Nine games left.
Another disappointing Cincinnati Reds season is nearing its conclusion, which will summon the period of analysis and post-mortem that follows the final game of any organized sports team’s schedule.
Pure and simple, the Reds front office did #getthepitching. But the hitting never kicked into gear:
Using Fangraphs version of WAR here’s where the #Reds rank by position:
The Reds have good pitching. As a group they’ve been really bad as position players.
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) September 19, 2019
Prior to the start of today’s 7:10 Eastern time game at Great American Ball Park against the New York Mets, Cincinnati had these rankings among all of the major league teams:
- Home runs: 218, 13th
- OPS: .739, 21st
- Slugging: .424, 22nd
- On-base percentage: .315, 22nd
- Walks: 455, 23rd
- Batting average: .245, 24th
As you can see in Doug Gray’s tweet, the best the Reds have to offer in terms of position players contributing to wins is third base, which is obviously greatly due to Eugenio Suarez.
This is a topic that will be hashed over in the coming weeks and months here at Redleg Nation, but the Reds must #getthehitting for 2020. And, they have to target the best hitters available, regardless of position. (The obvious exception is first base, where Joey Votto will still be playing.) Even a slugging third baseman would be welcome, and Suarez could perhaps move to shortstop or second base if needed to make that addition work.
This is probably an overreaction, but I have little faith that any of the returning position players except Suarez can become star-caliber starting players. (Regarding Votto, while we all hope he will return to his All-Star hitting form, it seems increasingly unlikely as time continues to march on.) Even Aristides Aquino’s bat has crashed back to Earth after his interstellar first month. It’s impossible to say at this point whether the August version or the September version is closer to what Aquino will be as a major leaguer.
It has been said other places, but the upcoming off-season will be the most important in recent Reds history. There are no Acunas or Tatises ready to emerge from the farm system. The front office will have to #getthehitting by opening the pocketbook. If the Votto we have seen the past couple of years is one of this team’s two or three best offensive weapons in 2020, that does not bode well. We’ll see what happens.
It’s a matchup of All-Star pitchers in the series opener. Mets manager Mickey Callaway has managed deGrom similar to the way David Bell has managed his starters: Typically a maximum of 100 pitches or seven innings. In fact, deGrom has pitched exactly seven innings in each of his last six starts. During that span, he’s allowed 11 runs in 42 innings pitched. Castillo has not been nearly as effective as deGrom during the same period, and it may be the effects of the most innings he has pitched in a major league season taking a toll. If there is a good time for that to happen, it’s in a season when the Reds are not going to need Castillo in the post-season.
With an off-day Thursday, the entire bullpen staff should be available if and when called upon tonight.
|CF Brandon Nimmo||LF Josh VanMeter|
|3B Jeff McNeil||1B Joey Votto|
|1B Pete Alonso||3B Eugenio Suarez|
|2B Robinson Cano||RF Aristides Aquino|
|C Wilson Ramos||C Tucker Barnhart|
|RF Michael Conforto||SS Jose Iglesias|
|LF J.D. Davis||CF Phillip Ervin|
|SS Amed Rosario||2B Jose Peraza|
|P Jason deGrom||P Luis Castillo|
Nimmo, McNeil, Alonso and Conforto are examples of what has been a very productive farm system for the 79-73 Mets, who are holding on to slim hopes of a wild card berth. They are 3.5 games behind Milwaukee for the second wild card berth entering tonight’s play. The Reds’ lineup is about the best that David Bell can put on the field at the moment.
Additional insights into the statistical history of the players in today’s game is available all season long at BaseballSavant.com.
News and Notes
Suarez on the cusp …
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 20, 2019
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) September 19, 2019