PDA

View Full Version : Norris Hopper article from C. Trent - Cincy Post



redsmetz
06-05-2007, 09:15 AM
Trent has a nice article about Hopper in the Post. I'm not sure how many know this, but Coffey and Hopper are from the same area, born in the same town. I asked Coffebro one time about this and he mentioned they played against each other. He said that one game where some scouts came to see Norris, Todd struck him out three times.


After a long, winding journey, Hopper a big-league contributor

By C. Trent Rosecrans
Post staff reporter

Norris Hopper doesn't look the part of a major league baseball player.

At 5-foot-10, he's constantly picked on about his height by teammates like the 6-6 Adam Dunn and 6-3 Ken Griffey Jr. At 209 pounds, he's not exactly the lithe, little fielder expected of a base path pest, like fellow Reds outfielder Ryan Freel. And with a constant smile, he doesn't exude the intensity of Reds veteran Jeff Conine.

But when it comes down to it, looks can be quite deceiving. Norris Hopper was born to play baseball.

"You have a lot of guys who play baseball, but he's a baseball player," said Reds first base coach Billy Hatcher, who also works with the team's outfielders.

Throughout his long minor league career, Hopper was convinced that he was destined to become a major league baseball player, no matter how long it took or how winding the road from his home of Shelby, N.C., throughout the minor leagues and finally to Cincinnati.

Hopper had played nine seasons in the minor leagues before finally reaching the big leagues last season. At times during the journey that took him to Charleston, W.Va., Wichita, Kan., and Chattanooga, Tenn., among the other minor league towns in the country and even stints in the Mexican Winter League, Hopper got down, but his spirit and drive never left, no matter where he was assigned.

"I wasn't thinking about quitting or anything like that," Hopper said. "I got down, but I was going to stick with it, I'll tell you that."

Everywhere he went, Hopper showed what he could do, even if people didn't see it.

The Kansas City Royals drafted Hopper out of high school in 1998 and assigned him to their Rookie Gulf Coast League affiliate, where he hit .308 in his first minor league season, with 11 stolen bases in the 40 games for the Royals. Hopper's reward for the solid first pro season was another season in the Rookie GCL, where his average dropped to .257, but he was third in the league with 22 stolen bases.

From there Hopper spent three seasons in Class A ball before finally being assigned to the Royals' Class AA affiliate in Wichita, Kan., in 2003. Yet again, Hopper produced - batting 300 in his first season there with 23 stolen bases. That didn't matter to the Royals, who sent him back to Wichita for another season.

"He's just a young kid and they went slow with him," Reds manager Jerry Narron said, looking over Hopper's career statistics. "But he hits .300 in AA and he gets sent back there again. There's maybe something there that Kansas City didn't see."

Not that the Reds immediately saw it, either.

After signing with the Reds as a minor league free agent before the 2005 season on the advice of his agent, who said Tim Naehring, who was then the director of player development for the Reds and is currently the minor league field coordinator, has seen something in Hopper and liked what he saw.

Despite a glut of outfielders in the Reds' system, that was enough for Hopper to sign with the Reds. Despite Hopper's success with Wichita (he hit .278 with 17 stolen bases his second season with the Wranglers), the Reds sent Hopper to Class AA Chattanooga in 2005. Hopper ranked fourth in the Southern League and seventh among all Reds outfielders with a .310 batting average.

It was during spring training of 2006 that Narron first heard of Hopper. Former Reds bench coach John Moses told Narron that of all the Reds minor league hitters, nobody centered the bat on the ball better than Hopper. Narron took notice of the name and kept an eye on him during spring training, where Hopper played a couple of games with the big league team.

"We saw him in the spring and he played well," Narron said. "The next thing I know we're sending him to Chattanooga again."

Hopper lasted only 13 games in Chattanooga before being to Class AAA Louisville, where he led the International League with a .347 average in 98 games and stole 25 bases.

"I got a chance to see him the first time last year he came up to some big league games and people said he could hit. I didn't see it until I got to Louisville," said outfielder Dewayne Wise, who was outrighted to Louisville Monday to clear a roster spot for the returning Josh Hamilton. "He doesn't try to do too much, he hits the ball where it's pitched."

Not only did Hopper do that in Louisville, but when he finally got his big league call, he did the same thing. Hopper collected 14 hits in 39 big-league at-bats in two stints with the Reds last season.

Hopper entered spring training with a good chance to make the team as the fifth outfielder, but faced competition from Chris Denorfia and Wise. Near the end of spring training, it appeared as if Hopper had nailed down his spot, especially after Denorfia suffered an elbow injury, but then Hopper suffered an injury of his own, a badly bruised right heel. Hopper hurt the heel running into a wall during a spring training game in Lakeland, Fla., and started the season on the disabled list. But like all the other detours of his career, Hopper took this unluckiest of breaks in stride.

"There was nothing I could do about it. I got hurt, oh well," Hopper said. "I tried to get well as soon as I could. I didn't harp on it and got mad, no, I just wanted to get better. I just try to get better from it as a person and a player."

Since being activated from the disabled list on April 18, Hopper's done whatever he's been asked to do. First he served as a pinch hitter and late-inning defensive replacement in the outfield. At one point, Hopper led the National League in pinch hits and is still third in the league with six pinch hits, with a .400 average as a pinch hitter.

"He keeps himself prepared. You can find a lot of guys who win a batting title at a lower level and then get up here and are on the bench and complain," Hatcher said. "He comes to the ballpark every knowing what his job is - if they put him in the starting lineup, he's a starter, if they have him on the bench, he's ready whenever you need him. He's always got a smile on his face. Sure, everyone would like to play more, but he takes his job serious and whatever he's asked to do, he'll do."

Intertwined with his pinch-hitting duties, Hopper made several spot starts in the outfield to give one of the Reds' regular outfielders - Dunn, Griffey, Freel and Hamilton - a day off. Hopper was in right field for Griffey on May 28 when he and Freel collided in right-center field on a fly ball by Pittsburgh catcher Humberto Cota. Hopper's right arm caught Freel on the head and knocked the Reds center fielder out cold.

With Hamilton already on the disabled list, Freel was transferred to the 15-day disabled list and Hopper became the Reds' everyday center fielder and leadoff man the last week and has thrived.

Since starting and leading off last Tuesday against the Astros, Hopper is hitting .480 and has an on-base percentage of .571.

"He knows his job is to get on base, be pesky on the basepaths and get in scoring position as quickly as possible," Griffey said. "He's not going to get home runs, but his job is to get on base at all costs."

Hopper, who hadn't walked this season until Wednesday's game against the Astros, has walked twice and gotten hit by a pitch in the last week. He's also one of the team's best bunters, with the ability to get base hits bunting and the speed to beat out infield singles, which he did twice in a game in Houston. Those abilities put more pressure on in- fielders and in turn, make him more dangerous.

When Hamilton returns to the team from the disabled list today in St. Louis, Hopper will see his playing time diminished some, but he's proven that he can be an integral part of the team and an everyday player at the big league level.

"It's tough to get here, but it's also tough to stay here, " said Wise, who was drafted the year before Hopper and has played in parts of five major league seasons. "You've got to learn and work hard. Norris finally got his break and did well up here. Hopefully he gets a chance to stay up this year."

For his part, Hopper's happy he's gotten the opportunity, but had no doubts in his ability to produce. He may have surprised everyone else, he's never surprised himself.

"If it comes down to how you play the game, I've got a lot of confidence in myself," Hopper said. "It's been a real long road, I haven't been anything, I'll tell you that. That can be a good thing, I can looking in the mirror and tell myself I really worked hard."

Always Red
06-05-2007, 09:29 AM
Thanks for posting this.

The more I see of Norris Hopper, the more I like him. Not necessarily as a starter, but he's a good guy to have off the bench.

Of course, if he keeps hitting the way he has, and learns to take a walk, he can keep hitting leadoff for my team, anyday.

Highlifeman21
06-05-2007, 10:28 AM
I just can't rally around Norris Hopper.

He's a career minor leaguer playing for a AAAA team when he's up in Cincy, and a AAA team when he's down in Louisville.

Only on the bottom tier teams in the league is he even a 4th OF.

The only thing he contributes to this team is speed as a PR.

lollipopcurve
06-05-2007, 10:32 AM
Hopper's a better player than many think (or thought) -- not just on this board, but among baseball professionals, too. Yeah, he's probably most useful as a 4th/5th outfielder because he can play all spots (and apparently a little 2nd and 3rd, too), and pinch hit and pinch run effectively, but I don't think he'll disappoint in stretches of playing every day. He's just very skilled at putting the barrel on the ball, and his speed is a legit weapon.

There's been some talk of how he compares to Freel. There is no question Hopper puts the bat on the ball better than Freel, but Freel has walked more. I found it interesting to compare their OBPs in their latter minor league years...

Freel .380, .357, .337, .336
Hopper .345, .354, .365, .378

Freel's got worse, Hopper's better, so by the time each player was on the precipice of the majors, Hopper was showing a significantly better OBP (and, importantly, a learning curve going in the right direction). Is it a surprise that these days Freel's plate discipline seems to be going in the wrong direction? Maybe not. I like Freel, but I see him as a utility guy only. He's a very aggressive ballplayer, but he's more impulsive than instinctive in a baseball sense, leading fairly often to unwise play. Hopper, it seems to me, has good baseball instincts. He plays within himself, understands his talent. They say you have to hit your way to the majors, and he did that. He's showing he can hit major league pitching now, and I think you'll see his walk numbers get better now that he's here and needs to play well to stay.
Another interesting comparison, early as it may be in their careers:

Hopper (a little over 100 ABs): .339/.387/.431 .818 OPS
Denorfia (about 150 ABs): .278/.358/.382 .740 OPS

Great start for NoHo. Hope to see him stick around in Cincy for a few years.

Ravenlord
06-05-2007, 10:36 AM
i think he's a better OF'er than Freel...i think he'll be the No. 1 4th OFer in the Major Leagues, but he swings at too many bad pitches to make me think he can be an everyday player.

Heath
06-05-2007, 10:36 AM
I look at Norris Hopper and I see Reggie Taylor with a little more power.

Thom Brennaman made an excellent point this weekend. Norris Hopper is playing loose. There is no one ahead of him and no one behind him. He has no pressure at all.

I wish Norris would quit getting batting tips from Brandon Phillips and hire Cyclone792. He'd learn to take a walk.

Ravenlord
06-05-2007, 10:42 AM
I look at Norris Hopper and I see Reggie Taylor with a little more power. except for all the horrible pitchest Hopper swings at, he doesn't have the annoying habbit of swinging slower to swing harder that Taylor, and many other 'tweeners have.


should there be? he's a better defender than Freel, and better hitter than Wise.

[quote]I wish Norris would quit getting batting tips from Brandon Phillips and hire Cyclone792. He'd learn to take a walk.i agree, but unfortunately, Marty is right when he says; "these guys are what they are."

i think Hopper will be fine in a roll similar to what Todd Hollandsworth or John Vander Wal has developed, but will be utterly screwed if he gets to start everyday.

oneupper
06-05-2007, 10:42 AM
I look at Norris Hopper and I see Reggie Taylor with a little more power.


Don't get that comp.

Reggie Taylor was never close to hitting .300 anywhere, had WAY more power, perhaps a few more walks.

Hopper is fine guy to have off the bench when you need someone to put the bat on the ball (man on third, one out...sort of thing).
Spot starts.

I like him better than Freel. But I don't like Freel much.

lollipopcurve
06-05-2007, 10:42 AM
I wish Norris would quit getting batting tips from Brandon Phillips and hire Cyclone792. He'd learn to take a walk.


Yeah, that Phillips really stinks. Unbelievable.

Ravenlord
06-05-2007, 10:46 AM
Yeah, that Phillips really stinks. Unbelievable.
Phillips can hit balls out of the zone with some authority...kina like a weaker Vlad...Hopper can't get away with that, IMO. there will eventually be a book that say, throw Hopper high fastballs and chanes in or just above the zone.

Redsland
06-05-2007, 10:47 AM
I just can't rally around Norris Hopper.

He's a career minor leaguer playing for a AAAA team when he's up in Cincy, and a AAA team when he's down in Louisville.
You and me both.

That's one insanely long puff piece under the circumstances.

BuckeyeRedleg
06-05-2007, 11:22 AM
Hopper has a career .682 OPS in 3358 minor league AB's.

3 HR and a .337 SLG%.

No power whatsoever.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/H/Norris-Hopper.shtml

westofyou
06-05-2007, 11:26 AM
The only thing he contributes to this team is speed as a PR.

And defense...and well, every team needs that stuff... not every player is a superstar and guys like Norris are important to the game in more ways then "speed" and PR.

I can get behind a replacement player who has 4 multi hit nights out of the 6 starts he makes, especially while others are on the DL.

Why wouldn't I?

Sea Ray
06-05-2007, 11:32 AM
This team has been wrought with highly talented guys who under achieve since this losing began in 2001. I find it refreshing to see a guy like Hopper who is short on skills but over achieves. This team needs a couple guys like that.

Kc61
06-05-2007, 11:33 AM
Hopper is a fine fourth outfielder for the Reds, except he should only play centerfield in an emergency. He is more of a corner guy defensively.

If I were the Reds, I would be considering a trade of Freel. To me, Freel and Hatteberg both are good players with value who probably can add more to a contending team.

Always Red
06-05-2007, 11:35 AM
And defense...and well, every team needs that stuff... not every player is a superstar and guys like Norris are important to the game in more ways then "speed" and PR.

I can get behind a replacement player who has 4 multi hit nights out of the 6 starts he makes, especially while others are on the DL.

Why wouldn't I?

exactly.

Play him while he's hot; if he doesn't cool off, then let him keep on playing. If and when he cools off, he's a good 4th OF.

I'd have much rather seen Deno in this position than Hop, but he isn't. And Hopper is making the most of his opportunity. Maybe he's a late bloomer who has figured some things out along the way; I can't see just writing him off because of his minor league stats from 3-4 years ago. Yep, he has very little power, but doesn't this team have enough beer league softball types already?

It's really easy for me to get behind an often overlooked player like Hopper. I'm really rooting for this kid to continue to hit.

Right now he's looking more like Kirby Puckett than Reggie Taylor (yeah, I know, Kirby had more power and way more talent, but at least Norris LOOKS a little like Kirby did...;))

Roy Tucker
06-05-2007, 11:36 AM
I can't get myself worked up too much for or against Norris Hopper. He's having a nice stretch here filling in at CF which is always a good thing. It's a nice little story happening in a sea of Reds gloom.

As long as he keeps his batting average on the sunny side of .300, he's a useful player as a 4th/5th OF. Plays competent defense and doesn't do stupid things on the basepaths. Not everyone is that way.

Like someone mentioned, he's gone the Brandon Phillips school of hacking away and doesn't seem to wangle a lot of BBs. If his BB rate continues to be low and he gets down into DeWayne Wise BA territory, he'll be on the bus to AAA.

I'd like to see him continue to improve, but I suspect he's wringing about everything he can out of his talent now.

Redsland
06-05-2007, 11:39 AM
Actually heard coming out of Paul Daugherty's mouth:

"Does Norris Hopper make Adam Dunn expendable?"

BRM
06-05-2007, 11:42 AM
Actually heard coming out of Paul Daugherty's mouth:

"Does Norris Hopper make Adam Dunn expendable?"

Please tell me he was joking around. He couldn't possibly be serious with that question.

Always Red
06-05-2007, 11:42 AM
Actually heard coming out of Paul Daugherty's mouth:

"Does Norris Hopper make Adam Dunn expendable?"

I like Norris, but sheesh, that's a little over the top, eh?

Roy Tucker
06-05-2007, 11:44 AM
Actually heard coming out of Paul Daugherty's mouth:

"Does Norris Hopper make Adam Dunn expendable?"

That's getting a little goofy. I hope the vast majority said no. Let's not get carried away here folks.

westofyou
06-05-2007, 11:50 AM
Actually heard coming out of Paul Daugherty's mouth:

"Does Norris Hopper make Adam Dunn expendable?"

Of course he said that, he's already proven that his wind on that subject smells foul with other things than talent.

osuceltic
06-05-2007, 11:54 AM
This team has been wrought with highly talented guys who under achieve since this losing began in 2001. I find it refreshing to see a guy like Hopper who is short on skills but over achieves. This team needs a couple guys like that.

A-freaking-MEN.

The career minor league OPS thing has been overdone. The guy is getting better. That's what you miss when just throwing out the career OPS line.

I know this: There is room on any team for a guy hitting .330 with speed and who puts the ball in play consistently, whether he walks or hits HRs or not. Maybe he settles in as a fourth OF. Maybe he becomes a sparkplug starter on a team with some odd configurations (good power up the middle affording them an opportunity to play a slappy speed guy in a corner).

But it must really be miserable to be a fan of a team and be unable to get behind a guy like Norris Hopper -- a guy written off as a career minor leaguer who keeps working, improving, persevering and eventually producing -- in a big way -- at the big league level.

smith288
06-05-2007, 11:54 AM
I like Hopper. He seems to play with more of a level head and with somewhat of a plan when he is at the dish. Freel is wreckless abandon defined. No clue what he wants to due once he has two strikes.

I have never been a Freel fanatic. People love him for his aggressive style but I see more of a wreckless style. Pete was aggressive.

Freel is like putting a hyper 15 yr old in a go cart. Crazy driving.
Pete is like putting a rich 45 yr old in a Lamborghini. CAREFUL yet puts the machine to the test.
Hopper is like driving an Escort Zx2. Has pep but nobody is fooling anyone that its a sportscar.

Redsland
06-05-2007, 11:54 AM
Please tell me he was joking around. He couldn't possibly be serious with that question.
Hopper, Griffey, Hamilton, plus Freel. There's your outfield. Move Dunn off this team, and get some talent in here.

And yes, he was as serious as any other sports talk host.

BRM
06-05-2007, 11:59 AM
Hopper, Griffey, Hamilton, plus Freel. There's your outfield. Move Dunn off this team, and get some talent in here.

And yes, he was as serious as any other sports talk host.

If moving Dunn brings a load of talent to Cincinnati then go for it. If Dunn is "dumped" to make room for Hopper...well, I can't get behind that.

Why not trade Freel and use Hopper as the 4th outfielder?

lollipopcurve
06-05-2007, 12:07 PM
Why not trade Freel and use Hopper as the 4th outfielder?

Freel's going to have to show he's healthy first. Then, yes, by all means get a live arm for him, or a good catching prospect.

wally post
06-05-2007, 12:12 PM
If I were the Reds, I would be considering a trade of Freel. To me, Freel and Hatteberg both are good players with value who probably can add more to a contending team.

I agree with this! (once Freel is freeling better, that is)


Hopper = poor man's Tony Gwynn? I'm a fan of this kid!

Sea Ray
06-05-2007, 12:32 PM
Actually heard coming out of Paul Daugherty's mouth:

"Does Norris Hopper make Adam Dunn expendable?"

Consider this evidence of how much Daughtery knows about baseball...

I think Marge Schott knew more about the game

Heath
06-05-2007, 12:42 PM
If Hatte gets moved, it would be for the sole purpose of bringing up Joey Votto to play 1b.

Or, it should be.


Yeah, that Phillips really stinks. Unbelievable.

My point was plate discipline, not insulting Brandon Phillips. A little uppity, this AM?

lollipopcurve
06-05-2007, 12:45 PM
A little uppity, this AM?

I realize now it is not my place to be uppity.

pedro
06-05-2007, 12:57 PM
I don't see why Hopper can't be a decent 4th or 5th OF in the Major leagues. Any player who can play CF, has a decent arm, some speed, and can put the bat on the ball is going to find some themselves on some teams roster as an extra. Let's face it, he's probably the only spare part the Reds have that makes any sense at all, except for Ryan Freel, who most often isn't being used in that role.

flyer85
06-05-2007, 01:26 PM
A low BB, no power OF whose value is totally BA driven. He is a 5th OF. Doesn't mean he isn't good to have on the bench, just that in the long term there isn't much there unless he figures out how to draw walks.

oneupper
06-05-2007, 01:32 PM
There are two ways to fill these utility roles, IMO

Less talented players entering or in their prime (see Hopper, Norris)
-guys who have bounced around a bit in the minors.

More talented/experienced players on the decline
-guys who have been around but can't cut it as starters anymore.
(see Aurilia, Rich).

Both approaches are valid, IMO. The first one tends to be cheaper and a bit riskier (even though there are plenty of players who can fill in - see Kentucky, Louisville).

The key is knowing, in both cases, when to cut loose (see Castro, Juan and Freel, Ryan).

KronoRed
06-05-2007, 01:40 PM
Hopper over Dunn, comical.

Reminds me of Reggie Taylor makes JR expendable

RedsManRick
06-05-2007, 02:34 PM
A-freaking-MEN.

The career minor league OPS thing has been overdone. The guy is getting better. That's what you miss when just throwing out the career OPS line.

I know this: There is room on any team for a guy hitting .330 with speed and who puts the ball in play consistently, whether he walks or hits HRs or not. Maybe he settles in as a fourth OF. Maybe he becomes a sparkplug starter on a team with some odd configurations (good power up the middle affording them an opportunity to play a slappy speed guy in a corner).

But it must really be miserable to be a fan of a team and be unable to get behind a guy like Norris Hopper -- a guy written off as a career minor leaguer who keeps working, improving, persevering and eventually producing -- in a big way -- at the big league level.

I'm certainly one of the ones who was pointing out his low OPS in the minor leagues. I just don't know too many guys who couldn't OPS over .700 in the minor leagues but were productive major leaguers. I love that Hopper is .329/.356/.414 right now. That's solid production from a lead-off hitter, if not spectacular. He's been a real spark plug and his enthusiasm is great to see.

My problem with Hopper is that, like Freel, people will get behind him precisely because he's the scrappy underdog and when he stops producing, they will continue to support him recieving playing time because he's "scrappy" and "know how to play the game". His BABIP is .390 right now. I know many of you don't like stathead numbers, but the FACT is that that rate is unsustainable over the long haul. It will regress towards .300 and when it does, his BA driven OBP & SLG will fall with it.

Unfortunately for Hopper, he doesn't have much room to fall. Even with is great start, that .329/.356/.414 line is just good, not great. It can become .280/.310/.360 really quickly, and when does, I hope Narron is smart enough to realize that Hopper is a 5th OF having a great month, and not a guy who put his time in and is finally turning the corner.

I like having him on the roster. I'm behind him as a ball player. He's got some speed and is a good contact bat; a Lenny Harris type. But with Freel on the squad as well, he's a bit redundant and I wouldn't want the town falling in love with a very interchangeable part of a team. And more so, I wouldn't want our manager to mistake scrappiness for real run production. It has happened before...

Always Red
06-05-2007, 02:41 PM
I'm certainly one of the ones who was pointing out his low OPS in the minor leagues. I just don't know too many guys who couldn't OPS over .700 in the minor leagues but were productive major leaguers. I love that Hopper is .329/.356/.414 right now. That's solid production from a lead-off hitter, if not spectacular. He's been a real spark plug and his enthusiasm is great to see.

My problem with Hopper is that, like Freel, people will get behind him precisely because he's the scrappy underdog and when he stops producing, they will continue to support him recieving playing time because he's "scrappy" and "know how to play the game". His BABIP is .390 right now. I know many of you don't like stathead numbers, but the FACT is that that rate is unsustainable over the long haul. It will regress towards .300 and when it does, his BA driven OBP & SLG will fall with it.

Unfortunately for Hopper, he doesn't have much room to fall. Even with is great start, that .329/.356/.414 line is just good, not great. It can become .280/.310/.360 really quickly, and when does, I hope Narron is smart enough to realize that Hopper is a 5th OF having a great month, and not a guy who put his time in and is finally turning the corner.

I like having him on the roster. I'm behind him as a ball player. He's got some speed and is a good contact bat; a Lenny Harris type. But with Freel on the squad as well, he's a bit redundant and I wouldn't want the town falling in love with a very interchangeable part of a team. And more so, I wouldn't want our manager to mistake scrappiness for real run production. It has happened before...

Well said, RMR.

And when his BABIP catches up with him, then he can be the 4th or 5th OF.

I love Freel's "scrappiness factor" but I love him best when he plays 3-4 times a week, too. It doesn't mean I want him in the lineup every day.

Hamilton's back now, and Dunn feeling better. I wouldn't expect Hopper to be in the lineup tonight against a RH (and I would be disappointed if he was, to be honest), but I'd go ahead and play him while he's hot as much as possible, and especially against LH pitching. And I think he'd be an excellent PH.

Chip R
06-05-2007, 02:44 PM
But with Freel on the squad as well, he's a bit redundant and I wouldn't want the town falling in love with a very interchangeable part of a team. And more so, I wouldn't want our manager to mistake scrappiness for real run production. It has happened before...


An excellent point. The Reds have carried both Freel and Hopper on the roster for about a month now. Can they continue to carry both? Freel does have the advantage that he can play the infield and he does have the multi-year deal. Hopper's younger and not so reckless. Plus he's cheaper.

RedsManRick
06-05-2007, 02:52 PM
An excellent point. The Reds have carried both Freel and Hopper on the roster for about a month now. Can they continue to carry both? Freel does have the advantage that he can play the infield and he does have the multi-year deal. Hopper's younger and not so reckless. Plus he's cheaper.

Well, the Ryan Freel who gets on base at a .375 clip and steals 37 bases at a 79% clip is a no-brainer over Hopper. The current iteration is a guy with virtually no value as a run producer. FWIW, Freel's .289 BABIP and 7.7 BB% are by far career lows and should increase over the course of the season. However, concussions are very touchy and I don't think we should have much expectation for him for the rest of the season.

Despite being a stats guy, my gut tells me that Freel has bought in to his own hype a bit, and is pressing to be that pesky guy. He's amped up his own natural tendency to be aggressive to the point that he's a lesser player for it. Perhaps the injury will encourage him to dial it back a bit.

redsmetz
06-05-2007, 03:53 PM
Well, the Ryan Freel who gets on base at a .375 clip and steals 37 bases at a 79% clip is a no-brainer over Hopper. The current iteration is a guy with virtually no value as a run producer. FWIW, Freel's .289 BABIP and 7.7 BB% are by far career lows and should increase over the course of the season. However, concussions are very touchy and I don't think we should have much expectation for him for the rest of the season.

Despite being a stats guy, my gut tells me that Freel has bought in to his own hype a bit, and is pressing to be that pesky guy. He's amped up his own natural tendency to be aggressive to the point that he's a lesser player for it. Perhaps the injury will encourage him to dial it back a bit.

This reminded me of this line from Trent's article viz Hopper:


Hopper, it seems to me, has good baseball instincts. He plays within himself understands his talent.

I know that's easily a cliche, but its interesting that by knowing your abilities, you somehow can be more valuable to the team.

oneupper
06-05-2007, 04:36 PM
Well, the Ryan Freel who gets on base at a .375 clip and steals 37 bases at a 79% clip is a no-brainer over Hopper.

Let me rephrase that:


Well, the Ryan Freel who USED TO GET on base at a .375 clip and USED TO steal 37 bases at a 79% clip is a no-brainer over Hopper.

That Ryan Freel isn't here anymore. That Ryan Freel was 2004-2006 and at 31 years of age he may not be coming back.

Norris Hopper is 28. He could well be Ryan Freel v. 2004 (with their differences).

You ride these guys for two or three years and then - NEXT.

Cooper
06-05-2007, 05:33 PM
About the topic of using him while he's hot. I'm not so sure we can predict that. Granted we know he's now--because that has already happened, but i think there's been a fair amount of studies which show --you cannot predict when it (the hotness) will return. So in trying to ride the hot hand --you end up playing a guy like Hopper way too much.

And really isn't that what drives us crazy bout Narron. He's always basing everyone's ability on their last attempt at something. He doesn't know when Hopper will turn cold, but sure enough he'll play him every day for next 2 weeks until he does. And he'll play him without a thought as to whether it's a good match up for Hopper or not...cause really Jerry doesn't know how to evaluate strengths and limitations. He only knows what he has seen and feltover the last couple of days.

I'd rather he know what Hopper can/can't do based on his long history of playing in the minor leagues. I'd rather he play him against pitchers he can hit-then to just write his name in the lineup till he goes cold.

I'd venture to say: Jerry Narron is a the kind of betting man who believes that numbers on a roulette table run hot and cold.

Sea Ray
06-05-2007, 05:35 PM
You ride these guys for two or three years and then - NEXT.

Exactly. Maybe WK has folks spooked thinking he is going to announce a multiyear, multimillion dollar contract for the guy...

Sea Ray
06-05-2007, 05:39 PM
He's always basing everyone's ability on their last attempt at something. He doesn't know when Hopper will turn cold, but sure enough he'll play him every day for next 2 weeks until he does.

Don't worry, Cooper. I really don't think you'll see Hopper playing much over the next two weeks over Hamilton, Dunn and Griffey, do you?

BRM
06-05-2007, 05:40 PM
Don't worry, Cooper. I really don't think you'll see Hopper playing much over the next two weeks over Hamilton, Dunn and Griffey, do you?

Depends on how many lefties they are scheduled to face.

Eric_Davis
06-05-2007, 05:48 PM
People here have been complaining about not having right-handed bats that can hit lefty's after the departure of Lopez and Kearns.

Hopper leads the team in OPS vs. Left-handers. He's filled that need with a .419 AVG and a .967 OPS in 14 fewer at-bats than Kearns.

The REDS face a lot more left-handers because of Dunn, Hamilton, Hatteberg, and Junior (and the early season ineptness of Encarnacion and Ross) than the Nationals do. Hopper balances out the lineup very well, a lot better than Freel does.

I hope he keep the job as the starting outfielder until Hamilton forces him to be the 4th outfielder. I also hope Freel takes over for Castro, and that they find another solution to backup SS other than Castro, such as Keppinger (meaning they'll have to get rid of a catcher, of which I hope it is Valentin).

RedsManRick
06-05-2007, 06:26 PM
Hopper has 31 at bats versus lefties, I'd very hesitant to draw any conclusions from that. Do we have minor league splits somewhere?

What frustrates about the vL adjustments is that sometimes a worse version of your good player is still better than your good version of your bench guy.

Case in point:

OPS vL (career):
Dunn .846
Griffey .868
Freel .757

So yeah, Freel might hit righties better than lefties and visa versa for Dunn & Junior, but those guys still hit lefties a whole lot better than Freel does. With some exception for guys who have monster splits, the idea that splitting up your good hitting lefties at the expense of giving them fewer at bats just boggles my mind.

KronoRed
06-05-2007, 06:38 PM
Exactly. Maybe WK has folks spooked thinking he is going to announce a multiyear, multimillion dollar contract for the guy...
Ahh the Freel contract extension.

Lets give Hopper one too, to be fair :devil:

mth123
06-05-2007, 10:47 PM
Guys like Hopper are fine for a bench. They have some skill and cheaply play a role that keeps teams from paying some veteran $2 Million to do the same thing. Hopper is a 5th OF and the Reds could do worse.

Oneupper was right. Ride them for a few years and then next. I'd only add "while they're cheap" somewhere in the middle of that comment.

Highlifeman21
06-05-2007, 11:02 PM
And defense...and well, every team needs that stuff... not every player is a superstar and guys like Norris are important to the game in more ways then "speed" and PR.

I can get behind a replacement player who has 4 multi hit nights out of the 6 starts he makes, especially while others are on the DL.

Why wouldn't I?

I'm not sold on his defensive abilities. He looks almost Wily Mo-esque out there, taking interest routes to balls, and breaking incorrectly (in when he should go out, and out when he should come in, etc). I see a lot of Ryan Freel in Norris Hopper, only add some speed.

Norris Hopper is making the best of his opportunities, and good for him. Apparently he's been waiting his whole life for this opportunity. A couple of planets aligned for him, namely Denorfia being out for the year and subsequently traded, Freel finding the DL and Hamilton finding the DL. Eliminate any one of those 3 events, and Norris Hopper is probably leading the Bats in games played....

jmcclain19
06-06-2007, 12:40 AM
After signing with the Reds as a minor league free agent before the 2005 season on the advice of his agent, who said Tim Naehring, who was then the director of player development for the Reds and is currently the minor league field coordinator, has seen something in Hopper and liked what he saw.

C. Trent buddy - we need to work on sentence construction, or get you a better copy editor.

Marc D
06-06-2007, 12:51 AM
Marty and Thom must have been inspired by this fluff piece. They both think Hopper should start over Dunn and that Dunn only plays because of his contract.

pedro
06-06-2007, 12:54 AM
Marty and Thom must have been inspired by this fluff piece. They both think Hopper should start over Dunn and that Dunn only plays because of his contract.

I haven't listened to them in about a month. Is that really true?

I guess I don't really need to ask. That is, after all, why I don't listen.

westofyou
06-06-2007, 12:57 AM
Marty and Thom must have been inspired by this fluff piece. They both think Hopper should start over Dunn and that Dunn only plays because of his contract.

Dunn by full month this year


.261 .363 .511 .874
.252 .355 .573 .928

Marty and Thom's combined lifetime stats.


.000 .000 .000 .000

jmcclain19
06-06-2007, 01:02 AM
Well, that makes sense, because after all Hopper runs to his position in the field.

Eric_Davis
06-06-2007, 01:12 AM
Guys like Hopper are fine for a bench. They have some skill and cheaply play a role that keeps teams from paying some veteran $2 Million to do the same thing. Hopper is a 5th OF and the Reds could do worse.

Oneupper was right. Ride them for a few years and then next. I'd only add "while they're cheap" somewhere in the middle of that comment.

Absolutely. You need guys like that. Cheap. Good for a couple of years. Then you trade them and move on.

Eric_Davis
06-06-2007, 01:13 AM
Marty and Thom must have been inspired by this fluff piece. They both think Hopper should start over Dunn and that Dunn only plays because of his contract.

He shouldn't start over Dunn any more than Dan Driessen should have started over Geronimo, Foster of Griffey, but he should get starts against Lefties while relieving Dunn, Hamilton, and Junior. He's the perfect 4th outfielder for an all-lefty outfield.

VR
06-06-2007, 01:20 AM
This is the problem when a role player overperforms. Jerry puts him in a critical, every day player role, and he quickly reminds us all why he was a 28 year old journeyman who OPSed .640 over his minor league career.

Hopper has been great in his spot starts...but the party is over.

It's amazing Narron hasn't been fired yet, but if he doesn't run the well rested Dunn, Griffey, and Hamilton out there EVERY DAY for the next two weeks, he deserves to get fired. The same goes for Phillips, EE, Ross and Gonzo. They have big contracts because they've proven they can perform over the long haul in the big leagues Jerry.

Problem is, when he does do that, they'll run off 12 of 15 to keep his job. Oh, what a conundrum.

TeamBoone
06-06-2007, 01:39 AM
Dunn by full month this year


.261 .363 .511 .874
.252 .355 .573 .928

Marty and Thom's combined lifetime stats.


.000 .000 .000 .000


Problem is... Marty and Thom don't seem to realize this. And now a whole lot of Reds radioland will get down on Dunn... again (or is it "yet").

Ironically, just last week (maybe the week before), Thom mentioned to Chris that Dunn has quietly been putting up some really nice numbers this year and leading or in the top five of several stats categories. Go figure.

Chip R
06-06-2007, 01:55 AM
I haven't listened to them in about a month. Is that really true?

I guess I don't really need to ask. That is, after all, why I don't listen.


I didn't hear much of the game but I heard that. They said it is a better team with Hopper out there than with Dunn. Of course these two still thought Steve Finley could play so take it wth a large grain of salt.

SteelSD
06-06-2007, 02:01 AM
Guys like Hopper are fine for a bench. They have some skill and cheaply play a role that keeps teams from paying some veteran $2 Million to do the same thing. Hopper is a 5th OF and the Reds could do worse.

Oneupper was right. Ride them for a few years and then next. I'd only add "while they're cheap" somewhere in the middle of that comment.

I see Hopper as a Lenny Harris type (without the ability to play an IF position). If he's making peanuts he's not a horrible fringe guy to have around as the 25th man on the roster. But the moment he's looking to make more than the MLB minimum, I'm looking to swap him to someone for something even if it's at the lowest tier of the minor leagues.

Always Red
06-06-2007, 10:31 AM
Baseball is full of guys like Norris Hopper; when they play well, their teams play well, and when they don't, they fade away.

This is simply Norris' 15 minutes of fame, and good for him. I really root for guys like him, who grind it out. I'd play him in a platoon situation, against LH pitching, until he cools off. When he cools off, he b/c the 5th OF/PH/PR.

Having said that, I was disappointed to see him in there last night, and Griffey out against the RH.

Heath
06-06-2007, 12:09 PM
I didn't hear much of the game but I heard that. They said it is a better team with Hopper out there than with Dunn. Of course these two still thought Steve Finley could play so take it wth a large grain of salt.

I hope that the media notes conveniently forget that Steve Finley was DFA'd.

gonelong
06-06-2007, 12:49 PM
I didn't hear much of the game but I heard that. They said it is a better team with Hopper out there than with Dunn. Of course these two still thought Steve Finley could play so take it wth a large grain of salt.

Was this in the context of "right now" or was that caveat not tossed in?

GL

Chip R
06-06-2007, 12:51 PM
Was this in the context of "right now" or was that caveat not tossed in?

GL


Would it make a difference? :confused: They feel that Hopper should be starting over Dunn.

smith288
06-06-2007, 12:57 PM
Ironically, just last week (maybe the week before), Thom mentioned to Chris that Dunn has quietly been putting up some really nice numbers this year and leading or in the top five of several stats categories. Go figure.

But those strikeouts! Oh the Stirkeouts!

westofyou
06-06-2007, 01:01 PM
Shoot, Chris Welsh said the other night that he thinks Castro should have more playing time, Marty says Dunn should sit and Hopper should start over him... Thom Brennamen acts like every lost lead he witnesses as if it's the equivalent of the fall of the Roman Empire and the onslaught of the Dark Ages, over in his seat Brantley can't understand why the game isn't played like he envisions it in his head (and that's a big vision)

Meanwhile I've had 1 Reds broadcast in the past 7 games and 6 away teams... they too have interesting things to say, including OPS, OB%, striking out, ect... kinda enjoyable, especially the Astros announcer whose refrained style should be taped and sent to Thom as an example of how much can be said when you don't act like the Hindenburg is crashing on the mound each inning.

lollipopcurve
06-06-2007, 01:13 PM
Meanwhile I've had 1 Reds broadcast in the past 7 games and 6 away teams... they too have interesting things to say, including OPS, OB%, striking out, ect... kinda enjoyable, especially the Astros announcer whose refrained style should be taped and sent to Thom as an example of how much can be said when you don't act like the Hindenburg is crashing on the mound each inning.

No kidding. I haven't heard one broadcast team I like less than any Reds team including Brennaman and Brantley. Self-involved, browbeating, sour, poorly informed (Brennaman mis-identifies pitches -- either the type or the location -- almost as often as he gets them right), and they almost never have anything newsworthy or insightful to say about the opponent. Man, they're miserable.

KronoRed
06-06-2007, 02:20 PM
But those strikeouts! Oh the Stirkeouts!

Strikeouts cause the bullpen to explode and the dollar to lose value.

It's sad that so many out in Reds land takes what the PBP people say as gospel.

Eric_Davis
06-06-2007, 03:18 PM
Shoot, Chris Welsh said the other night that he thinks Castro should have more playing time, Marty says Dunn should sit and Hopper should start over him... Thom Brennamen acts like every lost lead he witnesses as if it's the equivalent of the fall of the Roman Empire and the onslaught of the Dark Ages, over in his seat Brantley can't understand why the game isn't played like he envisions it in his head (and that's a big vision)

Meanwhile I've had 1 Reds broadcast in the past 7 games and 6 away teams... they too have interesting things to say, including OPS, OB%, striking out, ect... kinda enjoyable, especially the Astros announcer whose refrained style should be taped and sent to Thom as an example of how much can be said when you don't act like the Hindenburg is crashing on the mound each inning.

As you have and others here, I've listened to a lot of Dave Niehaus (Mariners), and he doesn't act like the sky is falling when they go through some tough times, or they're on their way to the playoffs if they have a good streak (like they're in now). He also doesn't try to color things by telling about all kinds of stats to explain trends or anything. He just tries to broadcast a game as if it was the first one you've ever heard or might be the last one you'll ever hear. In other words, he wants you to enjoy today's game, win or lose.

"Get out the rye bread and the mustard, Grandma."

gonelong
06-06-2007, 06:40 PM
Would it make a difference? :confused: They feel that Hopper should be starting over Dunn.

Frankly yes. With Dunn in a slump and Hopper playing way above his head I don't think its a stretch to think that in the very short-term Hopper might be the better choice for trying to win tonights game.

I think its a no-brainer that Dunn will outperform Hopper by a WIDE margin in the longer term.

I heard the comments myself on the way home. No qualifiers at all. Marty has completely jumped the shark.

GL

Always Red
06-06-2007, 06:59 PM
I think its a no-brainer that Dunn will outperform Hopper by a WIDE margin in the longer term.


GL

Everyone does.

Except Marty.

This has gone to the level of personal, IMO. Really, Norris Hopper makes this team better than Adam Dunn? If Marty thinks that, he either knows nothing about stats (and he does, he is a pro in this game, and he really does understand this stuff) or he just really dislikes Adam Dunn.

Norris Hopper is a nice player, and I love him, I really root for guys like him. When he's hot (ie- last week) you play him. When he's not (he should have been out last night and Junior in), he's a nice fill-in. He's not Chad Moeller and he's not Juan Castro, thank heaven. A cut above!

But he's not Adam Dunn. Dunn is having a typical Dunn year- he's better than he was last year, both at the plate, and in the field.

I think Marty's just pissed (ie- not "he's living up to his potential") that Adam isn't hitting .290 with 50 HR and 145 RBI. How can you be upset if a player doesn't do that???