Another professional team has demonstrated the fruits of going through the dreaded “rebuild” process through which the Reds are currently slogging.
The NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers have made the NBA playoffs, riding the momentum of a 15-game winning streak at the end of the current season. This is a team that following the 2013 season, decided to basically start from scratch, with the idea that continuing on the organizational strategy they had been on for decades would lead to more decades of mediocrity.
This chart, that first appeared on SBNation.com, shows the win trajectory of the Sixers and every other NBA team that finished within five wins of their 34 total following the 2013 season.
You can see that the Sixers were the lowest of the low in the NBA for years, but stubbornly stuck with what became known as “The Process:” Intentionally shedding established talent and big contracts with the idea of having a poor record that would result in high draft choices. Along the way, the Sixers used those choices to add star-caliber players Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. This year, they signed veteran shooting guard J.J. Redick to add a veteran presence.
The point is that “The Process” appears to have worked. But it wasn’t without embarrassment along the way. And, it took five full seasons.
As with the beginning of every baseball season, I was excited and had high hopes for the Reds this year. The first 11 games have demonstrated that there is no depth to speak of in the organization to cover for the barrage of injuries that have befallen both the pitching staff and the everyday lineup.
The Reds are starting year four of their version of “The Process.” You can see in the chart that the Sixers began an upswing in year four, and hopefully, that will still be the case for the Reds once the walking wounded return.
Other teams that have successfully completed a rebuild – the Royals, Astros, and Cubs – went through years of being the dregs. All of the data shows that year four of “The Process” was a bit too early to expect a return to competitiveness.
I’m not giving up, but trying to temper my disappointment in this early season stretch with a little empirical data that indicates competitiveness in year four was too high of an expectation. The Year Four Reds try to start the process of digging out of the major league cellar in terms of winning percentage (.182) with a home game against the St. Louis Cardinals at the early start time of 6:40 p.m. Eastern time.
Wacha burst onto the Major League scene in 2013, and had two great years to start his career. Since then, he has a combined ERA approaching 5.00. The Reds seemingly have a chance to get their bats going tonight.
Romano has been passable in his first two starts. He’s looking to recapture the sharpness he demonstrated at the end of the 2017 season.
Each member of the eight-man bullpen should be available, with the possible exception of Raisel Iglesias, who pitched two lights-out innings last night. In the past when Iglesias has pitched two innings, he has been rested the following day. But through the first 11 games, Iglesias has appeared only four times, covering a total of 5.1 innings.
As I was thinking yesterday about writing this game preview story, I was thinking about a theme of, “Where in the World is Raisel Iglesias?” Clearly, the Reds have not had many ninth-inning leads. But to have the best pitcher on your team pitch only 3.1 innings over the first 10 games seemed a bit daft. I hope the way Bryan Price used him last night is indicative of how he will be used moving forward. Until some of the injured bullpen arms get back, what’s the point of inserting someone like Kevin Quackenbush in the eighth inning of a tied or one-run game? Give your team a shot in the eighth or ninth by using Iglesias then, if you have already used guys like Jared Hughes, Wandy Peralta and Amir Garrett. There is no point in saving Iglesias for a save situation that will likely disappear with the use of someone who likely won’t be with the team next month.
Today is the first game since September 2016 that Joey Votto has not started. C. Trent Rosecrans reported on Twitter that Manager Bryan Price said it is just a day off for Votto. Price said he would like to give him more days off than in the past couple of years.
|RF Dexter Fowler||CF Billy Hamilton|
|CF Tommy Pham||SS Jose Peraza|
|3B Matt Carpenter||LF Jesse Winker|
|LF Marcell Ozuna||1B Adam Duvall|
|1B Jose Martinez||2B Scooter Gennett|
|C Yadier Molina||RF Phillip Ervin|
|SS Paul DeJong||C Tucker Barnhart|
|2B Kolten Wong||3B Alex Blandino|
|P Michael Wacha||P Sal Romano|
News and Notes
Some positive news from our Doug Gray:
Hey #Reds fans, yes, the big league club lost tonight in another heart breaker, but the farm system went 5-0 and outscored their opponents 35-18 on the night. That’s got to count for something, right?
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) April 12, 2018
A very bad streak for Adam Duvall has bridged two seasons …
Duvall since July 1, 2017.
91 games/331 AB’s
.199 (66 for 331)
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) April 11, 2018
Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.