There isn’t much baseball left, in 2019. The Reds will not play past September so let’s enjoy the remaining games of the year. Break out your coffee and your breakfast and lets think about some Reds baseball.

Signs of a turnaround

Momentum is not a thing the baseball gods tend to pay attention to (Just ask Jose Peraza). Ending a season on a high note is all well and good but not something to give too much credence to. That being said, Reds fans have been looking for just about ANY sign that Joey Votto is breaking out of the cocoon of a slump he’s been in for most of the season. We may have something here, folks.

In his last 10 games, Votto has hit .361 with a pair of dingers. He’s also had three doubles and has amassed eight walks while striking out three times. If you expand it a few games to include the month of September, his OPS is 1.034. That’s more like it.

Something interesting to keep an eye on with Votto, from here on, is how the Reds manage his personal slate of games. “Load management” is a popular term in professional sports, nowadays. It’s usage is prevalent in the NBA, but I think it could apply to the Reds veteran leader. Joey should not be playing 162 games in a season, anymore. Keeping his total number of games down to 140-145 games should keep his performance at a high level as the on-base machine that is a catalyst for the offense.

The most useless pitching stat

Raisel Iglesias notched his 30th save of the season last night. It is the second year in a row that Iggy has gotten to 30 and figures to top that in the remaining games. David Bell has said that he wants to pitch his best guys in the most important situations of a game, but he has also acknowledged Iglesias’ profuse insistence on pitching in save opportunities. I hate this.

The save statistic is based on whether a pitcher enters the game when his team has the lead. Also, not just any lead, it’s got to be close. Or the pitcher coming into relieve the starter could pitch the final three innings of the game and get a save (less common). Most of you understand all this.

The annoying thing is the insistence on managers remaining focused on whether they pitch their closer in “save situations,” or not. It will probably take a few years, but managers and front offices need to fade the importance of relief pitchers accumulating saves. Thy were turned into a reason to pay certain bullpen arms more than others. I would hope, with the analytical advancements this year that teams can fully understand a relief pitcher’s value and maybe we can start to erase this idea of a “save.”

Top possible free agents for the Reds

MLB.com released a list of the top-20 possible free agents. The Reds were sparsely mentioned, if at all, on most of these players. The Front Office needs almost to take this as a challenge. If 2020 will be as great as we all hope, they have to be aggressive. Chad Dotson and Bill Lack discuss this on the most recent Redleg Nation Radio podcast, but I firmly believe the Front Office will pull out all the stops this offseason.

35 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    I believe it when I see it.
    I have never seen the Reds go all in an off season in my life.

  2. Klugo

    The best of the best come through for their teams when they need them the most. I love Joey, but he’s failed to do that over his career.
    I’d like to see the FO target Grandal and Marte.

      • Klugo

        But what about playoff games? Or in games vs teams ahead of us in the division or Wildcard standings when we need those wins to stay relevant? That’s the stuff I’m talking about. Not 2 outs with runners on in basically a meaningless game at a basically meaningless time.

      • Michael Smith

        @klugo

        I provided stats to counter your point. You have provided Conjecture with nothing to back it up. Its not hard to find the data. Find the data points to prove your point

        He has 37 PA in the playoffs, i guess you could use that as a data point to prove your point. The rest of the data points to him being at his best in high leverage situations.

      • greenmtred

        I think you’d have to break out the stats for the types of games you mention–all of them. I, too, remember noting players failing(or succeeding) in an important spot, and sub-consciously(maybe not sub) edged toward the conclusion that this defined the sort of player they are. Great hitters fail over half of the time, and playoff games and games against contenders are apt to feature good pitchers.

      • Doc

        What are his statistical splits between the first half of the season and the second half, especially over the past five years? The first half is when it counts; the second half is when it doesn’t matter, during the past five years.

      • VaRedsFan

        Doc is correct. He starts to mash when the Reds are out of it.

  3. Chris Holbert

    Finishing is the key term, the Reds needed him to start strong, or at least get it going before August….

    • Michael Smith

      @doc

      The last five years are this for ops. By the way guys I posted a link that has all this data.

      876
      831
      1058
      863
      772

  4. TR

    A great player, aging in sports terms, hitting well. All to the good.

    • William

      Can anyone tell me how the 2019 first 3 reds draft picks did this year ?

      • Hotto4Votto

        Lodolo dominated at Billings in short stints and continued that forward, briefly, in Dayton until the Reds shut him down due to innings limit.
        Hinds played one game for Greeneville before being shut down (injury I think).
        Callihan was solid if unspectacular at Greenville. Good power but very few walks (under .300 OBP), struck out a little much. Good finish at Billings in small sample size.

  5. Still a Red

    Nice to see an old-fashioned Joey Votto pop-up HR to left center. But I don’t think there’s many of those left. It’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts. At one point (2010) hitting like Albert Pujols, Albert Pujols he’s not. If he can hit .280 or above (not sure how many season-long .300s he has left either), 20ish HRs, with lots of doubles, I’d take that the rest of the way.

  6. Steven Schoenbaechler

    If the Reds are going to be able to take the perverbial “next steps” for next season, I believe that have to do it in FA. For, I don’t believe they have much to trade with. And, then, even in FA, they are going to need to be creative. Because the prime positions they would be looking at are 2nd, SS, and C, and there just aren’t any FA’s out there at those positions that I believe the Reds are willing to pay for.

    Either way, I believe the Reds are going to need to be creative with what they do. I just believe it will be easier to do it in FA.

    I see two potential moves for the Reds. One, get an OF, preferably a CF, preferably a high OBP guy who can play the wall well (why this? Read below), who would allow to move Senzel back to the infield. Here me out.

    Why do this? I have liked the Reds last 2 CF’s, Hamilton and Senzel. However, they both have had a trend of not being able to play the wall very well, getting injured when running into the wall, which could very well come from them having played infield coming up then being asked to go to the OF right away. If Senzel is going to stay in the OF, he needs to learn how to play the wall. If not, for me, it only makes sense to move him back to the infield.

    Then, from there, you can have JVM, Senzel, and Suarez decide what to play between 2nd, SS, and 3rd.

    And/or, for the second move, I’d go after Rendon. Suarez could move back to SS, what he played coming up. True, he may not have the range of a prototypical SS. But, having played 3rd, he would have the reflexes necessary, if not better reflexes than a typical SS. Also, I could handle getting 40 HR and 100 RBI’s from the SS position. And, JVM or Senzel can be 2nd.

    Either/Or/Both of these moves would help the offense tremendously, I believe.

    Peraza is nothing more than a bench player. He’s shown that. After an AS start, Dietrich showed his “baseball card”. Similar with Galvis. I believe with the moves I propose, these players leave little for the club beyond bench players.

    Past that, I would re-stack the bullpen. Preferably get 1-2 more lefthanders back there.

    Then, develop the minors. With this market, the Reds can’t be relying on the FA market to keep this team good. They are going to have to be able to feed the big club primarily (but not only) from the minors. Especially the pitching. With all the young studs we’ve had come up from there the last 3 years, not much as panned out.

    • greenmtred

      I don’t recall Hamilton playing the wall poorly. He made lots of great catches at and over the wall. Walls are hard. Running into a wall at speed is very likely to cause injury, hopefully minor but possibly major. If by playing the wall well you mean avoiding running into it, you’ve got a point, but that results in catchable balls turning into hits, and a certain number of us would have none of that. I have my doubts about Suarez as a shortstop.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I can understand your point about catchable balls turning into hits. That’s why it needs to be “calculated”, aka “learn how to play the wall”, rather than simply running after the ball.

        Any team would be a whole lot better off having their starting CF actually playing for the next 3-8 weeks, if not longer, rather than not even calculating if they can get to a ball without risking injury against the wall.

        Notice, I specified just now, “not even calculating if they can get to a ball without risking injury against the wall.”. I never did say “simply don’t go for the ball so they don’t hit the wall”. I see a huge difference between the two.

    • jon

      soon as i saw suarez to SS i stopped reading and you liked hamilton as a CF. i stopped reading.

      • greenmtred

        Hamilton was a great cf. But he was a bad hitter. Steve was talking about fielding in his post.

  7. Mason Red

    Votto is the least of the Reds concerns.

    • Steven Schoenbaechler

      I have to agree. He’s not being much of a help right now, beyond getting on base, which he hasn’t done that with Votto-like numbers for a while, either. But, he’s not a high priority right now. We signed that contract in good faith. And, Votto has done a lot for the club. And, no team is going to want Votto’s contract. So, we are pretty much stuck with it. He’s signed for 4-5 more seasons. We might as well not even consider that. I will say, the best thing that could happen for the team, along those lines, is for Votto to retire, freeing up his salary. But, I don’t believe Votto will do that.

  8. Sandman

    You know what, when I first started following Redlegnation, I wasn’t aware of this NL”new” movement called analytics and/or sabremetrics. I had been “raised” so to say, on all the old school stats that were used to measure a player’s performance and/or worth.

    What caught me off guard is the absolute disdain by a lot of the writers here for all these old school stats. In some cases it seemed like downright vitriol being spewed (hatred?) for these old school stats. Bcuz of all this, I bucked up against these new age stats bcuz it felt like I was being attacked personally.

    One other thing that kinda caught me by surprise was my own insistence of adhering to these old school stats even though the reasoning behind these new age stats made sense. I even started to get excited by some if them and actually look for them in stat lines.

    I think another part of the reason I bucked up against these new age stats were that the math behind them can be quite complicated sometimes…..and I hate complicated. I like simple, easy to figure stuff. One time I was telling one of the writers here (can’t remember who exactly) that I like to calculate baseball stats on my own sometimes but these new formulas take in so many factors that are just impossible for the average Joe to calculate. Somebody responded to my statement with this smart a** response (paraphrasing). The basic gist of it was this: It’s not your job to figure these up, it’s ours. So, just trust what we are telling you! That was a slap in the face that still stings a little to this day. But, I’ve got no choice but to trust whoever bcuz, like I said, some of these formulas take things into consideration that are just impossible for the average fan to calculate unless you live and breath baseball and pay attention to almost every game wether they be Reds games or not. It’s their job that they hopefully love to do.

    BUT!…….. Stubbornness is something else. In realizing that SOME of these new age stats actually make sense but wanting to hold on to the old school stuff…. I’ve tried to find a 50/50 balance…whether it makes sense or not. So, I’ve developed this belief system that the old school stats are still relevant today but so are the new stats.

    I say all this bcuz of this article and the part of this article that mentioned wanting to abolish the save statistic. Look, I ain’t got a convincing argument for wanting to keep the save stat around (mainly because I’ve got a pounding headache right now that is taking my will to live….just kidding about the wanting to die part). So, can ppl just leave some of the old school stats alone, plz!

    • Curt

      Thanks for sharing sandman, you put a lot of thought into it. I use a little of both the old and the new combined with my eyeballs and I know all I need to know. It’s a game involving human behavior as well so I try to look for psychological reasons behind things too. Sometimes it’s the most over-looked “stat”.

  9. Seat101

    Has anyone noticed that Joey Votto seems to be hitting the ball a lot harder these days?

  10. Old-school

    Joey Votto did a 180 on hitting approachsecond half. He stopped choking up . Why he did in the first place is he overthought adjusting to aging decline and he thought that was the way to adjust to being 35. He was wrong. He gave an interview that he changed because his power fell off the table. Joey Votto adjusted. His power, Ops, and exit velocity are up. Does that translate to w better JV in 2020? Hopefully.

    Iglesias mentally can’t pitch the way the Reds want him. Jeff Brantley said the same in spring training. One can say how things should be…. And how Iglesias needs to be…. But the only one who can change Iglesias is Iglesias.

    • VaRedsFan

      It’s crazy right. I had been saying the same thing for 1.5 years. It wasn’t about his age (entirely), but it was about his approach. The deep crouch, inside outing all inside pitches….the extreme choke ups, the check swings…ect I’ve talked about several times. And was basically tarred and feathered every time i said it.

  11. Shchi Cossack

    Votto’s offensive improvement hasn’t been a brief 10-game surge. After the first two months, Votto became a different hitter with a different plate approach. For the season, Votto has a marginal, albeit improving offensive performance:

    .268/.359/.424 with a .784 OPS, .156 ISO & 103 wRC+

    That includes a miserably poor performance during the 1st two months. There was a lot of that going around for the Reds during the 1st two months. Bell’s spring training approach did not emphasize getting players fully prepared to begin the season by opening day. Beginning with the Nat series on May 31st, Votto became a completely different hitter. Since that series against the Nats, Votto became a positive offensive contributor:

    .285/.372/.460 with an .832 OPS, .175 ISO & 115 wRC+

    Votto’s offensive improvement hasn’t been linear and static. He has continued to improve through the summer months. Since the trade deadline expired on August 1st and prospects were promoted to fill out the 25-man roster, Votto’s performance has been Vottoesque:

    .291/.398/.500 with an .898 OPS, .209 ISO & 131 wRC+

    Even the Old Cossack began to hear the Votto detractor’s claims that Votto had suddenly succumbed to the ravages of time and was incapable of playing the game he had masterfully manipulated during his magnificent career. At 36, Votto will almost certainly struggle to play at an MVP level and will benefit from occasional days off, but he is far from incapable of playing the game at a high performance level. Votto not only is not a main concern, but he remains an asset in the lineup. The best utilization of his skills may very well require moving him down in the lineup, but not because he can’t perform in the top of the lineup. If the Reds have players with good on-base skills and better baserunning capability, the team can better utilize Votto’s production in the middle of the lineup. With VanMeter, Senzel, and Winker/Ervin filling the top of the lineup, Suarez, Votto and Aquino could prove VERY effective in the middle of the lineup.

    • VaRedsFan

      Votto didn’t change his approach until AFTER the all star break

      • Shchi Cossack

        He didn’t change his batting stance until after the break, but he did change his plate approach.

  12. RedNat

    Looking at the list of free agents next year I dont really see many game changers. I honestly would invest the money instead in making gabp a more competitive playing field this off season. I would like to see larger dimensions and the new artificial turf like in Arizona. Give free agent pitchers a reason to want to come to the reds in the future. Also it would bring a little more excitement to the game. Last night’s Suarez first inning triple ( should have been an inside the park HR) will probably go down as one of the most exciting plays of the year. At gabp that would be over the cf fence by 20 feet

    • greenmtred

      It would evidently be difficult to expand the dimensions signifcantly, but I agree that I’d like to see it because I prefer the sort of game that would encourage. I’m not sure about attracting pitchers, though. I suspect that what brings free-agents is money, with the competitiveness of the team being a factor, but a lesser one. It might discourage free-agent power hitters, too, and the Reds, temporarily, are fairly rich in pitching and paupers on offense.

    • TR

      After seventeen seasons at GABP, I see little chance the Reds will spend money for dimension change. Except for the relatively short porch from right center to the foul line, the dimensions are not bad and compare with other ML playing fields. All parks have some negatives. If the Reds had wanted a bigger playing field, they would have gone to Broadway Commons where the Casino is now and Mt. Adams would have been in the background.