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dabvu2498
06-02-2006, 08:18 AM
Hal McCoy: Switching infielders might cut Reds' errors
By Hal McCoy

Staff Writer

HOUSTON | The errors come from the left side of the infield, mostly errant throws, like misdirected hand grenades lobbed blindly from foxholes.

The Cincinnati Reds own a ghastly 49 errors this season, most in the majors. They've given up 33 unearned runs, most in the majors.

Of the 49 errors, nearly half (24) have come from third baseman Edwin Encarnacion (13) and shortstop Felipe Lopez (11), so the left side of the infield isn't a leaky faucet, it's an open tap.

What's a manager to do? How about this? They can move second baseman Brandon Phillips (three errors) to shortstop and switch Lopez to second base.

Lopez has played third base and second base. And Phillips signed with Montreal as a shortstop. Before the Cleveland Indians traded for Phillips, five scouts watched him play in the minors, and their consensus report said: "Could become an All-Star shortstop in the majors. A terrific athlete with above average arm and hands. Excellent range."

So what's holding it up?

"At this level, you don't want to be in the position of developing players, but that's what we're doing," said Reds manager Jerry Narron. "Think about it. All of our infielders are young and inexperienced. This is a very difficult game, and yes, they have to get better."

As for making the switch?

"We're very, very pleased with the way Brandon Phillips is playing second base," said Narron. "Of all of them, he is the one guy who has a chance to win a Gold Glove."

So why not shortstop?

"That's not to say he couldn't do it and be a Gold Glover," Narron added. "Michael Young (Texas) was one of the best defensive second basemen in the game and he moved to shortstop and has done a good job.

"For something like that to happen, you probably have to do it before spring training, not in the middle of the season," he said. "That's not to say we won't do it, but it would be a spring training thing."

Thinking about it, Narron said, "Two years ago (when Barry Larkin still roamed shortstop), Felipe played third base and did real well and played good at second, convincing me he could play anywhere on the infield."

There are days when the left side plays flawlessly and spectacularly, then there are days when they kick the baseball as if it is a soccer ball and throw it as if it is a beanbag. But that's youth. That's inexperience.

"I know how hard (infield instructor) Bucky Dent works with Edwin and Felipe," Narron said. "I'd say with Edwin (23), Felipe (25) and Brandon (24), we average the youngest in baseball at those three positions."

Referring to the errors and the unearned runs, Narron said emphatically, "If we were better defensively, we might be ahead of or at least tied with St. Louis because we lead the world in unearned runs and errors. And what those errors do is make our pitchers throw more pitches, face more hitters."

St. Louis has made only 30 errors and given up 16 unearned runs, and of course, the Cardinals lead the National League in pitching (3.80 ERA), aided greatly by sharp defense.

A Phillips-Lopez switch isn't likely this year, unless the Reds fall way behind in the standings. Remember, Narron had Phillips at shortstop for the Hall of Fame exhibition game that lasted only two innings.

Highlifeman21
06-02-2006, 08:53 AM
Hal must glance at this board from time to time, b/c there have been plenty of us suggesting this swap.

Finally, Hal wrote something of substance. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

BRM
06-02-2006, 09:06 AM
At least he isn't clamoring to send EE back down to Louisville. That was a pleasant surprise.

CySeymour
06-02-2006, 09:42 AM
Has FeLo's error's been mostly fielding or throwing? If they've been fielding, not sure if that really fixes anything...and error at second hurts just as much as an error at short.

ochre
06-02-2006, 09:57 AM
Breaking in 3 young infielders at the same time can be painful.

traderumor
06-02-2006, 09:59 AM
Apart from the errors, Phillips probably has more range than Felipe. Playing 2nd, I haven't really gotten a feel for his arm, though, since it doesn't matter if you get to them if you have a David Eckstein arm. Felipe has a great arm, just a bit erratic. Edwin's sidearm delivery seems to be his downfall, oh and the throws from his rear end. Those are just rookie mistakes.

gonelong
06-02-2006, 10:55 AM
Hal must glance at this board from time to time, b/c there have been plenty of us suggesting this swap.

Finally, Hal wrote something of substance. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Yep, I bag on Hal from time to time, but this is the type of thing I wish he'd pull out of the hat more often. Kudos to Hal.

What really cracks me up though, is that as a kid I could hardly wait to get the paper to read Burick, Hal, and Bucky Albers.

With Redszone, pretty much anything that comes out of the paper anymore is old news.

GL

harangatang
06-02-2006, 11:16 AM
Breaking in 3 young infielders at the same time can be painful.And very rewarding if people give them time to develop and mature. The problem is after the Reds' hot start everyone thinks this ballclub should be a legitimate contender when they still need some work from many aspects including the defense.

Caseyfan21
06-02-2006, 11:21 AM
What really cracks me up though, is that as a kid I could hardly wait to get the paper to read Burick, Hal, and Bucky Albers.

With Redszone, pretty much anything that comes out of the paper anymore is old news.

GL

Yes, I love that nowdays with the internet. My dad will frequently try to tell me breaking Reds news thinking they finally found something I don't know but I always hear it ahead of time either on here or Marc's blog.