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View Full Version : The defense--you can't win with this...



Wheelhouse
05-26-2008, 01:38 AM
...no matter what your team OPS is.

Just for expediency's sake, I'll reduce the descriptions of Reds starters to four: plus, average, shaky and poor.

The current starters:

C Paul Bako: plus
1B Joey Votto: shaky
2B Brandon Phillips: plus
SS Jerry Hairston, Jr.: shaky
3B Edwin Encarnacion: shaky
LF Adam Dunn: poor
CF Corey Patterson: plus
RF Ken Griffey Jr.: average

So that's: 2 plus, 1 average, 3 shaky, and 1 poor. They are 5th worst in MLB in unearned runs with 26. They are 5th worst in MLB in errors with 36. Beautifully pitched games are being thrown away. It also contributes to a general sense of sloppiness that is now being equated with Reds baseball--it is, in a word, unentertaining. What's to be done?

IMO, one part of the answer is easy--replace Hairston with Janish, who is an average defender (and may be a plus, but we need to see him play to find out.)

reds44
05-26-2008, 01:52 AM
Griffey doesn't belong anywhere but poor.

mth123
05-26-2008, 01:53 AM
...no matter what your team OPS is.

Just for expediency's sake, I'll reduce the descriptions of Reds starters to four: plus, average, shaky and poor.

The current starters:

C Paul Bako: plus
1B Joey Votto: shaky
2B Brandon Phillips: plus
SS Jerry Hairston, Jr.: shaky
3B Edwin Encarnacion: shaky
LF Adam Dunn: poor
CF Corey Patterson: plus
RF Ken Griffey Jr.: average

So that's: 2 plus, 1 average, 3 shaky, and 1 poor. They are 5th worst in MLB in unearned runs with 26. They are 5th worst in MLB in errors with 36. Beautifully pitched games are being thrown away. It also contributes to a general sense of sloppiness that is now being equated with Reds baseball--it is, in a word, unentertaining. What's to be done?

IMO, one part of the answer is easy--replace Hairston with Janish, who is an average defender (and may be a plus, but we need to see him play to find out.)

Agree with the concept, but Griffey is in no way average. He is worse than poor and the primary culprit IMO.

RedsManRick
05-26-2008, 02:07 AM
Your scale is a bit odd given that there is one value above average and two values below it. But KG Jr is quite possibly the worst defender on the team and belongs in the poor category.

Wheelhouse
05-26-2008, 02:44 AM
So it seems to me that the most obvious move is trading Griffey, even for a low return, and plugging in Bruce, a plus defender, in RF for the next 15 years. But the question I'm interested in hearing opinions on are the tougher ones--how many streaky, big-stick hitters who play shaky or poor defense can a poor defensive team afford to have? In an absolute sense, Encarnacion makes up for his shaky defense with the bat. IMO you can afford to have a player like that when your team plays average defense. But in the Reds' case, it really makes the question much tougher. The same difficulty comes with Dunn, Griffey and Votto. I am in no way a Corey Patterson fan, but someone needs to be working the outfield by a means other than by telegram. The issues are severe and looking at offense alone is a poverty of thinking--when you are hideous in the defensive third of the game it really messes with offensive choices. I would consider moving Edwin, Dunn, and Griffey. For argument's sake, let's say that were done for NO RETURN--the lineup could ultimately be:

Keppinger 3B
Hairston LF
Bruce RF
Votto 1B
Phillips 2B
Bako C
Freel CF
Gonzalez SS

So with NO RETURN on the trades mind you, that's an entire lineup of plus defenders except for Votto who is shaky, but I expect him to improve. And yes, I do think Keppinger is a plus defender at 3rd. Would the offensive production go down? I don't know--consider Bruce to be Dunn's replacement even though he'd play Griffey's position. Do you think Jay Bruce will be as productive as Adam Dunn? I do. Keppinger's OPS is .819 next to Encarnacion's .754. Hairston's OPS is .796 next to Griffey's .718. Freel's .763 outclasses Patterson's .596. You possibly do lose some production with Gonzalez at SS. And I know we're talking numbers from 1/4 of a season here, and that I'm talking about moving a hall of famer (Griffey), a possible hall of famer (Dunn) and a guy who we've seen have an electric bat at times. I just want to show that it is possible to put together an excellent defensive team out of this roster--and that, with guys who have performed well at the plate this year.

Caveat Emperor
05-26-2008, 02:55 AM
Seriously, if you put Janish at SS full-time and send Griffey to the bench, the defense actually isn't too bad.

And, the correct statement is: "You can't win with this bullpen." Defense was like #5 on the list of Reds problems today.

Wheelhouse
05-26-2008, 03:08 AM
Seriously, if you put Janish at SS full-time and send Griffey to the bench, the defense actually isn't too bad.

And, the correct statement is: "You can't win with this bullpen." Defense was like #5 on the list of Reds problems today.

I wasn't posting about today, but since you want to address today, the bottom line is the 3 runs that won the game for SD were unearned.

mth123
05-26-2008, 03:48 AM
I posted this in another thread, but its how I'd approach things until better personnel can be acquired.

Implement a platoon system that is based on defensive needs (as opposed to RH/LH offensive match-ups based on the opposing starter). The Reds are a team with too many guys who are offense oriented (Freel, Hairston, Keppinger) but probably not good enough offensively to be worth a poor glove all the time (like say Dunn is). The Reds also have a couple guys who are plus defenders but iffy with the bat (Patterson, Janish). The team needs to find balance. The Reds have three fairly extreme fly ball starters in Harang, Arroyo and Cueto. When they are on the mound the team needs Patterson in CF (with Bruce in RF). Volquez, Belisle and until this year Fogg were more ground ball guys. When they pitch, Janish should play SS IMO. I think its obvious that the Reds need a lead-off guy who can get on base without completely killing the defense and switching these guys in and out seems to be the best plan. When the fly ball guys are on the mound, play Keppinger (Hairston for now) at SS and let him lead-off. Patterson plays CF and bats 7th. When the ground ball guys are out there, Janish plays SS and hits 7th with Freel (or Hairston) in CF in the lead-off spot. I think there is something to the RH/LH match-ups, but finding an offense/defense balance is more important at this point. With this plan filling the number 1 and 7 spots, the five core guys (Dunn, Bruce, EdE, Votto and Phillips) can bat 2 - 6. The catcher, of course, should always hit 8th on this team. I think this coupled with subbing Bruce for Griffey should greatly improve the team defense without completely conceding the offense. Until more two way players are acquired, its the best hope IMO.

The prerequisite is that Bruce replaces Griffey in RF.

buckeyenut
05-26-2008, 10:04 AM
Let's try this way. 1-5 scale where 5 = gold glove 1 = statue

C Paul Bako: 4
1B Joey Votto: 3
2B Brandon Phillips: 5
SS Jerry Hairston, Jr.: 1
3B Edwin Encarnacion: 3
LF Adam Dunn: 2
CF Corey Patterson: 4
RF Ken Griffey Jr.: 1

Where could you argue? Maybe Votto is a 2 rather then a 3, although I like his range and athleticism. Maybe EE is a 2 rather than a 3, although I think he has good range, offset by his throwing errors. Maybe Dunn is not a 2, although I'd argue up rather than down given his postition (LFers are not an elite class of defenders) and the fact his errors are down.

Kepp maybe is a 2 rather than Hairston's 1, but Janish is the real defensive answer there, probably a 4. Bruce is probably a 4 out in RF but good luck pulling that one off unless Jr is moved. If you slotted Bruce and Janish in, I think this is actually a good defensive team. Would we have enough offense? Doubtful, but given the numbers the front of the rotation is putting up, that might be OK. Really nice thing is that if you make those two moves, you only have one position (catcher) where you are a little older than you would like. Everyone else is relatively young.

Given that, I'd push for upgrades at CF and Catcher and make sure I brought Dunn back. In fact, I could even live with Patterson in CF in 2009 if he wasn't batting leadoff. Unfortunately, we don't have a decent leadoff option.

Rounding Third
05-26-2008, 10:16 AM
Plus/Minus System

Name (MLB Rank) Score

Joey Votto (5) +5
Brandon Phillips (10) +2
Edwin Encarnacion (29) -5
Adam Dunn (31) -5
Corey Patterson (1) +6
Ken Griffey Jr. (26) - 2

Just another point of reference for them. Patterson is great defensively like its been said before, anywhere but leadoff (and 3rd) and I'm almost ok with him.

flyer85
05-26-2008, 10:21 AM
RF Ken Griffey Jr.: average
:runawaycr

Blitz Dorsey
05-26-2008, 10:38 AM
It's got to be the worst across the board in MLB and that's not hyperbole. Amazingly bad. I bet if you did some research the Reds' bat boys might even lead the league in errors.

Blitz Dorsey
05-26-2008, 10:41 AM
Griffey is average defensively... for a broken-down, 38-year-old outfielder with zero range, zero speed and diminished instincts. But compared to all Major League RFs, he is far below average IMO.

Marc D
05-26-2008, 11:19 AM
Honest question, is it too simplistic to think that is the 4 corner guys were all hitting that a team could afford to carry all glove no hit types in CF, SS, 2B and C?

If so we are one step ahead by having a plus defender who can hit at 2B.

The problem as I see it through this simplistic prisim is that our RF spot isn't hitting enough(and left field just started hitting enough) to make this work. So if we could get a plus bat in RF that could also play good defense as an added bonus we should be a lot better off right? If we just had someone like that ready to go....


Seriously, Bruce to RF, Janish to SS and leave CP in CF(just not hitting 1st) would give you plus defense at every up the middle position as well as RF. EE and Votto are young and prone to mistakes but I can live with both. There is no need to worry about Defense from LF, we need the Donky's bat.

Rounding Third
05-26-2008, 11:25 AM
So essentially you want to have 3 #8 hitters? No, I don't think we can win with that. If Dusty actually puts our a correct batting order our number 6 hitter would be Paul Janish or Corey Patterson.

Also, SS is Kepp's position when he returns. And next year the team will look much different. So even less than a year in advance there were be changes at a lot of positions.

flyer85
05-26-2008, 01:28 PM
FRAA from BP

Votto +2
Phillips -8
Keppinger -6
Encarnacion -7
Dunn -3
Patterson -1
Jr -8

Not hard to figure why the Reds are last in MLB in defensive efficiency at .677

BCubb2003
05-26-2008, 01:40 PM
The classic way to build a team was "defense up the middle" even if they batted .220. Now the centerfielder has to be a slugger and the shortstop has to hit like Larkin. Second base is almost a corner position and it doesn't matter if the catcher can't throw.

Wheelhouse
05-26-2008, 03:37 PM
FRAA from BP

Votto +2
Phillips -8
Keppinger -6
Encarnacion -7
Dunn -3
Patterson -1
Jr -8

Not hard to figure why the Reds are last in MLB in defensive efficiency at .677

Wow. Whatever those stats are the metric is obviously ludicrous. Phillips and Jr both at -8, arbitrary!

RedlegJake
05-26-2008, 03:49 PM
Wow. Whatever those stats are the metric is obviously ludicrous. Phillips and Jr both at -8, arbitrary!

I agree.

Cedric
05-26-2008, 04:07 PM
Never been a defensive metric worth a damn, IMO. Won't ever be. Sadly the human eye might have to keep a small role in the process.

*BaseClogger*
05-26-2008, 04:20 PM
The defense--you can't win with this...no matter what your team OPS is.

A run scored is a run prevented... ;)

Ron Madden
05-26-2008, 04:22 PM
Never been a defensive metric worth a damn, IMO. Won't ever be. Sadly the human eye might have to keep a small role in the process.


I tend to agree with you about the defensive metrics that are now available.

mth123
05-26-2008, 05:14 PM
Never been a defensive metric worth a damn, IMO. Won't ever be. Sadly the human eye might have to keep a small role in the process.

Agree about the metrics.

Unfortunately, the eyes are clouded by perspective and bias. Out of curiousity, what is your take on the Reds defenders around the diamond?

Far East
05-26-2008, 07:29 PM
Would this be the best defense using the current 25 man roster?

1B-Hatteberg
2B-Phillips
SS-Janish
3B-Encarnacion
LF-Hairston
CF-Patterson
RF-Freel
C-Bako

BTW, I like Edwin's glove more than I like his offense. That is, at least until he learns (relearns) to hit the ball where it's pitched instead of trying to jerk everything over the LF fence... and learns to bunt.

membengal
05-26-2008, 07:50 PM
Jr. (and we fans) WISH he was "average". I would kill for "average" from him. He hasn't seen "average" since roughly late 2000. Pre-injuries.

*BaseClogger*
05-26-2008, 08:55 PM
Would this be the best defense using the current 25 man roster?

1B-Hatteberg
2B-Phillips
SS-Janish
3B-Encarnacion
LF-Hairston
CF-Patterson
RF-Freel
C-Bako

BTW, I like Edwin's glove more than I like his offense. That is, at least until he learns (relearns) to hit the ball where it's pitched instead of trying to jerk everything over the LF fence... and learns to bunt.

Bruce in RF and Votto at 1B IMO...

*BaseClogger*
05-26-2008, 09:08 PM
Here is my take on the defense. Feel free to critique, or post your own ratings using this system...

1-bad
2-poor
3-below-average
4-average
5-above-average
6-good
7-great

Catchers
Valentin 1
Ross 4
Bako 5

1B
Valentin 1
Hatteberg 3
Votto 3

2B
Freel 3
Hairston 3
Keppinger 5
Phillips 6

3B
Freel 3
Encarnacion 3
Keppinger 4

SS
Hairston 1
Keppinger 3
Phillips (just a guess) 3
Gonzalez 4
Janish 6

LF
Dunn 2
Hopper (what ever happened to him?) 3
Freel 4
Hairston 4

CF
Hopper 2
Freel 3
Hairston 3
Bruce 5
Patterson 5

RF
Griffey 1
Hopper 2
Freel 3
Hairston 3
Bruce 6

mth123
05-26-2008, 09:16 PM
Here is my take on the defense. Feel free to critique, or post your own ratings using this system...

1-bad
2-poor
3-below-average
4-average
5-above-average
6-good
7-great

Catchers
Valentin 1
Ross 4
Bako 5

1B
Valentin 1
Hatteberg 3
Votto 3

2B
Freel 3
Hairston 3
Keppinger 5
Phillips 6

3B
Freel 3
Encarnacion 3
Keppinger 4

SS
Hairston 1
Keppinger 3
Phillips (just a guess) 3
Gonzalez 4
Janish 6

LF
Dunn 2
Hopper (what ever happened to him?) 3
Freel 4
Hairston 4

CF
Hopper 2
Freel 3
Hairston 3
Bruce 5
Patterson 5

RF
Griffey 1
Hopper 2
Freel 3
Hairston 3
Bruce 6


Mostly agree. I'd give Ross a 2 and Griffey a -5. Freel would probably get a 4 in RF. He has a good arm and should rank ahead of Hairston out there.

RedlegJake
05-26-2008, 11:38 PM
Here is my take on the defense. Feel free to critique, or post your own ratings using this system...

1-bad
2-poor
3-below-average
4-average
5-above-average
6-good
7-great


I added a "trending" marker. Is it a kid who can be expected to get better +, a veteran who is heading down - , or #a guy who is steady what you see is what you get for the forseeable future. Then I modified the numbers to my own opinion, bolding the changes.

Catchers
Valentin 1-
Ross 3-
Bako 4#

1B
Valentin 1-
Hatteberg 3#
Votto 3+

2B
Freel 3-
Hairston 3+ (given a chance to play there regularly)
Keppinger 4#
Phillips 6#

3B
Freel 3-
Encarnacion 3+ (plus only because he can make great plays)
Keppinger 4#

SS
Hairston 1+ (could get better as in he could become poor instead of bad)
Keppinger 3# (range prevents him from ever getting better)
Phillips (just a guess) 4+ (he'd be fine if he played SS regularly)
Gonzalez 4- declining with age
Janish 5+/- too soon to tell really

LF
Dunn 2# I don't see him worse than below average in comp to other LFers who are usually an adventurous bunch out there
Hopper (what ever happened to him?) 4# if he got a chance to play he'd be avg
Freel 3#
Hairston 3+ given regular OF play I think he'd get better

CF
Hopper 3#
Freel 3- age is going to take away some of his range and he already takes bad routes
Hairston 3+
Bruce 5+
Patterson 6#

RF
Griffey 1-
Hopper 3#
Freel 3#
Hairston 3#
Bruce 6+/-

The_jbh
05-27-2008, 12:09 AM
I am with those who still wouldn't mind Patterson in CF if he was hitting 7th or 8th... I like his glove and his gun out there. I think he gets to more balls than anyone out there. I think this squad would be strong defensively

C Bako
1B Votto
2B Phillips
SS Janish
3B EE
LF Dunn
CF Patterson
RF Bruce

I put Votto EE and Dunn all at average. I think people need to get over this notion that Dunn is a miserable fielder. He is an average LFer... his averageness is just highlighted by horrible CFs. I think a lot of Dunn's improved D this year has been having a real CF next to him (Patterson). THe LF in the NL is generally the guy in there to hit the ball and catch things hit with 10 feet of him.

M2
05-27-2008, 01:03 AM
I like Patterson's glove, but not even Devon White's defense justified a sub-.600 OPS.

Blitz Dorsey
05-27-2008, 02:41 AM
Patterson is very good defensively, but he's not tracking many (if any) balls down that Jay Bruce won't get to. Bruce will eventually be a RF, but right now as a 21-year-old rookie, he will be a good CF IMO. He is fast, good instincts, good arm, no reason he can't be an above average defensive CF, someone even better than Josh Hamilton who is a fine defensive CF. Bruce has more speed than Hammy and just as good of an arm.

Bye-bye Corey Patterson. Enjoy Louisville.