The Perception 

I rolled into work last Wednesday around 8 am. To my surprise, the Reds were hosting one of their tryout camps on the field that the company I work for owns. As I pulled up, I joked with a few people that I was going to dust off my bat and glove and show the scouts what I had to offer (which isn’t much). One of the guys I was chatting with replied “can’t be any worse than what the Reds have right now”.

I thought about it for a second and laughed it off. A little later, it hit me that some people out there still have the perception that the Reds are a bad baseball team. I get that a lot of people don’t pay attention to the Reds as close as us here at Redleg Nation do, but after so many BAD years and uninspiring teams, this year’s 2019 version is a departure from the recent standard – and that counts for something.

The Reality

No, the Reds aren’t leading the division and no; they don’t even have a winning record – but do we realize how far this team has come? At this point last year the Reds were 21-41 and 16 games back of first place. Fast forward to June 5th 2019 and the Reds are currently 28-32 and 5.5 games back of first place – hardly out of it. This is all without one of their best offensive players from last year.

The Reds currently have the second best team ERA in the NL. They just placed second in the NL in runs scored for the month of May and had a team OPS of .771 (top 5 in the NL). They have really good, fun, young players. A lot of organizations would kill for a youngish, cheap core made up of Nick Senzel, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray.

Sometimes we (including myself) get caught up and lose perspective about what this season was supposed to be. Many of us are craving a 10 game win streak and a first place take over. That in itself is a departure from the recent norm and something to be satisfied about. It means that this team isn’t completely out of it by the start of June. It means that this Reds team is better than Reds teams of recent past. No, it’s not complacency – it’s a step in the right direction.

I went into this season looking to use it as a measuring stick to affirm the rebuild was over. I wanted to see a better team and a team that competed with other good teams. That may sound like an over simplification, but the Reds have completely delivered on that notion so far this year.

The Reds may not win the division or make the playoffs this year, but this season is proving to be a step to get there. Some of you may say with bullheaded narrow-mindedness that “the goal every year should be to win a World Series”. That’s just not realistic with how this league is setup anymore.

You may remember when the Reds hovered around .500 for a couple years before their breakout 90 win season in 2010. This season kind of feels like 2008-2009 all over again – a team with a young core that isn’t quite seasoned enough. It took a couple years for that team to get its footing in place. You can kind of see the same thing going on with this 2019 team.

Beyond

You may be worried about all the one year players leaving at the end of this year, but the fact remains: most of the good players on this team are in it for the long haul. Yes, one year players like Jose Iglesias, Tanner Roark, and other bullpen pieces have contributed. The Reds are more than capable of bringing those players back beyond 2019, though. Other than those players, are the Reds really going to miss Yasiel Puig and his below average play? If anything they could upgrade. Alex Wood hasn’t even stepped on the field. The argument that the window is somehow closed after this year is a narrow minded one.

So, the next time you get frustrated over the Reds winning a game and then losing a game…and then winning two games and losing two games – remember what it was like losing 10 games in a row just a year ago. Remember what it was like running guys like Tim Adleman, Sal Romano, and Scott Feldman out there every fifth day.

The Reds have a front office we can now trust, a good-young core, and a solid coaching staff. They are further away from the start and closer to the finish line. The Reds are finally better.

76 Responses

  1. Pete

    There is something in the team’s DNA that will not allow them to sweep a series.

    • matt hendley

      I was hoping the game would have gotten rained out so we could have changed that. lol

      • Pete

        Sadly, it’s what it will take. Maybe get a team physiologist.

      • RojoBenjy

        @Pete-

        A manager psychologist may be a better move. That allows him to be at peace with sticking with productive players in his lineups.

        Or a coherent hitting approach tailored to individual pitchers.

        I share your frustration with the inconsistency. Is it a maturity issue? A strategy issue?

    • earmbrister

      The thing is the team HAS swept a series. Yeah, it was back in mid April, on the heels of a 1-8 start. And yes it was against the Marlins, but a three game sweep it was (plus the first game vs the Cards for a four game winning streak). And the Reds took 3 of 4 vs the Padres and has some 2 of 3 wins, including vs the Cubs.

      The thing is, the Reds are 27-25 since that 1-8 start. And that’s the point of this article. The Reds have been basically playing .500 ball since that terrible start. The bats are starting to heat up. In the meantime, the Reds are FOURTH in all of MLB in team ERA. Let that sink in. Our Reds have an excellent pitching staff. A few years ago we would’ve settled for anything other than a horrid pitching staff.

      Enough of the glass is half empty. The cup is half full, and it’s not that hard to envision a few improvements that will have our cup runnith over.

    • James Vincent

      They see David Bell and I all sudden just act like they’re sleeping

  2. RC

    This is a sensible way to look at it. But I think what is difficult about this season is the fact that the team ERA is 2nd in the league, but we’re still watching a sub .500 last place team. If the pitching was a little worse, it wouldn’t be so frustrating. But I can see hope for the future.

  3. Roger Garrett

    I like your enthusiasm but have to disagree on a couple of points.The youngish cheap core can’t include Votto because he is neither.The rest I am good with but nobody is going to go nuts over them either.They are only 5 guys on the current 25 /40 man roster that other teams may want to obtain but every other team in our division has more guys that are just as young and just as cheap.Reds have a long way to go just to catch up talent wise and record wise in their own division.I will agree they are better and give us some hope only because we have been so bad for so long.Five core players is a start but we are still playing catch up.

    • earmbrister

      Yeah, I had a chuckle over the Votto inclusion in that sentence as well. However, you can’t say that there are only 5 guys on the current 25/40 roster that other teams may want to obtain. In addition to Castillo, Gray, Suarez, Winker, and Senzel, are you telling me that no other team may want to obtain Mahle, Raisel Iglesias, Lorenzen, Hughes, Garrett, or Casali? That’s another 6 guys for a total of 11 on the 25 man roster, and I’d include Votto as a player that another team may want to obtain, for 12/25. While not on the 40 man, prospects like Trammel, Greene, India, Santillan, Tyler Stephenson, Vlad Gut, Siri (who is on the 40) and Lodololodo would obviously interest other teams, plus others. That would bring your count up to 20, and a very young core at that. The other teams in the division would kill for our farm system. Don’t blink, cause we’re catching up fast.

      • Roger Garrett

        My comment was based on the core group which is what you would build around have the most trade value and sign to a long term contract.If I could I would package Iggy and the rest of the pen guys you mentioned tomorrow for a guy like Almora or even Bote on the Cubs roster and never look back.In all honesty bull pen guys and back up catchers are just what they are and every team needs them but they are easily replaced.Prospects are prospects until they aren’t but it would take two or three of them to acquire an average major league position player at a young age.

  4. Old-school

    The starting pitching is the best since 2015 when Cueto and Leake we’re traded. The top pit hers in 2016/17/18 had 2.1/1.9/2.1 WAR.

    The Reds have 3 on pace for 4- 5 WAR seasons and Mahle on pace for 3 WAR. That’s 2012 like. They #gotthepitching. But the reds offense road the coattails of Joey Votto and Cozart in 2017 and Gennett and Suarez and Votto in 2018.

    The Joey Votto wRC+ days of 165 are gone. Suarez is ready to lead to the offense. What 4-5 other players are going to lead this offense at 115-125? Until that question is answered, it’s a 78-84 improved team.

    • Jefferson Green

      Yes, the future hitting performance is a question, so I looked up how many players in 2018 had a wRC+ >114 for the season; of qualified hitters, 66. That’s barely 2 per team. Including all players who got 350 PA (half a season worth of playing time/starts or more), the total rises to only 83, still less than 3 per team. Of the top 5 offenses (per Fangraphs), the Dodgers had by far the most with 8 (and traded 2 of those to our beloved Redlegs), followed by the Cubs with 5, Brewers with 4, Braves with 3, and the Cards with 2 (yes, the Redbirds had the 5th best offense with only 2 regulars over the 114 mark). To be a top 5 NL offense in 2018, the average number of hitters who play at least half time (so platoon players/super subs/catchers are eligible) and post a wRC+ of at least 115 was 3.5. It seems that 4 would be very good and 5 would be excellent.
      As I run down the list of who will post that mark – perhaps this year, but especially into 2020, I see the following:
      Done it and still in prime:
      1) Suarez
      2) Gennett/Dietrich (assume that only one will play most games or be here next year)
      Partially done it (and has to prove can do it regularly):
      3) Jesse Winker (128 last year before surgery; track record to likely do it again)
      Note: Casali did it last year in limited PA’s, unlikely to be this good in full season
      Note: Peraza did it in the last 2/3 of the year, and is the only SS on the horizon to have a shot at it; not counted here.
      Done it, but in decline phase, so has to prove can do it again:
      4) Joseph Daniel Votto (perhaps Dietrich or Scooter become the contingency here)
      Minor league track record and talent projects to do it:
      5) Nick Senzel
      6) Phil Ervin (on the borderline)
      Note: hard to project, but Van Meter and O’Grady have been late bloomers who could perform at 115+, but not counted here with so little projectibility. Having one of these types blossom can really help a team over the hump, and I’m rooting for both.
      The Reds have 2 who have done it and project to continue, all others have more to prove. It seems they also have 4 who could start and possibly do it; if 2 of these perform, they have their 4 to hit the goal of this little exercise.

  5. Sliotar

    The author is taking the last 4 seasons, literally the worst stretch for the Reds franchise since the Great Depression, and using it as a benchmark for being better.

    IMO, the goal for 2019 was always to avoid losing 90 games in the 150th Anniversary season. It appears “Mission Accomplished” in that regard.

    But, as many have noted here, not enough “difference makers”, especially youthful ones.

    Plus, the team:
    -could not “get the pitching” via free agency (recurring problem)
    -it still doesn’t play nearly as well away from home (24th ranked xFIP away, tied for 21st in HRs away…entering today).

    And, a potential starting infield of Suarez-Iglesias-Gennett-Votto in 2020 would have Suarez the youngest …. at age 29. That isn’t a model to follow in today’s MLB.

    Lot of window-dressing made the Reds less bad for the moment.
    That they are truly “closer to the finish” is highly debatable.

    • Old-school

      You raise a very good point about getting younger. Iglesias may be an exception.

    • Jon

      What would you suggest for the infield in 2020, given that Votto and Suarez aren’t going anywhere? If the Reds could find a young superstar shortstop via trade this winter, I’d be all for it. However, their more pressing need for 2020 is the third outfield spot with Senzel and Winker.

      • DX

        Why Winker? He has very little athleticism, bad on defense and is nonproductive. The Reds corner outfielders are a big part of the problem. I hope Winker plays better or they give someone else a shot

      • Jim t

        If anyone is projecting Votto as a part of our infield in 2020 you may want to rethink that after this season. He is untradeable but unless he turns it around soon we may be in need of a better option at 1st base.

      • PhP

        Dx,
        Go look at Winkers minor league numbers and his career numbers before these first 2 months. He’s a legit borderline elite hitter and he’s still young.Hopefully he gets his approach straitened out to resemble what it has been his whole professional career. He should not be a platoon player and he should he penciled in left field for the next 6 years.

    • Eric Wormus

      Agree 100% with this and I think the idea that this team is comparable to 2009 is wishful thinking. By the end of 2009, Drew Stubbs had replaced Willy Teveras in CF and Scott Rolen had been acquired as the “veteran presence”. It was essentially the same lineup at the end of 2009 as they carried into 2010, and the rotation basically traded Micah Owings for Mike Leake.

      When you look up and down the lineup they have this year, it’s a combination of guys who will be gone next year, AAAA guys, and Nick Senzel/Eugenio Suarez. They STILL, 5 years into the failed rebuild, have nothing resembling a young core to build around, and no one in AAA who is likely to be anything other than a random bench bat.

    • James Vincent

      Are you seriously trying to make the argument that the Reds pitching is not good because the numbers at home are better . At one of the easiest hitting ballparks in all of baseball

  6. Wayne nabors

    Did anyone here watch game today? Cardinals hustle all day and reds lollygagged all day,especially Suarez,slow throw to 1st and he just refuses to run out of box,this team is what it is.didn’t reds interview Rocco baldelli?wonder he doing

    • Pete

      Poor Jeff should have released this article yesterday. Today was really bad timing, he won’t get a lot of buyers. Yes, the team is better but given the competition in our division, I don’t think we can officially call ourselves “good”. I prefer “better” with an eye on being “good”. Yes, they stunk up the joint today, the Cards were stealing bases like the first day of a little league season. Embarrassing and hopefully the boys are hanging their heads in shame from the effort given. If not, you except mediocrity and it can be contagious, so far they have avoided it.

  7. Steven Ross

    Bill Parcells said: you are what your record says you are.

    Again, get 5 games over .500 and I’ll start believing. Until then, nothing changes.

  8. Jreis

    To quote Bob Huggins, “we are not a very good team Chuck”. The pitching has been really good but that has been it..
    I don’t understand all the advanced stats but basically we don’t get clutch hits, we don’t run the bases well. Our defense is better than I thought it would be but besides Iglesias we don’t make a lot of spectacular plays
    Senzel is giving me hope though. He is the first multi dimensional we have had in a generation. And I hope the Siris Trammels and India follow suit in the near future. Until then, I think .500 is the best we can hope for

  9. Jon

    To contend in 2020, the Reds will have to make some serious moves this winter. Puig is extremely unlikely to return. The Reds need to work on a multi-year extension for Jose Iglesias. Depending on how Gennett and Wood perform when they arrive this year, extensions for them are a possibility also. What Roark does the remainder of the year could justify another extension.

    More importantly, the Reds must find another outfield bat. They need to locate another Yelich-type player with multiple years of control and trade for him. (Who that might be, I have no idea. That’s why the Reds have scouts.) The Reds also need to upgrade their bullpen. Considering Iglesias’ struggles the past two seasons and his unwillingness to pitch in non-save situations, perhaps it’s time to trade him and find another strong bullpen arm or two.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      I agree with most of what you said.

      The difference between this up coming off-season and those of years past is that the core is pretty much in place. It now comes down to supplementing that core.

      The Reds are in a great spot resource, payroll, and farm system wise. They can bring in a FA or two or even trade for an upgrade at a position. They have the option to re-sign guys like Iglesias.

      I think if the Reds do a good job of supplementing the roster this off-season as well as the continued seasoning of some of the younger guys (Winker, Mahle, Senzel, etc) they will be in a good spot next year. Couple that with a lot of talent continuing to progress through the farm system and the Reds are in a good spot for the near and distant future.

  10. matt hendley

    Yes, a team that is trying to win, is doing better than a team that was deliberately set up to lose, Our abilities are unmatched in the modern era. (for the love of all holy, yes that is sarcasm)

    Scooters and Woods injuries combined with Puig’s slow start are a setback, that is unfortunate. Their presence on this team would have safely placed them into the middle of this division. And they will return, along with Puig’s bat, and the reds will improve as a result.

    The Problem is that they are missing holes in the long term. Trammell won’t be here Until 2021 and not in CF either. Siri, aside from being unable to keep his mouth shut (allegedly), may have seen his potential burn out at AA, and should not be seriously taken as an MLB option anytime soon if ever. Tehran is a good back up glove only option, but there is no one else at the SS option. same for 2B. Yea we have DD for a year. As it stands, the reds will need to fill 2 spots in the rotation, with only Lucas sims available and that would require relying on the unreliable DIsco.

    THe Answer? Season 4 of “who does jose peraza lose his job too this time?” I know when it worked for the Cubs and how happy the fans in Chicago are when Happ comes up to bat the…..wait. Ian Happ sucked, and he got sent down to AAA. Instead, the reds continue to trot out Peraza in LF, (where incidentally there is a MLB ready LF LHP replacement). Sounds like good FO work to me. Pitcher blows a game? Thats ok, put him in 5 more just cause he is a LHP, it is not like there is another LHP in the minors waiting(yes i know reed is injured right now but you get the point). SOme people are legitimatly playing away from their career norms. But will come back to the mean (Puig) others Just suck (duke). But there is David Bell like clockwork, just rolling people out there. Sounds like great managing to me.

    The Reds have a foot in the door this season, The return of Scooter and Wood will give them the posibility of kicking the Door down. But after this year, I have no faith in a repeat. Not with this FO or manager.

    Pitching coach Johnson was a good pickup though, or extremely lucky. I will give him that.

    • Jim t

      How about Votto’s start? His numbers have been on the decline since last year.

      • matt hendley

        The comment was directed towards the unexpected issues. Puig issue is unexpected, injuries are always unexpected. A bad early year from a player who has always had bad early years is not.

      • greenmtred

        Votto has been hitting and getting on base lately. The Reds have been playing better lately. They appear to be, in fact, what most of us thought they’d be this year: A .500 club. I seem to remember that we were mostly ok with that, too, since it represents such an improvement over recent years. The story will be told when they deal with the one-year contracts and roster additions this off-season.

    • James Vincent

      They will be fine with Peraza at Short next year as long as David Bell lets him play. They have several rotation options for next year. Sims, Bowman, Reed, Gutierrez, stalin . Their biggest need will be a number 5 starter a right fielder and either a center fielder or second baseman. There are some internal options for these positions. Tayorl could be ready but not till mid season. Aquino could be an option. They do have about 60 million to spend. For that cash they could sign scooter, a starter and a right fielder . Or simply give up another extremely low-level Prospect for another one year rental. I think the reason they traded for rentals was hoping to re-sign some of them once they got comfortable. It seems to me Tanner’s really darn comfortable.

  11. Jon

    The difference between the Reds and the other four teams in the division? The Reds haven’t made any significant roster acquisitions since 2012. I’m not referring to waiver-wire pickups or trades made as part of the rebuild. Aside from the Puig trade (consisting of four players the Dodgers are doing even better without), the Reds have done nothing significant.

    The Cardinals just this winter traded for a star first baseman. Last year they got Ozuna and Mikolas. They signed a proven reliever to a multi-year deal.

    The Cubs just signed Kimbrel. Though many of their signings are questionable, they’ve had no problem getting free agents.

    The Brewers had one of the best winters of the decade before the 2018 season, acquiring both Cain and Yelich.

    The Pirates traded for Chris Archer, a move they may end up regretting, but a significant trade nonetheless.

    Why is it the Reds front office seems so afraid to make a significant trade? The Dodgers trade this winter doesn’t count, as it was all about dumping Bailey’s contract for anything that could breathe. Do the Reds overvalue their prospects? This topic’s been posted here numerous times before, but Yelich could be a Red this season. Hunter Greene could have headlined the package to acquire him. Ugh.

    • matt hendley

      The Cardnals “proven releiver’ has proven to be anything but, assuming we are talking about miller here, his results are not near career norms, and STL cannot trust him to be used like he was in CLE.
      Many of the CHC FA signings backfire, Jason Hayward, about half the pitchers. If the reds FA pickups failed at that rate, everyone would be on here making complaints about that. The Reds also would not be able to afford to ‘ignore’ them as much as the CHC can.
      The Chris Archer trade has already backfired against the Pirates, Using those peices the Rays are making a run at the ALE. The Pirates cant even get CA to pitch every 5th day.
      The Brewers trade and FA signing of the two above was a major coup for them, true. But we got a piece from MIA as well that has worked out for us. MIL also has this minor problem called, THEIR ENTIRE STARTING ROTATION.
      All trades count. That’s the nature of trades. Wood will get healthy. The only real salary dump portion of the Trade is already gone (Kemp). The reds got a long term piece out of it, and Puig still has months to turn it around.

  12. Wayne nabors

    Matthew, bell is a lot like you with pitch trax and computers,that’s how he gonna manage no matter what,which means never gonna be 500 or better

    • Lwblogger2

      I’m not quite as all-in with the metrics as Bell nor some here but other managers are. If you look around, you’ll see a lot of managers having success managing by the new, digital book. Cora, Baldelli, Kapler to name just 3 off the top of my head.

  13. Jim Walker

    Just as there is a new way of managing games on the field, why not a new approach to constructing the team?

    I’ve no issue with cobbling together a team with the understanding they may (probably) will be doing the same next year and perhaps even beyond.

    I do believe when we see all these guys mashing the ball at AAA, there comes a time to see what they would do at MLB.

    For instance, maybe Phillip Ervin would be preferable to what we’ve see from Puig; or if they could find a different roster spot for him, preferable as a platoon partner with Winker over Peraza.

    For that matter, has much slack does Winker rate? He had two solid to outstanding seasons in 2017-18 but often doesn’t look like the same player on offense this season. I’m guessing we may find the answer to how much slack he gets when Scooter returns and they need to find a spot for Dietrich.

    So I guess what worries me is that I feel like we may be seeing the beginning of a new generation of entitlement before the team has even reached .500

    • Jim Walker

      As far as core position players for the future currently at the MLB level, I’d be hard pressed to buy in on anyone beyond Suarez and Senzel.

      It would be a positive thing if Winker could get himself into that category too; but, 2 partial big seasons followed by what he has done so far in 2019 don’t get him there, especially given he is essentially a 1 dimensional player.

      And yeah Votto will be around until his contract ends or he calls it a career. The adjustment he and the team face is figuring out the best complimentary role for him to fill. Then we as fans have to figure out how to accept that.

      • Roger Garrett

        I agree but not about Winker.He has never been given the same opportunity others have because the Reds have other options they can trot out there when he struggles.Last year he had to prove he belonged and he did.Again this year with Kemp,Schebler.Senzel,Puig and Peraza he has to prove it again.Senzel has been told he will play every day and will regardless.Peraza by default got the job at second and at short and got beat out and now he is in a platoon with Winker.Winker numbers despite his struggles so far are really really good in the big leagues and he should be told he plays every day but he doesn’t while Puig does and Ervin watches from the minors.Winker has never been a platoon player and he certainly isn’t one now and he is coming off of shoulder surgery.I respect your opinion of Winker but disagree especially after less then a full season of at bats.If Senzel struggles and he will have his moments does he then not become part of the core group.Of course not but doesn’t Winker deserve that same opportunity.I will go out on a limb right now and say that Senzel’s offensive numbers after 600 at bats in the big leagues will not be as good as Winker’s in his first 600.

      • Jeff Gangloff

        Jim,

        It will be interesting to see what the Reds do in the second half of the season. Puig may not even be on the roster after the July 31st deadline. Then maybe Irvin gets some time to show what he can do.

        Votto isn’t the same player he used to be, and that’s fine in my opinion. As long as he continues to get on base at a high clip and continues to hit for average he can still be a good, productive player.

        I’m the biggest Votto fan out there but I’m also a realist. You’re lying to yourself if you think Votto is the same guy in 2019 as he was pre 2018 (which was other worldly).

        That’s another post in itself, though.

      • matthew hendley

        “I will go out on a limb right now and say that Senzel’s offensive numbers after 600 at bats in the big leagues will not be as good as Winker’s in his first 600.”

        ‘That’s a bold move cotton, lets see if it pays off’

      • PhP

        Agree with you Roger. I dont understand how someone like Peraza gets infinite chances while Winker and Ervin don’t get anywhere close to the same leeway. Turning Winker into a platoon player is inexcusable in my opinion.

      • Jim Walker

        @All>
        IMO a lot this comes down to roster construction and the Reds feeling they need that “extra” pitcher.

        Thus Peraza who can play anywhere except behind the plate and Farmer who can play behind the plate and anywhere else except CF and SS have MLB jobs while Ervin and/or somebody else who is plastering the ball at AAA do not.

        This part of why I am excited by the upcoming rule changes for 2020. Along with the permanent 26th man, I hope they stand firm to the first reports and cap the number of designated pitchers at 12 (or even 11) versus 13.

        With the Reds being no more than a long shot fringe contender at this point, I think their effort would be better spent developing strategies for next year and beyond rather than using the new age but soon to be obsolete pitching strategies they are using.

      • WVRedlegs

        “Cotton needs new shorts.” Indeed a bold move.

  14. TR

    If an all out effort had been made to acquire Yelich and that combined with this years improved starting pitching, the Reds would be in a much better position. There has been some improvement but the same old same old, such as the inability to reach .500, still lingers.

  15. matt hendley

    A bit of good news, Alanta acquires Dallas K. A little more then the Prorated version of a QO, 1 year deal. We have already played a portion of the games against the Braves and more importantly, he will not be in the NLC.

  16. Brian Jolley

    That is a great perspective on the state of the Reds. They are truly heading in the right direction. Push will also have a stretch or two where he carries the team, Scooter should have a positive impact, and Joey will be productive even if below past Votto standards. It will be interesting what they do before the trade deadline if anything. They are also much more fun to watch this year and have more help on the way from the minors fairly soon.

    • Brian Jolley

      Puig not push. It tried to autocorrect it to Puff this time?

    • Jim t

      Votto is almost here n a year and a half regression. When will he turn t around?

      • greenmtred

        Have you not been watching the games lately? He’s already turned it around. He’s probably not a power hitter anymore, but he’s getting on base.

      • matthew hendley

        @ Green, True story, I was waiting for someone else to day it.

  17. Vancouver Dave

    What a bunch of Debbie downers! Thank you, Jeff, for the perspective. Here’s a little more. Last year, through May, the team was 20-37 with a run differential of -67. They went 47-58 the rest of the way with a RD of -56. That compares to 27-30 with a run differential of +42 this year, through May. They’ve been very unlucky in the close games. They do have a neophyte manager, but the historical fact remains that luck plays a bigger part in W-L results in close games than blowouts, so the positive run differential should be viewed as an extremely good sign. With normal luck and the same type of RD the rest of the year, the Reds could be expected to win between 88 and 89 games. This year. That’s not projecting them to be extra “lucky” to make up for their so-far disappointing record in close games. That’s historical, to-be-expected wins and losses for a team that scores 19-20% more than its opponents,from here on out, and adding in the real-life record so far. I don’t know how much the pitching will come down to earth or the hitting will “revert to the mean.” But this team is playing like a team in the hunt for a wild card, even if the results don’t quite show it. Someone wrote something like that they would believe there had been improvement if the team was in the middle of of the NL Central instead of in the cellar. They are second in the division in run differential and only a handful of games out of first in a bunched up division. Folks, they ARE playing like a mid-level team in the division. The standings don’t quite show it yet, but if you can’t see real, meaningful improvement, I don’t know how else to help you get there.

  18. BigRedMachine

    I think the problem of perception is a Cincinnati problem. Take the Bengals for example.

    The Bengals finally moved on from Marvin Lewis, have a young offensive minded coach, a new defensive coordinator, drafted a new left tackle, and still have a core of good players. As a Bengal fan I really want to believe they are going to not just be competitive but a Superbowl threat. The problem? I’ve been a Bengal fan my whole life. For me to believe I have to see it. I have been burned too many times thinking that this is the year only to be disappointed.

    It’s the same with the Reds. When I was a young kid, I was spoiled by the Big Red Machine. When I was in college, it was the wire-to-wire awesomeness. Since then? Decades of moments here and there but in general they Reds have bounced between being average and terrible. I want to believe. But until they actually perform up to plan and expectations I have doubts. I’m still a Reds fan (and a Bengal fan) despite having moved away from southern Ohio after college. I just have battle scars.

    • CP

      I have found Cincinnati fans to be both exceptional and absolutely miserable to be around. We still support our teams (way beyond what is beyond appropriate in the case of the Bengals), but there are wide swaths of the Reds/Bengals fandom that I really don’t want to watch games with, because they seem to revel in the misery.

      • greenmtred

        You’ve described–accurately–fans of losing teams everywhere. What else are they going to do?

  19. Jreis

    Great comments tonight by RLN and great piece Jeff. I think we have to assess our core and ask are they really good enough to lead the reds back to the playoffs? The core of Suarez Votto Winker and Scooter to me are just too one dimensional. They can hit but not much else. Average defenders and poor baserunners and no threat to steal bases. Also not the most vocal leaders and aren’t exactly going to win the Charlie Hustle award anytime soon.

    I know I am old school but I like the multi dimensional “5 tool ” guys myself. I like players that can get to first to third on a single. That can steal a Base. That have elite range in the outfield. Senzel intrigues me and I think Trammel,Siri and India will also be solid “multi dimensional ” players. Until.that time however j think the best we can expect is .500 ball

  20. Dave

    Big, fat, bright yellow thumbs up! ?This team is markedly improved, both in profiting and entertainment value. They’re not the Yankees (even the injured version runs out DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit) but it’s way better than recently and worth pulling for every night. Good read!

  21. Reddawg12

    In a lot of ways I agree, the team has taken a clear step forward this season. I think if they had the Winker and Puig of last season (and really, Votto too) things would look different. A lot of the struggles have been due to guys who are not hitting as well as we could have reasonably expected them to coming into the season (and obviously that could still turn around.)

    I’m definitely not waiting on a 10 game winning streak, those are pretty rare. But how about 8 of 10, or 9 of 12?! Even that would help them gain some ground to at least keep things interesting, and would be more sustained success than they’ve had at any point this season. Even the worst teams usually put together streaks like that over the course of an entire season. For example, the Marlins have won 13 of their last 19…that kind of stretch would put the Reds over .500. It just hasn’t happened yet.

    Maybe the return of Scooter and Wood can spark some kind of mini winning streak or hot streak. A playoff berth this season seems unlikely at this point, but it would be nice to finish above .500 (and maybe not in last place?) and stay competitive until the end. That would be real progress. Here’s hoping.

    • Jim t

      Votto’s last season was not great. His 2017 season was his norm.

      • Reddawg12

        I didn’t say Votto was great last season. My point was that if Votto was producing now at the same level he did last season, it would make a big difference. He was definitely not his normal self last year, but he still had a .417 OBP and 131 wRc. He is not even close to that level of production this season.

    • RojoBenjy

      I am cautious about putting hope in the return of Scooter and Wood, simply because that, too, is an unknown, and I don’t want to over-expect.

      I love me some Ryan Scooter Gennett, though, and root for him to come out crushing it to the end.

  22. John Jones

    Luck pertains to many different things: injuries, run differential, and bounce of the ball. They’ve been unlucky in in close games, both the other two I don’t think they’ve been unlucky with. For perspective, I think the Nats and Red Sox are more unlucky than we are.

    • RojoBenjy

      If it’s purely luck, the Reds should be around 50/50 in one run games.

      I think the reality is that it’s mostly luck, with some skill in managing, player performance, player hustle, player smarts, etc mixed in. The latter part is where the Reds have fallen short this season.

      Senzel comes up playing baseball. The other guys seem to have forgotten how to play baseball and instead are up there hitting, or fielding, all individually. They’ve lost their instincts as baseball players.

      How can they get them back?

  23. WVRedlegs

    I think this team is more like the 2015 team than 2009. In 2009 they went out and obtained 3B Scott Rolen. That kind of move is not happening in 2019.
    In 2015, before the season started the Reds obtained OF Marlon Byrd. Before the 2019 season the Reds obtained OF Yasiel Puig and OF Matt Kemp. By August 2015 marlon Byrd was gone. In 2019 Matt Kemp is already gone and Puig will be gone by August. In 2015 the Reds traded 2 starting pitchers whose contracts were ending. In 2019, the Reds have 2 starting pitchers who’s contracts are ending and probably will be traded. In 2015 the Reds front office was pre-occupied with hosting the 2015 All-Star game and applied a lot of fools gold as window dressing for the 25 man roster. In 2019, the Reds front office has been pre-occupied with the 150th anniversary year of the franchise and has applied a better quality of window dressing for the 25 man roster. But the front office’s intent is all the same. Give the fans the illusion of hope and competing with those said rosters.
    In 2015, from the trades of Cueto, Leake, Frazier, and Chapman the Reds obtained Finnegan, Reed, Lamb, Duval, Mella, Peraza, Schebler, Dixon, Davis, Renda, Cotham, and Jagielo. And in 2016 the Reds traded Jay Bruce for 2 players with chronically bad shoulders. Finnegan has pitched himself into oblivion and is not even assigned to any Reds minor league team. Reed is on the IL but belongs on the 25 man roster when back to health. Lamb, Duval, Dixon, Davis, Renda, Cotham, Jagielo, and the two players with chronically bad shoulders are all gone from the organization. Peraza has twice lost his starting spot and is on the verge of being sent to AAA. Schebler has lost his 25 man roster spot and is struggling at AAA. All the Reds did was obtain bridge players to get them through until the next good Reds team, which has not arrived as of yet. Broken promises galore from the Reds front office.
    Now here in 2019, the Reds have several players who have a contract that expires after this season. They can’t trade for bridge players this time around though. They have to try and get some good players back whether young players with a little ML experience or some good prospects. Quality over quantity this time as the Reds negotiate the 2019 trade market. Be sellers AND buyers in 2019 and don’t make the mistake that Walt Jocketty did in 2015. The Reds need to add to their core here or at least get good supplemental roster pieces.
    Out of all that 2015 trade activity, the Reds may have only obtained 2 players for the next good Reds team. One is Cody Reed, and the other was Adam Duval, which has led to Lucas Sims. They have to do better in 2019 on the trade market for the sake of the next good Reds team.

    • James Vincent

      You conveniently left out all the brilliant trades he made s

  24. Jefferson Green

    Good post. A little optimistic about the core, but I agree with the heart of the article, especially the part where I see the team front office doing things differently and a new coaching staff implementing a host of new processes and strategies.

    Teams – and new managers – and new coaching staffs implementing radically different approaches need time to learn and jell together and improve. It takes time. Some players are adjusting, learning, and growing. Some are struggling. But it is not the same struggle as previous years. I like that.

  25. Jefferson Green

    This article and comments has again sparked this thought in me, so it seems an appropriate place to post this:
    I read and post here at RLN less than I used to because the percentage of positive comments and posters who do some research and have a reasoned take on the current team has become much lower. I do not want a site that is always positive and Polyanna, but I do want a place to discuss our team with insight and depth, with opinion less emphasized and pausing to think and do some minor research the norm. I want a place where I am among fans, not pure critics, fans who want and hope for – and actually recognize – the good that may be happening with their team. (Any of us can read a box score and see the result, or look at the standings and know where the team stands. I want to ‘see’ the next good team months or years before it shows up in the box score.)
    I am posting this in hope that more who feel the same way will contribute. Thanks for reading, and thanks to all who thoughtfully and creatively post.
    And of course, go Redlegs!

    • CFD3000

      Jefferson – I am pleased to see this comment, and request. I will pledge to post more often. There are at least four optimists on RLN – you, me, Jeff Gangloff and Jason Linden. So that’s something. And there are MANY more who are at least fair – seeing the positive and the negative and giving credit where it’s due. But there are also some who appear to derive pleasure from their pessimism, and take pride in always finding something to criticize, and that gets disheartening.

      I am a huge fan of baseball, from when I played it and now that I only watch. It’s a wonderful game and when played by the world’s best, an astonishing spectacle. And the best reality TV ever created. And I’m a huge fan of the Reds, since I was a little catcher and Johnny Bench was The Man. From the BRM to Larkin and Davis and Votto and Cueto I’ve loved the Reds and rooted for them, win or lose. And though I am a busy professional with a wonderful family, great friends and some other compelling hobbies – I can’t wait for the Reds game tonight, to see if Mahle can outwit the Phillies, if Votto’s still heating up, if Jose Iglesias has more magic in his glove, and if the Reds can sneak closer to .500. Go Reds!

  26. ToBeDetermined

    “A lot of organizations would kill for a youngish, cheap core made up of Nick Senzel, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray”

    What ?
    Youngish – Joey Votto
    cheap – Joey Votto

    Yes, younger than me but, my tryout days were 30+ years ago.

  27. James Vincent

    They will be fine with Peraza at Short next year as long as David Bell lets him play. They have several rotation options for next year. Sims, Bowman, Reed, Gutierrez, stalin . Their biggest need will be a number 5 starter a right fielder and either a center fielder or second baseman. There are some internal options for these positions. Tayorl could be ready but not till mid season. Aquino could be an option. They do have about 60 million to spend. For that cash they could sign scooter, a starter and a right fielder . Or simply give up another extremely low-level Prospect for another one year rental. I think the reason they traded for rentals was hoping to re-sign some of them once they got comfortable. It seems to me Tanner’s really darn comfortable.

    • matthew hendley

      OK multiple problems with your post, and for once I cannot even start with Peraza (even though I will get to him)
      You noted Stalin as a potential rotation option, We are the reds yes, but not that type of reds. We are not going to be allowed to send opposing hitters to the gulag or shoot them just cause they hit dingers.
      as for the rest. Bowman is a pure reliever, not an option and Reed has produced much better results out of the Bullpen. SIms is realistically the only option coming up. Infact I think he will take Tanner Roarks spot.
      Peraza’s ship has sailed. Its too much of a risk to send him out and give him a starting spot without a reasonable back up, and if there is a reasonable backup that person will soon take Peraza’s Job.
      Trammell will be a late 2020 at the earliest. Aquino…..has his issues….but has made strides this year. I will withhold judgement.
      The major point you bring out that Is correct though the reds have room for FA/Trade or internal movement on all fronts.
      And yes I am only replying to this statement cause Stalin

  28. Sandman

    Yes, this year’s team is better than in recent years during the rebuild, but, what’s so frustrating is that you see the potential that the players on this year’s team has. And, if they were all playing to their potential it makes one wonder just how high this year’s team could go. They seem, at times, right on the cusp of putting it all together but they just don’t (so far). I’m really wondering just how much this team will improve when Gennett and Wood come back. Maybe it’s not gonna be the magical cure that puts this team over the top but, you never know.