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View Full Version : The Reds are a better team than the DBacks



M2
04-03-2008, 04:53 PM
I know it's only three games into the season, but after watching the Reds play three against Arizona I vastly prefer the Reds talent mix. Cincinnati made some mistakes and the offense never clicked, but the Reds flashed a broad team skill set while AZ mostly subsisted on solo homers. For me, the clincher is the Reds have Coco Cordero to close games whlle the DBacks have the immensely suspect Brandon Lyon (whom I predict will not last long in the closer role).

It's been a long time since we've been able to entertain the notion that the Reds could actually be better than a 90-win club from the previous season, and I'll confess I'm surprised by my conviction on this.

Mind you, the 2007 DBacks were just about the worst 90-win team you'll ever see. Adding Dan Haren was a nice touch, but there's a lot of outs in that lineup, the back of the rotation is shaky and the bullpen is NOT going to repeat its nearly unconscious 2007 performance.

Even so, the Reds have spent seven years being worse than most other problematic opponents. Now they've got a few different ways to win a given game. Whether they can win enough to make this a season to remember remains to be seen. It's possible that the Reds could squander a lot of potential in 2008, allowing lesser clubs (like Arizona) to post better records, but this fan is going to be taking the "there's no good reason the Reds shouldn't win today" attitude more often than not.

Stormy
04-03-2008, 05:04 PM
I agree with you. In order to see that translate into wins on the field though, we are going to probably have to strengthen the middle of the bullpen from within, keep our top 4 starters (Harang, Cueto, Volquez, Arroyo) healthy and *fresh* without overusage, and maximize our offensive output without compromising our defense. For example, Keppinger must still find a way to play regularly when Gonzo returns, don't allow EdE's lapses to play him into the dog house, don't allow a Patterson/Gonzalez table setting tandem at the top of the order, hopefully regular starts for Votto as opposed to Hatte etc...

We have a pretty nice balance of potent bats and arms, despite some design flaws... Now, we need to put them in the best position to consistently maximize their results. Hopefully Dusty will stay out of the way, and this can be a 86+ win NL Central contender, rather than a spectacle of inconsistency en route to 79-80 wins. The jury is out, but the talent is there IMO

Nugget
04-03-2008, 05:04 PM
Don't forget that Arizona is missing Valverde from the 2007 mix so maybe the REDS do not get the chance to over power Lyon in the 9th like last night and Conor Jackson has been missing for the last two days.

But its good to see the REDS win whichever way it is - it 162 regular games and as long as you win more than all the teams in the NL Central you have a chance to make the World Series.

dabvu2498
04-03-2008, 05:09 PM
Reds beat the D-Backs 4 out of 6 last year, also. :D

But I agree, matching them up, position for position, skill for skill, I like the Reds chances of being above .500 better than the D-Backs.

M2
04-03-2008, 05:10 PM
I agree with you. In order to see that translate into wins on the field though, we are going to probably have to strengthen the middle of the bullpen from within, keep our top 4 starters (Harang, Cueto, Volquez, Arroyo) healthy and *fresh* without overusage, and maximize our offensive output without compromising our defense. For example, Keppinger must still find a way to play regularly when Gonzo returns, don't allow EdE's lapses to play him into the dog house, don't allow a Patterson/Gonzalez table setting tandem at the top of the order, hopefully regular starts for Votto as opposed to Hatte etc...

We have a pretty nice balance of potent bats and arms, despite some design flaws... Now, we need to put them in the best position to consistently maximize their results. Hopefully Dusty will stay out of the way, and this can be a 86+ win NL Central contender, rather than a spectacle of inconsistency en route to 79-80 wins. The jury is out, but the talent is there IMO

Good breakdown.

IMO flipping Dunn and Jr. in the batting order would pay some dividends too, but I'm not expecting it any time soon.

RedsManRick
04-03-2008, 05:14 PM
He might not make the highlight reels, but the continued presence of Jeff Keppinger at the top of the lineup could very well be a significant factor in our success.

Given his very impressive minor league track record and success last season, I don't believe he's a fluke. He's a high average hitter who puts the ball in play and a fundamentally sound, if range-deficient, defender. I feel comfortable saying that his bat more than makes up the difference between his and Alex Gonzalez's glove. I fully support using him as the RH 1B platoon.

bucksfan2
04-03-2008, 05:17 PM
Are they a better team? Haren and Webb trump any two pitchers the reds can run out there right now. The DBacks play better fundamental baseball while the reds don't seem to know what the word fundamental is.

I think the reds have a better offense than the DBacks but Wood and Upton may just turn it on as the season goes along. Over a 162 game season are the reds better? perhaps. Over a 5 game playoff are the reds better? dont think so. I take Webb and Haren over most 1-2 punches in baseball.

pedro
04-03-2008, 05:17 PM
He might not make the highlight reels, but the continued presence of Jeff Keppinger at the top of the lineup could very well be a significant factor in our success.

Given his very impressive minor league track record and success last season, I don't believe he's a fluke. He's a high average hitter who puts the ball in play and a fundamentally sound, if range-deficient, defender. I feel comfortable saying that his bat more than makes up the difference between his and Alex Gonzalez's glove. I fully support using him as the RH 1B platoon.

I agree RMR.

I'm not sure that Gonzalez shouldn't just play SS against LHP.


(then again, after a little research, it appears AG is even worse against LHP than he is RHP... and that's not easy)

OnBaseMachine
04-03-2008, 05:18 PM
Let me just take a minute to say I love you Johnny Cueto. What an absolutely mind-blowing performance by young Johnny Cueto today. That was as dominant performane by a Reds pitcher as I've seen in a while. Aaron Harang has turned in some great ones the last couple seasons but this one here tops them all IMO. One batter over the minimum in his major league debut with zero walks and 10 strikeouts. How impressive is that?

membengal
04-03-2008, 05:19 PM
Not to mention, if Cueto can really put up league average numbers (or better), it takes a LOT of pressure off of Harang and Arroyo.

vaticanplum
04-03-2008, 05:22 PM
Whether they can win enough to make this a season to remember remains to be seen. It's possible that the Reds could squander a lot of potential in 2008, allowing lesser clubs (like Arizona) to post better records, but this fan is going to be taking the "there's no good reason the Reds shouldn't win today" attitude more often than not.

I see this team as full of talent but very unproven. I suspect they may well end up all over the place -- flashes of brilliance admist a lot of minor disasters. Our heroes from the last two games are prime examples: Cueto is going to off the rails and flying into the stands one game at least. Encarnacion will still make some dumb mistakes.

Youth so often needs time to learn equanimity through the course of a game. Some teams' young players make the transition pretty seamlessly, but something tells me that all the change in this team (players, management, etc.) won't give way to immediate consistency. Perhaps it's the fact that the bulk of really great talent on this team is really young...it's not a real balance in my opinion. We poo-poo veteran leadership around here, but that's one reason I like Hatteberg on the bench -- he seems to have that kind of positive, even-tempered leader personality.

So I see that as a real reason for fans not to expect this team to win today. Less talented teams may well post better records, I agree, and that's acceptable for a short period of time given the learning curve. But I would rather have this team too. I think.

princeton
04-03-2008, 05:24 PM
is Dunn suddenly a ballplayer?

Cyclone792
04-03-2008, 05:31 PM
He might not make the highlight reels, but the continued presence of Jeff Keppinger at the top of the lineup could very well be a significant factor in our success.

Given his very impressive minor league track record and success last season, I don't believe he's a fluke. He's a high average hitter who puts the ball in play and a fundamentally sound, if range-deficient, defender. I feel comfortable saying that his bat more than makes up the difference between his and Alex Gonzalez's glove. I fully support using him as the RH 1B platoon.

I'm starting to become convinced that Jeff Keppinger is just a flat out better ballplayer than Alex Gonzalez. I'm also starting to think that the only action Gonzalez should see when he returns is against LHP when Keppinger moves over to first base for a platoon.

M2
04-03-2008, 05:32 PM
is Dunn suddenly a ballplayer?

Looks comfortable in the field, doesn't he?

I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but he's done his job in the field with easy efficiency so far.

pedro
04-03-2008, 05:33 PM
I'm starting to become convinced that Jeff Keppinger is just a flat out better ballplayer than Alex Gonzalez. I'm also starting to think that the only action Gonzalez should see when he returns is against LHP when Keppinger moves over to first base for a platoon.

If he's a mirage at this point it's one hot damn desert.

pedro
04-03-2008, 05:34 PM
Looks comfortable in the field, doesn't he?

I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but he's done his job in the field with easy efficiency so far.

I think his knee is feeling better.

reds44
04-03-2008, 05:36 PM
Looks comfortable in the field, doesn't he?

I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but he's done his job in the field with easy efficiency so far.
The grin on Cueto's face when Dunn made the catch running into the wall was priceless.

Matt700wlw
04-03-2008, 05:37 PM
Let me just take a minute to say I love you Johnny Cueto. What an absolutely mind-blowing performance by young Johnny Cueto today. That was as dominant performane by a Reds pitcher as I've seen in a while. Aaron Harang has turned in some great ones the last couple seasons but this one here tops them all IMO. One batter over the minimum in his major league debut with zero walks and 10 strikeouts. How impressive is that?

What's his encore? ;)

I was blown away on how good he was....I've heard from people closer to the situation (one in particular who is no longer part of the organization) that he's the one to watch out for....so far, so good :thumbup:

Sea Ray
04-03-2008, 05:40 PM
I know it's only three games into the season, but after watching the Reds play three against Arizona I vastly prefer the Reds talent mix. Cincinnati made some mistakes and the offense never clicked, but the Reds flashed a broad team skill set while AZ mostly subsisted on solo homers. For me, the clincher is the Reds have Coco Cordero to close games whlle the DBacks have the immensely suspect Brandon Lyon (whom I predict will not last long in the closer role).

It's been a long time since we've been able to entertain the notion that the Reds could actually be better than a 90-win club from the previous season, and I'll confess I'm surprised by my conviction on this.

Mind you, the 2007 DBacks were just about the worst 90-win team you'll ever see. Adding Dan Haren was a nice touch, but there's a lot of outs in that lineup, the back of the rotation is shaky and the bullpen is NOT going to repeat its nearly unconscious 2007 performance.

Even so, the Reds have spent seven years being worse than most other problematic opponents. Now they've got a few different ways to win a given game. Whether they can win enough to make this a season to remember remains to be seen. It's possible that the Reds could squander a lot of potential in 2008, allowing lesser clubs (like Arizona) to post better records, but this fan is going to be taking the "there's no good reason the Reds shouldn't win today" attitude more often than not.

My how a couple of wins has changed the sky is falling threads from 3 days ago such as "I have a bad feeling" and "Overall (negative) thoughts after Opening Day".

Chip R
04-03-2008, 05:41 PM
is Dunn suddenly a ballplayer?


That's unpossible.

princeton
04-03-2008, 05:43 PM
Looks comfortable in the field, doesn't he?

I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but he's done his job in the field with easy efficiency so far.

I've never seen him play like this. In game 1, he had the smartest play on the team with the sac grounder rather than going down 0-2. Then he had a nice ninth inning AB last night, and today the defense. He's setting a tone. And if he keeps that up, then the Reds are a very different team.

red-in-la
04-03-2008, 05:48 PM
I actually saw some serious holes in the Reds in this series.....and other that weren't even exposed yet. I hate to sound like FCB, but this squad worries me and I am quickly souring on Dusty Baker. Mind you that I am only one small tick to the worried side of the ledger because it is only 3 games, but here is my short list.

1. I didn't think it would be, but catcher is a big black hole. Ross being on the DL show how black the hole is. Paul Bako should be playing beer league softball somewhere but nowhere near a ML baseball team. And I still have a nagging feeling that he is here for reasons other than baseball ones. It unforntunately seems to be indicative of the samo-samo of the Reds playing with a 22-23 man roster even though the rules allow for 25. Is it soooo tuff to find a decent, good defense no hit catcher?

2. Bronson Arroyo.......he seems to be proving to me (at least) that he is a 5th starter. He is a great guy and has guts.....but his stuff seems to become more pedestrian with each start. I just wonder if the league is learning to hit that curveball.

3. The defense (Keppinger looks like the BEST defender this side of Phillips) has to be one of the worst I have ever seen. Patterson is probably OK, but Freel has never impressed me. So that leaves JR, Dunn, EdwinE and Hatteburg/Votto and the catcher. Ouch! All I can say is ouch!

The good news is what we saw today in Cueto. He doesn't need that much defense. If Edinson can be near as good, the season will be exciting if for no other reason. But, can two rookies really dominate all season? I cannot recall it being done before. It might be historic. One game might be way too soon to hope for a rotation in order of quality of:

Cueto (the new Pedro)
Harang
Volquez
Arroyo

That would be exciting.

Matt700wlw
04-03-2008, 05:50 PM
The low number of hits (could be more a credit to the pitching than anything...Haren and Webb, particularly) and 10 men left on base today...along with 9 walks without any of those walks equaling runs is worrisome.

They have to be better at taking advantage of situations. They're not always going to have outings like Cuetos...

red-in-la
04-03-2008, 05:50 PM
I'm starting to become convinced that Jeff Keppinger is just a flat out better ballplayer than Alex Gonzalez. I'm also starting to think that the only action Gonzalez should see when he returns is against LHP when Keppinger moves over to first base for a platoon.

Excellent point and great idea......FORWARD this to one Dusty Baker, and mark it urgent! :thumbup:

Falls City Beer
04-03-2008, 05:58 PM
This team's D and bullpen haven't caught up to them yet (though we got a hint of it last night).

Though D and bullpen is an improvement over the D, bullpen, and rotation problems they had last year.

princeton
04-03-2008, 06:02 PM
the other thing that's interesting so far is that the Reds might not need to carry 12 pitchers, which would strengthen the bench considerably and perhaps provide a means to address problems vs. LHPers.

M2
04-03-2008, 06:03 PM
1. I didn't think it would be, but catcher is a big black hole. Ross being on the DL show how black the hole is. Paul Bako should be playing beer league softball somewhere but nowhere near a ML baseball team. And I still have a nagging feeling that he is here for reasons other than baseball ones. It unforntunately seems to be indicative of the samo-samo of the Reds playing with a 22-23 man roster even though the rules allow for 25. Is it soooo tuff to find a decent, good defense no hit catcher?

Catcher is a problem, and a fixable one.


2. Bronson Arroyo.......he seems to be proving to me (at least) that he is a 5th starter. He is a great guy and has guts.....but his stuff seems to become more pedestrian with each start. I just wonder if the league is learning to hit that curveball.

My take is you're worrying too much on this one. Even without his "A" stuff last night, he held Arizona to what should have been two runs.


3. The defense (Keppinger looks like the BEST defender this side of Phillips) has to be one of the worst I have ever seen. Patterson is probably OK, but Freel has never impressed me. So that leaves JR, Dunn, EdwinE and Hatteburg/Votto and the catcher. Ouch! All I can say is ouch!
That would be exciting.

Patterson is a hell of a lot better than OK. He's the best defensive CF the Reds have had since Mike Cameron. The defense on the corners is a concern, but Dunn's looking completely unlike himself in LF at the moment. The real key is whether Encarnacion and Votto can make forward strides. If they do, then the defense is probably good enough to do the job. If they don't, then a few players are going to need to produce big seasons at the plate.

RedlegJake
04-03-2008, 06:05 PM
I actually saw some serious holes in the Reds in this series.....and other that weren't even exposed yet. I hate to sound like FCB, but this squad worries me and I am quickly souring on Dusty Baker. Mind you that I am only one small tick to the worried side of the ledger because it is only 3 games, but here is my short list.

1. I didn't think it would be, but catcher is a big black hole. Ross being on the DL show how black the hole is. Paul Bako should be playing beer league softball somewhere but nowhere near a ML baseball team. And I still have a nagging feeling that he is here for reasons other than baseball ones. It unforntunately seems to be indicative of the samo-samo of the Reds playing with a 22-23 man roster even though the rules allow for 25. Is it soooo tuff to find a decent, good defense no hit catcher?

Ross will be back and hopefully Bako gone. I'd prefer Hanigan as backup and Javier gone, too, but that's not gonna happen. Point is, it's a problem that's going to be fixed. I trust Ross' defense and once in a while he has a bat.


2. Bronson Arroyo.......he seems to be proving to me (at least) that he is a 5th starter. He is a great guy and has guts.....but his stuff seems to become more pedestrian with each start. I just wonder if the league is learning to hit that curveball.

He fanned 5 and was hurt by the defense. His start was better than it looks on paper. Besides, in an earlier thread I predicted that by years end Arroyo would be considered the 5th best starter on this team. I stand by that. That's not a problem!


3. The defense (Keppinger looks like the BEST defender this side of Phillips) has to be one of the worst I have ever seen. Patterson is probably OK, but Freel has never impressed me. So that leaves JR, Dunn, EdwinE and Hatteburg/Votto and the catcher. Ouch! All I can say is ouch!

Patterson is probably okay? He is a solid defender, and Dunn looks better in left. Ross will be back. EE will settle down - I think. Still I agree, the defense does give pause.


I continue to think OBP problems will hurt this team but if they walk at the clip they have so far I may be proven wrong.

BRM
04-03-2008, 06:05 PM
Catcher is a problem, and a fixable one.


Do you still think Wayne will upgrade the catcher position? I'm not so sure at this point.

RedlegJake
04-03-2008, 06:06 PM
Wow, M2, almost a duplicate post! Sorry about hat.

red-in-la
04-03-2008, 06:20 PM
Well, RedlegJake and M2 are two pretty fine endorsements, so, I promise to not worry. Maybe I shouldn't have said that Patterson was OK.....I didn't mean that be was barely OK.....I meant he seems to be as good as any defensive CF out there right now.....so I agree with the counterpoints. I just would bat him 8th instead of 1st. I don't know personally, but I heard a couple of people say he has a lousy arm....?

Ross coming back doesn't necessarily make me feel better about catcher.....and BRM, I don't think WK would be much better than Bako at this point....;)....in any case, Ross playing makes the defense only marginally better than Bako, and Bako will probably remain on the team....ouch!

My opinion of Arroyo goes back to last year......he seems inconsistent......I am not saying he is bad, just that he isn't (and maybe never was) a #2 or even #3. This I think is really good news. It just shows what having Cueto does for your opinion of Arroyo.

fearofpopvol1
04-03-2008, 06:35 PM
Admittedly, I haven't really seen Haren pitch much up until last night, but I honestly was not floored by him. He put up amazing numbers last year that speak for themselves, but I didn't see anything overly fancy about his stuff. Webb on the other hand has ridiculous stuff.

I still worry about the bullpen more than anything else. The team really needs to work on fundamentals too.

vaticanplum
04-03-2008, 06:46 PM
This team's D and bullpen haven't caught up to them yet (though we got a hint of it last night).

Well, I totally agree with that. I also don't expect from the starting staff what a lot of people seem to, though it is talented and much improved.

princeton
04-03-2008, 06:47 PM
That's unpossible.

He's Come Undunn

M2
04-03-2008, 06:56 PM
Do you still think Wayne will upgrade the catcher position? I'm not so sure at this point.

I think it's an option that will be on the table through the month of August.

At this point I figure the Reds will acquire another catcher if the team is legitimately in the hunt during the summer. The FO might acquire a young catcher if the team isn't in the hunt too.

flyer85
04-03-2008, 07:04 PM
seems like Javy is on the outs already ... and we know Bako(average defense, absolutely no stick).

I read where the Reds were interested in Pena. He would be a nice addition to team with Ross.

wheels
04-03-2008, 07:09 PM
This upcoming series with the Phillies is going to be interesting.

Besides Fogg, I'm confident the pitching will hold up.

What if Volquez goes all Cueto on them? I have been giggling since 12:40 today, and I want more.

Volquez, Harang, Arroyo in succession should make for an interesting weekend plus of Baseball.

fearofpopvol1
04-03-2008, 07:12 PM
The Reds should have an advantage in the Phils series. I mean, the pitching matchups favor the Reds for sure.

westofyou
04-03-2008, 07:13 PM
What if Volquez goes all Cueto on them? I have been giggling since 12:40 today, and I want more.Holy Johnny Ruffin... watch yer tongue.

chicoruiz
04-03-2008, 07:18 PM
Don't know if this is the place to post it, but I'm wondering if Dusty should consider flipping Patterson and Keppinger in the order. Corey's vaunted bunting skills would have a little more meaning if he wasn't always bunting with no one on.

gm
04-03-2008, 07:20 PM
the other thing that's interesting so far is that the Reds might not need to carry 12 pitchers, which would strengthen the bench considerably and perhaps provide a means to address problems vs. LHPers.

Castro is safe, then?

(in response to M2's thread) I thought the Backs were the roster with the better team speed...I guess having Dunn and Griffey around does count for something?

Good thing Cueto gave up the HR...can you imagine the pitch count if Dusty had a no-no to deal with?

Keppinger > Stynes

2-1...in Dusty we trusty? (Love that situational hitting...imagine if EdE gets the bunt down yesterday...1-2 W/L record?...but maybe by putting the bunt sign "on" EdE got a hetter look at Lyons' stuff in preperation for the ding dong?)

Good thing Weathers wasn't the closer today. $48 mil safety nets are a good thing

pedro
04-03-2008, 07:23 PM
Castro is safe, then?

(in response to M2's thread) I thought the Backs were the roster with the better team speed...I guess having Dunn and Griffey around does count for something?

Good thing Cueto gave up the HR...can you imagine the pitch count if Dusty had a no-no to deal with?

Keppinger > Stynes

2-1...in Dusty we trusty?

Good thing Weathers wasn't the closer today. Safety nets are a good thing

I think Castro is toast as soon as AG is back unless Freel is traded before that happens and even then I wouldn't expect him to be around much longer. But alas I've been beating that drum all winter...

redsmetz
04-03-2008, 07:59 PM
Marty and Thom today were talking about Bako catching Cueto today and remarked that he had been better with him and Volquez than Valentin had been. If Bako has the ability to catch these guys, then I'd say live with his stick and send Valentin packing when Ross comes off the DL. It still leaves a weak spot, but not as weak if Valentin is not working well with the pitchers, IMO.

Falls City Beer
04-03-2008, 08:07 PM
Well, I totally agree with that. I also don't expect from the starting staff what a lot of people seem to, though it is talented and much improved.

Yeah, I expect many hiccups for this starting staff, too. What's nice is that the rest of the division is still likely to be bad. So no one's going to get away from the Reds.

wheels
04-03-2008, 08:16 PM
Holy Johnny Ruffin... watch yer tongue.

Lord no.

Nnnnot Johnny Ruffin.

I think I saw his first start against Colorado in 1993. Sanders was one hit away from the cycle, and we sat in Marge's section. She didn't know who Reggie was.

pedro
04-03-2008, 08:37 PM
From looking at the AAA box score today I see a couple of interesting things. First, looks like Adam Rosales is now playing 3B which I'm happy about. IIRC, last year they had him at 1B. Second, Jay Bruce started today in CF and Dickerson in RF even though I had thought Dickerson was supposed to be a better CF than Bruce.

These two things tell me that 1) the Reds haven't given up the idea of Jay Bruce in CF this year and 2) the Reds have someone to push EE if he should falter.

Coupled with having better pitching at both the major league and AAA levels than they've had in years things are looking up in Mudville.

Chip R
04-03-2008, 08:41 PM
Hey, I'm just as happy as the next guy taking 2 or 3 from the D-Backs but let's not start congratulating each other just yet. The Reds could have easily lost two of three or got swept. Cueto's looking like a stud but I hope we're not expecting 7 IP, 1 H 10K 0 W from him every time. I think AZ is a tough team. That 1-2 punch of Webb and Haren is going to win them a lot of series. I really like their young talent and today aside, I like their defense. Their problem is that they play in a tougher division than we do.

At the risk of sounding like FCB, everything isn't as bright and rosy as we think. There's leadoff hitter issues, catching issues, defensive issues all over the place except in CF and maybe 2B. And that isn't even mentioning the bullpen issues. This team would be wonderful if you could play 2 platoons like in football and play the best offensive players when we're up to bat and the best defensive players when we're in the field.

We looked pretty good against the Cubs last year in the opening series and they ended up winning the division and we finished 4th. I'm as optimistic as the next guy but I'm going to see this team for a few more series before I'm ready to render a judgement.

wheels
04-03-2008, 08:49 PM
Hey, I'm just as happy as the next guy taking 2 or 3 from the D-Backs but let's not start congratulating each other just yet. The Reds could have easily lost two of three or got swept. Cueto's looking like a stud but I hope we're not expecting 7 IP, 1 H 10K 0 W from him every time. I think AZ is a tough team. That 1-2 punch of Webb and Haren is going to win them a lot of series. I really like their young talent and today aside, I like their defense. Their problem is that they play in a tougher division than we do.

At the risk of sounding like FCB, everything isn't as bright and rosy as we think. There's leadoff hitter issues, catching issues, defensive issues all over the place except in CF and maybe 2B. And that isn't even mentioning the bullpen issues. This team would be wonderful if you could play 2 platoons like in football and play the best offensive players when we're up to bat and the best defensive players when we're in the field.

We looked pretty good against the Cubs last year in the opening series and they ended up winning the division and we finished 4th. I'm as optimistic as the next guy but I'm going to see this team for a few more series before I'm ready to render a judgement.


I'm well aware of all of that, no doubt.

Thing about me is, I'm more excited about what happens down the road, as opposed to this season.

The rough edges are gonna seem more like sharp, jagged metal this season, and there are going to be some very ugly games to endure, but true, bona fide young pitching can make it much easier to deal with.

Barring injuries, it's going to be a fun year regardless of the record.

gm
04-03-2008, 09:02 PM
Hey, I'm just as happy as the next guy taking 2 or 3 from the D-Backs but let's not start congratulating each other just yet. The Reds could have easily lost two of three or got swept. Cueto's looking like a stud but I hope we're not expecting 7 IP, 1 H 10K 0 W from him every time. I think AZ is a tough team. That 1-2 punch of Webb and Haren is going to win them a lot of series. I really like their young talent and today aside, I like their defense. Their problem is that they play in a tougher division than we do.

At the risk of sounding like FCB, everything isn't as bright and rosy as we think. There's leadoff hitter issues, catching issues, defensive issues all over the place except in CF and maybe 2B. And that isn't even mentioning the bullpen issues. This team would be wonderful if you could play 2 platoons like in football and play the best offensive players when we're up to bat and the best defensive players when we're in the field.

We looked pretty good against the Cubs last year in the opening series and they ended up winning the division and we finished 4th. I'm as optimistic as the next guy but I'm going to see this team for a few more series before I'm ready to render a judgement.

buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...squish

"Well, he won't have the guts to do THAT again..."

WVRedsFan
04-03-2008, 09:04 PM
Hey, I'm just as happy as the next guy taking 2 or 3 from the D-Backs but let's not start congratulating each other just yet. The Reds could have easily lost two of three or got swept. Cueto's looking like a stud but I hope we're not expecting 7 IP, 1 H 10K 0 W from him every time. I think AZ is a tough team. That 1-2 punch of Webb and Haren is going to win them a lot of series. I really like their young talent and today aside, I like their defense. Their problem is that they play in a tougher division than we do.

At the risk of sounding like FCB, everything isn't as bright and rosy as we think. There's leadoff hitter issues, catching issues, defensive issues all over the place except in CF and maybe 2B. And that isn't even mentioning the bullpen issues. This team would be wonderful if you could play 2 platoons like in football and play the best offensive players when we're up to bat and the best defensive players when we're in the field.

We looked pretty good against the Cubs last year in the opening series and they ended up winning the division and we finished 4th. I'm as optimistic as the next guy but I'm going to see this team for a few more series before I'm ready to render a judgement.
Word. I am cautious too, but hopeful. A case it point in the bullpen which has put up numvers like this:

9 IP 6H 3 ER 8 W 6 K 3.00 ERA

If they can duplicate that all year, then wow. The starters have been better at 18 IP 8 H 5 ER 5 W 21 K 2.50 ERA.

So far, so good, but look at the offense which shows the CF position at 1-12, the Kid at 1-9, Dunn at 1-8, 1st Base at 1-11 (Hatt is 0-8), and the cather position at 1-9.

Yes, there is room for some optimism, but there are concerns. The hitting might have been the three Arizona starters (at least two of them), but the fielding, ugh. We scored 11 runs in the series (3.66 per game) and gave up 11 runs (3.66 per game).

I've got my fingers crossed.

RedlegJake
04-03-2008, 09:08 PM
I'm well aware of all of that, no doubt.

Thing about me is, I'm more excited about what happens down the road, as opposed to this season.

The rough edges are gonna seem more like sharp, jagged metal this season, and there are going to be some very ugly games to endure, but true, bona fide young pitching can make it much easier to deal with.

Barring injuries, it's going to be a fun year regardless of the record.

I agree. I'm optimistic this year because a/this is the central division - I just don't see anyone running away from the pack, and b/for all the Reds problem areas the other teams in our division have some serious holes as well. WK is setting the table, imo, for 2009 and 2010, and while I don't agree with some of his moves, he hasn't done anything that hurts that timeline.

Cooper
04-03-2008, 09:21 PM
I thought Votto looked really good in the field....he had a nice scoop on a wicked throw. Turned the right way to make the tag on a pick-off. He faked catching the cut off throw from the OF thus saving a base. Have the scouts considered his glove AAAA stuff?

Caveat Emperor
04-03-2008, 09:29 PM
Two straight close victories -- two straight games where the bullpen did it's job and kept the game close (last night) and sealed the deal on a 2 run lead today. Three straight games with good to excellent starting pitching. The upside is there for the team to have 4 above-average starters. It's been a LONG time since that was the case.

Plus, Jr. hasn't gotten going yet and neither has Votto or Dunn really.

There's room to improve. I'm not sure how far up it'll go, but it's a good start.

Big Klu
04-03-2008, 09:37 PM
is Dunn suddenly a ballplayer?

My buddy and I had seats past the third base dugout for Opening Day, and he commented that he thought Dunn was noticably thinner this season. He definitely has been more mobile defensively.


the other thing that's interesting so far is that the Reds might not need to carry 12 pitchers, which would strengthen the bench considerably and perhaps provide a means to address problems vs. LHPers.

I like that idea. A LOT!


Well, RedlegJake and M2 are two pretty fine endorsements, so, I promise to not worry. Maybe I shouldn't have said that Patterson was OK.....I didn't mean that be was barely OK.....I meant he seems to be as good as any defensive CF out there right now.....so I agree with the counterpoints. I just would bat him 8th instead of 1st. I don't know personally, but I heard a couple of people say he has a lousy arm....?

As RJ and M2 said, Patterson is the best defensive CF to don a Reds uni since Mike Cameron in 1999, and before that, since Eric Davis in the late 80's and 1990. As for his arm, I don't know what kind of arm strength he has. Sure, it's nice to have the total package of great range and a cannon arm in CF, like Cesar Geronimo or Eric Davis. But absent that, give me a puny arm with great range over a cannon arm with limited range in CF.

princeton
04-03-2008, 09:55 PM
the really strident point about Dunn moving better in the OF (and I can't really comment as I haven't seen him) is, of course, that it would make you wonder if the Reds couldn't leave Bruce in CF...

at the very least, they ought to put the threesome of Bruce, Jr, and Dunn together for at least a game this year, so that in 30 years I can tell lies about what a great OF that was.

Falls City Beer
04-03-2008, 10:03 PM
Bruce between a slenderer Dunn and the protozoan-like mobility of Griffey is just cheerleading for disaster.

It would make for a nice prank or Mother's Day special, but as a strategic concept it ranks with welcoming the Trojan Horse.

jojo
04-03-2008, 10:17 PM
This team has some issues for sure, defense, bullpen, offense....

Cordero is great and all but he's not a dramatic upgrade over the performance they got from their closer last year though he'll look prettier doing it. After Cordero....well, luck be a lady tonight.

The rotation is 1,2,stuff,Fogg. Hopefully stuff translates.

M2
04-03-2008, 10:17 PM
Hey, I'm just as happy as the next guy taking 2 or 3 from the D-Backs but let's not start congratulating each other just yet. The Reds could have easily lost two of three or got swept. Cueto's looking like a stud but I hope we're not expecting 7 IP, 1 H 10K 0 W from him every time. I think AZ is a tough team. That 1-2 punch of Webb and Haren is going to win them a lot of series. I really like their young talent and today aside, I like their defense. Their problem is that they play in a tougher division than we do.

At the risk of sounding like FCB, everything isn't as bright and rosy as we think. There's leadoff hitter issues, catching issues, defensive issues all over the place except in CF and maybe 2B. And that isn't even mentioning the bullpen issues. This team would be wonderful if you could play 2 platoons like in football and play the best offensive players when we're up to bat and the best defensive players when we're in the field.

We looked pretty good against the Cubs last year in the opening series and they ended up winning the division and we finished 4th. I'm as optimistic as the next guy but I'm going to see this team for a few more series before I'm ready to render a judgement.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think the Reds have an easy road in front of them or that success is guaranteed. They could finish with another losing record this season, and you touched on multiple reasons why.

These Reds are no sure thing.

Yet they can do more on the baseball field than any Reds team we've seen in a long time, IMO more than a limited DBacks team that a lot of people think should be a prime contender.

coachw513
04-03-2008, 10:50 PM
Watching the games from last night and today on tape this afternoon was quite a blast...but the reality is we were outplayed for 2 games and were 1 8th-inning mistake away from giving away today's game...

The good:
1. The promise of Cueto, Volquez and the rotation as a whole...
2. Dunn really does look like he's in great shape...this bodes very well in a contract year...
3. Keppinger...see major league hitter...wow...
4. Maybe it's wishful thinking but I think a pitcher can't enjoy running a gauntlet of Kepp, JR, BP, Dunn, EE and Votto...of course this is assuming we can keep Keppinger and Votto on the field on a regular basis...

The bad:
1. No evidence of fundamental improvement defensively, bunting, timely hitting...
2. A real sense that Valentin is a horrible "game manager" for pitchers...and I'd much rather have Hatteburg as a PH-deluxe (praying for a Votto-Keppinger platoon)...
3. Middle relief, though I was impressed with Lincoln today and I think Coffey is due for a nice bounce back season...

But once again, as compared to 6 months, 12 months, 2 years ago...we are so much better today and for tomorrow...

Oh, that Cueto guy was okay today too...

Cyclone792
04-03-2008, 11:21 PM
We looked pretty good against the Cubs last year in the opening series and they ended up winning the division and we finished 4th. I'm as optimistic as the next guy but I'm going to see this team for a few more series before I'm ready to render a judgement.

Started off last season 4-1 actually. Then the Reds went 8-12 the rest of April, May was a disaster, and well ... we know the rest of that story.

Tomorrow's a night that the offense needs to wake up from its hibernation. I expect Fogg to get lit up, especially against the Phillies, though if the Reds offense wakes up then they'll give themselves a decent shot to win. I do think it's likely to take at least six or seven runs offensively to pull out a win tomorrow night.

Ga_Red
04-03-2008, 11:31 PM
Good post, M2!

I'm smiling because I know you've yet to see Volquez....who could actually break the record Cueto just set for debut Ks as a Red;
and I really believe Josh Fogg may be an Arroyo equal for the 2008 Reds, to give them the best 5 man rotation in decades.

As much as we reviled the 2007 pen,
my take is it will be season end kudos for the 2008
edition.

If this team stays healthy, October will be fun in
Red's country once more.

:thumbup:

Raisor
04-03-2008, 11:32 PM
Good post, M2!

I'm smiling because I know you've yet to see Volquez....who could actually break the record Cueto just set for debut Ks as a Red;
and I really believe Josh Fogg may be an Arroyo equal for the 2008 Reds, to give them the best 5 man rotation in decades.




You had me until "Josh Fogg"

OnBaseMachine
04-03-2008, 11:46 PM
What I like about this team is the depth it has. Not so much in the starting pitching department as Bailey and Maloney are only youngsters and not ready for the majors yet, but I'm satisfied with the bullpen and position player depth. Down in the minors we have Josh Roenicke, Bill Bray, Pedro Viola, Carlos Fisher, and Marcus McBeth as bullpen depth if/when they are needed. Position player wise, if one of the outfielders go down Jay Bruce is in Louisville. In the infield we have Rosales also in Louisville. Thisis the most depth I've seen the Reds have in a while. I'm pretty darn excited about this team - they're not going to win 95 games but 85-86 is possible if we get strong pitching from Cueto and Volquez, and I think we will.

RedEye
04-04-2008, 12:20 AM
I think the Reds are definitely better this year than last year. If my hunch is correct, Cueto, Volquez and Cordero will give the pitching staff a credibility that I haven't seen on this team in many, many years. Arroyo suddenly starts looking much, much stronger as a #3 or a #4 starter, doesn't he? I know it's only three games in, but I am optimistic in a way I haven't been in a long time.

I am, like a few other posters, concerned about the offense--mostly because I don't trust the management's view of lineup construction. I'm still curious to know whether or not the team decides to re-sign Adam Dunn, because I think that will say a lot about the management philosophy going forward. The other measure of the season, I think, will be the advancement of players like Bruce, Votto, and Stubbs. If that foundation of young hitters can emerge and take their place at the major league level, this team could be good for years to come. If not, I have a feeling the offense will soon replace the pitching as the rag-tag side of this team.

WVRedsFan
04-04-2008, 01:23 AM
Started off last season 4-1 actually. Then the Reds went 8-12 the rest of April, May was a disaster, and well ... we know the rest of that story.

Tomorrow's a night that the offense needs to wake up from its hibernation. I expect Fogg to get lit up, especially against the Phillies, though if the Reds offense wakes up then they'll give themselves a decent shot to win. I do think it's likely to take at least six or seven runs offensively to pull out a win tomorrow night.

Jason:

You'sve hit on something I think most are forgetting. As long as this team plays in GABP, they're going to have to score some runs. So far, we've averaged 3.67, which won't be good enough this season.

We were fortunate to get a cluth hit from EE in Game 2 to seal that one and today, they scored early and went to sleep. All those walks and no runs? The bats went to sleep which seems to the pattern with this team. On Monday, they scored 2 in inning 4. On Wednesday, they scored in the 5th and 9th innings. today, they scored in the first and second innings. More production is needed because today's performance by Cueto won't be an every start thing.

Another thing that will get me on the toilet paper list here is that Harang, as great as he is, gives up too many home runs. I noticed it last year and note that it happened again on Monday. Of course, when you only score two runs, all he had to do was allow three to lose. With Fogg pitching tomorrow night that kind of scoring will seal another L.

Cedric
04-04-2008, 01:44 AM
Jason:

You'sve hit on something I think most are forgetting. As long as this team plays in GABP, they're going to have to score some runs. So far, we've averaged 3.67, which won't be good enough this season.

We were fortunate to get a cluth hit from EE in Game 2 to seal that one and today, they scored early and went to sleep. All those walks and no runs? The bats went to sleep which seems to the pattern with this team. On Monday, they scored 2 in inning 4. On Wednesday, they scored in the 5th and 9th innings. today, they scored in the first and second innings. More production is needed because today's performance by Cueto won't be an every start thing.

Another thing that will get me on the toilet paper list here is that Harang, as great as he is, gives up too many home runs. I noticed it last year and note that it happened again on Monday. Of course, when you only score two runs, all he had to do was allow three to lose. With Fogg pitching tomorrow night that kind of scoring will seal another L.

We have played three games. Dunn and Griffey haven't done squat. Don't you think it's a little early to start calculating average runs scored a game and writing long posts about it? Just my two cents.

Patrick Bateman
04-04-2008, 01:46 AM
And I doubt we face pitchers of Webb and Haren's calibre in 2 thirds of the games.

I think we can do better against the Ryan Dempster's of the world.

WVRedsFan
04-04-2008, 01:49 AM
We have played three games. Dunn and Griffey haven't done squat. Don't you think it's a little early to start calculating average runs scored a game and writing long posts about it? Just my two cents.


Yeah. I was just thinking about this and started typing. AK has a good point in that we faced some pretty good pitching too.

Sorry I wasted your time by writing that long post. Baseball discussion so early is pointless.:D

Cedric
04-04-2008, 01:54 AM
Yeah. I was just thinking about this and started typing. AK has a good point in that we faced some pretty good pitching too.

Sorry I wasted your time by writing that long post. Baseball discussion so early is pointless.:D

I didn't mean to insult you if I did. I just think 3 baseball games is nothing considering Dunn and Griffey haven't started. We know they will.

Stormy
04-04-2008, 02:00 AM
We have played three games. Dunn and Griffey haven't done squat. Don't you think it's a little early to start calculating average runs scored a game and writing long posts about it? Just my two cents.

I thought it was a good post, and agree that there is at least the rationale for some concern with the offense. We've replaced one of the most dynamic catalysts of the 2007 offense (Hamilton and his 922OPS), with one of the biggest offensive blackholes in the league (Patterson career 711OPS).

That bodes for a possible downturn, before we even get into the effects of lineup construction, or what happens to Keppinger (our other table setting 2007 catalyst) when Gonzo returns, or who gets the majority nod between Hatteberg and Votto, or what happens if Dusty is impatient with EdE's scuffles in the field etc...

This offense might struggle, and it's never too soon to discuss potential areas of strength and weakness, in my opinion. This is an unusual team in that many aspects of it inspire the optimism that it's sum could be significantly greater than it's parts, while at the same time there exist many design flaws and visible question marks in almost every unit. Dunn and Griffey will get started soon, but I'm not certain this offense will be as potent as last year's model became as the season progressed.

WVRedsFan
04-04-2008, 02:19 AM
I didn't mean to insult you if I did. I just think 3 baseball games is nothing considering Dunn and Griffey haven't started. We know they will.


Nah. I just get so involved in the game that I pontificate too much sometimes and over analyze.

WVRedsFan
04-04-2008, 02:26 AM
This offense might struggle, and it's never too soon to discuss potential areas of strength and weakness, in my opinion. This is an unusual team in that many aspects of it inspire the optimism that it's sum could be significantly greater than it's parts, while at the same time there exist many design flaws and visible question marks in almost every unit. Dunn and Griffey will get started soon, but I'm not certain this offense will be as potent as last year's model became as the season progressed.

Valid point. Everyone wants a center fielder who can make the spectacular play, but what if you have that with a guy who can't get on base and bats leadoff to boot. Is there any real advantage with Paterson? I have no idea and don't have the energy and time to get into it. It would be an interesting research project. If you have a really good hitter (Josh Hamilton for instance) who doesn't have great range in center and you have a really good fielder (Patterson for example) who can't hit, how much does that contribute to a team's winning and losing?

Senior thesis anyone?

*BaseClogger*
04-04-2008, 02:39 AM
A Run saved is a Run scored?

RedlegJake
04-04-2008, 03:01 AM
I worry about the offense, too. I think there will be plenty of high scoring games but a lot of low ones, too. I wouldn't be surprised to see them average close to 5 runs a game in a Jekyll and Hyde fashion -10 runs 1 night and none the next. Just seems to be an all "on" or all "off" offense. Still, they did scratch out a split with Webb and Haren facing them. It troubled me a bit that they didn't put the game completely away today when they had chances to do just that but hey, in the wake of Cueto's start I was just on cloud nine and not really thinking about it too much.

pedro
04-04-2008, 03:02 AM
A Run saved is a Run scored?

exactly. at least when you're talking Pythagorean.

gm
04-04-2008, 03:02 AM
Harang, as great as he is, gives up too many home runs. I noticed it last year and note that it happened again on Monday

That's because opposing hitters have no fear of Aaron. They all know they can dig in and lean over the plate because Harang never misses inside, much less throws a "purpose pitch" (Following the HRs on Monday one of the next Back's batters swung so hard he almost fell over)

Just one stiff pitch in the other guy's back, that's all we ask #39. Make them think again and those long balls will diminish

RedlegJake
04-04-2008, 03:19 AM
That's because opposing hitters have no fear of Aaron. They all know they can dig in and lean over the plate because Harang never misses inside, much less throws a "purpose pitch" (Following the HRs on Monday one of the next Back's batters swung so hard he almost fell over)

Just one stiff pitch in the other guy's back, that's all we ask #39. Make them think again and those long balls will diminish

I agree completely. Go inside. Real inside. Enough to let them know you are going to own that part of the plate. Harang's too 'nice' out here. About the only gripe I have with him. Add a few tight fastballs, and a hit batsman once every 3 or 4 starts. Guys might be a bit more tentative about digging in on him. I don't buy the argument that you don't need to do that if you have the stuff and command. Pitching inside is part of a pitcher's stuff.

red-in-la
04-04-2008, 03:25 AM
That's because opposing hitters have no fear of Aaron. They all know they can dig in and lean over the plate because Harang never misses inside, much less throws a "purpose pitch" (Following the HRs on Monday one of the next Back's batters swung so hard he almost fell over)

Just one stiff pitch in the other guy's back, that's all we ask #39. Make them think again and those long balls will diminish

And maybe somehow arrange for Cueto to throw it......:eek:

mth123
04-04-2008, 05:38 AM
Valid point. Everyone wants a center fielder who can make the spectacular play, but what if you have that with a guy who can't get on base and bats leadoff to boot. Is there any real advantage with Paterson? I have no idea and don't have the energy and time to get into it. It would be an interesting research project. If you have a really good hitter (Josh Hamilton for instance) who doesn't have great range in center and you have a really good fielder (Patterson for example) who can't hit, how much does that contribute to a team's winning and losing?

Senior thesis anyone?

No research from me, but I will say this. The team's best pitchers are fly ball guys and kids. A flychaser in center field means hits turned into outs (as opposed to outs turned into hits which we see frequently in RF and more than occassionally in LF) and the cumulative effect that has on the entire staff over a season is hard to calculate. That hit converted to an out in a meaningless third inning situation could be the difference in the starter going 7 innings instead of 6 or the difference between a young kid's pitch count going from acceptable to over the limit to get his 6 or 7 innings in. I have to think that should help to protect the health of some of the team's prized possessions and I wonder how that impacts a bullpen short on guys who are effective in the middle. One less guy that needs to enter the game, fewer guys up and throwing even when they don't get in, etc. I'm guessing that the impact of that becomes pretty huge by the time late July and August role around. I admit I wanted Bruce to win the CF job and thought Patterson was a good signing because he added a LH bat for the bench that can play somewhere other than 1B and can add situational skills with speed and defense, but at this point, I'll take me some Patterson out there day in and day out (or at least against RHP).

As for the team overall, I'll stick to my theme that the starting pitching will be better than average and the offense will be ok. The bullpen is the major area of concern IMO and unless a guy from out of the blue (maybe Mike Lincoln) turns into a shut down 8th inning guy, I think we'll see more of what we saw last year. I think the Cordero signing was a good move, but no one else out there makes me comfortable when I see them on the mound with a ball in their hand. Weathers dropped off in a big way that didn't show in his ERA so much in the 2nd half last year and Burton has proven nothing more than that a guy can get hot for a few weeks. I do believe the Reds have some options to try, but most are in the minor leagues (McBeth, Roenicke, Viola, Fisher, maybe Lutz and Herrera too) and I'm not sure if the Reds will get around to them before its too late. Bill Bray taking a big step forward would help or maybe a deal for some also ran's decent middle guy could help (Damaso Marte anyone?). The Reds have a lot of depth in the pen and many guys who probably deserve to be in the big leagues, I'm just not convinced that it isn't a pen filled with 12th man on the staff types and lacking the middle inning reliabilty that a team needs to win over a long season.

I think the team is ready to contend now. The time frame moved forward with the acquisition of Volquez and Cueto's emergence a year sooner than expected. But, the team will need a dependable pen to keep them effective (and healthy) into the dog days. Hope that Weathers' second half of 2007 was more from the fatigue of carrying the staff for 3 months and not a general decline due to age, or that Mike Lincoln and his hard stuff are a revelation and another Krivsky blue light special, or that Todd Coffey has a big comeback in him. If one of those things happen, I'm guessing contention deep into September with a chance to sneak in. If more than one happens, play-offs are a legitimate goal.

bucksfan2
04-04-2008, 10:05 AM
Catcher - I really have a feeling that people on RZ want the next Jonny Bench as a catcher. They want a great offensive and defensive player and anything less will not satisfy them. If Valentine is the starting catcher then yes we have a problem. But if a guy like Bako is out there and the pitchers like throwing to him then I don't think the problem is as grave as people think it is. What was more important yesterday, Bako making Cueto comfortable on the mound or Bako going 1-3?

The Defense - It is improving. Patterson can really go get a ball. People may forget that Dunn was playing with a hurt knee last season that I believe was repaired this offseason. He also looks a little slimer which may help with his overall defense. Keppy is solid in the field. He doesn't have great range but is able to make the plays he should. Phillips is one of the best at 2b. EE and Votto are works in progress but I think they will progress as the season goes on.

The Pen - A guy like Cordero at the back end should remove a big monkey from the starting pitchers back. He should solidify the pen and it is still very early in the season to make snap judgements on how good or bad it will be. The one disappointment so far had been Coffey's propensity to work counts to 3-2. Merker was effective the other day because he got ahead of hitters and put them away. Coffey got ahead of hitters but didn't put the batters away.

HR's - I would imagine that most pitchers don't mind giving up solo home runs. I would actully think they would much rather give up a solo hr than a few hits and a run scored. A solo home run clears the bases and keeps in the starter in his windup.

princeton
04-04-2008, 10:12 AM
Bruce between a slenderer Dunn and the protozoan-like mobility of Griffey is just cheerleading for disaster.

It would make for a nice prank or Mother's Day special, but as a strategic concept it ranks with welcoming the Trojan Horse.

gotta do it at least once. Need to have it so that it can be mentioned when the third member fo the group makes the HoF ;). Maybe Cueto can give us a heads-up about when he's feeling lights-out and in no particular need of defense.

but I'm thinking more long-term, of course. If Dunn is really less immobile (and IF he gets re-signed), then if you can find a mobile RFer for 2009 and beyond (a RHHing version of Josh Hamilton...), then perhaps you can keep Bruce in CF for a few years. Especially if you've got a Gonzalez and a Phillips to steal a few outs for you defensively.

the Reds did play the kid in CF in Louisville's debut game. They remain intrigued.

I've no idea if Dunn maintains his headiness. But it's interesting to note that when Krivsky came in to the organization, the Reds were seen as having the dumbest atbats in the league (esp. Dunn, FeLo, Kearns. WMP, Casey).

the collective IQ really seems to have increased.

RFS62
04-04-2008, 10:45 AM
He's Come Undunn


Excellent.

That would be a nice song to play when he comes to the plate.

Chip R
04-04-2008, 11:02 AM
Catcher - I really have a feeling that people on RZ want the next Jonny Bench as a catcher. They want a great offensive and defensive player and anything less will not satisfy them. If Valentine is the starting catcher then yes we have a problem. But if a guy like Bako is out there and the pitchers like throwing to him then I don't think the problem is as grave as people think it is. What was more important yesterday, Bako making Cueto comfortable on the mound or Bako going 1-3?


I don't think that's necessairly fair. Who wouldn't want the next Bench? But I think most would be satisfied with a catcher who put up offensive numbers like Ross did in 2006 and actually be able to handle pitchers adequately, and be able to play decent defense. 2006 Ross could do all that except he had some problems holding on to throws to the plate.

Let's face it, we haven't had a guy like that in the organization for years now. LaRue may have been the closest but he had a problem with passed balls and his bat really went south in a hurry.

We have a real conundrum here. Javy isn't as bad as he was on Opening Day but he really doesn't handle pitchers well. But he can hit a little and has power. Bako can't hit water if he fell out of a boat but he's good defensively and pitchers like pitching to him. But is he the reason Cueto put up the line he did yesterday? If that's the case Bako should be catching till his legs fall off. We've seen NL Central teams reach the World Series and win it with guys like Yadi Molina and Brad Ausmus behind the plate so it's not necessary to have a big stick behind the plate.

But can we afford to have him catch regularly with guys like Patterson and Gonzo and (gasp) Castro in the lineup? But can we afford to give up up runs with our defense and Javy Valentin catching?

Cyclone792
04-04-2008, 11:21 AM
I will say one thing about Bako that's a nod in his favor. When Bako was with the Braves in 2000 and 2001, and then again when he was with the Cubs in 2004, he was Greg Maddux's preferred choice as a personal catcher. Maddux didn't particularly care for Javy Lopez while with the Braves, nor did he care for Michael Barrett all that much while with the Cubs. But Maddux and Bako worked very well together.

As far as I'm concerned, if Bako is able to work well with Cueto and/or Volquez and develop a rapport with them, then Valentin can be shown the door once Ross returns from his injury. I can deal with occasional spot starts from a weak hitting catcher if I know he's going to handle the kid pitchers fairly well.

Chip R
04-04-2008, 11:54 AM
As far as I'm concerned, if Bako is able to work well with Cueto and/or Volquez and develop a rapport with them, then Valentin can be shown the door once Ross returns from his injury. I can deal with occasional spot starts from a weak hitting catcher if I know he's going to handle the kid pitchers fairly well.


But the problem is, Ross hasn't hit anything since the ASB of 2006. Last year he had some of the consistantly worst swings I've ever seen.

Cyclone792
04-04-2008, 12:10 PM
But the problem is, Ross hasn't hit anything since the ASB of 2006. Last year he had some of the consistantly worst swings I've ever seen.

Oh I know. The catcher situation is one reason why I'm not disappointed that Alex Gonzalez is injured right now. Keppinger should provide better on-base ability than Gonzalez, and the bump in OBP from the shortstop position should help offset some of the abysmal hitting from the catcher spot.

If Gonzalez, Patterson, and Ross are all playing regularly and not getting on base, then that's when the offense will start to take a dip.

RedsManRick
04-04-2008, 12:14 PM
But the problem is, Ross hasn't hit anything since the ASB of 2006. Last year he had some of the consistantly worst swings I've ever seen.

Either Dave Ross has simply lost the ability to make solid contact, or he's been incredibly unlucky starting in the 2nd half of 2006. Given the first half of 2006, I don't think it's likely that his ability to hit just went away. While I'm wiling to believe he's suffered from some skill erosion, his BABIP numbers are below any reasonable level. Ross still has shown his patience and power. If his BABIP return even to the bottom end of reasonable, say the .260 range, he's suddenly a .235/.325/.465 bat, which eclipses what we can expect from Valentin. And if godforbid he gets a normal BABIP in the .290 range, we're looking at .255/.345/.510 which is a big boon to the lineup.

Then you consider that Ross has one of the best arms in the game. Valentin is a poor defensive catcher and his bat only plays because it comes from the catcher spot. He can't hit lefties to save his life (career .594 OPS vL) and his OPS vR is a hardly impressive .735. I just don't understand the Ross hate and Valentin love I see around here sometimes.



Valentin PA BA/OBP/SLG BABIP
2nd Half '06 77 .351/.377/.622 .364
2007 265 .276/.328/.387 .298
Total 342 .293/.339/.440 .313

Ross PA BA/OBP/SLG BABIP
2nd Half '06 157 .203/.325/.484 .221
2007 348 .203/.271/.399 .225
Total 505 .203/.288/.425 .224

Falls City Beer
04-04-2008, 12:27 PM
Either Dave Ross has simply lost the ability to make solid contact, or he's been incredibly unlucky starting in the 2nd half of 2006. Given the first half of 2006, I don't think it's likely that his ability to hit just went away. While I'm wiling to believe he's suffered from some skill erosion, his BABIP numbers are below any reasonable level. Ross still has shown his patience and power. If his BABIP return even to the bottom end of reasonable, say the .260 range, he's suddenly a .235/.325/.465 bat, which eclipses what we can expect from Valentin. And if godforbid he gets a normal BABIP in the .290 range, we're looking at .255/.345/.510 which is a big boon to the lineup.

Then you consider that Ross has one of the best arms in the game. Valentin is a poor defensive catcher and his bat only plays because it comes from the catcher spot. He can't hit lefties to save his life (career .594 OPS vL) and his OPS vR is a hardly impressive .735. I just don't understand the Ross hate and Valentin love I see around here sometimes.



Valentin PA BA/OBP/SLG BABIP
2nd Half '06 77 .351/.377/.622 .364
2007 265 .276/.328/.387 .298
Total 342 .293/.339/.440 .313

Ross PA BA/OBP/SLG BABIP
2nd Half '06 157 .203/.325/.484 .221
2007 348 .203/.271/.399 .225
Total 505 .203/.288/.425 .224


Who loves Valentin? :confused:

M2
04-04-2008, 12:29 PM
Who loves Valentin? :confused:

Nobody that I know of. Dave Ross? Javier Valentin? Paul Bako?

How about none of the above?

Raisor
04-04-2008, 12:47 PM
Nobody that I know of. Dave Ross? Javier Valentin? Paul Bako?

How about none of the above?

The Braves need a starter! Fogg for McCann!

http://b1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/00852/12/42/852252421_m.jpg

McCann's Cans

RedsManRick
04-04-2008, 12:59 PM
Who loves Valentin? :confused:

Perhaps not in this thread, but I've seen many a post about how he's a solid pinch hitting option and backup catcher and that Ross doesn't deserve a roster spot.

I still maintain that at least for 2008 there's no catcher out there who can be acquired without giving up significant value who represents an upgrade over what we're likely to get from Ross.

If we do got for a catcher, I hope it's somebody who represents a real upgrade. A 25 year old Brayan Pena who barely slugged .400 in the minors doesn't seem like much of a step up, nor does a 27 year old Gerald Laird (.246/.297/.377 in the majors). They're just younger. Certainly no-thanks to Michael Barrett -- we don't need just a different flavor of early 30's catcher on the downside of his career.

I'd much rather go trade Stubbs or Fransisco and Viola, or something along those lines, for Teagarden and get a long term solution in place.

Chip R
04-04-2008, 12:59 PM
Who loves Valentin? :confused:


Chicks.

Sea Ray
04-04-2008, 01:15 PM
I agree the offense is a concern but they do have options. For instance if Patterson continues to OPS .700 then they can go to Bruce in CF. If A Gon comes back and hits .240 they can go back to Keppinger. It's a fluid situation and a long season. Don't get worked up on a 3 game analysis.

BRM
04-04-2008, 01:21 PM
Chicks.

Javy puts Chicks in the seats.

bucksfan2
04-04-2008, 01:26 PM
I don't think that's necessairly fair. Who wouldn't want the next Bench? But I think most would be satisfied with a catcher who put up offensive numbers like Ross did in 2006 and actually be able to handle pitchers adequately, and be able to play decent defense. 2006 Ross could do all that except he had some problems holding on to throws to the plate.

Let's face it, we haven't had a guy like that in the organization for years now. LaRue may have been the closest but he had a problem with passed balls and his bat really went south in a hurry.

We have a real conundrum here. Javy isn't as bad as he was on Opening Day but he really doesn't handle pitchers well. But he can hit a little and has power. Bako can't hit water if he fell out of a boat but he's good defensively and pitchers like pitching to him. But is he the reason Cueto put up the line he did yesterday? If that's the case Bako should be catching till his legs fall off. We've seen NL Central teams reach the World Series and win it with guys like Yadi Molina and Brad Ausmus behind the plate so it's not necessary to have a big stick behind the plate.

But can we afford to have him catch regularly with guys like Patterson and Gonzo and (gasp) Castro in the lineup? But can we afford to give up up runs with our defense and Javy Valentin catching?

I think Bako starting over Valentine in Cueto's major league debut says a lot. Bako with a language barrier was chosen over Valentine who speaks Cueto's language. I would imagine Dusty went to Cueto and asked who he wanted to catch for him. Look at games in which Valentine catches and it seems from time to time he has no clue as to what the pitcher wants to throw.

I find it funny that the notion has been pitching and defense for so long and now that you have a catcher who helps both the pitching and defense the complaints turn offensive.

M2
04-04-2008, 02:39 PM
II find it funny that the notion has been pitching and defense for so long and now that you have a catcher who helps both the pitching and defense the complaints turn offensive.

Paul Bako does no such thing.

princeton
04-04-2008, 02:46 PM
I think Bako starting over Valentine in Cueto's major league debut says a lot. Bako with a language barrier was chosen over Valentine who speaks Cueto's language. I would imagine Dusty went to Cueto and asked who he wanted to catch for him..

edit:

probably lost a start because he looked bad on Opening Day.

gm
04-04-2008, 04:10 PM
And maybe somehow arrange for Cueto to throw it......:eek:

Johnny can fight his own battles. Aaron's the one who needs to elicit some jelly knees

KronoRed
04-04-2008, 04:39 PM
Paul Bako does no such thing.

Bako is a Castro.

Hoosier Red
04-04-2008, 04:45 PM
I thought it was a good post, and agree that there is at least the rationale for some concern with the offense. We've replaced one of the most dynamic catalysts of the 2007 offense (Hamilton and his 922OPS), with one of the biggest offensive blackholes in the league (Patterson career 711OPS).

That bodes for a possible downturn, before we even get into the effects of lineup construction, or what happens to Keppinger (our other table setting 2007 catalyst) when Gonzo returns, or who gets the majority nod between Hatteberg and Votto, or what happens if Dusty is impatient with EdE's scuffles in the field etc...

This offense might struggle, and it's never too soon to discuss potential areas of strength and weakness, in my opinion. This is an unusual team in that many aspects of it inspire the optimism that it's sum could be significantly greater than it's parts, while at the same time there exist many design flaws and visible question marks in almost every unit. Dunn and Griffey will get started soon, but I'm not certain this offense will be as potent as last year's model became as the season progressed.

So my friend and I were discussing the difference between Patterson and Hamilton and I asked for a breakdown based on the OPS.
He came back with the formula created for team run correlation vs. OPS.
runs = 2162.6 * OPS - 871.42
We broke it down on the basis of the individual who was starting to be about 1/11th of the PA's of the team.

Overall the correlation showed .100 of OPS equates to about 20 runs. So Patterson v. Hamilton costs the Reds roughly 38 runs.

Does this all make sense to everybody?