All eyes at Reds camp have been on the players vying for the 5th starters spot. So far the fifth starter candidates have all gotten in around 3 outings and around 6 to 9 innings. Aroldis Chapman has received most of the buzz, and rightfully so, but Matt Maloney, Justin Lehr, and Micah Owings, and long-shot Mike Leake have all been hunting that fifth spot as well.
In my opinion, Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman have definitely pitched the best. Chapman so far has pitched in 3 outings and given up only 1 run. That run was a leadoff home run in his third outing and after the leadoff homer, Chapman reacted very well going 3 scoreless innings afterward and giving up no more hits while striking out 5.
Mike Leake has also pitched very well this spring. His chances were considered slim coming into Spring Training because he was just drafted by the team in the first round about 8 months ago. So far this spring, Leake has pitched in 3 games for a total of 5 innings in which he has not given up a run. He has struck out 6 while allowing only 3 baserunners. His chances of winning the fifth starter spot are still probably slim as the team will probably want to see him pitch some in the minors first, but I really like what I see from the crafty Arizona State Sun Devil. He doesn’t throw overly hard but he has 5 to 6 pitches that he can throw and throw effectively.
As for the rest of the guys, Maloney has been up and down; Lehr has struggled, and Owings has done well and could be the guy if the team thinks both Leake and Chapman could benefit from some time in the minors, but at some point, especially if the club is in contention, which I think they can be, you will see Leake and Chapman in the majors.
Also getting interesting this spring is the center field job and left field . Chris Dickerson complained earlier in the Spring that he ought to be contending for the center field job. So far he has backed up that talk with strong Spring Training numbers batting .435 so far. Drew Stubbs who is admittedly a slow starter, started slow but in his last 3 games he is 6-9 with a homer. Stubbs came in as the favorite, and still is but Dickerson is definitely opening some eyes can earning some regular season playing time (some in center and some probably as a platoon with Jonny Gomes). Jonny Gomes has faired well so far this spring and it looks as if he has a hold on being the opening day starter in left. He will probably platoon with a left handed hitter like Dickerson or Laynce Nix.
Spring Training has been interesting so far and will get even more important as the Reds move into the final 2-3 weeks before they head north to the Queen City.
Go Reds!! Time to contend!!
Joey Votto is back and still swinging. Votto hardly missed a beat when he came back after his month layoff. Votto is collected 18 hits over his last 10 games.
Votto’s success has me comparing him to Big Red Machine great Tony Perez. He and Perez spray the ball all over the field, banging the ball off the wall. Neither were “home run hitters” but they are such good hitters they still hit the ball out of the ballpark. Why is no one talking about Votto as an ALL STAR SNUB. I know he was hurt but he is batting .364!! How can you ignore that from a guy whether he has played 2 months or 3 months.
Also Reds fans: Take a hint. Lay off Dusty Baker. A recent commenter off a reds.com news release said the following:
“Dusty Baker is clueless and has to go! I feel better now that I’ve
finally said it. I’ve said before on here that we should only pitch to
Pujols if we are up 5 runs or down 5 runs. Otherwise he should be
walked every time he steps to the plate. Some reasons Baker must go: 1.
Continuing to pitch to Pujols 2. Using a DH for Owings rather than any
one of our position players who are hitting under .240 3. Batting
Taveras at lead off 4. Letting Taveras play at all 4. Pitching Weathers
against Pujols…duh 5. An entire team that lacks fundamentals
(bunting, moving runners, patience at the plate, etc…) 6. Thinking
that Corey Patterson had major league talent 7. Playing Hernandez over
Hannigan 8. Playing Hairston over Janish 9. Not demanding that we keep
Keppinger 10. Pitching to Pujols yet again…. arrgghhhhh!!!!“
I cannot disagree with the first reason, but Albert Pujols is the best hitter ever in my opinion. As far as the second reason, everytime a pinch hitter comes into the game, he is not going to get a hit and when that player does get out Dusty Baker is not to blame! Willie Taveras ought to bat first or second. He is just in a slump let him get out of it.
For the fourth reason, this commenter is just ridiculous, Taveras might be the fastest person in the game. As for the commenters second number four (impressive) NO ONE has good numbers against Pujols. No matter who you bring in, Pujols still has a great chance getting a hit.
Fifth, the team is getting better defensively and is near the top in the NL in sacrificesSixth, Baker was not the idiot who signed Corey Patterson, after all he does have big league talent (or used to) as he was once another top Cubs prospect. Seventh, both are great talents and deserve to play (no argument there).
Hairston over Janish?? Come on Janish bobbled the ball that loaded the bases before Pujols hit the grand slam. That would have been the third out. Jeff Keppinger is an average utility man . And you have to pitch to Pujols with the bases loaded.
Reds fans need to chill. Dusty is not the one out there not hitting. That is on the players. The Reds need to add another bat and with more talent, Baker can lead any team to the playoffs.
Ill give Walt Jocketty a hint on a bat to add. (see below). GO REDLEGS!!
As Spring Training continues to progress and now near its conclusion, most roster spots for the Reds have been determined with the exception of a couple of backup roles. The most pressing question remaining is who will be the fifth starter in the Reds rotation: Homer Bailey or Micah Owings.
Owings was aquired from Arizona in the Adam Dunn deal. He was shut down at the end of last season due to a minor shoulder ailment. The Reds were out of the playoff race when Owings arrived and did not want to risk further injury just to have Owings pitch a couple of games. This spring Owings has been impressive, posting a 1.52 ERA and having a 2.5:1 K/BB ratio. Owings is also one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball and Dusty Baker has said that he would not hesitate to have Owings pinch hit at any time (let me be clear though: I dont think Owings should be converted to an outfielder like some Reds fans have suggested).
However, Owings has some stiff competition for the fifth spot. New confidence, and a willingness to accept coaching has led to Homer Bailey’s putting together a great spring as well. Most Reds fans thought Bailey would be etched in stone in the Reds rotation at this point but he has had many struggles. This Spring however has been a good one. Bailey has posted a 2.61 ERA while striking out 20 and only walking four. Poor control had been Bailey’s nemesis in his first two broken seasons in the majors.
Bailey made what will probably be his final spring start April 1st and was good allowing only 2 earned runs and striking out 8 in 6 innings.
So Dusty Baker’s options are this:
1-Owings gets the spot and Bailey goes to the bullpen for long relief and is the replacement for anyone in the rotation who might get hurt.
2-Owings gets the spot and Bailey gets sent down yet again (I do not want this to happen)
3-Bailey wins the spot and Owings is either sent down or possibly (but I doubt it) sent to long relief.
While I would love to see Bailey in the rotation. I would opt for option one if I was the Reds. Bailey gets major league experience and Owings has his chance to continue to strive to reach his potential and both pitchers are put to good use. What will Dusty do? I think he will give the spot to Owings. It should be interesting to see. Please comment because I would love to know what other Reds fans are hoping for and when the decision is made, I would love to hear your reactions.
Go Reds! Its Skyline Time!
Let me be clear: I think the Reds are still away from being a solid year-long contender in the NL Central and in the playoffs. However, the Reds are very much improved, and Walt Jocketty has done a very good jobs of filling holes for the Reds.
Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Bruce, Cueto, Volquez, and even Chris Dickerson comprise one of the best young corp of players in major league baseball.
The Reds have found their leadoff hitter in Willie Taveras, who was non-tendered by the Rockies in the offseason. Taveras can keep constant pressure on the opposing defense by getting on base and using his blazing speed. He will most likely be followed by Chris Dickerson or possible Jerry Hairston Jr. if he wins the left field job. Both of those men have good speed and skills on the basepaths. Taveras and Dickerson would comprise a solid top of the order if and only if they can consistently get on base. Votto will bat third. He is the Reds best hitter and I fully expect him to hit .300 with 25 HR’s and around 100 RBI’s. Phillips will bat fourth and I maintain that he is not an ideal clean-up hitter. However, he is everything else you want in a baseball player: a great teammate, a 30-30 guy, and a defensive juggernaut. Bruce will bat 5th and needs to continue to improve his plate discipline to decrease his strikeouts.
Next will follow Edwin Encarnacion (All I will say is that I’m still hoping he can put it all together). Then in the bottom third of the order will be recently aquired Ramon Hernandez then Alex Gonzalez and the pitchers spot.
For the pitching rotation, Harang’s resurgeance is key as Volquez and Cueto will continue to develop into stars. Arroyo is also steady and will pitch 200 innings with 12-15 wins. I hope Bailey wins the 5th spot. He seems to be now more willing to accept coaching and he has been keeping the ball down in Spring, thanks to improved control on his fastball and curveball. In the bullpen, Fransisco Cordero has had a less than impressive spring. I think he will turn in another steady year though. Bray, Burton, and Arthur Rhodes will comprise the other three main options in the pen.
Cincinnati’s team has moved from one known for tremendous power and lackluster pitching to one with solid pitching and great team speed and defense up the middle. Taveras, Gonzalez, and Phillips definitely help pitchers breath a little more easily this year.
I hope the Reds compete this year, but honestly I think its going to take one more season, and next year the Reds will be a force in the NL Central. Go Reds!
The writer of the blog District Boy is absolutely right. The Cincinnati Reds front office is now definitely the worst in baseball. If they think that Cueto, Volquez, Votto, and Bruce are enough good players to depend on for the future then they are idiots.
Let me just name a few reasons the Reds team and ownership is pathetic:
1-Corey Patterson is still in the majors. He could not play on any other team in the majors. Chris Dickerson needs to be in the bigs NOW because he could be the center fielder of the future.
2-Josh Fogg is still in the rotation.-Darryl Thompson or Ramon Ramirez ought to be in the majors pitching. They have paid their dues in the minors and the management needs to find out if they can pitch in the majors.
3-Walt Jocketty is just not a good GM.
4-Dick Pole is not a good pitching coach. Mark Berry (3rd base coach) and Brook Jacoby (hitting coach) also ought to be fired.
5-Brandon Phillips is great but is the worst cleanup hitter in baseball. He does not come close to comparing to Prince Fielder, Aramis Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Lance Berkman, Albert Puhols or Josh Hamilton etc.
6- They dropped David Ross who was also awful but was the best catcher they had. Javier Valentin has an awful on base percentage and you cannot even afford to put him in the field becuase he is such a bad defensive catcher. Ross could atleast throw out a decent percentage of base runners
7-The Reds need to build for the future and quit lying to themselves saying they still want to win now because that is just a LIE.
Their lineup the rest of the way ought to look like:
Shut down Harang and hopefully he will come back better next year. Good Lord! I say this just becuase I end every entry this way- Go Reds!-but I say it half heartedly
The Reds have once again called up Homer Bailey from AAA Louisville. This will be his fourth time with the big league club, and he is entering a definite crossroads in his career. Marty Brenamen, the great Reds radio broadcaster, recently said that one reason for Bailey’s struggles was that he pitched so well in the minors at such a young age that he thought he had everything figured out. He started to think his way was the best and he became tough to coach. Most recently he has gone back to AAA and will have better mechanics and more velocity for his fourth stint in the majors.
Also this year, Aaron Harang has simply not been himself. It would have been nice to have seen Volquez and Harang fight for the title of staff ace, but Harang has never gotten in a groove this year. Since he came in in relief in the 18 game earlier this year, he has never pitched a game where he had all his tools. Now DL time is expected due to a forearm strain, but if Harang had been vintage Harang so far this year, the Reds may be 3 or 4 games over .500 and only 5 or 6 games back in the competitive NL Central. The Reds have a bright future, and they will need Harang to be the dominant pitcher that Dusty Baker and everyone with the knows he can be.
In the first 12 days of June, the Reds have started to play better, and they will need to get to .500 first before they focus in on the Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals.
Another question many Reds fans are asking is will Dunn and Griffey get traded. I seriously hope they do not trade Adam Dunn because it is hard to replace a guy who hits 40 home runs every year. I don’t care how many times he strikes out, he always produces and you can always count on Dunn to hit 40 homers, drive in 100, and walk 100 times. Also I cannot see Griffey being traded because there is not much of a market for him out there, and he has a hefty salary that comes with him.
If the Reds keep plugging away and can get on a run or two, they could still make an interesting run down the stretch. Go Reds!