Last night during the Reds game there was brief twitter exchange between two of Redleg Nation’s writers about Phillip Ervin. Jordan Barhorst noted that Ervin might be good. That warranted a response from Jason Linden about what a potential platoon of Ervin and Jesse Winker could do if utilized.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the last three days, you’ve missed the Phillip Ervin show. It’s the hottest thing to hit the airwaves since The Wonders were flying up the charts out of Erie, Pennsylvania with their hit That Thing You Do!

It’s not that Ervin wasn’t having a solid season before this recent hot streak – he was hitting .280/.345/.460 before going 6-for-6 in Colorado on Saturday. But over the last three days he’s raised his line to .361/.418/.590 on the season. This year he’s held his own against right-handed pitching, posting a .732 OPS. It’s been his absolute demolition of left-handed pitching that’s stood out, though. Small sample size alert warning right here – but Phillip Ervin is hitting .480/.552/.840 against left-handed pitching this season.

Offense hasn’t exactly been consistent for the Reds this season. Manager David Bell has tried platooning plenty of players this season. Jesse Winker has rarely played against left-handed pitchers. The same can be said for Derek Dietrich. Both of those two players have spent some time in the outfield, and for Winker, it’s the only place he’s played. With Scooter Gennett back from the injured list, there’s one less spot for Dietrich to play on most days.

That does leave the Reds with some good options around the field – at least when it comes to finding offense. Matching up against right-handed pitchers you can have a lineup that includes two of Scooter Gennett, Derek Dietrich, and Jesse Winker starting at second base and in left field. When a left-handed pitcher toes the rubber you can choose to go with Jose Peraza at second base and play Phillip Ervin in left field. Then you have your bench loaded for if and when a right-hander enters the game.

So the question comes back around to is it time to find more at-bats for Ervin? On the surface, the immediate response says “yes”, and it’s tough to disagree with it. Of course you want to find more at-bats for a guy who has an OPS of .999. The more difficult question is exactly where do that at-bats come from? Yasiel Puig is hitting .388/.430/.806 since June 11th. Nick Senzel is the center fielder on the team. Both are going to be in the lineup every day.

And therein lies the problem. It’s just tough right now to find more at-bats for Phillip Ervin. That is unless you’re going to play him over Nick Senzel or Yasiel Puig. And spoiler alert: The Reds aren’t going to.

For the time being it would seem that time for Ervin is going to be when a left-handed pitcher takes the mound for the opposition. The Reds have said they plan to be buys at the deadline. Plans can change, of course. Maybe a spot could open up if the team decides to move someone in a trade.

What this recent surge, and his overall 2019 season could be doing for Phillip Ervin, though, is placing his name on the “players to consider for starting corner outfielder for the 2020 Cincinnati Reds” list. Yasiel Puig is a free agent after the year. Until something changes that, Ervin has to be in the conversation to take one of the open spots in the field. Whether that’s left field with Jesse Winker sliding to right, or just playing Ervin in right isn’t that important.

110 Responses

  1. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Honestly, if we can’t extend Puig and he leaves, I really wouldn’t mind seeing an OF of Ervin, Winker, and Senzel. For the cost that Ervin would be (cheap), I think he could hold his own out there. Then, we can use the saved money elsewhere.

    Not saying I would rather do that. I would rather extend Puig, I believe. However, if we can’t get that, and can’t get anything better off FA, I would have no problem plugging Ervin in there.

    I was never much of a fan of platooning. I was more of a fan of seeing just what to we have in the player first. You never really know of a player can handle it if he doesn’t get some regular playing time. And, with platooning, the RHbat is only going to get to play against LHpitching, not fair for the platoon guy.

    And, I’m not saying Ervin will be an All-Star. I’m saying I believe he can hold his own. And, he would be cheap.

  2. Roger Garrett

    Always though he should play every day based on last year and the spring data.Never liked Senzel being blocked in the infield but the team did what it did so here we are in July of 2019.Next couple of weeks will tell the story.

  3. Big Ed

    The Reds only have 3 off days between now and September 9. There ought to be several chances for Ervin to start, when Puig or Senzel are either nicked up or just need a day off.

    Ervin maybe oughta grab a first baseman’s mitt and learn how to use it. Couldn’t hurt to have an extra skill.

    You sure have to give him credit for taking advantage of his opportunities.

    • mike hanes

      I thought that comment about the off days had to be wrong, but no, that’s crazy.

    • Tomn

      Train him to catch during the off-season. 😉

  4. D Ray White

    Solution: Trade Gennett. Install Senzel at 2nd. Let Ervin take over CF. Defense improved up the middle.

    • MK

      The problem with trading Gennett is the same as last year, no one wants him. A couple dozen used balls is about the best offer at this point and that is down fron three dozen in 2018. His injured groin and weak arm make him a liability in the field and that was on display last night.

      Ian just wondering who is he odd man out will be when Tucker is healthy. The floaters have been Phillip and VanMeter all year and Phillip deserves to stay and Josh is already down.

      • James H.

        And that’s all OK. Gennett needs to go. Send him to a competing team and allow him to have a chance at playoff exposure prior to free agency. The Reds could at least allow him that opportunity, because right now, he’s not going increase his signing value on a last place team drawing zero attention.

      • Jim Walker

        Right now it is not unreasonable to think there doesn’t look to be a place for Barnhart on this team if they continue to keep 13 pitchers.

        So, maybe the answer is Barnhart of Casali gets traded. They are both under team control through the 2022 season. However Barnhart currently makes almost 3x as much as Casali ($2.9M/ 950K).

        The salary difference will level out some as Casali progresses through arbitration against Barnhart’s negotiated deal. Regardless it could hang in at around 2x as much, given Barnhart’s deal jumps to the $4M range for 2020-21 and tops out at $7.5M in 2022 (team option against a 500K buyout).

        If the Reds are comfortable their “3d catcher” at AAA could step in as the MLB backup in case of another injury, a trade would seem to be in order.

  5. Phil

    These guys should be starting against left-handed pitching:
    Suarez – 981 OPS v LHP this season. 1.007 since start of 2018
    Ervin – 1.392 OPS v LHP this season. 911 since start of 2018
    Senzel – 1.045 OPS v LHP this season
    Puig – 840 OPS v LHP this season. 701 since start of 2018
    Casali – 724 OPS v LHP this season. 840 since start of 2018

    These guys are hitting OK against lefties:
    Scooter – 749 OPS v LHP since start of 2018 (only 9 PAs against lefties this season)
    Votto – 752 OPS v LHP this season. 756 since start of 2018
    Peraza – 740 OPS v LHP this season. 766 since start of 2018
    J. Iglesias – 600 OPS v LHP this season. 750 since start of 2018

    These guys should not hit against lefties:
    Winker – 428 OPS v LHP this season. 593 since start of 2018
    Dietrich – 457 OPS v LHP this season. 658 since start of 2018
    Barnhart – 515 OPS v LHP this season. 713 since start of 2018

    • Pete

      Good list Phil and I agree. Let’s not overlook Kyle Farmer at catcher. He’s likely to start seeing some steady PT behind the plate and I’m looking forward to seeing if he can handle it. He might be a bridge to the future at catcher. To these sore eyes, he looks like a gamer.

    • Doc

      Not a valid comparison to use this season for everybody but Gennett, using his data since 2018. Especially not valid since he has had a major injury in 2019 and has not recovered his hitting to date.

      • Phil

        I listed “this season” and “since start of 2018” for everybody except Gennett (only 9 plate appearances against lefties this season) and Senzel (no MLB plate appearances last season).
        I’m not sure the list would really change either way.

  6. matthew hendley

    I think Ervin’s opportunities will continue to increase this season. He should absolutely not be sent back down again. Obviously starting against the lefties and get spot starts against righties to spell Senzel or Puig a day.

  7. Pete

    A talent like Ervin, given his rock-bottom cost make it possible for small-market teams to compete with the rich guys. Trade Puig.

    My preferable scenario: play Erving, Winker and Senzel every day after dealing Puig for much needed infield/catcher prospects. September 1st bring up Aquino, if he is still mashing the ball at AAA, let him get 3-4 starts a weeks. This can accommodated by having Nick play 2nd and 3rd base occasionally. Also, to clear some of those play days for Aquino, see if Winker can handle 1B. These would be moves of a team with good foresight and an inspiration to this fan.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Good discussion guys.
      The Reds have a lot of different ways they can go in regards to the Roster for the rest of 2019 and into 2020.

  8. Jason Linden

    Since my tweet is up there, I’ll chime in: Ervin is not an every day player. He’s a very good 4th OF and a good platoon option. Though we’re still getting used to him, at 27 he’s the kind of player who figures to hang around for a few years getting semi-regular playing time, but he’s not a starter.

      • Jason Linden

        I mean, over who? And are any of us interested in watching the Reds let someone who is very unlikely to be above average as a regular “prove” anything at this point? Letting Ervin “prove it” might have made sense a couple of year ago when the Reds were terrible and he was younger. But that isn’t where we are now. Ervin has almost 400 PAs in the majors and he’s been a little above average as a hitter in that time and a little below average over all. That’s who he is.

      • Pete

        Put in your resume. I’ll stay with my position. Hey, I will agree with on one thing: Peraza needs to be the everyday SS the rest of season, sink or swim.

        Reds would be fools to resign Puig, I would give PE first crack at RF.

      • Jim Walker

        I agree. Sometimes guys grow between the ears; and, that fills in the missing dimensions. It surely looks like that is at least part of what is going on with Ervin right now.

      • Pete

        Jim – Jason knows baseball, I won’t argue but I agree something fundamental seems to have changed with PE and maybe we put the emphasis on the “mental” part of the change.

        Stat of the morning: Joey Votto is carrying a .401 SLG%. Not saying he’s done but I would start looking at plan B – Jesse Winker perhaps. Note: Amazingly the only 1B, with enough qualifying PA’s, lower is Miguel Cabrera at .384. Pujols is at .444. Father time doesn’t play favorites.

      • Jim Walker

        Ervin’s career MLB numbers:
        378PA’s; OPS slash .340/.445/.785; wRC+106
        Just turned 27 yesterday. Numbers up from last year.
        Hard to fathom why these numbers shouldn’t merit a longer look before deciding he isn’t a an everyday player.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        ” who is very unlikely to be above average as a regular “prove” anything at this point?”

        You won’t know this until you give the player some regular playing time. Till then, you are only talking about “you have a feeling based on age”.

    • PhP

      You feel 400 abs spread across 2(3?) years are enough to determine he’s only a bench player? He was a former 1st rounder. I’m not saying I necessarily disagree that he won’t turn out as only a 4th outfielder, but I don’t understand how you can be so confident based on only 400 abs.

      • Pete

        The best attribute for Ervin is he is a “potential” five-tool guy. Given his physical skills, I believe he has a tremendous upside. Will he reach it is probably a long shot but God gave him the raw talent. It’s up to him how he applies it.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Right now, according to OPS+, he’s our best hitter by 35 points! And, he’s not a full-time player? You are going to need to quantify why with something more than age.

      I am like others. I would like to see what he can do everyday. I hope we extend Puig. But, if we don’t, I would have no problem putting Ervin out there.

    • Mason Red

      I agree. It’s time to move on from part timers being starters. He’s perfect for the bench and adds depth but what we’re seeing now is an aberration.

  9. Cbus

    I think there’s 3 options ignoring trade scenarios.

    Option1: Sign Puig, let Scooter walk, Senzel to 2b and let Ervin try CF with Schebler/Trammell as the backup plan.

    Option2: Sign Scooter, let Puig walk, Ervin to RF.

    Option3: Let Puig and Scooter walk, Peraza to 2b and Ervin to RF.

    I like option1 the best, doesnt hurt the offense and improves the defense.
    Option3 is a big offensive step backwards imo.

    • docproc

      If you let both Puig and Scooter walk, Aquino and VanMeter need to be in the replacement conversation.

      • Pete

        I’d like to see it tried this season. Get a jump on 2020. We really have a golden opportunity to evaluate some talent, real time at the major league level.

    • Doc

      DFA Gennett if no trade offers by 7/31 and move on.

  10. Steve Mancuso

    Jason’s original point is important. It’s the platoon. Winker career split vs RHP is 134 and Ervin vs. LHP is 140 (these are wRC+). Caveats: small samples for both, especially Ervin; the platoon can’t be perfect, there will be some number of AB vs. pitchers of the other hand. But a sharing arrangement that produces a wRC+ of 120-125 would be terrific. That’s 20-25 percent above the average major league hitter. Be happy David Bell and the Reds have found this arrangement.

    120-125 aren’t MVP numbers, though. Average NL MVP wRC+ since Votto in 2010 has been 167. In 2019: Trout (190), Bellinger (187), Yelich (179). Big difference.

  11. Satchmo

    The solution seems obvious to me:

    Current Lineup:

    CA: Casali / Barnhart
    1B: Votto
    2B: Gennett / Peraza / Dietrich
    SS: Iglesias
    3B: Suarez
    LF: Winker / Ervin
    CF: Senzel
    RF: Puig

    Of this group, some of them are both A) under team control for a very short period of time and B) outperforming the back of their baseball card. In other words, they are classic “sell high” players that the Reds always seem to hang on to until they have no value at all. Those players are Puig, Roark, and Iglesias (and Dietrich, perhaps); they MUST be traded. Meanwhile, you have inexpensive, young guys that are being blocked by these “must trade” candidates: Vanmeter, Peraza, Aquino, and O’Grady. That’s not even counting the “we’ll be here soon” guys in Siri, Trammel, and Friedl.

    The plan was to sign these short-term guys, let them hold spots for the kids coming up while building their value, and trade them to bolster the minor league system. It was a good plan, a plan that smart small market teams employ all the time. It’s still a good plan. Don’t bail on it now out of sentiment for Puig and Iglesias. They WILL revert back to the back of their baseball cards and we’ll get nothing for them.

  12. jreis

    Ervin has tremendous talent and I feel can be an everyday player. It is all about his mental state. he appeared disengaged a lot last year but this year appears more locked in.

    I think the culture is finally starting to change a bit with the reds and I think Puig and Senzel are a big reason why. I think they are starting to take over the leadership in the clubhouse a little bit and this is having a positive effect on Ervin’s mental approach.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      And, if I remember correctly, Ervin had the injury bug in the minors. But, he seems to be staying healthy now. I would like to see what he can do.

  13. RojoBenjy

    It’s well past time.

    He, and not Schebler, should have broken camp with the Reds in March. Ervin outplayed Schebler but was dissed because he doesn’t bat left handed like Schebler.

    Regarding Winker, once I can tell that he has put more energy into the finer details of fielding and base running than he does into his post-HR choreography, then I’ll be ok with him platooning. Until, then, Phil Ervin EVERY DAY.

    • RojoBenjy

      Another beef with Winker—doesn’t run out ground balls. That is not a winner’s attitude and makeup.

      Ervin’s makeup? His team treats him like an old shoe, and he never chirps about it. Just puts his head down and plays.

      Jason declaring that Ervin is a fourth outfielder and nothing more at this point is a shaky position. I agree with the others that say let him show us. “Nobody puts baby in a corner.”

      • Jim Walker

        And Ervin was drafted #27 overall the year after Winker was drafted #49 overall. Go figure.

    • Jim Walker

      I’m sort of like you with Winker. But I will say he was hot footing it home from 2nd with the lead run last night like I’d seldom seen him moving before. Great to see. maybe the new attitude is spreading to him too.

      And I agree about Puig and Senzel. That is a big reason I wrote yesterday that unless the return was overwhelming for Puig
      it was worth the risk of going to a QO with him instead of trading him.

      Also, Joey V. should have the video guys get together a clip of how aggressively he ran the bases in his younger days. Then he should show it to the younger guys (including Suarez) and say this is how you should be playing while you’ve got the legs to play this way!

      • Don

        If Puig will not sign an extension, it means he and/or his agent do not want to be in Cincy. a QO is a post 2nd round draft pick(??). I would think a Puig trade today should bring more value than that draft pick.

        If Puig was in long term plans (like Gray) they would have made a extension offer before the season, either Puig told the team he was not staying or they did not see him in post 2019 plans at trade time.

        Puig is good now, but every once in a while his wanting to make the great play in the field results in missing the good play which puts team in a hole and shaking head on why would one do that.

        The “I will play hard this year as it is a contract year” sets off to many red flags to want Puig on more than a year to year contract.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Just a guess, but it’s my hunch that the front office is waiting until after the trade deadline before approaching anyone on a contract extension. They may want to wait and see what value they can extract from other teams before starting down the road of contract extensions.

    • jreis

      I agree I don’t like Winkers attitude much but I think when he came to the team the leaders were notorious base joggers of Joey Votto and Suarez and Cozart and he kind of followed their lead. I actually think his defense and base running is better this year.

  14. Old-school

    MLB traderumors quotes Nick Krall as saying the Reds have not engaged in any extension talks with Puig.

    • Pete

      I realize the Reds won’t do it for a variety of reasons, some good, some not but today would be a great day to trade Puig to get max return.

      Chad Dotson tweet today:

      “Since June 10, Yasiel Puig has been the very best hitter in the major leagues, slashing .388/.430/.806 with a 210 wRC+.”

      The better his numbers get the chances of retaining him become more remote but on the bright side, it drives up his trade value.

    • Jim Walker

      Why do I suspect Puig is a baseball version of Artemi Panarin aka Bread? No real reason but I do.

      For those who don’t follow hockey at all, Panarin told the Blue Jackets at this point last year he would not negotiate a new contract with them “at this time. CBJ kept him and eventually offered him a deal that would have paid him at least $10M more over term than the deal he eventually signed to play in New York with the Rangers.

      • Old-school

        Ja Happ did that didn’t he with the Reds? I’ll take Sonny Gray. Thanks.

  15. Indy Red Man

    Cmon Jason? 400 atbats?

    Mike Schmidt hit .197 over his initial 401 at-bats in the show. Turns out that’s not who he was. Now Ervin is Schmidt, but you get my point. Zach Greinke went 5-19 or something early on. Ervin could be really good….maybe? He takes pitches and he sprays the ball around. He can also run and has some power. Worse case scenario they’d have a excellent guy for a platoon, but shouldn’t they find out first?
    I’m as sure as death & taxes who Jose Peraza is as a player, but they keep running him out there. If Peraza went 6-6, he wouldn’t be on the bench for a month.

      • Pete

        My all-time late bloomer is David Ortiz. There are many too choose from, I’d suggest you open up your mind.

        I see your sticking with Peraza, Barnhardt and an ageing Joey Votto. It’s commendable but I believe it’s also personal and not based on hard evidence. No one is saying Ervin is destined for stardom or even a PT/FT job in MLB but if there is an opportunity it would be in the Reds interest to look into it.

  16. Jason Linden

    It is weird to me that I’m regarded as the one with the shaky position in this thread. Ervin is 27 – ancient for a prospect – grades as a 40 prospect according to FanGraphs and – most importantly – this entire conversations is now happening because he’s been really good for a few weeks. He has 67 PAs this year. That’s not an even remotely reliable sample.

    If you want Winker and Ervin to platoon, I’m with you. But otherwise? In terms of resume, the Reds have multiple other OFers in the minors with track records every bit as good as Ervin’s and – often – better. Not every guy gets a shot at being and every day player.

    Oh, and though he was a number one pick, he was a late-round pick. He’s not comparable to a Senzel, for instance.

    • citizen54

      I’m kind of with you on this one. If you look at Ervin’s advanced stats you will see he has been very lucky so far this year. His xwoba is .287 compared to his actual of .423. He has a .553 BABIP which obviously is not sustainable. I like Ervin but if it were up to me, I would be looking for some sucker to trade him to. If the Reds want max value they should be looking to trade him now.

    • Doug Gray

      I’m mostly with you here, Jason. I like Phillip Ervin as a Major Leaguer. Heck, in the right scenario, he’s an every day guy – or at least someone who should get a look. I think he can play enough of center field that on some teams I’d play him there until another option showed better.

      But he’s also a 27-year-old who has only really hit for the last years and a half in either the minors or majors. Some guys are late bloomers, and I always though Ervin was going to be a better hitter than his minor league numbers said he was.

      But if I’m looking at the 40-man roster and thinking someone who isn’t playing every day needs to start playing every day, the guy I’m looking at isn’t Ervin, but VanMeter. And he’s got the same problem Ervin does: Nowhere to play right now in that role.

      As for the “former 1st round pick” thing – that’s something people can still say when a guy is 24. It’s a real tough sell when a guy is 27 to still be using that as any sort of reasoning about a guys ability. What they’ve actually done on the field is far more telling than where they were drafted by that point.

      If Billy Hamilton were the teams center fielder instead of Nick Senzel – sign me up on the play Phillip Ervin every single day train. If Scott Schebler (the post shoulder injury version) were the teams every day corner outfielder – sign me up on the play Phillip Ervin every single day train. But that’s not the case. The outfield is Nick Senzel and Yasiel Puig and Jesse Winker (and sometimes Derek Dietrich).

      • Pete

        A difference between PE and most every other guy in the league is he appears to be blessed with an inordinate degree of raw talent. Admittedly, I haven’t seen Phillip outside of his time with the Reds but when he has struggled it seems to be due to his own undoing. Sometimes Ervin hasn’t appeared to be all there p disengaged/distracted.. But he is 27 and the door is closing fast and maybe he has figured this out. I’m guessing he was drafted so high because of his raw talent not his overwhelming baseball acumen.

        If my assumptions are somewhat accurate, he might be a guy who can turn it around at 27. Probably not but what do we have to lose?

      • Don

        Trying to understand the age logic.
        Ervin is 13 months older than Winker
        Ervin was drafted in 2013 out of college
        Winker was drafted in 2012 from high school
        Both debut in MLB in 2017
        Ervin is much more athletic than Winker.
        Winker has 762 Plate appearances .281 BA, .833 OPS
        Ervin has 378 plate appearances .273 BA, .785 OPS

        The conclusion with this data is that Ervin has no chance to be an every day MLB player but Winker still has so much more time to grow due to his age as a player that he may still become a MLB everyday player.

        DId not realize that a someone with an age of Age: 25-333d is so much younger than someone with an age of Age: 27-001d.

        Those 397 days of like really must make a huge difference in someone potential.

        To me neither has proven to be an everyday player yet but both deserve the chance.

        Puig (Age: 28-221d) has 3110 PA, .277 BA, .830 OPS

        Ervin and Winker together will cost the reds less than $2 mil in 2020 salary.
        Puig will cost $20 mil (+/- $2).

        Why pay 10 times as much for the same production?

        I would rather see them spend $20 mil on another #2 or #3 level starter and 2 highly qualified relievers in 2020.

      • Jim Walker

        Winker’s splits against LH pitching are brutal across his entire career, worse than Ervin’s versus RH pitching. And he is a very poor fielder and base runner to boot.

        Luckily for Winker there are many more RH pitchers than LH pitchers, But should this earn him the privilege of being assumed as an “everyday” starter?

        VanMeter is 18 months younger than Winker. He’s not some AAAA guy who has been bouncing around the mid an upper minors forever. Why shouldn’t he get a look based on what he is doing.

        Put another way is VanMeter blocked by Winker or is Winker blocking him?

      • Jason Linden

        Don. Think about what you’re saying. Winker has already performed at the MLB level for two seasons (age wise) before Ervin even got a shot. AND he’s been better than Ervin even though Ervin is older and should be more fully developed.

      • Mason Red

        Arguing over which mediocre player is better shows why the Reds are in last place. They both would be acceptable including as a platoon situation if they were surrounded by really good or great players. Unfortunately they’re not. They are surrounded by decent or mediocre players. That’s why this whole discussion is a moot point. You’re not going to build a good team around either of them. They both would be valuable role players on good teams but this isn’t a good team.

      • Pete

        Jason, Winker has a wRC+ of 103, good for 18th of 25 qualifiers in LF. We don’t live in a stagnant world. Given Winkers poor defense and base running, he’s not very valuable. 0.7 WAR in 281 PA,s, Ervin is carrying . 0.5 in 67. You make declarative statements but your case is not made.

      • Don

        Had to go back to work.
        I am looking at numbers. Ervin got through the minor leagues in 1 less year than Winker. Both debuted in 2017.
        Winker debut Apr 14, 2017 played 2 games and went to minors for 6 weeks.
        Ervin debut was Apr 22,2017 played three games and then called back up in August.
        Their debut was 8 days apart not 2 years and winker has 2 times the PAs (opportunities for success) and the BA and OPS are not different enough to be noticeable in the same calendar time.

        Winker has the equivalent of 162 games for PAs.
        Wnker has 27 HR, Ervin has 11 so Winker has a little more in power.

        Both can make bone head defensive plays but Ervin’s speed can make up for some of those.

        If Ervin is not an every day player after 1/2 a season of PAs, then a player with very similar numbers after a year of PAs is no an every day player either.

        My opinion is that neither has been given the opportunity to see if they are an every day player.
        Puig’s numbers for BA and OPS are the same after 6 1/2 years.

        Unless I am missing something, based on the numbers and MLB experience I do not understand why Puig is a must have, Winker has to be given more opportunity and Ervin has had his opportunity and failed??

        I have said multiple times, the team needs to be 50-50 after 100 games. If the team goes 7-2 in the next 9, keep Puig and go for it in 2019. If the team is not 50-50, sell and give the “prospects” a true shot for the last 60 games.

        I fear the same debate will occur in July 2020 and all the “prospects” will be another year older and noone will really know.

      • Pete

        My mistake above, corrected below:

        Winker: 0.3 WAR in 291 PA’s
        Ervin: 0.5 WAR in 67 PA’s

    • RojoBenjy

      The beef I have with the Reds on this is that they have not given Ervin a decent shot. That keeps many of us second guessing. The Bryan Price years were a perfect time to do it and they didn’t.

      The Reds let him get to 27 years of age without letting him show what he is at MLB level. Granted he didn’t beat down the door, but why didn’t they throw him out there earlier?

      If they don’t like him, why haven’t they shopped him to a team that will play him? It’s all been very frustrating and mysterious.

      With Doug I agree that Van Meter should get the every day opportunity before anyone else. But since they aren’t going to do that, why can’t it be Ervin— or at least a straight platoon with Winker. Consistency would be a welcome relief.

      • ToBeDetermined


        I was listening to Jeff Brantley last night on the radio. He had mentioned that he had seen a change in Phil Ervin’s swing during this year, in that he has shorten up his swing, which is giving him a split second longer to recognize pitches.

        Phillip Ervin and many minor league hitters for that matter can hit a fastball, but it’s the breaking ball that will will determine the the length of your major league career.

    • Roger Garrett

      Can’t speak for anybody else but I have been saying play Ervin/Winker and anybody else down on the farm for the last several years primarily because we did stink and were going no where.Ervin’s data and age are what they are although and your right everybody doesn’t get a shot at being an everyday player but a lot of guys do and do and do.All I think anybody is saying is just play him as much as possible and when he’s hot ride him.For me its play em or trade em.No sense wondering about a guy that’s 27 with 400 at bats.Either give him 300 more or show him the door

    • Scott C

      I agree with most of what you are saying Jason, Ervin is 27, he is only rated as a 40 prospect, and I would be hard pressed to figure out who to sit so he could play everyday. The thoughts that I would have would be that there are late bloomers, not many but some, Ervin could well be one. There are players that rise above their prospect status. I am sure there is a lot of science involved in measuring players abilities but anything that is predictive is in someways a guessing game.
      The other thing that I don’t hear anyone talk about concerning Ervin is that pretty soon after he started playing in the minors he had some sort of hand or wrist injury that seemed to effect his hitting is it possible that it is just now that he has gotten back on track with that. I am not a trainer and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I have read many times that these injuries are difficult to come back from.
      Worse case scenario perhaps they could flip Ervin this year for a piece they need.

    • Indy Red Man

      Whit Merrifield was 27 when he finally made it. Your serve 15-30:)

      • Indy Red Man

        Yandy Diaz for TB will be 28 next month (.831 ops). You can’t really succeed until you get a real opportunity

  17. Mark Burris

    Yes, the Reds are perfectly set to platoon left/right against right/left opposing starters, with a stout bench later in the game.
    What became apparent last night was the fact that the Reds might immediately need to find another MLB ready catcher. With no word forthcoming, and the nature of oblique injuries, could it be a probability that Barnhart’s season is finished?

    • Tom Mitsoff

      They did sign a Rays castoff, Nick Ciuffo, and placed him at Class AA for now. Perhaps they are thinking the same thing as you are.

  18. Tom Mitsoff

    Ervin was great in spring training, which many here dismiss as unimportant. The eye test tells me he continues to get better and better as a hitter, though his outfield defense is still lacking. If it was me instead of David Bell making the lineups (and we’re all probably very fortunate that isn’t the case), I would ride the hot horse (Ervin) for awhile and see if he can keep up the pace or if he will fade. Winker has impressed me with his great enthusiasm, but not a whole lot else this year. He has played and hit his way into a platoon role. Let’s see if Ervin might be a bit better than that.

    • Pete

      Tom with a young team still struggling to find its footing, this is the wise move. Votto, Puig, Gennett, Dietrich, Jose Iglesias are not going to play on the next Reds World Series contender. If I burst any bubbles, my apologies. It behooves the team to take this opportunity and look at the youngsters in their system. Even the darkest cloud can have a silver lining. If lucky, we might find a few diamonds in the rough.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        My perspective is a bit different, Pete. I’m still looking at this year as trying to win (while not sacrificing any valuable future assets to do so). When you have a guy as hot as Ervin has been, and another guy who has been as average as Winker has been, I want to see the hot guy get a chance to prove he is not as average as the other guy has looked.

      • Pete

        No, I think we are on the same page. I’m not married to either. Each should get opportunities to prove themselves. Optimally, I would like to see both play every day but this will only happen if Puig is dealt. Where we may differ is I think investment would be better made for the future than the present when faced with a choice…and maybe that is what your saying too.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I absolutely want to hold on to Puig as long as they are in contention. As Chad Dotson pointed out in a Tweet this morning, Puig is the best hitter in baseball by wRC+ since June 10 (210). If the Reds get wiped out the rest of this week and next by the Cubs, Cardinals and Brewers, then yeah, go ahead and sell. But if they stay within the current 5.5 games behind or get closer, anything can happen. Giving up at that point would basically say, We’re not really interested in competing for titles. My two cents is that the organization and fans have to shake this mindset of striving to trade established talent for future prospects (who may or may not ever make it). If the Reds get to the end of July and are still say just 4 or 5 games back, I think what’s left of the fan base would lose their minds if they start trading Puig and the other free-agents-to-be.

        Now, if Puig could bring back someone like, say, Trevor Bauer from Cleveland, that would be different. You put Bauer (who is under team control in 2020) with Castillo and Gray in the same rotation for the next year and a half, and you have a team that can win any series, regular season or postseason. A trade like that would meet the front office’s stated goals of improving with an eye to the future. But Puig for prospects while they’re still in contention? Nope.

      • Pete

        Good exchange Tom. I think our differences boil down to, contention for what? I realize people are starved for a “winner” even if it’s a one and done in a WC game. If the Reds were a young, up and coming team, I’d be right there with you guys. But I honestly don’t believe they are but they have some pieces in place to start making their way there. It’s going to take several seasons to bear fruit.

        Respect everyone’s opinion on the matter and understand the many years of frustration. Maybe in the next couple of weeks some of the smoke will clear.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Clearly my opinion is one based largely in hope. You may be absolutely right in your assessment, Pete. It seems all professional sports (with the possible exception of the NFL) have now defaulted to the mindset of don’t bother really trying to win unless you have a dream team. If you don’t have a great team, you’re just wasting your time and resources if you try to even squeak into the post-season. That’s not why I became interested in sports. Why do I stay up until 2 a.m. on a Saturday to watch the Reds beat the Rockies? Because I want them to win. I have read the arguments of how unlikely it is for the Reds to make the post-season because of the number of teams they have to pass and the record they will likely have to achieve. That could again be absolutely true. In 2007, the Rockies won 14 of their last 15 games to qualify for a one-game playoff. They swept their seven playoff games, meaning they won 21 of 22 games and qualified for the World Series (which they lost to Boston). Nobody in mid-September 2007 thought the Rockies were a dream team, but they put the best they had to offer on the field and competed ultra-successfully. I’m still of the mindset that this could happen for our Reds. Likely? No. But why even watch sports and root for a team if you just give up even when you’re within striking distance? Had sports operated as it does now when I was a kid, I wonder if I would have developed a passion for my teams (Reds, Bengals, Cleveland Cavs, Dayton Flyers basketball).

      • Pete

        I completely get and understand your POV. I see the Astros as the ultimate model for the Reds but there are no guarantees and not many can stomach the thought of a couple potential 100-loss seasons. They were brave to do what they did but also very effective and smart in how they went about their business.

        I love baseball because I love the game. Although I may lose interest in the Reds out of frustration, like the last several seasons, they are still my team; even if I have no interest watching there particular brand of baseball at times. I have beaten my drum enough until the landscape changes. Ultimately, we are on the same side. As Bob Dylan wrote, we just see it from different points of view.

      • Indy Red Man

        Personally I would slow your roll on Trevor Bauer. It seems like he throws 115 pitches every game w/a ton of curveballs. A TJ wouldn’t shock me at all with him

  19. Optimist

    This year is clearly a small sample size warning on Ervin (look at his BABiP), but the past 3 in total give a good picture of a fine MLB player – clearly a bench piece, perhaps a starter, not likely to blossom further given his age and history to date. Still, fine.

    Nice to see Schebler mentioned, though his time may have passed. As Doug notes with VanMeter, also recall that O’Grady, Nay and perhaps Longhi could be playing their way into the picture very soon. And, that’s a short window considering Aquino, Siri and Trammell will also force roster decisions within the year or so.

  20. matthew hendley

    News Flash. 5.5 GB, Division, 3.5 GB wild card. Late July. That is still in contention. All of you individuals going off about the next contending playoff team. Its this year. The Reds are one run away from first. While I am glad to see Ervin doing well, if he is best as a platoon and spot starter then that is what it is. Reds have to take advantage of what they have been given and try for the Playoff spot this season.

    Some of the names being thrown around as having been denied a spot, it is a bit of tough luck this year. VMTR for sure. They will get their opportunities next year. Maybe even this year with another team.

    Others- No, the Reds should not dump the season, cause you want to see a 50% strike out rate by a player in the Majors. (Siri) cause another new ball Half season wonder has taken your fancy. OG, Nay Loh.

    The stupidity is really out in force today.

    • Pete

      If the goal is only reaching playoff potential, go all in……….. If the goal is to win a WS within the decade, get more young talent and let the talent taste the major leagues by actually playing as soon as possible. The Reds could play a 7-game series against the Dodgers a 100 times and maybe win 1 or 2 if they were extremely lucky.

      • matthew hendley

        cant make the WS without making the playoffs. A few teams have gone from Play in game to WS.

      • Pete

        This team was thrown together for this season and only this season. If there is plan beyond 2019, please lay it out. We have like 4-5 guys with contracts beyond 2019? And Votto’s is likely to be a stuck (no option) contract before too long. The bulk of the 2020 team and beyond is down in the minors or someone else’s property at the moment. To make any further investments in 2019 to the detriment of the long-term future seems, well, stupid to me.

  21. Rick

    Yes. Short sample this year, but nobody has mentioned that he exhibits a decent eye at the plate which is encouraging. This year alone, he has 59 PAs and the pitcher was only ahead in 15 of them. He’s been getting the count even or in his favor and doing some damage. You can’t say that for some of the free swingers in the order. His swing, however, is very long and fierce. May need a little guidance on shortening up and control. There may be a guy on the roster who can help with that.

  22. TR

    I would start Ervin every game for the next two weeks and if his hot streak continues than trade him for a good relief pitcher which is needed in the quest for .500 and beyond. Then go with Puig, Senzel and Winker in the outfield with a few prospects almost ready to appear in the Bigs.

  23. David

    Boys, boys, boys….

    Nobody is stupid here. We just all have different perspectives.

    In standings, the Reds are close, and I wish the good people of Cincinnati would get some pennant fever and come out to the games. That’s what Big Bob and the musical Castelinis are hoping for.
    Time will tell.

    I don’t think they are as close as they seem. The can’t get over the hurdle of playing 0.500 baseball. They have a couple of big holes in their roster, in my humble opinion. But a trade to get better could push them over the top. And you wonder what might have been, if the Reds had signed Dallas Keuchel this Spring, and he had been in the rotation instead of Tyler Mahle.

    • RojoBenjy

      Thursday I will be picking up my Puig bobble head before supplies run out!

      Otherwise the 2019 season will ring hollow for years to come. Also, in this way I am supporting Big Bob’s dream when they got Puig—sustaining the marketing gold mine.

    • Charlie Waffles

      Tell that to Steve Mancuso. Everyone who does not agree with him is deranged or simply stupid.

      • ToBeDetermined


        maybe he feels attacked? He is a talented guy.
        But, the beauty of a blog like this is getting different points of view in a nonthreatening manner.

    • TR

      The Reds aren’t as close as they seem, and so far the other four teams in the NLC aren’t as close as they seem.

      • ToBeDetermined

        I don’t know what your trying to say?
        I do know if I am driving and I look out the mirror to my right its says “objects may be closer than they appear”

  24. C Holbert

    Puig is 28, and if they let him walk, what do they have coming that will replace the production, offense and defense. The expense does come into play, but you do not get and keep good productive regular MLB players, without paying some money. I am not saying pay him 20 mil for the next 5/6 years, but competitiveness comes at a price, and there is nothing coming that can put up 30+ HR and 100+RBI. His approach, this year, yes, it has been questioned in the past, has become contagious. This is potentially the most ABs he will have in his career,and probably his best offensive numbers. Once he is, if, traded the fans will see the white flag, and start looking forward to football.

    • Old-school

      Nick Krall stated the Reds have had no discussions with Puig regarding an extension. David scheonfield has an article up at ESPN on every trade each team should make.

      He matter of factly states Tanner Roarck has the most trade value for the Reds- that Yasiel Puig is hitting, but viewed as a disruptive headache.
      Perhaps Puig won’t have a huge FA market in the off-season and the Reds are nt going to bid against themselves now if that is the industry view.

      • ToBeDetermined

        Even at the beginning of the year when Puig wasn’t hitting he did not appear to be a headache. And now that he is hitting he has been inspiring to the rest of the team and the fans.
        Teams that are in a need for a rightfielder will pay for Puig.
        Schoenfield is tilting at windmills.

        ( I had to say that because I hardly ever get an opportunity to write “Tilting at windmills”)

      • Jim Walker

        Also if Puig has a FA destination in mind and that it known, his rental value will be lower for most teams because they know he is nothing more than a 2 month rental with no QO option or likelihood of being signed beyond the end of the season.

        Been there and seen this on the hockey front as I said elsewhere above.

  25. Old-school

    Gennett had an awkward stretch on a ground ball very similar to the play in ST. Is he hurt? Why is he not in the lineup. Bell has said repeatedly Gennett will play every day when healthy.

  26. Big Ed

    Baseball Reference has Ervin with an impossible-to-sustain BABIP of .553 so far this year. Ervin is a good candidate for a fourth outfielder at a low cost, but we need to see his current hot streak for what it is: the baseball equivalent of Lyle Lovett’s marrying Julia Roberts. He is striking out more than 32% of the time, and hitting more grounders than he had in prior years. On the positive side, Ervin has a bit higher line-drive percentage than before, and his HR/FB is lower than it should be.

    Winker is still a much better hitter than Ervin. Winker started out 1-for-26 on the season, coming off a shoulder injury into cold weather. Since that start, he has slashed .274/.351/.506; since June 15, it has been .323/.391/.581. Couple that with last year’s production, and Winker is an absolute keeper.

    The platoon is working well, but the better bet for a platoon with Winker may well be Aristides Aquino, who is 21 months younger than Ervin, and hitting better at AAA than Ervin ever did. Ervin may be the next Justin Turner, blossoming at a late age, but the BABIP makes that unlikely.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Big Ed
      Yea, I know where your coming from
      “but we need to see his current hot streak for what it is: the baseball equivalent of Lyle Lovett’s marrying Julia Roberts.”

    • Indy Red Man

      You may be right about Ervin, but BABIP is the dumbest stat of all-time. If you have a good swing and and good approach then you’ll get hits. If you have a flawed swing or flawed approach then you won’t. Winker is rolling over too much this year…..weak grounders to the right side. That one year Cozart was 2nd worst hitter in the NL (or mlb?), but it wasn’t bad luck. He would drop his elbow and pop up twice a game. Exit velocity is much more reliable, but it can lie too. Schebler hit hard smashs to the 2B out in the grass all the time. You have to spray it around and beat the shifts….Ervin does it and Winker quit doing it. Maybe Ervin goes in the tank with steady play? That does happen, but it just sucks when you see guys come and go like Brandon Dixon, Ervin, etc….and none of them get the run that Peraza gets. I don’t get it? They even put him in the outfield? He’s got to stay in the infield so he can hear other guys tell him how many outs there are.

    • Jim Walker

      As somebody said above, the question that needs to be asked and answered about Winker isn’t whether he is better than Ervin but whether he is a guy the Reds should be counting on long term.

      HIs MLB career splits versus LH pitching are terrible. He is a very poor outfielder and base runner. He is a platoon guy at DH or 1B long term, not a core OF

      The very same case you made for Aquiño over Ervin could just as easily be made for VanMeter over Winker.

  27. Roger Garrett

    The Reds will do nothing to give Ervin any more at bats and will just play out the string in 2019.Once Puig leaves for 18 mil per year and Scooter is gone then Ervin and JVM may get their shot.I say may because well that’s what they do with younger guys.Ervin now at 27 and JVM at 24 don’t have a place to play just like Senzel who was blocked by Scooter and who is now blocking JVM with Senzel blocking Ervin.Sounds silly doesn’t it?The Reds a last place team for 3 going on 4 years now and they can’t get out of there own way.We now have a surplus of outfielders and infielders on the 25 man roster.We can’t decide to play a guy 29 at short or a guy 24,we can’t decide what to do with a guy at second who is 30 I believe or play a guy 24 hitting 350 in AAA.We have DD who had a good 2 months at 30 who is now in the already crowded outfield mix.The Reds use data sometimes,age sometimes,position sometimes,salary sometimes.home town boy favorite sometimes etc etc etc and sometimes actual performance unless he doesn’t have a position or is too old or well you know.Its a circus but I still love em and root for em because I am a glutton for punishment.

  28. Joe Farfsing

    Reds have less than $58 million in salary commitments for 2020 and considering they’ve said the payroll will remain best where it is now (~$130M) they will have $70 million to spend on one full-time outfielder, one middle infielder, and 2 SP plus 8 arb players. What’s with everyone planning on them letting Puig/Gennett leave and replacing with non prospect AAAA guys in their mid/late 20s? I know this isn’t necessarily on direct topic but Aquino/Van Meter/Ervin/O’Grady/Longhi/Nay won’t be, and better as hell not be, counted on as contributors for 2020-beyond. Williams and Krall have played their finances brilliantly this year. While they’ve underachieved they’re still entertaining and pretty good AND will have a ton to spend. Extend Puig for 4/72 or 80 or whatever and that’s still $50M. Free agent pitchers are weaker than a Ryan Hanigan line drive so spend prospect capital for controllable starters. See what Shane Bieber would take because he’s controllable thru 2025. Extend Castillo. Quit thinking small, folks!!!

    • RojoBenjy

      Will the Reds FO quit thinking small, though?

      • Joe Farfsing

        It’s dangerous to take a sports organization at it’s word, especially considering they’d rather give the nuclear launch codes than open their books, but A) they said they’d get pitching for 2018 (check) B) they promised 2019 would have highest payroll (check), and C) they’d maintain payroll in 2020 (to be seen). In order to do that they HAVE to spend big. $70M would buy approximately 100 Cliff Penningtons so unless there planning on stocking Louisville, Chattanooga, Daytona, AND Dayton with scrubs then money will have to go somewhere (GERRITT COLE PLEASE!)