reds need to give Winker playing time to validate he can continue to hit at the major league level. We also see Duvall struggles in the second half, which may be related to needing more rest and his diabetes. If extra rest for Duvall would improve his second half numbers he is an above average player, with a second half collapse he is an average bat. Hamilton is exactly what he has been and is never going to be anything more. I would love for him to be the pinch runner and defensive specialist coming off the bench, with a CF free agent signed next year. Schebler also needs a chance to prove that his slump was entirely injury related. The answer may be Schebler. Hamilton, and Winker this year with a platoon employed as needed. I just don’t see the platoon actually happening.

  3. Woodrow The

    An interesting idea, should the Reds get off to a decent start perhaps something of this nature is the best to win games in 2018. But if the difference looks like winning 78 instead of 75 this year, or something similar, better to look ahead to “the next great Reds team” – you know, in 2019.

    Meaning: Likely Duvall and Kivlehan play no role on that squad, so advance ABs to Winker and Schleber, then see how Hamilton and Ervin might make a mix…

  4. Sandman

    Trade Hamilton and it’ll clear this issue right up.

    • David

      Exactly right.
      Schebler and Ervin platoon in CF.
      Duvall plays right
      Winker plays left
      Kivlehan is the “fifth” outfielder and plays against some lefties instead of Winker, and spells Duvall in RF at least once every two weeks. Ervin can get in this mix too.
      Kivlehan also spells Joey at 1st base and Suarez at third.
      I think the guy could develop into a pretty good ball player if he got enough at bats.

      Say goodbye to Hamilton. But that will never take place because Salad Shooter Bob luvs him some Billy. He’s a fan favorite. More important than….winning?

      • james garrett

        Well said and right on point especially your last paragraph.Its sad isn’t it but that’s where we are at and where we will stay.

      • greenmtred

        Indeed. If the Reds hadn’t had Hamilton and Price last year, they would have won the WS.

      • Michael E

        but, but, but he saves a run or so a week fielding. Doesn’t that make up for losing 3 runs a week with crappy, bottom-of-barrel hitting?

      • Michael E

        First spring game lineup has our bestus hitter leading off. Price is locked in to Baker-ball and Managing for Dummies.

  5. Steve Mancuso

    I’m OK in principle with platooning. But I don’t think maximizing offensive production is a goal that should come before developing Jesse Winker. It’s also unlikely the Reds can/will carry six OF.

    • Scott Carter

      This was my thought as well. If the goal is to win now, then platoon Winker. However as much as I want to win now, I don’t think this is the year to make that your primary goal. The primary goal is to develop the young talent, which includes Winker, Senzel, Herrara, possibly Ervin and the young pitchers.

    • David

      The Reds really don’t know what they have from Schebler, Ervin, Winker and Kivlehan. And Kivlehan will likely be in AAA this year.
      They do know what they are going to get from Duvall and Hamilton. I would have traded Adam Duvall in the off season, but that is a bridge too far for the Reds; he’s a good guy that has a positive contribution.. I would definitely have traded Hamilton if they could have gotten anything for him. He plays a good centerfield, and that’s it. Yet, come Opening Day 2018 and he will be batting lead off. The Reds regular Opening Day player with the worst OPS and just about the lowest OBP on the team, and he will bat lead off. Betcha Peraza bats second, too.

      Commitment to Winning!! Someday.

      • Colorado Red

        The Trade market has been down this year.
        (Except Yelich for example).
        Not sure they were offered much for Adam or Billy

      • David

        Yes, the Reds misplaced value in their own players. It would have been addition by subtraction. But no! Billy is a special talent!
        He’s a good guy and a good fly catcher out there. But really, he is not going to develop into the player that was hoped for.

      • Colorado Red

        You hit the nail on the head

    • eric3287

      I think platooning should be a last resort with any player. The problem with the Reds isn’t that they have a logjam of outfielders, it’s that they have 5 average to slightly below average outfielders and 1 with the potential to be great.

      Looking at the Fangraphs projections, the OF looks like:
      Duval: .5 – 1.5 WAR
      Schebler: .8 – 1.3 WAR
      Hamilton: 1.2 – 1.8 WAR
      Winker: .8 – 2.2 WAR
      Kivelhan: Slightly sub-replacement to replacement level production
      Ervin: slightly sub replacement level to about .5 WAR.

      I know, I know, projection doesn’t mean everything. These things aren’t set in stone, but they aren’t necessarily pulled blindly from a hat either. Of the corner outfielders, Winker has the highest basement and highest ceiling. He’s the safest bet to be an average outfielder and the safest bet to be a really good player. After him it’s really a pile of mediocrity.

      Personally, if the Reds really want to prepare for next year, I’d play Winker every day, split Ervin/Billy 50/50, and platoon Schebler and Duvall. You know with about 90% certainty what you are going to get from Schebler/Duvall/Hamilton. It’s likely not good enough. You need to see still what you can get from Ervin/Winker.

      • JB

        I don’t know that you can say you know what you have with Schebler. He was hurt for a stretch last year, but has shown some promise otherwise. Duvall and Hamilton, I can’t argue with. I like your platoons though

      • eric3287

        If you platoon Schebler with Duvall he’s still going to get the majority of the ABs, but I think you certainly know enough about Schebler to know what he is. He’ll get on base at a slightly below average rate, strike out at an above average rate, and hit with above average power.

        He’ll be 28 at the end of the year, and while that’s by no means old, it is right around where you might expect to see a decline. Given what his skill set is, once the bat speed slows down a tick you’re going to see strike outs go up, walks go down even further, and some of that power zapped. He can probably be a useful 4/5 outfielder type the next 2-3 years, but I don’t think you should reasonable expect anything else.

  6. Steve Mancuso

    Jarrod Dyson just signed a 2-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks for $7.5 million. The Reds are paying Billy Hamilton $4.6 million in 2018 and Hamilton has one year remaining under team control.

    If the Reds had traded Billy Hamilton (for anything) they could have signed Jarrod Dyson to replace him. Dyson isn’t much of a hitter but he’s projected to be a notch better than Hamilton in 2018. Dyson is also an excellent defensive CF and can steal a base.

    The Reds would have saved a few million dollars over two years. And, they would have reaped whatever the Hamilton trade would have brought back.

    Cheaper. Better. Add trade asset.

    • JoshG

      other thing about the dyson signing is he did not go to the Giants, who are said to still be looking for a centerfielder, soo ….. that window is still open …. though if Hamilton’s trend continues and he can get that OBP against righties up to .330, then I don’t want to trade him… just find him a viable platoon and let him just hit lefty.

      • Scott Carter

        The other caveat with a trade to the Giants is that they don’t have much in the prospect area to trade and they are not giving up their top prospects for Hamilton.

    • David

      To quote the Talking Heads; “Stop Making Sense”

    • Steve Mancuso

      Reds can still trade Hamilton, now, at the trade deadline, or next offseason. Probably has most value now, with two years left. But never know. Have to hope Reds were looking at moves like this. Dyson may not have wanted to play for Reds.

      • Michael E

        We can only hope…the deadline. A big time contender loses their CF and has crap for backup and comes calling. We can then only hope that DW can convince our illogical and infatuated owner to part with Billy for the better of the franchise.

  7. Colorado Red

    I can not see keeping 6 out fielders.
    I agree with the above blogs, and we need to see what Jessie can do.
    I think for the most part we platoon 4 players, Jessie, Admin, Scott and Jessie.
    I would like to see Jessie with about 550 AB’s, Adam about 420, Scott to see what he can do when healthy, Do some platooning Adam and Ervin.

    • big5ed

      You are right; the Reds are highly unlikely to keep 6 outfielders, which would mean using only 5 infielders. Kivlehan and Duvall could play corner infield a bit, but that leaves them short of middle infielders.

      As it is, they will have Suarez, Perrara, Herrera, Gennett, and Votto. That isn’t enough, which is why they have Alex Blandino and Pennington in camp, one of which will make the the team.

      Using Mesoraco in the outfield, which I advocated even before he had his All-Star year, might be a good idea. In theory, he is a better hitter than Kivlehan.

      These things, however, always work out. Somebody gets hurt, or somebody goes bad, or somebody emerges.

  8. Bill

    One thing we don’t have to think about is the pen, they just signed another relief pitcher.

  9. Jeff Reed

    I’m not a fan of consistent platooning. I think a good hitter should be able to hit from both sides. But if a good defensive player is a weak hitter from one side, then go for it. It seems to me the Reds have too many outfielders vying for a starting position that will probably result in Winker not getting 500 plus at bats this season. Rumored trades of outfielders such as Hamilton, Duvall or Schebler didn’t happen, so here we are.

  10. old-school

    I think it will work itself out ….with 6-7 games a week..matchups…inevitable injuries and a trade deadline in July.

    The second half of 2018 and the 2019 outfield is where the Reds have to get it right.

    • scottya

      Agree with getting it right in 2019 in the outfield!

  11. Michael Smith

    Nick, Would Devin have the range to play in right???

    • David

      No. I don’t think Devin can play the outfield. He doesn’t move that well.

      • big5ed

        Mes used to move fine. He was big, but not slow, and hustled. Before he got hurt, I thought he was faster than the aging Brandon Phillips, which I grant you is not saying much.

        His surgeries may have slowed him down; he hasn’t lost a step to the wear-and-tear of catching 12 games a year.

      • lwblogger2

        This is true. Mesoraco used to run pretty well, especially once he got going. I don’t think hip surgeries have probably helped him much in this regard though. I don’t know if he could play a corner OF spot but could see them working him out some in the outfield. They may put him out there for a few spring training games too and just see how things look.

      • Eddiek957

        Tucker can’t hit lefties

    • Nick Kirby

      I have no idea honestly. That’s why I just said it is an option they could look at.

  12. Reaganspad

    Hmmm. Mesoraco in RF

    That is only about 8 years overdue

    • Colorado Red

      It is also too late.
      With the surgeries, not sure he can do it.

  13. Phil

    I would play Winker 150+ games in left. I want to know if he can learn to hit left-handed pitching or if he will need to be platooned going forward. Duvall or Schebler can play the remaining 10-12 games in left.
    Hamilton would start in center against right-handed pitchers. Lets call that 120 games. I’d use the other 40+ games to see what Schebler looks like defensively in center. Limiting Hamiltons games hides his biggest weakness, hitting against lefties, and will hopefully keep him healthy through the season. If Hamilton is also going to be our starting center-fielder in 2019, I want to know if Schebler is an acceptable sub/platoon.
    Right field could then be split between Duvall and Schebler, limiting Duvall’s total games to around 110.
    So 162 games at 3 positions equals 486 starts. Winker gets 150, Hamilton 120 and Duvall and Schebler get 100-120.

  14. big5ed

    I believe that they will pick their spots and give Winker quite a few ABs against lefties. There isn’t any point in starting him against Kershaw or Bumgarner, or against tough LOOGYs, but there are guys he might match up against.

    It is just far too early to relegate Winker to a strict platoon, else you end up trading him for Roberto Kelly.

    They will even use Hamilton against some lefties, like Jon Lester. (Don’t get me started on Lester. I would just run as soon as he looks in for the sign. And then steal third. Walks should be triples against him.)

  15. Matt WI

    These are some good ideas… but then I get frustrated thinking about how the Brewers went out and got two highly talented outfielders when they already had some good players. Meanwhile, the Reds are retreading one of the worst OF’s. Ugh.

    • Colorado Red

      Did you want to give up Nick + for yelich. I do not.
      Cain is overpriced, it is a year too early.

      • Reaganspad

        Yes, the cubs have one of those upgrades in RF or on the bench in Jason Heyward.

        and when you sign those guys, you lose draft picks.

        Who are we kidding, the Reds cannot sign free agents anyway

      • Matt WI

        I’m just applauding the fact that the Brewers didn’t stand pat. There’s seldom a problem in acquiring more talent than you started with. Every club has to decide on the cost both short term and long, I appreciate that part of the equation. But if you look at a team that is seriously thinking of competing, I think Duvall, Schebler, and Hamilton don’t start for those teams. They’d be 4th or 5th outfielders, or not even thought of.

  16. VaRedsFan

    What’s more demoralizing is the great JD MArtinez just signed with Boston for 5 years at 110 million. The Reds couldn’t afford this elite bat for 22 million per year? They would have had to think ahead and traded Schebler or Duvall first. JD was once looking to get a 200 million contract and settled for 110 million.

    My belief is that they didn’t even look at him because of the perceived price they thought they might have to pay

    • Bill

      Strictly looking at the 110 value is deceiving. He is receiving $50 million in the first two years with an opt out and $22 million for year three with another opt out. In reality it is a two year $50 million contract unless his production goes down, in which case the team is stuck with a bad contract. I don’t think the Reds are in a position to throw $25 million a year on a short term contract. It would be different if they had been a playoff team last year.

      • David

        Boston is a rich franchise. They can sort of afford to make a mistake, and this may be one. They are buying Martinez at the top of his value. He just had a career year. He may have another one, but this helps Boston with fan support, cable TV, etc.
        Boston needs pitching a lot more than they need JD Martinez.

      • big5ed

        One of the reasons that Boston needs pitching is that it gave David Price a 7-year, $210mm contract, which it by the second year wanted to unload.

        We used to be able to rely on big market teams making stupid mistakes like the Price contract, so as to negate their money advantage. This off-season seems to have marked a turning point on this, and now they aren’t doing as many stupid contracts.

      • lwblogger2

        Yes, one can’t just look at the years and dollars on a contract in the world of pro sports contracts today. There are escalators, opt-out clauses, no-trade clauses, and other more subtle things that may be part of a contract. All of these have some sort of value that is sometimes hard to put a dollar amount on. Your slightly deeper look at the Martinez contract shows why that deal wouldn’t of worked for the Reds.

    • greenmtred

      JD is 30. I have a hard time considering that old, but I’m constantly assured here at RLN that it is. The risk would have been that they were paying him for his decline years. Also, he signed with Boston. Might not have considered the Reds.

      • lwblogger2

        Yes, the Reds may have had to pay a lot more for him or might not have gotten his interest at all. People sometimes don’t consider these possibilities. Good point.

  17. scottya

    I like the platoon idea and it will work to provide more offense in 2018. I’m torn on this idea that many make of making this more about Winker getting a maximum amount of experience. I think the most important question is, Will this platoon scenario work on a playoff team in 2019? Maybe so if you look at the splits, the one that looks surprisingly good is Hamilton/Ervin (very small sample size warning).

    I believe that if Kivelhan is on the roster that likely means no room for Dilson Herrera correct? If that’s the case I’m definitely not for Kivelhan making the roster even if he hits 10 bombs in spring training.

  18. JoshG

    Reds prospect Nick Senzel will work exclusively at shortstop and third base in camp.

    Well, that’s interesting. Senzel has even been working with Reds great Barry Larkin on adjusting to shortstop. Eugenio Suarez is in place at third base and remains under team control for another couple of years, so adding shortstop to Senzel’s resume could put him in the best position to contribute soon. After hitting .321/.391/.514 between High-A and Double-A last year, he’s clearly not far off. It will be an interesting situation to follow this spring.

    Source: John Fay on Twitter

    Feb 20 – 11:38 AM

    • Bryan E

      If he can handle short defensively, there’s no reason not to play him there. He could almost immediately be one of the best SS in the league if he plays even average defense.

    • Streamer88

      This is because they already have an immovable elite otherworldly 2Bman by the name of Scooter Gennett.

      You didn’t seriously think he was gonna have his job given to the reds greatest IF prospect since Barry Larkin did you?

      • Colorado Red

        Even if he regresses, Scotter still hit better then Jose.
        So I like the move.

      • David

        Scooter, Dilson Herrera, Shed Long not far away. 2nd Base is not the problem position that SS is right now. And if the Reds should somehow come up with an elite SS, Nick can move to 2nd or 3rd.
        Senzel also pushes Peraza. Peraza knows if he doesn’t produce, Senzel is right behind him.

      • Bryan E

        To be fair, I think this is a sign that Peraza has already been displaced for all intents and purposes. This isn’t pushing Peraza to perform, it’s pushing him to the bench

    • Nick Kirby

      If Senzel actually did play SS, Peraza could platoon with Hamilton in CF. Peraza has been about 50 OPS points higher vs RHP at every stop.

  19. old-school

    The Senzel news is huge because it now appears the Reds are fixing their shortstop problem long term and Peraza can slide into a utility role. I think this opens up the CF position for Hamilton through the end of his contract. Second base will solve itself as well as the corner OF spots.

    On to pitching.

    • big5ed

      Color me as skeptical about Senzel at shortstop. I doubt he would be a complete (defensive) disaster, but he hasn’t played much shortstop in about 3 years, and none professionally.

      It’s hard enough to break into the major leagues as a hitter. The extra burden of having to learn the toughest defensive position on the field seems too much to me. It would likely detract from his hitting, which I don’t see the need to do.

      I suppose it doesn’t hurt to try it in spring training. It isn’t impossible to do, just difficult. Now, Winker and Senzel in the corner outfield slots, I could deal with.

      • old-school

        It’s reasonable to give Senzel 1 month before ST and 6 weeks of ST and 3 months in AAA to explore SS.

        His college coach says he can play the position. As bad as the offseason was….this spring training is turning into must see TV.

  20. Streamer88

    A very timely topic – thanks for posting this OP!

    **A minor critique: it is somewhat misleading to report our OF in terms of wRC when you know that 1.5 of value derived from them collectively is defensive (BHam all, Duvall half). As this data is now readily available (dWAR+oWAR) it wouldn’t be hard to pull and compare.**

    This isn’t an objective newsfeed I know, but your site is amazing and thanks for always posting great stuff!!

  21. KDJ

    For those who seriously talk about putting Mesoraco in the outfield . . . have you ever watched him run? I had high hopes for the guy as a power bat behind the plate, but fleet of foot he is not. Even on the basepaths, he is gassed by the time he gets to second.

    • big5ed

      Hey, we are the same fanbase that watched Adam Dunn play left for 8 years, so our standards are iffy. I never thought that Mes was that slow, but then again, I watched Ryan Hanigan and Sean Casey.

  22. Kap

    Try and trade Hamilton and Bailey at the trade deadline and play Schebler and Ervin in center the rest of the season. Either sign Aj Pollack or trade for Kevin Kiermaier or Kevin Pillar (and possibly Stroman in a blockbuster). BOOM.

  23. Bill

    Does anyone remember Dick Groat? Roy Face said he didn’t have great speed or a strong arm, but was a good shortstop because he was always in the right place for each hitter. Senzel could become a good shortstop but he needs to play.

    • CP

      With baseball analytics and the amount of available, I think every player should be in the right place, right time in today’s game. If they aren’t, then the analysts and coaches have messed up.

      • greenmtred

        Or maybe the hitter doesn’t hit it where he was supposed to. Happens sometimes.

  24. Scottya

    After looking more at the splits. I like the idea of keeping Duvall around as a fourth outfielder. Winker plays all games in left against right handlers and Duvall vs left handlers and off the bench. Unless we can trade Duvall for real value.

    The 18′ team could be anemic vs left handlers.

  25. Ethan L

    I always hear of platooning guys, but I don’t think I have really ever seen it. Does it happen? Thus, when I hear of a call to platoon, I am resigned to think this: that’s good and all, but it will never happen. I can’t really seeing Price employing a platoon.

    • Nick Kirby

      2017 World Series: Dodgers platooned at catcher (Grandal/Barnes), 2B (Utley/Forsyth), and LF (Kiki Hernandez/Either). Astros platooned Gattis vs LHP at DH/C.
      2016 World Series: Indians mixed and matched platoon OF (Guyer, Davis vs LHP; Chisenhall, Naquin vs RHP). Cubs played Baez all over the field against LHP

      • Ethan L

        Interesting. Thanks for enlightening me. Did the Dodgers, Astros, and/or Indians do that all year or just for high-stakes playoff games? I take it the Cubs did so with Baez. I also see a theme in those teams: more modern and embracing change.

        I really like your idea of platooning the outfield, Nick. I think it makes sense. However, do you think Price/DW, et al would be willing to do it?

      • da bear

        to augment your argument, the MLB champion 1990 Reds employed a couple of platoons, too.

    • Indy Red Man

      Price never does anything? Scooter played vs lefties all the time? They could’ve played Peraza more or given Blandino a little big experience in the 2nd half. Price did nothing as usual.

  26. redsfan06

    I just don’t believe success lies in a platoon using Kivlehan. He is a nice bench player, but that is it.

  27. scotly50

    Looking at that list. Duvall seemed the most consistent against lefty or righty. Winker definitely the greatest deviation. Only batted .120 against lefty’s, but .344 against righty’s. Ervin batted .412 against righty but .195 against lefty.

    I would stick with Duvall and Schebler with the majority of ab’s. Tough call on the rest. i like Winker Ervin, and Kivlehan.

    • Indy Red Man

      Ervin was 7-17 (.412) with 2 walks vs lefties. Obv small sample but I’d platoon him with Billy. If we have the lead then Billy can always come in for defense.

  28. Indy Red Man

    Tampa continuing to dump quality players…just like Miami. Steven Souza to Arizona. 30 HRs/16 steals and a .351 obp. A .829 ops on the road. A guy like that could’ve blown up moving from Tampa’s pitchers paradise to GABP. He’s better offensively then Duvall or Schebler and could’ve given the lineup more balance. They’re going to struggle mightily against lefties again. Scooter, Winker, Tucker, Billy

    • Reaganspad

      Agreed Indy which is why we better see Dilson, Scott, Devin and Phillip vs lefties

    • Aaron Bradley

      Our GM looks to be a methodical stay-the-course kind of guy which is kind of unnerving when they have been horrible for 3 consecutive seasons. A wheeler and dealer would at least shake things up and give us something to talk about and hope for.

      • big5ed

        That’s what Astros fans said about 2 years ago.

        Jeff Luhnow did pretty well by staying the course with Altuve, Springer, Keuchel, Correa, Marwin Gonzalez, and Bregman. He stuck with young players, then added some veterans to fill holes as the young players established themselves.

        I don’t want a wheeler-dealer. I want a long-term plan, premised on a top-rate farm system, that allows the Reds to compete over the long run.

      • Indy Red Man

        No offense, but the Reds to Astros comparison is more then played out. McDonalds and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse both sell meat, but that’s where the comparison ends. The Stros don’t leave their guys in the minors til they’re 24-25. They played them to find out how they measured up. Can Winker hit lefties? Nobody knows because they didn’t play him enough? They don’t take promising guys like Stephenson and pitch him 1 inning a week for half the season.

      • big5ed

        Uh, Springer came up when he was 24. Keuchel came up when he was 24, but didn’t get his ERA below 5.00 until his age 26 season. Marwin Gonzalez had an OPS of .607 in his age 23 season, and .571 in his age 24 season.

        The point is that the Astros waited to add to the young core, which is what the Reds should do. By contrast, the Padres a few years ago added Kemp, etc. much too early, and are still paying for it.

      • Indy Red Man

        Correa is a freak so I won’t include him, but Altuve and McCullers were 21 and Bregman was 22. When is the last time the Reds put a 21 yr old in the rotation? Or a 22 yr old positional player played everyday? They rushed Lorenzen into the rotation at 23 but that was stupid. He barely pitched in college? If Hou can give McCullers a shot at 21 then the Reds could’ve went with 24 yr old Castillo in April last year? Beat out by who? The lollipop kid Arroyo or the deli boy Adleman? Please? They pitched Stephenson 1-2 innings a week for half the season. They give Reed 1 start per year…..vs the Cubs no less…then banish him too? Price and the the Reds FO are a bunch of friggin idiots..period.

  29. Jreis

    Winkers defense is terrible. I would stick with your best defensive outfield for the majority of the season. Hamilton, Schebler and Duvall, with Ervin as our fourth.
    We should have plenty of offense from our infielders.

    I thought Peraza played pretty well in centerfield the couple times he was out there as well.

    • Aaron Bradley

      Winker may have the best plate discipline on the team aside from Votto, and he is developing and is a top 5 prospect. He will play, get used to it.

      • Jeff Reed

        Winker leading off followed by Senzel (when he comes up) and then Votto, Suarez and Schebler should give the Reds a real solid top of the batting order.

      • Jeff Reed

        I left out the platooning of Schebler and Duvall.

      • Colorado Red

        Never the less, I like the way you think.
        Would be nice

    • Indy Red Man

      Winker must’ve been really bad defensively in September? I keep hearing about how bad he was, but I watched his first 30 games atleast and he made some nice plays. I noticed Schebler struggled and seemed to be taking the wrong route on some balls. All I know is they need Winker to turn into another Will Clark or something to be interesting at all this year.

      • Bill

        Where do you keep hearing this? I assume it is from one source that happens to be someone who expresses his opinion of Winker and Senzel having horrible defense at every opportunity

    • greenmtred

      Winker didn’t look great in right, but he didn’t look terrible, either. Peraza, on the other hand, didn’t look good at all in center, but it’s sss in both cases.

    • da bear

      Winker looked better than Schebler in right field the dozen times i saw him play.
      The two times I caught Peraza in CF he misplayed balls to the wall badly….small sample size, but he’s certainly no Billy Hamilton. However, if Ervin is not on the roster, Peraza should definitely play some in CF to rest BH.

  30. Sandman

    I’ve seen a lot of talk on here about Mesoraco moving to the outfield.

    While I would love to have his offense back in the lineup almost every day I just don’t see a move to the OF happening. I think that his offense is a big reason ppl want to see him in the lineup regularly and, as a result, we’re looking for the most likely spot he could play right now and that seems to be the OF.

    (1) I think this could be taken as a slight lack of confidence in the offensive capabilities of 1 or 2 of our current OF’s (namely, Hamilton [of course] & Schebler). Even Duvall’s offense seems to wane as the year progresses. But just bcuz it could be taken that way don’t mean it will be. (2) I think the biggest reason this won’t happen though is bcuz of the injuries Mesoraco has had in recent years to his knees and/or legs.

    I saw someone on here say that Mesoraco doesn’t move well. While I think this person was referring to Mes’s Pre-injury self, it is even more true now (if indeed the person was talking about pre-injury Mes). So, I think this is a dream we all may very well have to give up on.

    • Indy Red Man

      Devin KevinMaasoraco….he’s done. We have to assume he’s done anyway. $13 mil swirling down the drain. Of course he could come back and blast 25 HRs and he has a decent eye, but its time to move on.

    • Bill

      The Reds tried him in the outfield previously when trying to avoid surgery on his hip. In the end he still needed surgery. I don’t think they got a true sense of if he could handle the OF due to playing hurt and did nothing but delay surgery causing him to miss even more time.

      Now with other options in the OF I am not sure his bat is enough to replace Winker/Duvall/Schebler. However if he could play in LF to get some at bats it might make trading him easier, knowing he will be gone at the end of the year.

      • Sandman

        Bill, But he’s had knee/leg surgeries since. Those have to of slowed him down enough where he wouldn’t be able to play the OF. I do like the idea of getting him some extra AB’s. Maybe that could come at one of the corner spots to give Saurez/Votto (of course Votto is a machine, though). I don’t know if I’d trust his knees/legs in the OF where you have to run.

      • greenmtred

        I’m not sure that knee/leg surgeries aren’t more of a problem for a catcher than they are for a corner outfielder. Not being in a crouch and being able to anticipate (usually) lateral movement might outweigh the need to run.

      • Sandman

        So, are you saying that a good read of the ball (anticipating where it goes) and getting a good jump could negate the requirement to run?
        If so, then the ability to anticipate where the ball’s going and getting a good jump is something that even some career long OF’s don’t have. So, I’d say that’s a tough skill to learn but don’t know that for sure. At the very least it would take some time to learn that skill. Time I’m not sure Mes has left with Cincy.
        I’ll wait for your clarification before commenting further. But if I’m right in my understanding of your comment then I’m not sure what more I could add that I didn’t already. Guess I’ll cross that bridge when it comes time to.

      • Bill

        I don’t have any hope that he could actually play the OF. I just was pointing out the Reds tried it when he was initially hurt and they didn’t really answer the question then because he was hurt. I have serious concerns with the medical staff and the handing of injuries. It was puzzling why he was kept on the roster when it was clear he was unable to play effectively and would require a surgery with a long recovery.

      • Sandman

        Bill, I agree. I don’t think he can handle the OF even if it is a corner spot. I think his best shot at a successful positional change would be 1st or 3rd. But we’ve got Saurez’s fantastic glove at 3rd and the G.O.A.T. over at 1st. So, maybe he can succeed in the OF, stranger things have happened I guess. Nonetheless, I fear if Mes is going to successfully switch positions, that it’s not gonna be as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. I’d hate to lose his bat (assuming he can get back to normal offensively).

    • VaRedsFan

      When Mez was healthy last year, and early on in the previous 2 years, he hasn’t hit. In fact he has been woefully bad at the plate, and his catching abilities were sub-par. His playing time now should only be to spell Tucker, and against lefties.

      • lwblogger2

        I hear you but I’m not sure I’d fully agree that he was in fact healthy. Having said that, I don’t think the Reds should count on him at all. Anything they get from him should be considered a bonus.

        I really like Mesoraco. I hope he has a relatively pain-free and healthy season. If so, I think he can contribute, especially against LHP spelling Barnhart. My concern though is that he is just too broken in the hips and shoulders to be anything close to what he was.

  31. sultanofswaff

    Carlos Gomez to the Rays for $4mil, 1.8 WAR last year. Cameron Maybin to the Marlins for $3.25mil, 1.7 WAR. Billy Hamilton gets $4.25mil for 1.1 WAR.

    Better options for the same/less money were on the board and DW passed. That doesn’t even mention leveraging some of our redundant 2B prospects or prospects in the 5-15 range to acquire an upgrade.

    This sure looks like he’s asleep at the wheel.

    • james garrett

      Worse he isn’t even in the car yet he has Price’s back.He doesn’t get it or maybe he doesn’t know there is one.Still can’t wait for opening day.Call me what you wish but I love Reds baseball.

      • old-school

        I hear you. I just think the Reds aren’t vested for 2018 and don’t expect to win. They are letting the Mesoraco contract expire this year and give the young pitching another year and the injured vets another year and let the Bailey contract move forward another year.

        I view all things through a 2019 lens.

      • james garrett

        I agree but there was /is some things they could/should do to better prepare themselves for the future.Billy and Scooter will cost 10 million this year just to see if one improves in year 5 and the other can repeat his 2017 performance.Even if they do can we afford them or get anything for them while at the same time younger guys watch and wait.I just believe you either fish or cut bait but not both.

    • Phil

      From 2015-2017 (3 seasons) Gomez put up 5.9 fWAR and is projected for about 1.1 fWAR in 2018.
      Cameron Maybin put up 4.1 fWAR over that same period and is projected for < 1 fWAR this coming season.
      Billy Hamilton accumulated 6.3 fWAR over those 3 seasons and is projected for around 1.5 fWAR in 2018.

      I have no problem moving on from Billy Hamilton if an upgrade can be found for center field (I was in the camp that would have included anyone except Suarez, Senzel, Winker & Castillo in a trade for Yelich) I just don't see Gomez or Maybin being much of an upgrade if any.

      • scottya

        I agree with you.

        If we look at salaries for 2019, the Hamilton and Gennett arbitration salaries are going to become a burden likely and with that approximately 13 million we can get a long way to signing one really good free agent CF’r. AJ Pollock or Charlie Blackmon.

        So a trade of both of these fan favorites is the right move at any point between now and next winter. I’m afraid we won’t get much in return. If Hamilton salary was less, I could see using him as a late inning defensive replacement, pinch runner, but the salary will be probably 6 million for 19′.

  32. koverman

    they will need mes to catch vs lefties

    • lwblogger2

      He’ll probably take on some catching duties but unfortunately, it won’t be against all LHP. The Reds don’t platoon that way, especially at C. They either do the “personal catcher” thing or go based on expected or observed catcher fatigue. I’d expect him to catch about 20-25% of games, assuming he’s healthy. Mostly it will be day games after night games and games where it would be the 4th/5th night (depending on weather, extra-innings, etc) in a row that Barnhart would be catching. I’m not complaining too much because that sort of theory for managing catcher playing time is pretty common. I just wish the Reds would be a little more out of the box and deploy more of a true L/R platoon based on opposing starting pitcher.

  33. Indy Red Man

    Pirates pick up All Star Corey Dickerson (lifetime .829 ops) from Tampa. Of course they did. You could make an AS team just out of the guys moving to the NL Central this offseason. I guess spring is still coming either way.

    • Gonzo Reds

      Even the Pirates are trying… to get out of the cellar… they gave up roadside trash to obtain Dickerson. Reds management is either tanking or worse is the cheapest outside of the state of FL (combine the Marlins/Rays and move them to Orlando, I mean duh). I’m already boycotting spring training but that’s not a new thing since I live in FL and the Reds abandoned us for for an empty stadium in Arizona.

    • lwblogger2

      Yeah, I don’t get it. I assume the Reds think that they have better guys or guys who are just as good in-house, but do they? I would think that most analysts, both from the traditional baseball/scouting side, and the analytical side, would agree that Dickerson is a step up from Duvall, or Schebler. Perhaps even a step up over Winker? Not sure because the Reds haven’t given Winker enough MLB plate appearances to know anything really. Maybe it’s because they already have too many corner OF. Still, my thought is anytime you can add quality MLB-level talent to a team without giving up much, you do it.

      • lwblogger2

        The BB% isn’t great and ZiPS isn’t thrilled with him. The only thing that makes any sense is that the Reds really don’t think he’s better than Duvall, Schebler, or Winker. Maybe he’s not but I think you’d find a lot of folks who would disagree, and not just Reds fans.