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View Full Version : Bench players: The Bad and the Ugly



Ltlabner
06-14-2007, 03:17 PM
Wow.

It's been said, many times, many ways. But our bench is dismal.


NAME PA OBP SLG ISO SO Rate VORP

Scott Hatteberg 181 0.367 0.462 0.186 0.0939 7.7
Jeff Conine 135 0.351 0.467 0.175 0.1037 6.7
Norris Hopper 95 0.326 0.379 0.092 0.1158 1.6
Javier Valentin 70 0.314 0.361 0.131 0.0429 0.3
Ryan Freel 196 0.313 0.363 0.112 0.1429 -1.4
Chad Moeller 37 0.222 0.333 0.111 0.2973 -1.5
Juan Castro 79 0.205 0.247 0.068 0.2152 -6.9


The only guys marginally doing anything intresting are Cohattenine. Unforuntaley (actually fortuntatley) only one of them play at a time.

Hoppers blase numbers likely will go down over time. Freel's numbers are less than marginal (and this doesn't include any baserunning blunders). Javy has been marginal and is a sieve behind the plate. Moeller...yuck. And as much as I hate to pile on the Castro hatefest, he's pretty dismal. (of the position guys only Ross has a worse VORP/batting line. But at least Ross does have the abilty to hit the ball past deep 2nd base and can mow down baserunners with the best of them)

This isn't new ground here, but this is really shocking. So when Dunner, Jr, Phillips and EE are in a downturn (and they all go through cycles) there's nobody to pick them up or contribute on some level.

So enough gripeing. How do you fix this you ask?

1) Call up Votto. Use him as a bench player and spot starter. Start easing him into the big leagues. His .908 OPS over 223 AAA at bats can't hurt. So if he comes down 100OPS points? Still better than what we have. DFA Moeller. Even though he's religated to 1B it pushes Hatte back to the bench. If Hatte is moved at the deadline say hello to the Votto/Conine platoon.

2) Call up Kepplinger. Use him as bench player and spot starter at 2B to spell Bphil. If Gonzo needs a rest, or reinjures his hammy slide BPhil over and play Kepplinger at 2B. .918 OPS over 147 AAA AB's with the Bats. He's not a world beater, but I have to think he can outhit Castro. DFA Castro.

3) Ryan Freel is likely to go on the 60day DL (maybe worse). IIRC we have a PTBNL or two hanging out there. Use one of them to pick up another utility infielder. If no PTBNL remain, get one as a throw in on a deal in the upcomming trade activity. Another alternative is Marc Belhorn but I'm not real jazzed about him.

Right there you replace a collective -9.8 VORP with some guys that even if they are at 0.0 VORP would be an improvement. I'd feal much more confident with those names in pinch hitting situations than what we have now.

4) If possible you trade Javy and acquire a real backup catcher. But that's a little further down the list. I can live with Ross/Javy for now.

I know the bench isn't the highest priority right now, but it's definatley on the "problem list".

NJReds
06-14-2007, 03:57 PM
Agreed. Good post. There's way too much dead weight on this roster.

To add. Guys like Hatteburg and Conine could, and should, be flipped now for something while their value is high. Give Votto a shot as well.

Too much conversation on Dunn and Jr. being dealt right now. If they are, it won't be until the trade deadline anyway. But the Reds have three older guys with value right now that could bring some decent return (Conine, Hat, Weathers).

I also think it's time for Majewski to go to the minors and Stanton to be DFA'd. There are guys in the minors that certainly couldn't be worse.

Patrick Bateman
06-14-2007, 04:21 PM
3) Ryan Freel is likely to go on the 60day DL (maybe worse). IIRC we have a PTBNL or two hanging out there. Use one of them to pick up another utility infielder.

It doesn't quite work that way. The PTBNL's are likely already decided upon, or are going to be from a list of players already decided upon. It's not as easy as calling up the other team and saying we want a utility infielder as the PTBNL.

Ltlabner
06-14-2007, 04:27 PM
It doesn't quite work that way. The PTBNL's are likely already decided upon, or are going to be from a list of players already decided upon. It's not as easy as calling up the other team and saying we want a utility infielder as the PTBNL.

If there's a list of players agreed upon, and one of those lists includes a marginal bench player and a marginal bullpen arm, I'd say right now it makes more sense to pick up a bench player instead of yet another margianal arm. We've got plenty of marginal arms (and a few tallented younger ones) but the bench players aren't even good enough to be called "marginal".

If all of the PTBNL are already agreed on (and none are bench player types), then it's likey not an option as you point out. Then you better make sure to get one via the upcomming trades.

D-Man
06-14-2007, 05:02 PM
Wow.

It's been said, many times, many ways. But our bench is dismal.

I wouldn't go as far as to call it "dismal." As pinch hitters, the Reds' bench is 4th in the NL in OPS and 2nd in BA.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/aggregate?statType=batting&group=8&seasonType=2&type=reg&sort=avg&split=87&season=2007

The problem isn't the quality of the hitters on the bench--it's the quantity. The Reds are carrying three catchers, wasting a roster spot on Juan Castro, and carrying 12 pitchers, so they've essentially hogtied themselves in late-inning situations.

Ltlabner
06-14-2007, 05:11 PM
I wouldn't go as far as to call it "dismal." As pinch hitters, the Reds' bench is 4th in the NL in OPS and 2nd in BA.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/aggregate?statType=batting&group=8&seasonType=2&type=reg&sort=avg&split=87&season=2007

The problem isn't the quality of the hitters on the bench--it's the quantity. The Reds are carrying three catchers, wasting a roster spot on Juan Castro, and carrying 12 pitchers, so they've essentially hogtied themselves in late-inning situations.

Well, not sure how they came up with the PH numbers. I'm assuming anybody who pitch hits is included in the data. So it could include Jr, Dunn or whoever, which will skew the data up.

The guys I have on the list (and perhaps I'm forgetting someone) put up an average .299 OBP and .373 SLG for a .672 OPS. That's good for 7th in the national league. Still not as bad as say the Nationals, but still not stellar either.

Rojo
06-14-2007, 05:45 PM
One problem: too many pitchers. While adding more pitchers doesn't mean better pitching, more hitters often does mean better hitting -- or at least increased leverage.

Kc61
06-14-2007, 05:56 PM
I don't agree that the bench is dismal. The only things dismal about the Reds are their bullpen and their won-lost record. (Talking only players.) The bench could use some tweaking, but if everyone was healthy it wouldn't be too bad.

Hatteberg, Conine, Hopper, Freel, Valentin are all good bench or platoon players. Castro may be past his peak, but I don't think he is a serious problem. I wouldn't keep three catchers, but would have an additional position player. (With everyone healthy, somebody would have to go anyway -- e,g., if Freel returns.)

The use of these statistics for bench players is always suspect because of small sample size. As for the VORP, they are weighted down by Castro's, and he's just one guy.

You can't replace Castro with Keppinger. Keppinger doesn't play shortstop. You need a backup infielder who plays shortstop.

Votto shouldn't be sitting on a major league bench. If he is ready, he should play.

Javy is fine as a backup catcher. He is probably worse defensively than most, but hits better than most backup catchers.

If Freel is strictly a bench player, the Reds have a pretty decent bench. He is versatile and over time could be a superior bench player. His numbers reflect this year -- he wasn't hitting that well, not taking walks -- but he is a semi-regular player, someone most teams would want on the bench.

I also don't think Hopper will get worse. I think he will get better, if not overused. The guy can just plain hit the baseball, although not for power. He covers a reasonable amount of ground in the outfield.

It's the pitching, principally the bullpen, and very specifically the set up guys. As team by team comes into play the Reds, the late inning pen guys is the biggest disparity.

Marc D
06-14-2007, 08:58 PM
Agree that the bench is putrid but disagree with the concept of calling up developing players to be the bench.

They need to play every day, don't call them up untill they can do that. This season has been lost for quite sometime, no need to compound it by stunting the development of young players.

Patrick Bateman
06-14-2007, 09:02 PM
I agree with bringing Keppinger up since he's ready for the big leagues and has basically maxed out his potential. He's a future utility player anyways. He should have Castro's job.

I want no part in bringing up Votto unless he plays everyday.

vaticanplum
06-14-2007, 11:37 PM
If only we had an Eric Hinske.