For whatever reason, in a league that sports the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor, and Manny Machado, the Reds still seem to think that shortstop is a defensive-first position. Throwing away a lineup spot to a glove-first, no-power bat in the 2019 offensive environment kills playoff aspirations more reliably than the Wilpons, and that’s before remembering that the Reds already lose a competent bat in the lineup with the pitcher’s spot and that there are only a handful of major league bat-first catchers. For as long as I can remember, the Reds have operated with essentially a six-bat lineup and hoped for a roll of the dice from the lower-third.

Zack Cozart reversed that trend for one season but otherwise its a string of Paul Janish, Orlando Cabrera, and Felipe Lopez all the way back to Barry Larkin’s retirement. In other words, the Reds have a middle infield problem and no reasonable plans to solve it.

The most recent attempt to plug the hole is waiver-wire pickup Freddy Galvis, a glove-first shortstop presumably taking over in 2020 for glove-first Jose Iglesias. Unless Galvis actually takes over for bat-first Josh VanMeter at second base, in which case the Reds have sacrificed nearly half of their lineup to below-average hitters.

Of the Reds middle infield options, only VanMeter and Derek Dietrich provide above-average value to the Reds on the offensive side of the ball. Dietrich in particular has matched both Jose Iglesias’ and Freddy Galvis’ value despite having 100 fewer plate appearances than the former and about half as many as the latter.

Of course, linear scaling of fWAR or bWAR to a full season’s worth of plate appearances has its issues, but it does offer a simple guideline: Josh VanMeter and Derek Dietrich offer more potential value to the Reds than either Iglesias or Galvis. In fact, Iglesias and Galvis’ defense only provide enough value to push them across the league-average starter threshold (2.0 WAR) whereas VanMeter and Dietrich’s bats give each the potential to be above-average contributors over a full-season worth of plate appearances. If you need more convincing, just go read Doug Gray’s article from last week about the ridiculousness of starting Galvis over VanMeter.

Even assuming that David Bell intends on starting VanMeter or Dietrich at second in 2020 and that Galvis’ starts at second this season are only a trial run, then the Reds still haven’t fixed their shortstop problem. Switching Galvis to short and letting Iglesias walk in free agency does nothing to better the Reds lineup. The only alternative — hoping Jose Peraza hits like 2018 Peraza but better — sounds like a pipe dream inside a fantasy novel. Either way, the lower third of the Reds batting order would maybe strike fear in the heart of the worst Marlins starter. Maybe.

So now to the point of this post: What to do about it?

The Reds could follow the plan apparent and start Galvis at shortstop in 2020. The best-case scenario there is that Galvis repeats his best hitting season (i.e. the one we’re currently in; 94 wRC+), which would rank him 24th in wRC+ among everyday major league shortstops. Not great.

If the Reds wanted to go the moneybags route, they could drop some sweet free agent cash on Didi Gregorius, who is coming off of Tommy John surgery, or…. Jordy Mercer? Beside Gregorius, there really aren’t any shortstops hitting the market who are worth paying.

In the system, the Reds have Alex Blandino (70 wRC+ in 147 MLB PA in 2018), Blake Trahan (48 wRC+ in 346 AAA PA in 2019), and Alfredo Rodriguez (97 wRC+ in 436 AA PA in 2019). Top prospect Jonathan India has only played a handful of professional games at shortstop, but no one expects him to play there moving forward. Nobody too inspiring in other words. Blandino probably makes the most sense, but given he’s a primary second baseman, having to slot him and his mediocre bat at shortstop everyday makes Iglesias or Galvis’ glove more appealing.

In sum, the Reds have no strong shortstop bats at the major league level, have limited options to bring in a good bat during free agency, and have no heir-apparent coming up through the minor leagues for 2020.

If the Reds want to compete in 2020, and all indications show that they do, fixing their decade-long inadequacy at shortstop will have to be the top priority. We saw how last offseason, when Dick Williams put his head down to “get the pitching,” it happened. As a staff, the Reds have the 9th best ERA and 10th best WAR in baseball. That’s a marked improvement over previous years, and now the Reds can depend on Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, and Sonny Gray to lead the team in 2020.

It will take a trade similar to the Homer-Bailey-plus-prospects-to-the-Dodgers deal for the Reds to fix their shortstop woes, but it could happen. Corey Seager blocks Gavin Lux for the Dodgers; Trea Turner blocks Carter Kieboom for the Nationals. If either team considers parting with their top prospects or their current starters, the Reds could fix their shortstop problem. Any of those four players would require a massive haul to be dealt, but Dick Williams has shown an ability to get creative.

If the Reds want to compete in 2020, the answer at shortstop can’t be Iglesias or Galvis just as Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano were never the answer to the rotation. If the Reds want to compete, the offseason of #GettheShortstop needs to start now.

147 Responses

  1. Justin

    Spot on in regards to how the Reds have seen these positions in the post Larkin years. Is there value to a platoon sort of approach with Iglesias and Galvis? Ervin/Winker is working out and being that Iglesias and Galvis are good enough to both play all over the infield, maybe a combo of those two and VanMeter/Dietrich can produce the results we need. Since VanMeter and Dietrich can also play outfield, maybe we can go with only 4 true outfielders?

    • Reds Fan

      “Glove-first Iglesias”? You kidding? You been watching the games and box-scores this season? Iglesias not only sports one of the highest averages on the team, but is one of the best hitters. Ditto “glove-first” Glavis!

      • RichS

        Problem with Iglesias is he doesn’t see a pitch he can’t swing at. And you cannot be serious about Dietrich?

      • Ethan L

        His wRC+ is 88. He’s never been above 99 in his career. That is indication that he is not bat-first.

    • Chris Holbert

      Dietrich and JVM are both lefthanded.

      • Ed

        Yeah, but what hand do they use to wipe their butts?

  2. Steve Schoenbaechler

    That’s why I still say a possibility is getting an OFer in the off season, hopefully a legitimate CF, and move Senzel to the IF.

    Or, maybe two trades, each player for player, or a 3 team trade, to cover C and/or SS, to increase offense at those positions.

    As for FA goes, it would mean pay out for Didi and/or Grandal. I believe we would have a better chance going with what I mentioned with the first 2 ideas.

    • RojoBenjy

      Senzel doesn’t play SS, from what we’ve been told.

      • Colorado Red

        Agreed, I think that train left the station a long time ago.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Or 2nd. Or, 3rd. But, I would hate to lose Suarez.

  3. CFD3000

    It’s an intriguing and difficult question Wesley. I do want to emphasize one point that you’ve touched on but haven’t (IMO) stated clearly enough. No matter what the Reds do at SS – Galvis/Iglesias, Gregorious, or a trade upgrade – they shouldn’t get cute at 2B. Josh VanMeter should be the every day second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds starting now and certainly from opening day 2020 onward. This seems like such a no brainer given the alternatives. He’s not the best of a weak set of options, he’s a very good choice on his own merits. Free JVM!

    • VaRedsFan

      When Bell lets Peraza pinch hit for JVM, I think we all know that will never happen.

    • Shchi Cossack

      @CFD, your concept of not messing with JVM at 2B is sound, except no one knows yet. Everything JVM has done since receiving regular playing time at the MLB level points to a solution, but since Bell won’t commit to playing JVM every day at 2B, we don’t know for sure and won’t know for sure. Dietrich’s severe regression after his spectacular 1st two months, leaves significant doubt concerning his ability as an answer at 2B. No one else on the 40-man roster represents an answer at 2B, except JVM. The Reds really need to confirm that during the final month of the season or they’re missing a HUGE potential opportunity.

      JVM outperformed Aquino in AAA. Because the Reds had no RF option available after Puig was traded, they committed to Aquino on a full time basis in RF from the time he was promoted. Despite his superlative results miniscule sample size, we still don’t know if Aquino is the answer in RF, but he’s starting every game so we’ll have a pretty good idea by the end of the season. If the Reds FO management and on field management think they have an answer at 2B other than JVM, they are simply fools.

      • Pete

        I won’t post this ever again: Nick Krall, Reds Assistant GM,
        “Josh VanMeter is a guy who has really taken a step forward this year. We want to try and get his bat in the lineup and see what he can do on a daily basis. And this kind of gives him a chance to play.” – August 1, 2019.

        A fear I do have: who is working with Senzel and Winker on their new hitting approaches, Turner Ward or Donnie Ecker? We know Donnie worked with AA and Barnhart to great success…to this point anyway.
        I sincerely hope Turner Ward is nowhere to be found in “helping” Nick and Jesse. If it’s Donnie, I have no doubt these guys will improve. I’m increasingly concerned David Bell is messing up this team. I don’t think the problem with VanMeter’s PT are the FO’s but they are the ones who will have to clean it up.

        I really can’t think of one good thing to say about David Bell at this point. He came packaged as a forward-thinking manager who would use analytics in his decision making – I haven’t seen proof. He likes to play platoon splits and this within itself has zero to do with analytics. In many ways he is as backwards as Dusty Baker, just in a different manner. I dearly hope I’m wrong but I try to be objective and I’m not seeing it.

      • Scott C

        The two issues I have with Bell is 1 not playing JVM everyday. He crushed left handed pitching in AAA, give him a chance to see if he can do it everyday and can he play a decent 2’cnd base. We may never know because he is not getting the opportunities. The other is give Jesse Winker the opportunity to hit left handed pitchers. I have no idea if he can or not he simply hasn’t been given an extended opportunity to do so.
        It seems to me that Winker is probably not in the long term plans for the Reds, which is okay but give him an opportunity to see if he can. And give Ervin opportunities to play CF. It certainly seems that Senzel has hit the proverbial wall having played more games this year than any year previous.

  4. JoshG

    did you just call felipe lopez a glove first player?

  5. Big Ed

    Jose Garcia (now at Daytona) is the in-house solution, but he won’t be ready until 2022 at best.

    I am actually good with Galvis at SS until then. The Reds aren’t realistically going to have “above average” offensive players at every position. The Red Sox made do last year with only 4 position players with WARs above 2.1. Jackie Bradley, Jr. (a glove-first CF) notched a 2.1. Semi-regular Brock Holt was next with 1.5. The Sox did have excellent pitching (not present this year), plus Mookie Betts had a 10.9 WAR and JD Martinez a 6.4 WAR.

    The Reds’ problem is not so much shortstop, as it is lack of true stars to produce at the elite level. Votto will be 36 in 3 weeks. Suarez has become homer-happy, swinging way too hard too often, at the expense solid contact when the situation calls for solid contact, such as the last ABs of the last two games. Senzel is changing his swing in mid-season, for some reason, and has produced at a sub-Billy Hamilton level for several weeks. Aquino is a big talent, but it is unknown whether he can sustain his production. In all candor, the most reliable bat on the Reds right now — the guy on whom we can most depend to give a solid AB every time — is Josh VanMeter.

    I’m good with Galvis. The Reds should instead get better at other positions, by free agency and/or by developing/improving what they already have.

    • Mike V

      I agree .. There are NOT any offensive + shortstops available on the free agent market or in the trade market worth the downside in $$ and/or talent to acquire them . I am ok with Galvis/Iglesias combination for at least next year . I also agree a Senzel move to 2b and an upgrade in CF is a better answer . One more point of agreement is worth mentioning . Your comment regarding Suarez becoming “homer happy ” is well taken . He needs to tone the swing down and make better contact .. We need that from him badly . Your comments are spot on!

      • Pete

        Senzel has changed his approach at the plate, he’s changed his stance as well as the type of results he expects. He is following the path of VanMeter, Aquino, and Barnhart. Do a Google search, you can find articles on it. When NS breaks out of this slump, he will in a big way.

        Barnhart since his change: 349/.446/.587, wRC+ = 160

        The Old Nick isn’t coming back and this is a good thing. He wants to be an offensive force and he will be.

      • earmbrister

        I agree Mike, there aren’t any above average offense SS’s available. Didi has a sweet glove, but he’s average offensively (across all positions). Why pay a ransom for average? Not really interested in decimating the rest of the farm for that upgrade at SS. The Reds should start either Iglesias or Galvis in 2020, with the other departing. The Galvis claim enables the Reds to have a fall back position should Iglesias not be “signable”. Peraza is fine as a utility IFr (he just shouldn’t be starting); it’s easy to forget he’s only 25 yrs old. I like that the Reds have a ton of flexibility position-wise with Peraza, JVM, Senzel, Farmer, etc. Senzel provides much more value in CF than at 2B (have we had any problem finding second basemen in recent years?). His offense will play strongly for a CFr. JVM should start every day at 2B.

      • RedsMonk65

        What would it take to get Jeter Downs back?

        (Kidding…maybe)

      • Bill J

        You remember they brought Turner Ward in because the Dodgers hit so many homeruns. That is what is being taught and Suarez is trying.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I wouldn’t even necessarily these Reds needed “star level”. They needed more along the lines to all to produce “to their baseball card”, with the exception of Votto. I include Votto because I believe what his baseball card isn’t needed, only if the others played “to their baseball card”.

      Now, one may say that “this season” was their baseball card. But, I believe they all could have done better. Like last night, if Tucker doesn’t break for home, the hit-by-pitch drives in the tying run.

      Or, like this year, the Reds OBP has been under the league average all season, but not by much. If each starter was to be able to raise that just 10 points, who knows?

      And, that’s the thing. I would hope that no player on this team has been happy with their offensive performance this season (talking about players who have been up here for a while, not Aquino).

  6. Aaron B.

    Meanwhile Galvis has looked great so far (small sample size I know).. he has power and is getting solid contact nearly every AB. His power plays well in this park and he is fairly cheap. Don’t sign Iglesias let Galvis play SS. Have Peraza start the year at AAA and go from there. What needs to be focused on is the bullpen. It needs a major overhaul and upgrade. Galvis batting 7th is the least of our problems, and he will probably force his way higher up than that. He passes the eye test and looks like he knows how to square a ball up more often than not. For 5M it isn’t really a big deal, not every player in the lineup can be a perennial all star. Solid pitching is what this team needs more than anything else.

  7. Davida

    Yes, we all remember those great slugging shortstops like Ozzie Smith, Luis Aparicio, and Dave Concepcion, who single-handedly led their teams to championships. Yet, somehow, teams have occasionally managed to win without their ss winning a triple crown, and the list of 30/30 shortstops is surprisingly short. For curiosity’s sake, what are the other positions on the field where you can provide better than average defense, bat almost .300, and still be a “failure?” For that matter, if it’s bad that there are only a handful of offensive catchers, what are we to make of the fact that so very few shortstops are named here as “acceptable alternatives,” and some of those have no track record?

    It’s great that we have computers to do advanced analytics now, but I’ve yet to see one field the ball, and if baseball has no randomness anymore, why play it?

  8. Dawson

    I’m hung up on your last point. I don’t understand all the negativity towards Mahle. Why are young pitchers expected to be studs right away these days? He has shown signs of being very good. Most outings he is one bad inning from great. This used to be expected from young pitchers in the first few years in the league. Look at the beginning years of guys like Sherzer, Halladay, Carpenter, Cueto, among many others. Mahle is a great young talent in my opinion. Romano is a bit of a disappointment, but I personally never had real high expectations for him.

  9. Pete

    Wes, can the Reds compete with Joey Votto’s weak bat at 1B? This seems to me to be a far more pressing problem.

    Out of the qualifying first baseman, the average wRC+ is 121, JV’s is 98.

    Out of the qualifying shortstops, the average wRC+ is 106, JI’s is 88 and FG’s is 96.

    Both Jose and Freddie are glove men as well. We can look at WAR to help in our evaluation:

    Iglesias: 1.5
    Galvis: 1.8
    Votto: 0.6

    Wes , we really need to talk about this at some point when your ready. Nice article, and all, but you’re addressing a minor issue in my opinion. An upgrade at SS would be great, it’s looking like an upgrade at first base is imperative if the Reds want to make a serious run in 2020.

    • Fish

      Votto has a no trade clause and he isn’t retiring. Without the DH in the national league, you can’t bench him. The reds are stuck with Votto, they are not stuck with Iglesias.

      • Pete

        I don’t think so. Used to but not now, ownership is spending a lot of money and making a lot of effort to win. JV’s contract isn’t on the current FO and they should be able to make a case to Mr. Co., that JV’s playing everyday reduces the Reds chances of success.

        A nice short-term middle ground would be to have Joey get spot starts against favorable match ups and be a prime ph. Eventually the Reds will have to eat some of that contract – it won’t be the first or last, time a team has to.

        Who is bigger: the team or Joey Votto?

      • VaRedsFan

        Pete…The front office does not have a new face. Castalini is still writing the checks, and he wrote them when Votto was extended too. Jocketty is still up there somewhere. Unless Votto retires on his own. He will be in the lineup every day, for better or for worse.

        I too, like what Williams/Krall are doing. But they aren’t flushing 100 million on a spot stater/pinch hitter.

        They could offer Votto a Bonilla-like buyout. For the last 2 years of the contract, spread that 50 million over the next 20 years, in the form of deferred payments.

      • Pete

        VA, last three season Joey’s oWAR:
        2017: 48.2
        2018: 19.6
        2019: -3.2

        How low does he have to sink? I’ll stick with my statement.

      • Mason Red

        The least of the Reds problems is Votto. Of course his contract is a problem for the Reds since it makes it difficult to move him. But the Reds have a glut of average players and Votto isn’t any worse or better than any of them. The Reds have more pressing needs at 2nd,SS,catcher and especially the bullpen. Also eventually the Reds have to end the whole stopgap approach to fielding a team that is currently full of castoffs and young players who may or may not develop into good players. I see this team and franchise as a mess despite improvements in their record.

      • VaRedsFan

        Yes Pete…you are correct with those numbers. You are telling me what you WANT to happen, I’m telling you what WILL happen.

      • Pete

        VA, respect the heck out of you but truth is neither of us know. We will find out. The simple solution is the Joey Votto of August is the Joey Votto we see going forward but a contingency plan would be prudent. I’m praying for the guy. It would make life so much easier for the team and not to mention solve a question mark. I just state numbers and trends but I can’t predict outcomes….. SC makes a good case as far as one can be made but his analysis is not unreasonable.

      • matthew hendley

        Walking away from Kemps 17 Million over 1 year is one thing. There is no way, No way at all, any employee of Bob Castillini asks him to Drop 100$ million dollars down the toilet for a total of 4 years and seriously expects to retain his job. Bob C would fire them on the spot. Rightfully so.

        The only thing that will sideline JV is his body. If his back shuts down on him again or gets to the point he has to pull a Prince Fielder, that’s one thing. They are not DFA’ing JV. They are not replacing him at 1st while healthy. Could their be a DH, perhaps and that solves some issues, (I personally hope not), but if it came that and a medical retirement are the only things that will clear up 1B.

      • Pete

        Matthew you have answered my question: he is indeed bigger than the team.

        The money is spent so it shouldn’t be an issue. How do the Reds field the best team possible? If this question doesn’t override all others, enjoy never sniffing the playoffs. The Tigers are a terrible team and in interest of pleasing their fan base they continue to play Miguel Cabrera every day, nothing to lose because they’re not going anywhere.

        If Joey Votto is carrying a 60-70 wRC+ by the end of June next year, it will be a disaster. Votto’s wRC+ of 98 is a problem but not a disaster but if the tend continues and the Reds don’t pull the plug at that point, there is no hope. I’ll go back to my baseball viewing of the last 4 years – occasionally watching the Reds but mainly I’ll be watching the game of interest any particular day. Reds will always be my team but if they don’t care to take every measure to compete, I won’t waste my time.

      • matthew hendley

        The tigers are a different story. Mr Illich knew he was dying in the beginning of the decade. He wanted a WS before he died, and spent idiotic money to chase it. Money every reasonable mind (including his kids, who would end up having to spend most of it) to buy literally every shiney thing out there. The Zimmerman contract. Martinez extension, the Tori Hunter signing, the JV extension. Sanchez extension, Scherzer, Cestipies(sp), Price, the list is long. But you can do it when you are dying and not foot the bill. (owning little ceasers inc. and the Detroit Redwings helps).

        Bob C has to foot the bill. I am not his doctor, fair enough, but he is 2 decades younger and acts like he is in relatively good health. He is going to be responsible for his actions. Detroit is not a fair comparison.

        Furthermore, a long term look at Joey new approach (new swing) has not been conducted. A short term look, (Early Aug through IL stint) indicates a WRc+ near 150. I think we will all take that.

        See Joey is not Jose. Joey takes a problem and works on it, and makes changes. Sometimes those changes work and sometimes they don’t. he just doesn’t do the same thing time after time, that’s why he is MVP runner up (robbed) at the age of 33. He isn’t done. But yes they are going to have to build the team around him.

        That’s Business and that’s why no one is dropping a 100 million on a still productive player that when healthy has shown signs of brilliance, health not withstanding

      • VaRedsFan

        I think Matthew is correct. Votto looked like a different hitter after he changed his approach and up til the back gave out. I’ve been bashing Votto more than anybody since 2018 (check swings, bent arm swings, severe choke ups, trying to hit inside pitches to LF, ect). So, I’m still willing to see where this new approach will take him. Again…decent results up until the injury. If the contingency plan is to give JVM most of the shares at 1st if Votto has to hit the IL, then that’s not an awful option.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        @Pete

        Votto isn’t going anywhere. His contract isn’t going anywhere. No one wants that contract with the productions it’s getting. I would doubt we would. But, without a “Plan B”, we have no choice. No one else we have is even getting Votto’s poor numbers. The FO has spent more money, yes. But, they aren’t going to spend more money “on top of” paying Votto.

        Or, the only way would be what we did with Bailey and Kemp last season, but that’s just trading one bad contract for another.

        No one disagrees with you that Votto is not performing to the standards we need. However, if not Votto, then what? His contract is still here? “Just trade it away like with Bailey”. We would just be trading a bad contract for a bad contract.

        Rather than trying to prove Votto isn’t performing well, which we all agree, what do you think we should do? Simply not play him? We don’t have anyone ready to do any better than Votto there. “Get a FA”. Still, what to do with Votto? Getting a FA for 1st would simply mean we have $20 million sitting on the bench and greatly increasing the team payroll, what the FO is probably not going to do.

        You say the solution is simple, but I don’t see your solution. What would that be?

    • DavidW

      Yep … the Votto question is way more pressing. They may have to DFA him if they want to compete. I do not think it is possible to win with a weak hitting first baseman. That seems more pressing than shortstop. Votto
      Has been a favorite player of mine to. This is just reality.

      • Michael W.

        I will start this by saying that I am 36 years old and Joey Votto is the best player I have ever seen in a Red’s uniform. I don’t want to see him sit out and certainly not DFA’d, but just playing devil’s advocate here.

        Votto’s money is already spent. Just because he is making $25MM a year, doesn’t mean he needs to be trotted out there every day when he is not performing. Having him sit the bench while everyone’s hero JVM plays 1B on a league minimum contract just means we are paying our 1B around $25.6 MM a year which is not out of the ordinary. We don’t have to go out and add another 1B making $20MM a year as mentioned above to fix the issue. We are carrying both already on the roster so it doesn’t make a difference in the end. The best player, (read that as the performing player) should play the position. The other would be a valuable bat off the bench in hand picked high leverage situations. Not a bad alternative.

      • Eric B

        It jumped to 25 million this season. That extension baffled me from the start. They could try and defer the last 2 years of his contract. They did that with Griffey Jr. They are still paying him over 3 mil. per year. You would think maybe Votto would be receptive to a deferred contract agreement. I don’t pretend to know his financial business but this could set him up for life. (If not already) I’m quite sure he has no worries. I do know chronic back pain will eventually put you down, it did me.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Votto had an ugly start to the 2019 season. So did Winker, Puig, Barnhart and Peraza. Those 5 players were expected to be stalwarts in the lineup, but for some reason(s), that didn’t happen. Dietrich and Suarez carried the offense as best they could during the first two months but that was obviously not sufficient.

      Since May 31st…
      Winker (133 wRC+, .896 OPS, .402 OBP)
      Barnhart (109 wRC+, .847 OPS, .388 OBP)
      Votto (109 wRC+, .807 OPS, .362 OBP)

      Since August 1st…
      Barnhart (152 wrC+, 1.024 OPS, .424 OBP)
      Votto (123 wRC+, .864 OPS, .386 OBP)
      Winker (120 wrC+, .832 OBP, .395 OBP)

      Simply discarding Votto at this point would be counterproductive. His obvious decline to obscurity is not so obvious. Evaluating his role in the lineup might certainly be justified, but simply throwing him out is certainly not justified.

      The thing about WAR is the position bonus. Any player taking his glove to SS or C, immediately receives a significant WAR bonus due to the defensive importance of those positions and the defensive expectations for fielding those positions. Comparing WAR and offensive contributions represent an apples and oranges analysis.

      • Pete

        I comparing Joey’s WAR to his own through the last 3 seasons. Maybe it’s subjective but I see a rapid decline. Let him play out the season. JV seems to have a good/great game here and there but I haven’t seen any consistency. If any player’s WAR had decreased that much, that fast I’d be concerned. With a 36 year old, doubly so at minimum.

        To be clear, I’m not suggesting “discarding” Votto but if he ends up a sub 100 wRC+, I would begin to limit his play by picking my spots with him. Even at a 100 wRC+ is well below the medium for 1B’s at 121.

        The point of this article is the middle infield situation is a big problem, I don’t see it. I do see a very big problem developing a first base and Wes doesn’t seem anxious to address it because “Joey sill bangs”. No, he really doesn’t.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        “if he ends up a sub 100 wRC+, I would begin to limit his play by picking my spots with him. ”

        And replace Votto with whom? Who’s going to take his place that would be better than whatever he would be at? I don’t disagree. I believe we should be limiting Votto’s play right now. But, if we don’t have a replacement for him who would be better than what he is doing, how (not why) should we be limiting Votto’s play?

  10. matthew hendley

    yea, I will take a 20 HR ‘glove first’ SS any day of the week. I don’t think, despite all the talk that Jose I is coming back. Just think he will find a better deal elsewhere. Deitrich is (assuming healthy and a return to 1st Half stats) will become the Supersub v RHP. I think 2nd Is JVMRs to lose.

    Peraza should be optioned out of spring training. If not traded outright over the off season.

  11. Fish

    Lux or Kieboom was exactly what I was thinking (or Trea Turner, I don’t think the dodgers would give up Seager). I’m not sure if India + 2 non top 5 prospects gets it done. I’m not sure I’d be willing to trade Greene straight up for a bat as they’ll need him to be competitive when Bauer leaves after next season.

  12. VaRedsFan

    Freddy Galvis, a glove-first shortstop…..??????
    ….that has hit 20 HR’s this season with a month to go

    The writers are so in love with the wRC stat. It, along with BABIP, are some of the most meaningless “new stats”.

    Stop trying to get cute, and look at slugging 1st, then OBP 2nd (OPS)

    • BigRedMike

      How is wRC+ a meaningless stat?

      • Mason Red

        It’s meaningless when those on this site spew forth data to try and make us all believe this team is so much better when in actuality they are 8 under 500,8.5 back in the division and 8 back in the WC. Yes that’s better than past years but I certainly don’t see it as the huge improvement and despite those here who try to use “data” as proof. It’s much like lipstick on a pig.

      • VaRedsFan

        Why?? Because it says Votto has been 10% better than Iglesias this year. Flawed stat. It said Votto was better than Scooter last year, when Scooter was MILES better than JV

      • BigRedMike

        What basis do you state that Gennett was MILES better than Votto last year?

        The top 5 currently in wRC+
        Trout
        Yelich
        Bellinger
        Bregman
        Alonso

        Last year
        Trout
        Betts
        Martinez
        Yellich
        Martinez

        Looks pretty solid to me
        Yellich

    • RojoBenjy

      Runs Created sounds like a pretty good thing to me. I want my team’s players to be able to do that. So it’s nice to know which players are creating runs and which are not.

    • Wesley Jenkins

      The fun thing about wRC+ is that it adjusts for the current league environment, i.e. the juiced ball. So Freddy Galvis hitting 20 home runs when everybody is launching dingers doesn’t make him above average. His wRC+ is still 96, whatever way you want to slice it. He’s better than Iglesias yes, but through his career he’s been known as a glove-first shortstop and that’s unlikely to change.

      • da bear

        Wesley – enjoy your articles. As I do this RLN website and community in general. What follows below is not aimed at you but all those who overemphasize the use of data in trying to come up with conclusive arguments….especially when the data is based on simplistic models such as wRC.

        However, there is a very flawed view that the output values of many of these models are unquestionably objective measurements and take accurate account of all sorts of necessary adjustments, be they juiced (and to what extent) vs. dead balls, size of parks, quality of wooden bats, wind currents, changing strike zone parameters, etc. etc. – even the evolving idea of what a batter should strive to accomplish in their at bats.

        To think all the players who have ever played this game are affected equally and can be objectively compared across eras is kinda ludicrous. The conversation is fun….but let’s not use ‘wRC’ to debate whether Joey Votto can or cannot hold a candle to someone like Tony Perez.

        For anyone to say Mike Trout (or anybody for that matter) is the best to *ever* play baseball based on wRC or whatever flawed metric is used is absurd. Compare players within their own eras. And realize even more important than the output value of such a metric like wRC in the field of statistics is THE RANGE ASSOCIATED WITH THAT NUMBER. That gets a person away from making inaccurate simplistic conclusions that player A is better than player B because because player A’s wRC was 2.1 vs player B’s 1.85.

        for a TEAM sport, especially one like baseball, from a management perspective, one has to avoid overestimating the importance of one person toward the desired outcome of the team – winning games. Or you end up overpaying a few individuals to the extreme detriment of the team performance. The Angels will be mediocre for the next X=#ofyearsinTrout’scontract as they have been during the OverPayingofPujols years unless a miracle of several underpaid Ohtani types show up on their doorstep.

        Just as the Reds need a few more Aquinos and JVM’s to magically develop to overcome the shortcomings of the Joey Votto contract.

      • RedsMonk65

        @da bear: +1

        (No one stat, whether today or 50 years ago, is absolutely, objectively conclusive. Collectively, they can all add up to give one a pretty good idea about a player. But numbers, in themselves, do not measure everything. Baseball — life — is so much more than that. I’ve learned to be very wary of absolute terms — in any realm, except heaven above.

  13. VaRedsFan

    Anybody that has watched games this year, knows that Iggy/Galvis are not a part of the problem.
    If the Reds aren’t trading for Trea Turner or Lindor, then they won’t be making a huge upgrade.
    Ketel Marte in Arizona would be a solid upgrade

  14. Tom Mitsoff

    This article has a listing of the top upcoming free agents as of today’s date: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2849486-predicting-2020-landing-spots-for-each-top-mlb-free-agent-post-trade-deadline#slide9

    The article author predicts Marcell Ozuna may land in Cincinnati. I don’t put a lot of stock into that prediction, but it points out what can happen if the Reds can land a top free agent. If Ozuna is signed, that would mean some outfielders would become fodder for trades.

    If the Reds could sign DiDi Gregorius, that would solve the problem outlined in Wes’s article.

    • VaRedsFan

      Suarez and Winker to the Indians for Lindor.
      Sign free agent Anthony Rendon
      Sign free agent Ozuna

      …that was fun!

      • Tom Mitsoff

        If we’re saying that wRC+ is more important at shortstop than defense, they could sign Rendon and move Suarez back to shortstop.

        Based on what is currently happening, I don’t think the Reds front office holds that belief, however.

      • RojoBenjy

        Suarez at shortstop was disaster.

      • RojoBenjy

        Would his bat counteract his glove at SS?

        That’s a better question than just saying “disaster.”

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        @ VaRedsFan

        That’s some stuff I started thinking of.

        From simpler to more complex:

        Simple moves – things like just pick up another SS and/or C.

        – Pick up an OF and move Senzel to the infield

        More complex – A combination of trades and FA/bidding, a 3 team trade. For instance, only as an example, so it could be any player, trade a package with Suarez for a package with an offensive SS. Then, sign a 3rd base bat.

        If we are going to get an offensive SS and/or C, that’s how I see it. For, I just don’t believe we would pay for Didi nor Grandal. Maybe we would, I don’t now. But, I don’t believe I would.

  15. BigRedMike

    This is a great summary. The Reds have a solid rotation, now they need to figure out the position players. It gets confusing as a Reds fan how other fans want to continue to sign and keep below average players. The Reds have lost 90 games 4 straight seasons and trending that way again this season.
    Looking at the position players. Keep in mind there is very little in the minors to provide immediate impact.

    OF wRC+ minimum 200 PA
    Winker 113 44th
    Senzel 96 77th
    Aquino has potential, but, who really knows
    Ervin is a good 4th OF

    Suarez 116 18th
    Solid player, but, not one of the elite players at his postion

    Votto 98 30th
    Concern with Joey aging, not close to elite production

    Dietrich 119 12th
    Not really sure what his role is, not elite, good bench

    Iglesias 88 31st
    Not close to elite, not going to be elite

    Peraza 63 289th overall
    No real position, not close to elite never will

    VanMeter 118 with 146 PA
    Solid player, seems to be a league average potential, too soon to know for sure

    The Reds just do not have enough high level position players to compete and very little in the system to replenish

  16. Michael Spriggs

    No matter what stat(s) you throw out there just aren’t many “above-average” bats in the game unless you really lower your standards. Freddy Galvis hasn’t been here a month snd he’s already below average? C’mon man! Name me the .300 shortstops in the league. No one seems to hit .300 so .275 is the new standard and most of these guys are close. Experience will help a little but these are the new norms. Galvis and Iglesias would be fine.

    • Doug Gray

      Freddy Galvis is 29. No one is saying he’s below-average because of his time in Cincinnati. They are saying it because that’s literally what he’s been for his entire career. Batting average is not a standard to use, ever, for determining the quality of a hitter.

      • Ethan L

        “Batting average is not a standard to use, ever, for determining the quality of a hitter.”

        +1,000

      • Mason Red

        Yes I’ve heard things like BA and ERA don’t matter. If that were true the Reds would be the best team in baseball.

      • RedsMonk65

        “Batting average is not a standard to use, ever, for determining the quality of a hitter.”

        That is a false absolute. Maybe BA is not THE standard in today’s game (for determining the quality of a hitter). I will give you that. But it is ONE indicator among the many now available to us. For the first 130 years of the game’s history, BA was the ONLY indicator. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

      • Doug Gray

        Batting average, in 2019, should not even be discussed among the question of “who is the better hitter” or any sort of question revolving around the hitting ability of a player. We have far better tools at our disposal to answer those questions. We’ve had them for 30 years now.

        Batting average is an incredibly incomplete tool when it comes to determining the quality of a hitter. That we continue to use it to try and answer the question of how good someone is as a hitter is like using the MPG on a car as the determining factor on “which is the best performing car”. It’s a data point, among several – but pretty far down the list of ones you should go to.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I will accept that BA should be in the discussion, but never as something like a one-cure-all thing. Like, for me, it can depend upon how you want to set the team up. For instance, for my star player (aka a 3-4 hole batter), I wouldn’t want someone with a BA of 250, OBP of 400, to me meaning they get on a lot via the walk. For my star player, I would want a BA of 300, OBP of 400. For, I believe the star player is “hired” more for hitting the ball, which drives in runs, not just getting walks, which is less likely to drive in runs. Oh, sure, better walks than outs. But, I want them to be hitting the ball more.

        But, for my leadoff hitter, I really wouldn’t worry about the BA. But, I would love a higher OBP. So, for a leadoff hitter, a BA of 275, OBP of 400, is fine with me. Just get on base so you can get driven in.

        That’s what bugs me when people on here are talking about a leadoff hitters lack of power. For a leadoff hitter, I really wouldn’t care one iota about their power. Their job is to get on base.

        Make no mistake here, though, this is ONLY A SAMPLE. For, there are plenty of other factors to look at to determine an offense, like SLG.

        What I will also say is, you need to take care with how deep you go with the stats. For, if you consider keep going deeper, deeper, and deeper, then you may end up getting into “getting the best SLG in the 6th inning with 2 outs, runners on 1st and 3rd, with a full count”.

        I’ve considered that several times before, and I’ve gotten so deep into the stats to try to determine who the best hitters are, I simply said, “Enough.” Because some of the stats I was getting into simply didn’t exist. Nor could I even determine them from existing stats. It was going to be such a tiresome endeavor that I had no opportunity to ever determine, because I would never have access to all the resources I would need to determine my stats, I simply said, “To he** with it.”

      • Doug Gray

        The job of every hitter at every spot in the lineup should be to get on base as often as they can and to acquire as many bases as they possibly can while doing so. The idea that the “acquire as many bases as possible” shouldn’t be a factor for someone because they hit 1st just doesn’t make sense to me.

        The problem here is that you have been trained to believe the job of a leadoff hitter is “to get on base” and to let someone else do the rest of the work. The most important job of a hitter is indeed, to get on base. But that isn’t and shouldn’t be where the job ends. Acquiring as many bases as they can while doing so matters, too. It’s why Mike Trout’s the best hitter in baseball and Hanser Alberto isn’t. A player should not deviate from the plan of “get on base, and get as many bases as possible” because of their spot in the lineup. If you focus on those two things you’re going to be the best version of a hitter no matter what spot you are at in the lineup.

  17. AirborneJayJay

    The Reds will have to look high and low for a better hitting SS for 2020. They don’t have to sacrifice a lot of defense to accomplish this.

    1. Jorge Polanco (age 26) of the MN Twins. Switch hitter that hits 2nd a lot. SS is a position of depth with the Twins but doubtful they would look to trade Polanco, unless it was a haul. Reds have pitching to trade and Twins always need pitching, so there is that. 3 years of team control.

    2. Dansby Swanson (age 25) of the ATL Braves. The Braves were said to have listened on Swanson at the deadline. RH hitter that bats 2nd most of the time. Raisel Iglesias fits in well here for a trade. 3 years of team control.

    3. Andrelton Simmons (age 29) of the LA Angels of Anaheim. RH hitter that bats 2nd most of the time. Injured some in 2019. Probably the best defensive SS in MLB, and comes with a bat. Not much power but some and good speed. Only 1 year left on contract for 2020.

    4. Jonathan Villar (age 28) of the BLT Orioles. Switch hitter that hits 2nd and leadoff mostly. Only average from leadoff spot. But he only plays SS half the time and he splits time at 2B. Yes, the former Brewer is having a resurgent year in Baltimore. He looks more like 2016 Villar than 2017-18 Villar. 1 year of arbitration left.

    Swanson and Polanco would be the top targets with a fall back on Simmons.

    • RojoBenjy

      Would the Braves take R Iglesias for Swanson to make a WS run?

      Do they have a player that could match him at SS waiting in the wings?

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I know of no pitching the Reds have, unless you go down to A or Rookie ball. We barely have enough at this main level. There’s a huge dropoff at AAA. Any pitchers in the minors, unless they are relievers, where I really wouldn’t have a problem with them, because I believe relievers are a crap shoot, they are at least a full season away still.

      The Reds simply don’t have that much to trade. Not like in recent years, where even here we were considering as many as 12 different young studs as actual starters on the main club. Now, we may have an extra player in this position or that position, but no much for tradebait at all.

  18. SultanofSwaff

    I’m one million percent comfortable with Galvis and Iglesias manning SS next season, with spot starts at 2B. Solid, reliable players who give meaningful at-bats with runners on base. That matters! I think some of the problem with our losing record despite the positive run differential is attributable to having hitters like Suarez/Votto not having good two strike approaches. The larger point is that SS is not the issue, but rather the lack of 3 WAR players anywhere else on the diamond. Barring a big name free agent acquisition, those guys are going to have to come from within. Senzel/Aquino/Ervin/JVM/Winker…….it’s gotta come from some combination of these guys.

  19. MARK MOORE

    So move Geno to SS and bring back Edwin Scissorhands to play 3B. I’m sure that would work.

    Sorry, I still want some good gloves out there. Maybe I’m alone on that front.

    • Eric B

      I’m with mark on this one. The number one attribute of the Short Stop is his defensive capability. It’s a nice addition if they can hit for power but that concern is secondary to his defense. Sorry but everyone cannot be a Trevor Story. And BTW…. This team is never going to be racked with Superstars top to bottom.
      Wish as you may.

  20. The other JB

    I’m on board with using all the analytical data to help make decisions but I think the value of defense is undervalued . (we’ve gave the last two games away because of poor defense) Id be happy with either of Jose or Galvis at short going forward . Let’s fix the manager and coaching issues , this team is terrible with fundamentals and that falls on Bell and his staff . Let’s be sure and not let the pitching coach get away ( give this man some more money . We’ve got the pitching let’s stop beating ourself

  21. RedsMonk65

    Kind of ironic that Suarez arrived in Cincy as a SS, and Senzel was a 3B who was our future 2B until he became our future CF.

    Chasing after the wind, it seems. I really don’t know what the answers are. I like some of the suggestions above, others not so much. I suspect the same kind of debates go on in MLB front offices every day. But no one really knows. If they did, that particular team would be in the WS every year (maybe the Astros are getting there; they sure do look like they know what they’re doing).

    I do agree that Votto is the proverbial elephant in the room. I hope he is able to turn things around for another couple seasons. I know the same issue bugs him, and that he is committed to putting in the work to address it.

    And I agree that another fearsome bat in the lineup is desperately needed. No one in the Reds’ day-to-day lineup really instills fear in opposing pitchers, it seems–other than perhaps, at times, Suarez (when he’s hot and not down 0-2) and lately, Aquino. Votto used to do that.

    Iglesias and Galvis are not problems for me if other upgrades/improvements are made. (Peraza is an issue, though, especially when he plays out of position, which is most of the time.) Iglesias has come up with some really big hits at key moments with RISP, and is great when down 0-2. He has a 14-game hitting streak. Galvis has been on fire since joining the Reds and has better than average (though not elite) power. Both are excellent in the field.

    I do wish we had better offensive production at C, though Barnhardt has really turned it around lately. I certainly value his defensive skills and handling of pitchers, which I think often get overlooked. That throw he made to Galvis at 2B the other night was sweet. He is part of the reason our starters are having so much success (not the entire reason, but part of it).

    I wouldn’t mind signing Gregorius and/or Grandal IF they want to come to Cincy (a big if, in my mind). The Reds will likely be out-bid for their services, though. Ironic that both started as Reds and were traded as prospects for players we no longer have (and who really didn’t make a significant impact while we had them).

    Maybe another off-season blockbuster trade (3-way?) could shake things up. If the proper return is found addressing some of the needs mentioned above, I could handle parting with Saurez/Winker/DeSclafani/Peraza/etc. That would allow Senzel to move back to his natural position and give Ervin more playing time. We would still need to obtain a CF, though.

    So, I don’t know, those are my bleary-eyed, coffee-infused ramblings at the moment. Whatever the case, the young guys like JVM, O’Grady, Ervin, Aquino, etc., need to be playing most days between now and September 30. Last night’s game was particularly frustrating in my view because I don’t believe the manager put the best players on the field (in their proper positions) to win the game. And it hurt them. These close, 1-run losses night after night are just really hard to take. I can only imagine what it’s like from the players’ point of view.

    But, like the rest of you, I’ll be right there again tonight, rooting them on. I’ve rooted for this team (and this team only) every year since the early 1970s. I’m not about to stop now.

    Go Reds!

  22. Tom Mitsoff

    As a fan with his baseball-observing origins in the pre-analytics days, I find myself watching Jose Iglesias performing lights-out on defense, terrific two-out clutch hitting, excelling with a two-strike count, and hitting .290-plus, and thinking back to the day when that was a shortstop you wanted to keep around. It does appear that the baseball world is saying that stats such as wRC+ supercede the ones just mentioned. That’s okay, but it illustrates one reason why it is difficult for some of the traditionalists to buy in to the way players are evaluated today. Dave Concepcion’s career wRC+ was 88. I will go to my grave believing he should be in the Hall of Fame because of his defensive exploits, along with the fact that he was highly underrated as a clutch hitter. I see a lot of Concepcion in Iglesias, and therefore my initial reaction is to say, hold on to that guy!

    But I also desperately want the Reds to win, and they should follow the blueprint of the teams that do win on a consistent basis in this era.

    • docproc

      Everything you said.
      Writing off Iglesias because of his wRC+ doesn’t take into account all he brings to the table. And don’t forget he’s second to Suarez in RBI among players still with the team. Pretty impressive for a guy who generally hits in the back half of the lineup.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      A little more added perspective — Concepcion had wRC+ numbers above 100 for six of nine years during what were his peak years in the 1970s and early 1980s. Iglesias, on the other hand, has had a wRC+ above 100 only once in his career.

      According to Fangraphs, Concepcion had a career WAR of 39.7 over 19 seasons. Iglesias has a career WAR of 11.6 over six seasons. Respective average career WAR figures: 2.1 and 1.9.

    • Wesley Jenkins

      I think at the end of the day, this is what my point boils down to: Baseball doesn’t look like it did when Concepcion played. I love Iglesias too and Brandon Phillips was long my favorite player because of his glove. But….defense doesn’t win championships anymore: Offense does.

      The last six WS teams and their shortstops:
      Red Sox Bogaerts 133 wRC+
      Dodgers Machado 141 wRC+
      Astros Correa 152 wRC+
      Dodgers Seager 127 wRC+
      Indians Lindor 109 wRC+
      Cubs Russell 95 wRC+

      One below average shortstop among the lot. The sport has changed…

      • matthew hendley

        Wait a minute, doesn’t wRC+ adjust for the type (hitter/pitcher) of park that a player plays in. Wouldn’t that automatically hurt any reds player at any position then?

      • Doug Gray

        Matthew – If two players both have the same line, but one is done in San Francisco and one is done in Cincinnati, the guy in SF is going to have a higher wRC+. As they should. It’s a tougher place to hit, and tougher to score runs, so those hits and runs are actually more valuable.

        It’s all adjusted. You should hit better in Cincinnati than in San Francisco. wRC+ does it’s best to make that adjustment. No one is being “punished”. They are, however, being “corrected”.

      • Eric B

        One player a world series does not win. Though that is an intriguing stat you have there.

      • VaRedsFan

        Doug – One player is indeed being punished. Aquino hits a 500 foot Home Run at GABP and gets less credit than hitting a 500 footer in San Fran?

    • doofus

      Tom, you make too much sense. Please stop breaking it down to simple terms.

      Sometimes over analysis, is paralysis in the business world. I firmly believe that today’s analytics proves that. I believe that David Bell epitomizes it. I think he will find a balance in 2020, I hope so. He needs to learn that there is also a “Human” factor involved in this game. I have spoken about it all season long.

      P.S. I am a number cruncher by trade, but I am a “Practical” believer in Analytics in “today’s” game of baseball.

  23. Ryan

    I really hope they sign Iglesias to a reasonable deal (2 year with an option). His defense at a premium position is invaluable, plus he has been one of our most consistent hitters this season. I say lock him up. Keep Galvis at 2B and you got a formidable duo up the middle. He’s been solid since we snatched him up for nothing. That leaves JVM, Farmer and Peraza to play where ever you need them. Letting Iglesias walk and upgrading via trade will only further weaken our farm system, I fear; I was hoping to see how Trammell worked out for us, as an example. I don’t know what happened to DD after the month of May but to quote Bull Durham, “he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a f’n boat”. I love his personality and zest for the game but unless they can’t pinpoint the problem, he’s gotta go. Made zero impact when we needed him in June/July. Time will tell, I suppose.

  24. RedsFaninPitt

    What about Nick Ahmed with the Diamondbacks? Great SS defender and his OPS is nearly .800. He has just 1 yr left before free agency. I wouldn’t think it would take a lot to get him – maybe DeSclafani?

  25. Hanawi

    I find it ironic that the two top players at positions of need (SS, C) are guys that the Reds traded away, picking the wrong player both times. I fear they may have done so again when they traded Jeter Downs and kept Jose Garcia.

    Trammell could have been the piece that they used to pry a long-term answer at SS or C from someone if they had soured on him. Maybe the Dodgers would have given them Lux or Keibert Ruiz. Instead they get one more year of Bauer.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Without any numbers at my fingertips to back this up, it’s my belief that Bauer is a top-50 major league starting pitcher — and much better than that when he is at his peak performance level. I’m very much looking forward to his performance in 2020, when he has had time to get to know Derek Johnson. Early this season Sonny Gray was inconsistent, but after a few weeks, everything kicked in for him. I believe that represents Gray getting on the same page with Johnson. We’ve seen some very good signs from Gausman after just a few weeks with Johnson.

      • doofus

        Agree. I am looking forward to seeing the results of working with DJ from Bauer, Gausman, Sims and others possibly to be named.

    • RedsMonk65

      Me too. We did give up an AWFUL lot for Latos, who pitched well a couple years and then flamed out before we got Disco for him. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Didi G. (and Drew Stubbs) got us one year of Shin-Soo Choo back in 2013 when the Reds’ “window” was still open (3-way deal with Indians and Diamondbacks, as you may recall). Interestingly, one of the players going to the Indians from the D-backs in that deal was one Trevor Bauer, who now plays for the Reds.

      Looking back, I think I would keep all the players we dealt — unless we got Bauer back then. 20/20 hindsight, I guess.

  26. RedNat

    Jose Iglesias is the prototypical reason I know that I am totally lost when it comes to these advanced metrics. To me he looks like a really good hitter. He leads the team in hits and BA but the powers that be at RLN say he is having a bad offensive year.

    My personal test is Who do you want at bat in a clutch situation? ( like we saw the last 2 games). For this team Iglesias is the first guy that comes to mind. I hope they resign him.

    • Michael Smith

      @rednati,

      Gets on base at best at league average and is limited with his power. As a reference points the best teams in baseball have these guys at short.

      Dodger: Corey Seager whos ops is 30 points higher and ops+ 108 (iggy 88)
      Yankees: Didi ops is similar but ops+ is 95 (coming off injury)
      Astros: Carlos Carerra ops is 914, ops+ 137
      Indians: Franciso Lindor ops 872, ops+ 124
      Twins: Jorge Polanco ops 852 and 123
      Braves: Dansby Swanson 798 and 100
      Cubs: Javier Baez with 859 and 114.

      Only the Yankees and Rays have a guy close to what Iggy has done. The rest of the best teams in baseball have guys who at minimum are league average and often well above average hitters at shortstop.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Would any of those players be made available in a trade? Questionable. You’d probably have to make one of those kind of offers that can’t be turned down, and the Reds are in no position to do that. Of course, Gregorius will be available as a free agent. Another thing all of those teams (except the Yankees) have is good starting pitching, which the Reds are certainly gathering themselves.

    • Big Ed

      Yeah, pretty much what Michael said. He rarely walks, which means he makes a lot of outs even with a .280-level AVG. Last night’s AB, in which he swung at 4 straight pitches out of the strike zone, is a good example of his problem.

      One thing that I will give Iglesias credit for is his ability to take what the pitcher gives him, and slap the ball into the opposite field. VanMeter did it last night in the 9th; Suarez did not. Suarez needs to understand what the game situation calls for. He swung hard like it was the first inning last night, when a single would have won the game.

      Analytics has a tough time measuring a few nuances, and one of them accounting for what the game situation actually calls for. A good hitter needs his arsenal to include a shorter, more line-drive swing that yields fewer homers and strikeouts but more contact. Suarez has devolved into a hitter who swings for the homer, and it may yield more runs in the long run, but that was not what the situation called for last night.

      • VaRedsFan

        Hammer…meet nail head, Big Ed….excellent post.

      • da bear

        Analytics isn’t the issue. The human beings and the models we’ve created are. wRC is simplistic and doesn’t take into account the varying importance of each at bat. To treat all ABs equally regardless of situation (such as accounting for runners on base, the score of the game at the time of the AB) is very flawed. and to treat all outcomes the same (groundout toward 1B that pushes a runner from second to third with no outs versus a groundout to 3B that keeps that runner stuck on 2B) is another lazy flaw.

        The analytics you’re calling for is a step in the right direction. But who has the time and energy to create better more complex models let alone create the necessary more detailed databases from which to extract data pulls for such analysis.

      • VaRedsFan

        da Bear…you did an excellent job explaining what my point about wRC+ has been all along. Thank you!
        PS…I might steal this in the future. 🙂

      • Pete

        Bear, you are correct. If all it took was using analytics, you wouldn’t need a draft – the team would be assigned the highest wRC+ or xFIP valued player by position of need. Discernment will always override the raw and crunched data.

        In some cases it’s critical, not to beat a dead horse, but take Jose Siri for instance. He is still rated very high as a Reds prospect (Top 10), there is no data (analytics) anywhere that confirms this, none. He is bad using standard and advanced statistics and 24 years old. He is no prospect to me. Granted I have had an opportunity to see him play quite a bit, and the eye test confirms the data in this case. But the guy has physical skills; unfortunately, they don’t seem to translate to baseball. Sell the guy high before the rest of the world catches up.

        So analytics are an excellent starting point, but not every hole is square meant for a square peg. Discernment and good judgement are still the prime attributes in evaluation. I’m good with an Iglesias/Galvis combo at SS for the moment. If something else better comes along, I’m good with upgrading. But do not sell the farm to attain it. If JV can no longer cut it at first base, the position is low hanging fruit when compared to a stud SS as well as a presenting a greater opportunity to increase the Reds hitting abilities. See my post above.

        I’m 99% a advanced metrics guy but even this is a great leap to get to 100%.

  27. RedsMonk65

    Well, this is an interesting lineup for tonight, to say the least:

    Josh VanMeter (L) CF
    Freddy Galvis (S) SS
    Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
    Aristides Aquino (R) RF
    Tucker Barnhart (S) LF
    Jose Iglesias (R) 2B
    Nick Senzel (R) 1B
    Brian O’Grady (L) C
    Sonny Gray (R) P

    • Pete

      Beat me to it. The positions are all messed. See below for the proper positioning. Not too bad, I like Tucker batting 5th and also getting to see Brian O’Grady.

      • RedsMonk65

        I thought it looked really funky, but these days, who knows? I got mine off mlb.com

    • doofus

      Must be Senzel’s elbow putting him at 1B.

      • RedsMonk65

        It was corrected later on (see below). Senzel is in Center. O’Grady at 1B. MLB.com posted the goofy lineup for some reason.

    • Chuckles

      Just thinking about hitting home runs, does anyone remember a type of Swing called a bunt. Anybody ever heard of a tactic called advancing runners? Oh boy am I getting old

  28. Pete

    VanMeter 3
    Galvis 4
    Suarez 5
    Aquino 9
    Barnhart 2
    Iglesias 6
    Senzel 8
    O’Grady 7
    Gray 1

    Brian O’Grady’s first MLB start. Hope he has a big day!

    • Big Ed

      Much better. I thought maybe Bell had been into the Pappy Van Winkle a little early today.

    • Chris Holbert

      I would think Senzel should fit into the number 2 hole…..He is not going anywhere, so give him Cf and leave him alone, he is obviously an athlete, and while he may never win a gold glove, he fills an important defensive position, and will only get better. I think J Iggy will be a lot more expensive than the 5 mil they will pay Galvis and there is not a big difference. I would put JVM at 2B and Galvis at short. Every young player is not a platoon player, but it seems Reds field management, thinks that way.

  29. scottya

    As far as the SS part of the middle infield. I’d be satisfied with resigning Iglesias and keeping Galvis and spending the big money or prospect cost elsewhere, along with replacing Jose Peraza on the roster. The net payroll cost could be around 5 million for 2020.

    I think the combination of the platoon splits adds a bit of value to each. Jose Iglesias .752 career ops & 103 WRC+ vs LHP. Galvis .683 career ops/.775 in 19′ & 81 WRC+/99 WRC+ in 19 vs RHP. With use of platoon splits, they likely combine to make 2.5 to 3 war at SS in 2020. Neither is the long term answer at SS for the Reds.

  30. MK

    Just do not get the love Dietrich receives. Since the beginning of June he has been the guy on the back of his baseball card.The anomaly that his early season home run barrage was absolutely that. VanMeter is definitely an upgrade for his roster spot.van Meter can definitely beat a .207/.349/.514 line and do it cheaper. I would non-tender Detrich and allow him to move on.

    • matthew hendley

      1. No one is saying he should start. Just become his intended role as a super sub
      2. Still second on the team with HR produced as a red.
      3. Until sufficient time indicates it wasn’t the injury that caused the power drain, we should see if the power returns.
      4. Home run celebration classes need to be taught by Deitrich.
      5. DD still has the higher WAR and OPS, OPS+.
      6. Still under team control.

    • scottya

      Dietrich Offensive stats are really good:
      2015 WRC + 122 (OPS+ 122)
      2016 WRC+ 121 (OPS+ 120)
      2017 WRC+ 102 (OPS+ 106)
      2018 WRC+ 109 (OPS+ 108)
      2019 WRC+ 119 (OPS+ 117)
      Career WRC+ 116 against RHP

      Dietrich has better than average defensive stats at first base according to bref and fangraphs and plays a fair second base (UZR – 3/150 games)

      I don’t think it’s an either or as far as 2020 roster spots with Dietrich and Vanmeter. Vanmeter can play 2b, LF, 3b and 1b it appears at this point. Vanmeter looks more out of the mold of Ben Zobrist and can play good defense at numerous positions.

      One other factor. The reds offense has been poorly against RHP this year. We need hitters who hit RHP well; both dietrich and vanmeter fit that need.

  31. Don

    great article that started a long discussion.
    Iglesias or Galvis would be an average to below average hitting SS with a above average defense in 2020.
    If both are on the roster in 2020 JVM will be a pinch hitter, once a week starter, the middle infielders will be Iglesias and Galvis. if FO wants to see JVM play, they both cannot be on the roster. At current pace JVM will still be a TBD at season end which I cannot image will make FO happy.

    Who knows Votto may be shut down for year to let others play and he and team is not saying anything,

    Votto will be playing 1B in 2020 for 140 or more games unless he retires.
    Suarez will be starting @ 3B in 2020 for 150 games and have another poor last 6-7 weeks of season like his career stats show.
    Barhart will be the catcher in 2020 as Tyler Stephenson is hitting well since being in AA. He is on track to be on MLB roster in 2021 and Barhart’s contract is a team option for 2022. Unless there is some major trade I do not see catcher changing in 2020.
    Senzel will be in CF.
    Corner outfield positions are the most TBD based on rest of 2019 performance.
    Can AA be what he has been the first 17 games?
    WIll Ervin return to earth vs lefties?
    Will Winker be healthy?

    These are what I think are the FO questions.

  32. Hot Chili

    And of course the “glove first, no bat Galvis” decides the game. It’s the same guy that has as many Hrs in 5 games than Votto the last 2 months, but the critics is at the 2 guys that come through. The real problem are those guys whose positions are to provide offense (1B, LF). Sometimes I wonder what kind of game are we looking at.

    • DavidW

      Yep … Galvis has 10 more homers than Votto and has not been playing in GABP. Finding a better hitting 1B seems far less expensive than finding a better hitting SS. It even makes more economic sense. I think you give Votto until June of next year to find himself but you need a backup plan after that. This team is going nowhere next year with a 1B hitting only 15 HR.

  33. Steve D

    Reds need to write blank checks to Didi and Grandal next year. I agree we need to do whatever it takes to get an elite SS and Didi is pretty much it. With these additions we are a playoff team
    1B: Votto
    2B: Van Meter
    3B: Suarez
    SS: Gregorius
    C: Grandal
    LF: Winked/Ervin
    CF: Senzel
    RF: Aquino
    Utility INF: Freddie Galvis

    Also maybe resign Wood for a cost efficient deal and get a high end reliever and we are the favorite to win the NL

    • Pete

      Let the season play out.

      I wouldn’t give Wood a 1-year deal at the moment, Tucker is playing the best baseball of his career and I’m not so certain either Iglesias or Freddie can’t be a short-term stopgap at SS. Wes writes a nice article here but he totally ignores the fact we have a weak-hitting, ageing first baseman who is a greater impediment to the team’s success. He can’t won’t talk about it, it’s verboten. Everyone loves Joey Votto but some can still keep their head about the situation.

      I want the FO to spend money wisely, not write blank checks to older players who are more than likely past their prime. Aquino and VanMeter can still flop as well as Ervin; patience, let’s see September 30th pass and we can analysis the team’s needs.

      No blank checks ever.

  34. matthew hendley

    Homer bailey fans 8 in 5.2 innings. Another win after going to OAK. It actually looks like he found what he lost. SOmetimes being placed on a competitive team helps.

    • Pete

      Matthew, his home park fits him like a glove too. Very, very happy for Homer and I hope he gets an opportunity to play in the post season.

  35. Pete

    Bear, you are correct. If all it took was using analytics, you wouldn’t need a draft – the team would be assigned the highest wRC+ or xFIP valued player by position of need. Discernment will always override the raw and crunched data.

    In some cases it’s critical, not to beat a dead horse, but take Jose Siri for instance. He is still rated very high as a Reds prospect (Top 10), there is no data (analytics) anywhere that confirms this, none. He is bad using standard and advanced statistics and 24 years old. He is no prospect to me. Granted I have had an opportunity to see him play quite a bit, and the eye test confirms the data in this case. But the guy has physical skills; unfortunately, they don’t seem to translate to baseball. Sell the guy high before the rest of the world catches up.

    So analytics are an excellent starting point, but not every hole is square meant for a square peg. Discernment and good judgement are still the prime attributes in evaluation. I’m good with an Iglesias/Galvis combo at SS for the moment. If something else better comes along, I’m good with upgrading. But do not sell the farm to attain it. If JV can no longer cut it at first base, the position is low hanging fruit when compared to a stud SS as well as a presenting a greater opportunity to increase the Reds hitting abilities. See my post above.

    I’m 99% a advanced metrics guy but even this is a great leap to get to 100%.

  36. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I just thought of something. I believe someone else slightly mentioned it here. I’m going to bring it up more.

    I just checked a bit to see of the Reds could/should look into, for example, getting a 3rd baseman then moving Suarez somewhere for a SS or something.

    What I believe would be an excellent move, provided we can get him, would be if we can get Rendon, a FA, from the Nationals. But, then, move Suarez to SS. Suarez came up as a SS, so it’s not like he’s unfamiliar with the position. He would need to work on getting the turn as the base, of course. But, I would love a move like this. Rendon would actually be an upgrade offensively at 3rd, and Suarez would be an upgrade offensively at SS. That keeps JVM at 2nd and Senzel in the OF. And, who we have now can simply work on getting better for next year.