A few Reds weekend thoughts for your breakfast today, but first, I had a thought.

“We’re all told when we can no longer play the game. Some of us when we’re 18, some of us when we’re 40, but we’re all told.”

That quote, from a scout talking to Billy Beane in Moneyball, was referring to baseball. After Friday, though, I feel like he could be talking about riding roller coasters. (Which reminds me of Mary Beth’s latest post)

Some folks, at a young age, decide that keeping their feet on the ground is preferable, and never dabble (and there’s nothing wrong with that). Other folks, like myself, love that feeling when you’re between your seat and your restraint, on the way down that first hill with our hands in the air, and want to ride every single one of them. Despite my own denial of it, even that has a shelf-life, though, and I hit mine after The Flight of Fear, Friday.

 I climbed out of my seat, at the back of the train, feeling confused. I wasn’t really sure if I was all there, because I almost felt like what I think a chocolate malt does when they’re mixing it, but I was sure I needed to sit down and have a snack. Once I paid six bucks for a bag of chips and a few drops of queso, I sat at a picnic table and silently sulked about having become old enough that a roller coaster had caused me to sit down and recover. This whole passage of time thing and “growing up” ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…

Now then, I am not sure how I meant to tie that in to today’s stuff about our Redlegs, but I’ve been told that acceptance is the first step in grieving…or something…whatever, let’s talk the Reds weekend.

 

Last Chance

Phillip Ervin and Jose Peraza are fighting for their chance to remain big parts of the Reds, moving forward. This may seem a little unfair, and I think it is, but with the front office making a trade to officially announce the end to the rebuild, and then dealing Scooter Gennett for a PTBNL, they’ve also drawn a line in the sand with a message of “If you cannot help us win, we’re moving on.” With Ervin and Peraza, they’ve got two months to show they can stay, and it starts with this Reds weekend in Atlanta.

A team looking to make the playoffs, and make a deep playoff run, cannot have multiple spots in their everyday eight that are guys trying to prove they belong. You may, or may not agree, that both of these guys have been giving the opportunities, over the last two season, to do just that and here we are still wondering if they can be everyday contributors.

To that end, Ervin has had a nice year, so far. His slash line is awesome at .358/.418/.580 and he’s accumulated 1.4 Wins Above Replacement in 88 at-bats. That’s just it, though. His success has come in a small sample size. Last season, in a much larger number of at-bats (218), he recorded a much different slash-line of .252/.324/.404. Reports are that he’s benefitted from some swing adjustments, and a platoon of Ervin and Jesse Winker could equal a very fruitful amount of production, but with an offseason coming up where the front office needs to improve a large amount of the lineup, Ervin will need to continue to produce consistently to show he can stick it.

Same goes for Peraza. As a buddy of mine reminded me, Peraza has essentially been haded starting gigs for second base or shortstop each of the last two seasons only to see himself supplanted by a guy who the Reds acquired on a dime (Gennett, Jose Iglesias). He’s, once again, come on in this second half of the season, with an OPS of .829 and a .326 average, but that is still a small sample. In the first half, he hit .222 in 225 ABs. Maybe the the truth lies somewhere between those numbers, but he has to show it consistently (there’s an echo in here). The 2020 Reds cannot start a guy who hits under .210 until June.

Reds-Pirates

There’s six fights…I mean games…left in the year between these two, and I just wanted to take a moment to point out a tweet from Redleg Nation’s own, Nick Kirby, that you may, or may not, have seen:

That’s brilliant.

Trevor Bauer’s Reds debut

This is a big Reds weekend with him making his debut. I won’t go into a lot of detail here as I will be writing a lot about Bauer, today. I do want to say this, though, as I will not broach this part of the Bauer story again. There are those who say they will not root for him or they do not like him. I am not trying to play defense for him, as he neither needs it or asked me to, but I do not mind pulling for Bauer. My take on the matter is this: if I can find it in my fan heart to root for Joe Mixon, I can root for Trevor Bauer. With that said, I hope he helps us win a division title and maybe even hang a pennant.

The Punisher

He’s 0-for-6 since the call-up, and Saturday’s lineup has not been released at time of writing, but I am saying Aristides Aquino gets hit first Major League home run, this weekend. Predicting who will hit a home run is sometimes a bit silly, but I just have this feeling. Now. I’m not saying he will hit it off Dallas Keuchel, but that would be even more awesome if he did. All of the people clamoring for Keuchel, even after the season started and we saw the quality of our rotation, it would be nice to see the Reds light him up on Saturday. Aquino hitting a dinger off him would be the icing on the cake that is the Reds weekend.

73 Responses

  1. Seat101

    If I read the tea leaves correctly, Philip Ervin is not Dave Bell’s guy. I think now that the trade deadline has passed will see a lot less of Jose Iglesias.

    I find what the description of Trevor Bauer’s behavior and the actual behavior to have a very wide variance

    • RojoBenjy

      Scratching my head to figure out why DB isn’t a PE guy. For that matter, why the Reds in general have been reluctant to give him playing time.

      And if DB doesn’t want to play him, I hope for PE’s sake that he can be dealt to a team that will value him, and for the Reds’ sake that in the trade they can get another piece to help the team.

      Yesterday’s lineup would be a great every day look for the rest of the season, with Ervin and Winker platooning in LF to be the only adjustment. That’s how to find out what kind of MLB players they have for 2020.

      • Seat101

        Whom do you think should bat lead off?

      • Pete

        My guess is unless PE totally melts down, he is platooning with Jesse next year. He has “proved” himself enough to earn the opportunity. Still need to see what we have in RF and SS. Next question, once that’s answered, how well do the catchers have to hit to be in the lineup – how much offensive production do they need there?

        The Bauer “issues” are what they are, you either think they are a big deal or like most of us think, “is that all you have”? Same with Ervin, he has shown enough for the Reds to stick him in the lineup with Winker as the LF combo for 2020. I’m not interested in looking for problems where there are none.

      • RojoBenjy

        Wouldn’t mind seeing Senzel lead off on days that Ervin is in LF (if we’re talking straight platooning of Ervin/Winker). Also would be ok with Senzel as leadoff every day.

      • RojoBenjy

        @Seat

        Guess I should clarify, I mainly meant I liked the lineup as far as who was playing defensively and where. The order is up for debate.

      • Jefferson Green

        @ Rojo See my post below. Past weakness with breaking pitches, high rate of mental errors, and age are reasons that PE has perhaps been viewed less favorably by management than his surface numbers suggest. I agree that he has earned a shot now, and that he has probably already proven he can be a 4th/platoon outfielder here in 2020.

    • Pete

      Seat, I think the Bauer “behavior” issues will pass because I agree with your take. Let’s see what he does on the mound starting tonight – very excited to see his debut.

      • Seat101

        I am seriously considering showing up late at what I know will be a fun party in order to watch in the first three innings at him.

      • Mason Red

        Or they might not. Contending teams simply do not trade away pitchers. The Indians were more than happy to unload him but I don’t think the Reds were overloaded with trade offers for Puig. Hopefully it works.

      • Pete

        Mason – enough words have been spoken, people have taken their positions on the matter. Time to play ball and let his results sort it out.

  2. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I honestly don’t see why Ervin is fighting. If it wasn’t for Kemp, he would have started the season here. He has the highest OPS+ on the team. He deserves more of a chance. Honestly, I would give him more of a chance than Aquino, even before Aquino came up.

    • RojoBenjy

      Also, by many accounts he earned a spot out of ST over Schebler, Kemp notwithstanding.

      The irony there is that Kemp was one of Ervin’s heroes as he played as a kid.

      • Seat101

        I agree with you about son cell batting leadoff most times.

  3. docproc

    Ervin and Peraza are both bench players who will get a decent amount of ABs this year and next due to platooning, days off for starters, and injuries.

    I have a secret hope that Bauer will be the next Rolen–the veteran who comes in and teaches our guys how to hone their craft and play like pros. And yes, I’m willing to ignore his personal shortcomings and focus on the fact that he’s a pitcher’s pitcher.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Ervin has the highest OPS+ on the team. He, at minimum, deserves a look at being a starter. Peraza has one of the lowest OPS+ on the team. He is a bench player.

      • burtgummer

        Ervin was awful most of his time in the minors.MLB just hasn’t figured him out yet.

      • Pete

        Burt you could be right or it could be Ervin has figured something out. He has greatly shortened his stroke from what he did in the past. Normally if you see a guy improve his lot in the game, he has changed something. He was coming down to the wire and it looks like he made an adjustment. The raw talent was probably already there.

  4. Doc

    If you can’t start a player who hits under .210 until June, why limit your criticism to Peraza. Votto was hitting about the same so by your criteria he should not have been starting. In fact, if we couldn’t start anyone flirting with the Mendoza line we would have had a tough time winning with only a SS and SP on the field.

    Almost everybody got off to a slow start. It was Peraza’s bad luck that a FA defensive whiz found a bat, though Iglesius is still not hitting at the level Peraza hit last year. In the old days, whoever was playing best…played. In the new days, whoever has the best, er, biggest, contract…plays.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      While I understand your criticism, Votto has earned his spot.

    • da bear

      Doc is straight on the money. Votto stunk, Puig stunk, Barnhart stunk, Winker and especially Kemp stunk out the gate in addition to Peraza. At least Winker hit some game winners.

      The team is more important than any one individual. honestly the Pirates, Cards, and Cubs have a better first baseman than the Reds. That’s a handicap the Reds will have to overcome for the next four or five years.

      Fortunately with a better start to 2020 the Reds have a pitching staff that can and probably will overcome their offensives shortcomings.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        There’s no comparison to Votto and Barnhardt. As well as, with that many starters going bad, it really wouldn’t have made a difference who we put out there, then. The offense was going to stink anyhow. Would you expect the bench players to be any better? If they were, they wouldn’t have signed to be bench players. They would have signed to be starting elsewhere.

        And, in this case, Votto is getting paid the most because he has contributed the most to any successes this team has had since he started.

        As for Kemp, that’s why he isn’t here anymore.

      • Tom

        The issue wasn’t really that they each stunk. It’s that they each stunk at the same time making a regression to the mean so much more difficult. The team dug a big hole.

    • MK

      Doc sorry to rain on your post but it has always been about who got paid the most it isn’t a modern thing. From the time in 1869 when the first pitch was thrown, owners have expected the people getting the most money to play.

      Had a former co-worker who played in Orioles system in mid to late 60’s. Said every time a new bonus baby was signed he moved backwards on the depth chart before the guy played a game.

      • Doc

        Ever hear of Wally Pipp? Starting first baseman for the Yankees. Got sick. Replaced by a rookie sub named Lou Gehrig. Pipp was being paid more than Gehrig but never got his spot back. That is typical for how it was back in the day.

        No guaranteed contracts in the old days before free agency. If you didn’t perform, you were replaced. If you performed, you got paid more and you played more. If you stopped performing you got replaced. I saw plenty of turnover when I first started going to games at Crosley Field in the early 50’s.

        Maybe your Orioles friend wasn’t as good as the bonus babies. It’s a plausible alternative explanation.

  5. Bob

    Can we stop putting Bauer in the same sentence as Joe Mixon. The incidents they’re involved in are not even close so let’s stop.

  6. Hotto4Votto

    I can absolutely relate to the rollercoaster experience. I had known for a few years that rides that go in a continuous circle had not sat well with my equilibrium, but coasters were still in play. That was until last summer when the school I work for had a KI day. It happened to be an overcast mid-week day which meant there were virtually no waiting in lines. After riding 5 coasters in the span of about an hour I was toast. I could barely keep my eyes opened without feeling like I was going to be sick. I couldn’t eat. I had to call it a day for coasters. The Firehawk was what ultimately did me in, but I was already feeling feeble before that. Getting old is not for the faint of heart.

    • Mason Red

      When I was 8 or 9 I rode the Shooting Star roller coaster at Old Coney on the last weekend it was open before they moved to Kings Island. The Shooting Star was an old,wooden,rickety but very fast roller coaster and I was scared to death. But it began a lifelong love of roller coasters.

  7. Seat101

    When I was 11 or 12 I was brave enough to tell my friends that I was too scared to ride on roller coasters.

    • greenmtred

      I was too scared to ride on roller coasters (still am), but said nothing about it.

  8. CFD3000

    My Reds thoughts for the weekend:
    I was at the game last night and it was a really good one. Can’t wait for tonight, with Bauer making his first Reds start and Aquino hitting his first Reds home run.

    I’m interested to see Keuchel. Hope he has a rough night.

    If the four main Reds outfielders aren’t Winker, Senzel, Ervin and Aquino… who is? They all need to play and I’m pretty sure they will.

    Peraza is a useful utility player. But not more. Don’t get seduced by counting stats – he played every day last year, never walked, rarely struck out, so he led the team in hits. Big deal. Keep him as a spot starter, defensive replacement, and mop up pitcher but he’s neither the Reds SS of the future nor the recent past. Peraza (and the hobbled catchers) are now the weak link in this offense, and I for one don’t want him starting every day.

    There was a lot of excitement on RLN about the small ball aspects of last night’s game, and rightly so. Hit and run, steals, taking the extra base, two runs scoring from third on outs. Interesting that no one has pointed out that this was the first game all year that Freddie Benavides has run from the first pitch. Coincidence?

    Can’t wait for the first pitch. Go Reds!

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      VanMeter can play OF, also. Though, I believe we may be looking to move Senzel or VanMeter to 2nd.

      Agreed on Peraza.

  9. Don

    I figured out at 8 or 10 years old that amusement parks were not for me. Could not handle any die that moved in two axis (tea cups, tilt a while, etc) Roller coasters which did not turn on their side were fine. Never got into those with loops. Just not my place for enjoyment. Admire people whom can but just not for me.

    Aquino through first 6 ABs has shown he is lost on breaking pitches. Keuchel has a great curve. Ervin should play today and most days until Aquino learns to hit a breaking ball.
    Ervin has earned playing time and and Aquino has not.

  10. Jefferson Green

    Two observations on the Philip Ervin situation:
    First, he had an obvious weakness (or ‘hole’) in his hitting that would be easy for major league pitchers to exploit: he swung at a lot of breaking pitches out of the zone, especially sliders. He has had to work on this part of his approach the last two seasons, and he has had some success improving it. Now he gets the chance to show he has improved enough that major league right-handed pitching will not dominate him. We are all hoping he proves out well.
    Second, PE has had an enormous number (and rate) of mental errors – TOOTBLAN’s, repeatedly missing the cutoff man, etc. – in his first exposure to MLB. I think this rightfully bothers folks who want to see the game played smartly with good fundamentals (I hope this includes DB). His throws have been better recently, so I hope his mind has slowed the game down enough to play a good, smart, fundamental game in this time of opportunity.
    Third, he is older than others we are talking about here, so he is less likely to improve and more likely to already be at his peak play. The odds of a 27 year old improving significantly are lower than the odds of a 24 or 25 year old improving significantly. While a few ‘older’ players improve and breakout, it is far less likely, and every club knows that. May Ervin become the next Justin Turner, with a huge breakout season at 28 years old.

    • Jefferson Green

      Perhaps 3 observations…had to use my fingers.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I agree with your assessment. However, I will stipulate that the best way to get over all of what you stated is to get playing time. For instance, how is someone suppose to be able to show they can hit right handed pitching if they only see it in 1 AB as a pinch hitter every 2 weeks.

      There is no substitute for playing time.

      • Jefferson Green

        Thanks, Steve. Agree. PE has definitely earned more PT. I also think it’s easy for us fans to forget that coaches see how a player performs in batting practice, AAA games, how he works (and improves or doesn’t) with hitting instruction, and how he hits cutoff men and runs the bases and more – none of which can be seen in looking up stat lines and (rarely can be gleaned from) game write ups.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Exactly. I’m not saying just give PE the position. It’s something like when Heisey and Ludwick were here. Especially at this time for us, if we are going to “go for a playoff spot”, we need to have our best players in there as much as possible. With PE’s bat, I would have to say that’s him. If we aren’t going to strictly “go for a playoff spot”, let PE start for 2-4 weeks, let Aquino start for 2-4 weeks out there. See who can do what?

        As for VanMeter and/or Senzel, I believe we may be plugging one of them into 2nd base, at least by next year. But, in this case, one will be at 2nd, one will be in the OF. So, they both will be getting playing time. The only question would be how would we best set up defensively.

  11. LARedsFan

    I thought trading Scooter for nothing (well nothing at this time) was questionable. Especially since it doesn’t appear to solve the fundamental problem with how this team is run: relentless (perhaps analytics-driven) platooning so that no one at too many positions is really given the chance to prove they are the solution or not (Erving being the main example). Giving everyone equal playing time seems to be the the priority and I don’t think that’s going to help settle the lineup and give the young guys the at bats they need to become better hitters. Bias disclosure: I grew up in Cincy during the ’70s when the Reds lineup was more consistent day in and day out for obvious reasons: they were really good!

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      That is one thing with me, about the platooning. While I can understand the sabers out there with their stats. You can’t play stats 100% of the time. They will literally eat the team alive.

      Second, if someone has a hole of not being able to hit right handers, for example, they need to be given some opportunities to actually see right handed pitching at some point in time to see if they have improved any. I mean, sure, take the batting practice, watch the videos, etc., to work on hitting the right handers. But, there’s no substitute to actually getting consistent opportunities.

      As well as, if you simply go platoon the entire time with everyone, it’s going to be difficult to get players who want to sign here. Because they are going to want to play everyday, not platoon with someone.

      For instance, if we “are going to go for a playoff spot”, then I believe Ervin should be playing everyday. He has the highest OPS+ on the team, and if there’s anything this team has lacked, it’s been offense. If we aren’t going for the playoffs, then let Ervin start 2-4 weeks, regardless of what’s pitching. Then, give Aquino 2-4 weeks, regardless of what’s pitching. Let’s see what kind of players we have out there. Can one of these be expected to be a consistent starter? Whether yes or no, it’s still all good for us, for we have our information.

      • LARedsFan

        I agree with you, Steve.

        I enjoyed “Moneyball” the book and movie, but I think the analytics thing has been taken to an extreme. I understand playing the percentages might appear smart but I don’t think the numbers ever tell you what a player COULD be if given the time to improve. I am of the deep suspicion that the only way to become a better hitter against big league pitching is to…face big league pitching and not watch from the dugout.

        I don’t think the Reds are post-season material this season or wouldn’t get far if they managed to qualify. I’d love to see them settle on a LF, RF, 2B and SS for the remainder of the season, thusly giving them more info about what they need (or don’t need) in the off-season.

      • Tom

        The sabermetrics are critically important to building a team and have a significant role in how a team is managed on a day to day basis.

        However, current sabermetrics miss some critical components that are not easily measured today. There is a vast world of neuroscience associated with human performance that we are just beginning to understand via scientific inquiry. One day we’ll be discussing rMRIs, measuring flow states, neurochemistry, and neuromuscular activation the way we discuss OPS+, heatzones, and spin rates today. While there are way to measure these neuroscience factors, the measurements are not easy to make in a field application or in anything close to real time. Everyday we inch closer.

        But, simply because we don’t have the most repeatable and reliable gauges to measure neurometrics today doesn’t mean we can ignore these factors or that we should trump these factors with sabermetrics. I argue that the neurometrics and sabermetrics are deeply connected and we’ll have to continue doing our “best” with what we have.

        This is where our coaches and players come in. The best coaches in history all stumbled onto to ways to positively affect their teams’ neurometrics without ever knowing the underlying reasons why what they were doing was so effective. Sometimes this is called “chemistry” or “psychology” or “leadership” or, probably what we hear the most, “gut.” All it simply is is whether we’re getting our brains and bodies in the prime position to perform in a given situation. And our “guts” play a massive role in getting this right.

        Our guts contain billions of neuron and are critical to decision making and maintaining our brain chemistry. As humans, our guts and our brains help us make decisions on subjective factors like trust, risk, motivations, and focus.

        Somehow, Star Trek observed this in the 1960s in the interplay between Spock, Kirk, and Bones. Spock attempted to apply pure logic – the brain – and “sabermetrics” to any given situation. Bones based his reactions on emotions and feelings – the heart. Kirk was far more rooted in interpretation and intuition – the gut. We need all three and we need all three, specially, in balance to perform.

        Logic is powerful but it also has little-to-zero effect on human motivation. Logic resides in the upper cortex and motivational systems (there are two main systems in the brain) resides in our emotional center – the amygdala. Nothing happens and no movement occurs in humans without emotions. We can’t “logic” ourselves or others into action. I believe the best coaches in history – guys like John Wooden – intuitively understood how these two parts of the brain need to be balanced so that players perform. But, exceptional coaches also are in-tune with their guts. Our guts help us take the immense amount of data flowing at us in any given moment and decide what’s most important. Kirk said, “I don’t know what I should do, only what I can do.” We do this well when we balance our “minds,” “hearts,” and “guts.” Consider how Tiger Woods has made so many critical putts in his career – it wasn’t just data – it always a balance of mind, heart, and gut working consciously and subconsciously. One day we’ll be able to better measure any of these given factors in real time. But, until then, we have to use the second best option, humans. I think we need to provide players and coaches the most critical sabermetrics possible and then allow the coaches and players to do what they sense is best.

        Another way to put it that people are psychological but they are “psycho” before they are “logical.” We need sabermetrics be an input to decision-making but not serve as the decision-maker.

  12. Optimist

    The Reds have stockpiled several of “the next Justin Turner”, and of course missed on the original. PE’s disadvantage is that he needs to develop on the 25 man, while the others are still in AAA. I’d include JVM and Aquino in this group since they may make it.

    Winker and Senzel are the more traditional paths, good level performance all the way up.

    Perhaps the longer, slower path is the small-market/analytics way of the future.

    • Jefferson Green

      Agreed. I chose Turner on purpose. Of course, the Orioles and Mets missed on him after the Reds did, so they have company. Bigger point: if any team can identify metrics that better predict late or non-traditional development than other teams, it will be a significant advantage, especially as long as MLB has a system of 6+ years of player control and suppressed salary.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I don’t understand PE “develop pn the 25 man”. He has the highest OPS+ on the team. He had great numbers in Louisville before being called up.

      • Optimist

        Should have said he’s bounced up and down to MLB for 3 years running, and has had the TOOTBLAN/fundamentals issues dog him along the way.

        A bit of neither fish nor fowl – Winker and Nick were very good all the way thru, the others have had worse years than PE, but have also had much better years – JVM is best example currently.

  13. Shchi Cossack

    Lineup Posted…

    1. Nick Senzel (R) CF
    2. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    3. Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
    4. Phillip Ervin (R) LF
    5. Jose Iglesias (R) SS
    6. Aristides Aquino (R) RF
    7. Jose Peraza (R) 2B
    8. Tucker Barnhart (S) C
    9. Trevor Bauer (R) P

    • Seat101

      I like it this lineup.

      And I look forward to the pitching matchup

      • da bear

        This is the same lineup that scored one run in the rain shortened loss Thursday against the Braves young lefty. Hoping Keuchel has an off day….

    • Jefferson Green

      I mostly like it. I would be more interested to see Peraza get an extended shot at SS and JVM more time at 2B. I hope this is merely a defense-first lineup to help Bauer most easily succeed in his first start for the team.

      • Seat101

        Good thinking. I hope we can get this guy throwing a lot of pitches early. We will have plenty of lefties on the bench for their bullpen to have to work on.

        I believe it was you, I’ve thread who pointed out that the interim manager might a different style of play. I wonder if it was opportunity or design. I guess we’ll find out more tonight won’t we? And I am looking forward to it

      • Hanawi

        Peraza got an extended shot at SS last year and can’t handle the position defensively well enough to make up for his average offense. SS and C are the two areas the Reds need to get better production.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        @Hanawi

        Agreed. Peraza has had plenty of chances. He’s nothing more than a bench player.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Peraza is starting again? I can’t help thinking something is wrong now with someone. Where’s Dietrich? I haven’t seen him in a game since the fight.

      • vegastypo

        It’s all about getting every right-hand bat in the lineup that they can.

        If I read Baseball Reference correctly, right-handed hitters are batting .268 against Keuchel this year, 5 HR among 12 total extra base hits, 17 BB vs. 27K.

        In about one-fourth of the number of at-bats, left-handed hitters are hitting .184, 2 HR among 6 total extra base hits, 1 BB vs. 11K.

        Dietrich hasn’t exactly been setting the world afire lately, so I’m sure they don’t want him facing a lefty, especially Keuchel.

        On the bright side, if the Braves do have to go to their bullpen in a tight spot, the Reds will have some nice pinch hit options against right-handers out of the Braves bullpen.

  14. Big Ed

    Ervin still has a impossibly-high BABIP against LH of .625; last year it was .314. He even has a high BABIP this year against RH (.412), when it was .308 last year.

    Everything he hits is falling in, and it is not sustainable. He may well be a better hitter this year than he has been, and maybe his “natural” BABIP is now a tick higher than it was, but he is not going to continue to hit .625 or probably even .375 on balls in play against LH pitchers.

    I still think he ought to develop some positional flexibility this off-season, by learning the rudiments of first base. He would then become the first RH option next year, when they will likely sit Votto a bit more often as he gets older. If he gets 250 ABs next year, with an OPS of near .800, then that is a very productive player.

    • CI3J

      Ervin is pretty much the absolute worst option for 1st base. He’s short, and he’s right handed. I don’t think there is a current positional player on the team who would be a worse option.

    • Hanawi

      Ervin to me is a nice platoon/4th OF, but he isn’t the future of LF or RF for the Reds. Aquino might get there if the power plays and he can make some adjustments, but he had a really high SO ratio in AAA, so I have my doubts. I’m glad the Reds decided to keep throwing him out there to work on things and get settled down, though, instead of him sitting on the bench and having him PH once a week.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        We won’t know what Ervin is until he gets some playing time. He has the highest OPS+ on the team right now. He deserves some playing time.

      • Hanawi

        He played quite a bit last year and nothing he did in the minors really showed him to be more than a 4th OF.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        His numbers from last year seem to be equivalent to Puig’s this year, and Puig was a starter.

        Why not throw Ervin out there, also, to try to work on things?

    • Jefferson Green

      Great point. Ervin’s BABIP is wildly unsustainable. If he drops to his own AAA BABIP from the last two years, it would be about .325 (which is higher than it used to be). At that rate, his batting average would drop by about .125 (to about .225 or .230). That’s a vastly different performance. I also checked to see if his hard hit % was high enough to warrant an abnormally high BABIP; at 38% it is barely above league average (and
      right in between Votto and Puig, who have BABIP’s of .315 and .277, respectively). I am still rooting for him, big time, but these numbers suggest that a big breakout is quite unlikely and not substantiated by his performance so far this year.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        “Great point. Ervin’s BABIP is wildly unsustainable.”

        I’m glad no one told Pete that years ago, “There’s no way he can keep getting a hit every game. There’s just no way.”

        Whatever happened to ride the good bat until it blows out? I mean, seriously, you don’t sit a good bat.

      • Pete

        I believe the secret sauce to Ervin’s success is his LD%:

        Senzel: 22.7%
        Votto: 25.2%
        Suarez: 21.9%
        Ervin: 31.7%
        Iglesias: 24.9%
        Peraza: 18.8%
        Barnhart: 26.4%

        Also, the lack of a good LD% hurt Puig, IMO: 19.9%

        Only player better than Phillip? JVM @ 35.5%

        Line drives are hard to beat even if not hit hard. Ervin K’s too much, doesn’t W enough, doesn’t hit the ball all that hard, and hits too many groundballs. He hits line drives at a very good clip – I hope he can keep it up. There is a reason for his success.

      • Indy Red Man

        Well for one thing….you can’t shift on Ervin. They shift on Winker, Joey, and many others. Two….he keeps his hands inside the ball so even though he gets jammed at times…he gets enough of it to dump it in RF somewhere. I’ll also rant against BABIP every chance I get. If your swing is solid and you’re not a hacker then guess what? You get hits. If your swing is flawed and/or you hack at everything then guess what? You don’t get as many hits. If you spray the ball around, which Ervin does, then you’ll get more hits. I don’t know how many times I saw Schebler smack a hard 4-3 to the 2b who was in the outfield. Schebler is now out of the league.

        Bottom line….Ervin may not be able to hit righties consistently. He obviously doesn’t have Aquino’s power either, but nobody really knows until he gets Peraza’s number of at-bats. Peraza is 2 for his last 13 by the way. Brandon Dixon is hitting really well for Detroit with 11 doubles & 14 hrs in 242 at-bats. Just another young guy bypassed so they can keep playing Peraza. Enough about him, but basically young guys have to play then pitchers adjust to them. Then the hitter readjusts….we’re already seeing it with JVM. Smoke fastballs for 2 weeks and the league knows.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        @Pete

        Well, going by Fangraphs, Ervin walks more than Senzel, Puig, and Iglesius, and they were all starters.

        He does K too much. But, when he’s getting on at a 400+ clip, I can handle a K. If his OBP was under 300, then I would agree with you. The same with the flys, etc. As long as he can help the offense. Right now, his OBP is 80 pts higher than Votto. And, we are going to put him on the bench?!

      • Doc

        Is 13 AB the new norm for sample size to support an opinion?

      • Pete

        Steve, my point was line drives will cure a lot of ills. It was meant to be a positive comment.

        I’m a huge believer if a guy is going well lets focus on the ones who are not. Phillip is part of the solution and all the hand-wringing over he can’t do it, he’s a 25th man, he’s a backup, he’s lucky falls on deaf ears – let the statistics (facts) tell the story.

        I believe the reason Aquino is getting the hard look is simply due to his awesome power and the potential it brings, not a negative reflection on PE. He has the ball club made in 2020.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      He can already play all 3 OF positions. First base will be Votto’s until he’s not there anymore.

  15. Indy Red Man

    Ervin has 364 career at-bats. Add 50% of that again and you would have a normal starters seasons worth of at-bats with 546. He’d be on pace for the following:

    75 Runs
    24 Doubles
    9 Triples
    18 HRs
    81 rbis
    19 steals
    Career obp of .346 (Suarez’s is .341. Senzel is .345) What part of any of those numbers say he doesn’t deserve a shot? Its not like they’re scoring a ton of runs on a nightly basis.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Agreed. I’m not saying to even just park him out there for the entire season. He’s not Votto. He hasn’t earned the right to play through a slump regardless of how long it is. But, PE has earned a shot.

      It’s something like when we had Heisey and Ludwick on here. If we are going for the playoffs, Ervin should definitely be out there, VanMeter at 2nd. If we aren’t going for the playoffs, stick Ervin out there for 2-4 weeks, then stick Aquino out there for 2-4 weeks, as starters. See what each has? Do they have what it takes to be a regular starter up here? No better substitute than actually playing as a regular starter. At least, then, we know what we have in both. And, if both are successful, we may have some tradebait in an OF (not saying we would trade but we could have some tradebait) for the offseason. Let’s find out what we have.

      Plus, also, you need to remember, if we just play platoon ball, playing the stats, etc., then it’s going to be difficult to get good players to sign here. For, good players are going to want to go somewhere to play everday, not where they are going to have to platoon.

  16. Capt. Phreddie Pizzazz

    Hey Jeff, the ride Delirium brought me to my knees when I was 34 years old. I began taking a Dramamine pill before heading to the park and am still riding the coasters at 40.

    Give it a try; you might just add a few more years to your coaster-riding career! ?

    Disclaimer: This illustration in no way reflects an endorsement of PEDs. Lol.