PDA

View Full Version : Pitching duo shine in debut (article on Mike Leake and Travis Wood)



OnBaseMachine
03-06-2010, 10:41 PM
Pitching duo shine in debut
By C. Trent Rosecrans, CNATI.com Posted March 6, 2010 8:11 PM ET

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Nobody Tweeted a pitch-by-pitch account of the spring debut of Travis Wood or Mike Leake, but had they, the superlatives would have been tough to keep to 140 characters.

Overshadowed by the uproar over Aroldis Chapman have been the Reds' No. 1 pick from last season and last season's Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The hype around Chapman has been loud - and deservedly so, it should be noted by one of the hipsters - but Leake and Wood are as much a part of the Reds' promising pitching future. They may also be just as close to appearing at Great American Ball Park as Chapman.

Wood, 23, and Leake, 22, both made their spring debuts in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Indians at Goodyear Ballpark, and neither gave up as much as a hit.

"It was the first time I saw Wood in action and he threw it good," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Leake, he threw the ball equally as good as Wood. He moved it around, changed speeds. He's got an idea of what he's doing for such a young pitcher. Both of those young guys threw the ball good today."

Wood entered the game in fifth inning, and while some Indian starters were out, he did face Shin-Soo Choo. After getting Luis Rodriguez to ground out weakly back to him to start the inning, the lefty Wood threw left-handed hitting Choo a cut fastball that fooled the Indians' outfielder and resulted in a check swing for strike one. Then on a 2-2 count, Choo grounded out harmlessly to second base. He then struck out Lonnie Chisenhall on three straight pitches.

He walked the first batter he faced in the sixth inning, but got the next batter, Shelly Duncan to ground into a double play and then a fly ball to right to end his day.

There were no fireworks or desperate looks at radar guns, but it was an effective and impressive performance. It's pretty much what Wood had been looking for.

"I went into last year with a brand-new mindset, I'm not going to give in, I'm not going to give the hitters too much credit. I'm going to go right after them, let my guys behind me do their work and we're going to win ballgames," Wood said before Saturday's game.

That was new, said his catcher on Saturday and for most of his professional career, Chris Denove.

Denove said before last season, Wood threw everything off his changeup, but last year he changed his approach, got more aggressive and started everything off his fastball and cutter.

The results were staggering. In 2008, he went 4-9 with a 7.09 ERA for Class AA Chattanooga. In 2009, Wood was 9-3 with a Southern League-record 1.21 ERA in 19 starts for the Class AA Carolina Mudcats. He was named MiLB.com's Class AA Starter of the Year, the Southern League's Most Outstanding Pitcher and a Class AA All-Star by both Topps and Baseball America.

The results were pretty much the same in his first Cactus League start and his first-ever game against big leaguers.

"It's déjà vu," Denove said. "It was like every game last year. It's the way we work."

It's also the way Leake works - and worked on Saturday. Drafted with the No. 8 overall pick in last year's draft out of Arizona State, where he was named the 2009 National Player of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a unanimous All-American selection and a Golden Spikes Award finalist.

Leake debuted last season in the Arizona Fall League, starting five games and going 1-2 with a 1.37 ERA in six total appearances.

Still, Saturday was different, he admitted. It was his first start in a Reds uniform. His outing was just an inning, but it was eerily similar to Wood's first inning - a grounder back to the mound, a strikeout and a groundout to second.

"I want as quick as innings as you can get. I'm a ground-ball pitcher, that's how I stay in games," Leake said. "You'll know when I'm having a bad game because you'll see more fly balls and groundballs. When there's groundballs, it means I'm doing something right."

It's why Leake has been earmarked for the fast-track to the big leagues since being drafted.

Mike Leake fields a bouncing ground ball against the Indians in Goodyear Park. Photo by Brian Baker"I haven't caught Leake in a game yet, but from what I've seen in bullpen sessions, he's real good with what he's got. That's all you can ask for from a baseball player, you're given your ability, what can you do with it," Denove said. "Leake is as polished I've seen coming out of college. He commands both side of the plate with most of his pitches and that's going to get a lot of hitters out. He knows how to set up hitters, and that's a real big deal."

New Reds pitching coach Bryan Price has liked what he's seen from the duo so far. Price, an Arizona resident, watched Leake in the Arizona Fall League and has watched Wood closely since he reported to Goodyear early.

"I haven't had a great taste of exactly what they're capable of doing, so I'd rather not say, but from what they've accomplished, what Wood was able to do over the course of last season and what Mike was able to do over the course of his college career and Arizona Fall League, these guys are going to challenge soon," Price said. "I'm not going to say anything about this year's club, there's nobody in this room that already has no chance at making the club -- not that it's my decision -- but I'm not thinking about whether either of these guys are going to start in the minor leagues. That's not in my mind. My interest is to decide and come to my own conclusion if that I could stand up and say this guy could help us at the big league level now.

"We'll have to see what Dusty and Walt and the rest of the coaching staff say. I just want to see them pitch, I'd like to have them as long as possible and really make a push for a shot on our roster. I'd like all our guys to do that, but they have to get a result, but these two came out and set a real high bar for themselves in their first game."

That bar is as high as anyone's now. Both pitcher do it differently than the sexy fireballer, but that doesn't mean either have mediocre stuff, Price said.

"I think both of them have plenty of fastball. When you put them up against Cueto or Chapman or Cordero, guys that power the ball, the similarities aren't there," Price said. "However, they both have plenty enough fastball. Neither one has to apologize for their velocity for any means. They can sink it or cut it and add or subtract velocity from their fastball and they both have outstanding changeups. And then you just pitch. What they do is they execute pitches. From their bullpen routines through their first games, they've done just that. They've been really clean with their deliveries and made a lot of good pitches over the course of the early part of the spring. They've impressed everybody."

http://cnati.com/spring-training-2010/pitching-duo-shine-in-debut-001448/

Spring~Fields
03-06-2010, 11:04 PM
The more I read and see about these young pitchers the more excited and optimistic I am about them. There is a different feel and sense about this group in comparison to the past decade. I don’t think it is just hope or emotions either. For so long we as Reds fans had nothing much to look forward to but some offense, while pitching and defense seemed like something to be passive or apathetic about. But this group and what we read and see seems to be really something to get safely excited, optimistic and really happy about, without some future major disappointment coming along to spoil it, at least so far.

I love offense, but baseball is really nice when our favorite team has good pitching and defense. What's it been since what, 1990? Seems like two lifetimes ago.

REDblooded
03-07-2010, 03:45 AM
That was new, said his catcher on Saturday and for most of his professional career, Chris Denove.

Denove said before last season, Wood threw everything off his changeup, but last year he changed his approach, got more aggressive and started everything off his fastball and cutter.

This part should explain why we shouldn't expect 09 to have been a fluke year for Wood...

camisadelgolf
03-07-2010, 12:30 PM
Travis Wood was all but written off after 2008. Homer Bailey was looking like a bust going into the second half of 2009. Logan Ondrusek was on the verge of being cut going into last season. Thanks to adding just one pitch, we are seeing players' careers revived left and right, which I don't think we would've seen during the JimBo and DanO days. The Reds have always had prospects, but it wasn't until recently that we started to see the Reds' prospects actually 'develop'. I'm glad the Reds finally have coaches who can actually help develop the pitchers, and there is finally reason for optimism when it comes to the pitching.

Caveat Emperor
03-07-2010, 12:31 PM
The nice thing about pitching depth is that it lets your pitchers progress naturally through the system. The good ones stick around and get better, the bad ones weed themselves out as the competition level gets higher.

Consequently, the Reds high-minors are now stocked with multiple arms that project to be big-league contributors as opposed to the recent past, where anyone with a fastball that could find the plate was fast-tracked for Cincinnati.

REDblooded
03-07-2010, 01:25 PM
Travis Wood was all but written off after 2008. Homer Bailey was looking like a bust going into the second half of 2009. Logan Ondrusek was on the verge of being cut going into last season. Thanks to adding just one pitch, we are seeing players' careers revived left and right, which I don't think we would've seen during the JimBo and DanO days. The Reds have always had prospects, but it wasn't until recently that we started to see the Reds' prospects actually 'develop'. I'm glad the Reds finally have coaches who can actually help develop the pitchers, and there is finally reason for optimism when it comes to the pitching.

Issue is, it really didn't come from the coaches... Bailey attributed a ton of his improvement from the TX Longhorns coach working with him... Didn't Wood pick up his cutter from another pitcher in the organization?

camisadelgolf
03-07-2010, 01:54 PM
Issue is, it really didn't come from the coaches... Bailey attributed a ton of his improvement from the TX Longhorns coach working with him... Didn't Wood pick up his cutter from another pitcher in the organization?
I think you're thinking of Bailey, who learned the splitter from Justin Lehr. As for Wood, he scrapped his curveball in favor of a cutter in an effort to make his changeup more effective. I'm not sure if someone suggested that to him, or if it was all on his own, though.

Logan Ondrusek learned his cutter from Tom Brown. Oddly enough, his cutter has more velocity than his fastball, which is why he went from almost being cut to being a legitimate prospect. He has always been effective against righties but would get crushed by lefties. Now, you can argue that he's just as good against both because his cutter goes away from the barrel of bats and in on the hands of left-handers.

dougdirt
03-07-2010, 02:46 PM
Oddly enough, his cutter has more velocity than his fastball, which is why he went from almost being cut to being a legitimate prospect.

Not sure where you got this at, but it goes against what I have seen and read. His cutter is mid 80's. Fastball is 88-91.

camisadelgolf
03-07-2010, 03:31 PM
Not sure where you got this at, but it goes against what I have seen and read. His cutter is mid 80's. Fastball is 88-91.
I should've worded that better. It's not consistently faster than his four-seamer, but it's not unusual at all for it to be 1 or 2 MPH faster, which helped make him more effective. Lefties would think a fastball was coming, and then the ball would cut toward their hands and cause them to weakly ground out.

Where is your fastball data from? I believe his velocity is better now than it was a few years ago.

fearofpopvol1
03-07-2010, 04:12 PM
Travis Wood was all but written off after 2008. Homer Bailey was looking like a bust going into the second half of 2009. Logan Ondrusek was on the verge of being cut going into last season. Thanks to adding just one pitch, we are seeing players' careers revived left and right, which I don't think we would've seen during the JimBo and DanO days. The Reds have always had prospects, but it wasn't until recently that we started to see the Reds' prospects actually 'develop'. I'm glad the Reds finally have coaches who can actually help develop the pitchers, and there is finally reason for optimism when it comes to the pitching.

This just goes to show you that you have to be patient and try different things to bring out the best in pitchers. I don't think this would have happened in the Jimbo or Dan-O days either. I think they would've gotten impatient/frustrated and sold them low to other teams.

OnBaseMachine
03-07-2010, 04:54 PM
Wood & Leake
Posted by jfay March 7th, 2010, 3:38 pm

It’s hard not to lump Mike Leake and Travis Wood together. They’re both in camp for the first time. Both are slightly (Wood is 5-11, 163 pounds; Leake is 6-1, 190 pounds). And both rely on savvy and control more than power.

Leake was 16-1 with a 1.71 ERA last year at Arizona State. Wood was 14-5 with a 1.77 ERA last year in the minors.

There are differences. Wood is left-hander and was a second-round pick out of high school. He’s pitched in 106 minor league games. Leake is right-handed and was a first-round pick out of college. He’s pitched in no minor league games.

Both were impressive in the spring debuts yesterday.

Wood went two innings, striking out one and walking one. Leake went a perfect inning with a strikeout.

“Absolutely, it’s always good to go out there and pitch well,” Wood said. “To get that first one of the way, it takes a load off. Now, you just keep going day to day and get better.”

Wood and Leake both took their debuts in stride.

“I wasn’t really nervous,” Wood said. “It’s another game. You got out and try to get them out.”

“I didn’t really feel different,” Leake said. “Pitching is pitching. You just want to get them out as fast as you can to minimize pitches. Camp’s been fun to get to know guys and see what it’s like,” Leake said. “When I younger, I dreamed of being at this point.”

Neither has much of a shot of making the club out of spring. But I think you’ll see one of both in big leagues this year or next.

http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/

Scrap Irony
03-07-2010, 05:53 PM
Does it bother anyone else that Leake is characterized as someone short on stuff? He can bring his in the mid-90's, his stuff is fairly filthy, and his curve is strong.

But, because he chooses to throw low 90's with his fastball so that he gets that pretty serious movement, he gets lumped into that BOR pile o' meh.

He's got not just good stuff, but great stuff.

dougdirt
03-07-2010, 06:16 PM
Where is your fastball data from? I believe his velocity is better now than it was a few years ago.

From watching him pitch last season.

OnBaseMachine
03-07-2010, 06:23 PM
From watching him pitch last season.

Are you guys talking about Ondrusek or Wood? I know Wood is in the 88-91 mph range but I thought Ondrusek threw in the low-to-mid 90's?

dougdirt
03-07-2010, 06:25 PM
Are you guys talking about Ondrusek or Wood? I know Wood is in the 88-91 mph range but I thought Ondrusek threw in the low-to-mid 90's?

I thought we were talking about Wood, but I apparently I shouldn't watch MacGyver while posting on Redszone. If we were talking Ondrusek, then he is 92-94 with the ability to get up to 97.

OnBaseMachine
03-07-2010, 06:31 PM
Does it bother anyone else that Leake is characterized as someone short on stuff? He can bring his in the mid-90's, his stuff is fairly filthy, and his curve is strong.

But, because he chooses to throw low 90's with his fastball so that he gets that pretty serious movement, he gets lumped into that BOR pile o' meh.

He's got not just good stuff, but great stuff.

Agreed. I have a great feeling about Leake. He's got four quality pitches with great movement and plus-plus command. I think he's gonna be a well above average major league starter, and soon. I expect him to start the season in Double-A Carolina, move up to Louisville for a while, and then reach Cincy sometime later in 2010.

Benihana
03-07-2010, 06:43 PM
I'm beginning to think this year might be a great time to trade Travis Wood, especially if the other youngsters (Chapman, Bailey, Cueto, and Leake) continue to impress. Wood's value may never get much higher than this. Packaged with Alonso, he could bring back some real talent in June or July (maybe a young, high-ceiling LF, SS, or C.) Keep an eye out...

camisadelgolf
03-07-2010, 07:12 PM
I thought we were talking about Wood, but I apparently I shouldn't watch MacGyver while posting on Redszone. If we were talking Ondrusek, then he is 92-94 with the ability to get up to 97.
I was talking about Ondrusek. :beerme:

dougdirt
03-07-2010, 07:42 PM
I was talking about Ondrusek. :beerme:

I see that one now. I blame MacGyver for being such a good show for that one.

TRF
03-07-2010, 08:55 PM
really? MacGyver?

*shakes his head sadly.

:)

Chip R
03-07-2010, 09:27 PM
I see that one now. I blame MacGyver for being such a good show for that one.

http://simpsonleblog.s.i.pic.centerblog.net/he2ney9a.jpg

membengal
03-07-2010, 10:01 PM
Does it bother anyone else that Leake is characterized as someone short on stuff? He can bring his in the mid-90's, his stuff is fairly filthy, and his curve is strong.

But, because he chooses to throw low 90's with his fastball so that he gets that pretty serious movement, he gets lumped into that BOR pile o' meh.

He's got not just good stuff, but great stuff.

This. Entirely this. Leake's got borderline filthy stuff from all accounts. You don't have to throw 98 to have plus stuff.

Caveat Emperor
03-07-2010, 10:38 PM
I'm beginning to think this year might be a great time to trade Travis Wood, especially if the other youngsters (Chapman, Bailey, Cueto, and Leake) continue to impress. Wood's value may never get much higher than this. Packaged with Alonso, he could bring back some real talent in June or July (maybe a young, high-ceiling LF, SS, or C.) Keep an eye out...

This isn't a bad thought at all.

Even assuming the Reds deal (or decline the 2011 options on) Arroyo & Harang, the Reds "rotation of the future" probably looks a lot like:

1. Edinson Volquez
2. Johnny Cueto
3. Homer Bailey
4. Aroldis Chapman
5. Mike Leake

Now, it's never a certainty that all 5 of those players will be healthy and productive enough to pencil-in as starters for 2011 and beyond, but that's the picture you're looking at right now.

Wood feels like the odd man out, at this point. He strikes me as the perfect candidate to move now, while his value is high as a prospect, to bring back something needed to the system. It'd be a very Jocketty-type move.

Sea Ray
03-07-2010, 10:42 PM
I'm beginning to think this year might be a great time to trade Travis Wood, especially if the other youngsters (Chapman, Bailey, Cueto, and Leake) continue to impress. Wood's value may never get much higher than this. Packaged with Alonso, he could bring back some real talent in June or July (maybe a young, high-ceiling LF, SS, or C.) Keep an eye out...


I disagree. This rotation needs another left hander especially one that's not a power guy. We need a Fred Norman, Tom Browning type to pair with power guys like Cueto, Chapman, Bailey and Volquez. Some teams are fastball hitting machines and you need to throw them junk to screw up their timing. For example it's my guess that Paul O'Neill would hit a guy like Homer Bailey much better than a guy like Travis Wood.

Sea Ray
03-07-2010, 10:44 PM
This isn't a bad thought at all.

Even assuming the Reds deal (or decline the 2011 options on) Arroyo & Harang, the Reds "rotation of the future" probably looks a lot like:

1. Edinson Volquez
2. Johnny Cueto
3. Homer Bailey
4. Aroldis Chapman
5. Mike Leake

Now, it's never a certainty that all 5 of those players will be healthy and productive enough to pencil-in as starters for 2011 and beyond, but that's the picture you're looking at right now.

Wood feels like the odd man out, at this point. He strikes me as the perfect candidate to move now, while his value is high as a prospect, to bring back something needed to the system. It'd be a very Jocketty-type move.


As we know, all the starters rarely stay healthy but if they all do look healthy I'd look to trade either Volquez or Cueto before Wood, assuming Wood is ready to pitch every 5th day in the big leagues. That would lead to a more balanced rotation and would save some $$ to boot.

OnBaseMachine
03-07-2010, 10:56 PM
Who cares about a balanced rotation. Give me the five best arms even if it means five RHP or five LHP. There's no way I trade Cueto or Volquez just to "balance" out the rotation.

Ron Madden
03-07-2010, 11:02 PM
Who cares about a balanced rotation. Give me the five best arms even if it means five RHP or five LHP. There's no way I trade Cueto or Volquez just to "balance" out the rotation.

I'm with OBM on this one.

Benihana
03-07-2010, 11:45 PM
I disagree. This rotation needs another left hander especially one that's not a power guy. We need a Fred Norman, Tom Browning type to pair with power guys like Cueto, Chapman, Bailey and Volquez. Some teams are fastball hitting machines and you need to throw them junk to screw up their timing. For example it's my guess that Paul O'Neill would hit a guy like Homer Bailey much better than a guy like Travis Wood.

We have a guy that will counterbalance the flamethrowers- his name is Mike Leake.

He's not left handed, but I'll echo the others on the balanced rotation. The 5 best arms are what's important, especially if/when you have a lefty like Chapman.

Billy Beane might be interested in a guy like Travis Wood, and we know Walt likes dealing with him. Let's just hope he doesn't turn into a left-handed Dan Haren.

TheNext44
03-07-2010, 11:56 PM
You can never have enough pitching. No need to discuss trading any starting pitcher that can contribute.

BCubb2003
03-08-2010, 12:14 AM
Does it bother anyone else that Leake is characterized as someone short on stuff? He can bring his in the mid-90's, his stuff is fairly filthy, and his curve is strong.

But, because he chooses to throw low 90's with his fastball so that he gets that pretty serious movement, he gets lumped into that BOR pile o' meh.

He's got not just good stuff, but great stuff.

What's the definition of stuff? I always thought it was movement, not pure velocity. Some guys can throw hard but straight and they get hit hard.

Benihana
03-08-2010, 12:36 AM
You can never have enough pitching. No need to discuss trading any starting pitcher that can contribute.

Yes there is. If the offense can't score any runs, you may want to consider dealing from your embarrassment of young pitching. Maybe not now, but in a couple months if everyone continues to improve...

If they could pull off a Volquez-Hamilton type deal, just in reverse, I'd be thinking about Travis Wood as our "Volquez" in that kind of deal.

Speaking of Hamilton, anyone catch this little tidbit:

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/03/cafardo-on-hamilton-beckett-jackson.html

Maybe we could trade Wood for Hamilton :cool:

corkedbat
03-08-2010, 01:12 AM
Wonder if the Phillies would be interested in Wood. They have several RH-hitting OFs I wouldn't mind taking a shot at. I'm kind of leary about Hamilton.

Benihana
03-08-2010, 01:19 AM
Wonder if the Phillies would be interested in Wood. They have several RH-hitting OFs I wouldn't mind taking a shot at. I'm kind of leary about Hamilton.

Problem is, I'm not sure if the Phillies are interested in trading Major League ready OF's for a pitcher who may or may not be major league ready. Plus, I'm not sure what Wood brings to the table that JA Happ doesn't.

I would also be leery of Hamilton, I was half joking when I brought him up. One interesting possibility could be an ex-Phillie, Michael Taylor, although he's already been traded twice this offseason. As I mentioned before, Walt loves to deal with the A's, and Taylor is not going to start with the big club. We'd most likely have to give up more than Wood for Taylor, but I'd be interested in expanding the deal. The A's have a lot of pieces I'd be interested in, including Grant Green (who can't be traded until June.) Sure they just drafted him less than a year ago, but they also have another first round middle infield prospect in Jemile Weeks. Alonso could replace the power-hitting corner IF void left in their system with the departure of Brett Wallace.

Yonder Alonso, Travis Wood, and Logan Ondrusek for Michael Taylor and Grant Green? Maybe throw in Devin Mesoraco or even Juan Francisco if need be (although I doubt Beane would be interested in him.) Not necessarily a move to make right now, but could be interesting to approach in June or July provided:

-Chapman and Leake continue to progress
-Bailey and Cueto look good in the majors
-Volquez continues to rehab well
-Masset, Owings, and Burton show that they can handle the 8th and 9th for years to come
-Alonso doesn't show much aptitude outside of 1B
-Frazier shows he's more of an IF than an OF
-Balentien, Dickerson and Heisey don't emerge as answers to the LF problem
-Cozart doesn't blow the doors off in Louisville and Colon doesn't fall to the Reds in the draft
-Rajai Davis continues to impress in Oakland
-Matt Sweeney still leads the A's in AVG

Of course, at least half of these conditions won't come true, but hey, a guy can dream with a vivid imagination, right?

corkedbat
03-08-2010, 02:43 AM
Problem is, I'm not sure if the Phillies are interested in trading Major League ready OF's for a pitcher who may or may not be major league ready. Plus, I'm not sure what Wood brings to the table that JA Happ doesn't.

I would also be leery of Hamilton, I was half joking when I brought him up. One interesting possibility could be an ex-Phillie, Michael Taylor, although he's already been traded twice this offseason. As I mentioned before, Walt loves to deal with the A's, and Taylor is not going to start with the big club. We'd most likely have to give up more than Wood for Taylor, but I'd be interested in expanding the deal. The A's have a lot of pieces I'd be interested in, including Grant Green (who can't be traded until June.) Sure they just drafted him less than a year ago, but they also have another first round middle infield prospect in Jemile Weeks. Alonso could replace the power-hitting corner IF void left in their system with the departure of Brett Wallace.

Yonder Alonso, Travis Wood, and Logan Ondrusek for Michael Taylor and Grant Green? Maybe throw in Devin Mesoraco or even Juan Francisco if need be (although I doubt Beane would be interested in him.) Not necessarily a move to make right now, but could be interesting to approach in June or July provided:

-Chapman and Leake continue to progress
-Bailey and Cueto look good in the majors
-Volquez continues to rehab well
-Masset, Owings, and Burton show that they can handle the 8th and 9th for years to come
-Alonso doesn't show much aptitude outside of 1B
-Frazier shows he's more of an IF than an OF
-Balentien, Dickerson and Heisey don't emerge as answers to the LF problem
-Cozart doesn't blow the doors off in Louisville and Colon doesn't fall to the Reds in the draft
-Rajai Davis continues to impress in Oakland
-Matt Sweeney still leads the A's in AVG

Of course, at least half of these conditions won't come true, but hey, a guy can dream with a vivid imagination, right?

Sign me up! :thumbup:

fearofpopvol1
03-08-2010, 04:30 AM
I would not trade Wood. You can never have enough (starting) pitching. Every pitcher is 1 pitch away from an injury. He will have his uses if he's good.

The only way you trade Wood is if he's a mirage and he's not going to be any good. In that case, sell high now.

Sea Ray
03-08-2010, 12:42 PM
Who cares about a balanced rotation. Give me the five best arms even if it means five RHP or five LHP. There's no way I trade Cueto or Volquez just to "balance" out the rotation.

I'm hoping there are other GMs out there who agree with you. That would make the return on such a trade all the greater. As a GM I'm looking for folks who fall in love with the radar gun.

Of course this is all hypothetical at this point. We don't know which is the real Cueto, how Volquez will return and whether Wood can fool big league hitters, but if they all produce, that's how I'd handle it.

OnBaseMachine
03-08-2010, 12:46 PM
I'm hoping there are other GMs out there who agree with you. That would make the return on such a trade all the greater. As a GM I'm looking for folks who fall in love with the radar gun.

Of course this is all hypothetical at this point. We don't know which is the real Cueto, how Volquez will return and whether Wood can fool big league hitters, but if they all produce, that's how I'd handle it.

I'm pretty sure most of the GM's would take the five best arms no matter what hand they throw with.

Hypothetically speaking, you're given the choice between a rotation consisting of five above average RHP or a rotation with four above average RHP and one average or below average LHP. Give me the five RHP any day of the week.

Sea Ray
03-08-2010, 02:56 PM
I'm pretty sure most of the GM's would take the five best arms no matter what hand they throw with.

Hypothetically speaking, you're given the choice between a rotation consisting of five above average RHP or a rotation with four above average RHP and one average or below average LHP. Give me the five RHP any day of the week.

If it was only about the best arms Luke Hudson and Brett Tomko never would have been traded.

If Travis Wood is a 10-14 pitcher with an ERA over 5 then I agree. He doesn't get a spot in this rotation. But let's say he's Jamie Moyer and he's a 14-10 guy with an ERA of 4.22. We can use a guy like that. We're never going to have 5 starting pitchers better than that.

In an ideal world I'd like to see a future Reds rotation include Chapman and a junk balling lefty like Wood or Maloney. If these guys are no better than Lance Davis then of course I don't want 'em but if they're legitimate LH starters in the big leagues then I want them pitching every 5th day.

I do think it is an advantage to be left handed in the big leagues. You take two pitchers with identical stuff, the left hander will have more strike outs and overall better numbers. For example Ron Villone has had a very nice career. He's been a .500 pitcher and has averaged over 7 Ks per 9 innings. A right handed pitcher with his stuff never would have hung around as long. Gabe White is another example of a guy who had a nice career because he was LH

RedsManRick
03-08-2010, 03:04 PM
Sure, their left-handedness might be the explanation for why they're effective when a righty with comparable stuff would not be. But I have to agree with OBM's bottom line point -- on a starting staff, handedness is irrelevant. Take the guys who are most effective, period, regardless of they achieve that success.

Focusing on specific types of players simply leads to you playing less effective players on the whole, be that in the rotation or with position players. If you want to use type as a tie-breaker, go for it, but beyond that it's a distraction from using production as the yardstick.

Benihana
03-08-2010, 04:51 PM
If it was only about the best arms Luke Hudson and Brett Tomko never would have been traded.

If Travis Wood is a 10-14 pitcher with an ERA over 5 then I agree. He doesn't get a spot in this rotation. But let's say he's Jamie Moyer and he's a 14-10 guy with an ERA of 4.22. We can use a guy like that. We're never going to have 5 starting pitchers better than that.

In an ideal world I'd like to see a future Reds rotation include Chapman and a junk balling lefty like Wood or Maloney. If these guys are no better than Lance Davis then of course I don't want 'em but if they're legitimate LH starters in the big leagues then I want them pitching every 5th day.

I do think it is an advantage to be left handed in the big leagues. You take two pitchers with identical stuff, the left hander will have more strike outs and overall better numbers. For example Ron Villone has had a very nice career. He's been a .500 pitcher and has averaged over 7 Ks per 9 innings. A right handed pitcher with his stuff never would have hung around as long. Gabe White is another example of a guy who had a nice career because he was LH

Key word being identical stuff. And I'm still not sure I agree with your premise.

Travis Wood will be somewhere in between the two extremes you described. My guess is he will be a guy that could win 10-12 games per year and have an ERA between 4.20 and 5.00. In other words, an average #4 starter or a great #5. Call him a younger, better Matt Maloney.

I certainly don't think he is as good as his performance over the last year indicated, and that's why I think he would be a good sell-high candidate, particularly if Chapman and Leake continue to show progress.

Come late June/early July, I'd be calling up Billy Beane and proposing that trade. It could make a lot of sense for both sides.

nate
03-08-2010, 05:14 PM
In theory, maybe you take the left-hander with "identical stuff" to the right-hander. The problem is, there is no "identical stuff" in the real world. Sure, we might _believe_ that "so and so lefty" has the same stuff as "so and so righty" because of career numbers and pitching speed. But I'm not sure one could classify them as identical.

Although maybe as more pitch FX data is gathered, we'll be able to put a more authoritative answer on things.

Sea Ray
03-08-2010, 05:27 PM
Key word being identical stuff. And I'm still not sure I agree with your premise.



And my premise was what? Let's make sure we're on the same page. The identical stuff comment said that if you take a LH and a RH with identical stuff the LH is more valuable. Are you disagreeing with that premise or another one?

TRF
03-08-2010, 05:36 PM
Not meaning to take this thread off course, but what is considered a good FIP?

See, I keep reading that Wood is a younger better version of Maloney, and after looking at Maloney's minor league career, he seems to be just the kind of LH starter the Reds have been looking for (sans Chapman)

nate
03-08-2010, 05:42 PM
Not meaning to take this thread off course, but what is considered a good FIP?

It's scaled so it resembles ERA in "familiarity." So, 4-ish is average-ish.

bucksfan2
03-08-2010, 05:45 PM
Sure, their left-handedness might be the explanation for why they're effective when a righty with comparable stuff would not be. But I have to agree with OBM's bottom line point -- on a starting staff, handedness is irrelevant. Take the guys who are most effective, period, regardless of they achieve that success.

Focusing on specific types of players simply leads to you playing less effective players on the whole, be that in the rotation or with position players. If you want to use type as a tie-breaker, go for it, but beyond that it's a distraction from using production as the yardstick.

In theory you take the top 5 arms and thats it. But in reality it gets much murkier. For example, had Volquez not been injured, the Reds rotation would have pretty much been set in stone. But with Volquez injury you have multiple players competing for that last rotation spot. If you going with pure stuff Chapman and Leake probably are you top two options, but they may need more refinement at the AA or AAA level. Then you have a group of pitchers that are ok, but nothing special in Maloney, Lehr, Wells, Owings, etc. with Wood being a wild card. If everything is equal, then handedness could come into play. If you face a lefty heavy lineup it would be nice to slot a lefty into that role. Would it benefit the Reds to throw a fireballer in Bailey and then a crafty lefty in Maloney/Wood the next day?

I think as long as the production is similar, handedness may play a role in the ultimate decision.

TRF
03-08-2010, 05:47 PM
So, 3.71 in 639.7 IP is decent then? A lot of people seem down on Maloney, and I just don't get it. He's got an out pitch, and seems to have figured out the sinker to an extent. Now if Chapman keeps having outings like today, it may be moot, but Maloney should be the front runner for the #5 starter.

nate
03-08-2010, 06:00 PM
So, 3.71 in 639.7 IP is decent then? A lot of people seem down on Maloney, and I just don't get it. He's got an out pitch, and seems to have figured out the sinker to an extent. Now if Chapman keeps having outings like today, it may be moot, but Maloney should be the front runner for the #5 starter.

Yeah, that's pretty good.

It's just that we haven't seen it translate to the big league level yet.

TRF
03-08-2010, 06:02 PM
I think we caught a glimpse at the end of the year. Small sample, sure, but a glimpse nonetheless.

Scrap Irony
03-08-2010, 07:27 PM
I think Maloney is a fine BOR starter.

I think Chapman can be an ace.

Hoosier Red
03-08-2010, 07:32 PM
I think we caught a glimpse at the end of the year. Small sample, sure, but a glimpse nonetheless.

I agree, if we're taking Homer's end of the year success as a signal that he's turned the corner, I don't know why we would do any differently with Maloney.

nate
03-08-2010, 08:31 PM
I agree, if we're taking Homer's end of the year success as a signal that he's turned the corner, I don't know why we would do any differently with Maloney.

Because Homer's tiny sample size was three times the size of Maloney's?

Hoosier Red
03-08-2010, 08:49 PM
That's true, though 4 of the 9 starts were against Pittsburgh. Obviously Homer has no control over who he's pitching against, but by the end of the year that Pittsburgh team was essentially a minor league team.

I think both end of the season runs should have a grain of salt with them, but if you want to leave Maloney with a larger grain I can appreciate that.

Cedric
03-08-2010, 08:58 PM
It's simple to me. Does a pitcher have enough "stuff" to duplicate or approach his minor league numbers at the highest level. We have seen plenty of Acevado/Reitsma/Elizardo type around here. It's one thing to get 20 outs against players with bad approaches at the plate, it's another to get those outs against players who force you to come into the strike zone.

dougdirt
03-08-2010, 10:18 PM
In theory, maybe you take the left-hander with "identical stuff" to the right-hander. The problem is, there is no "identical stuff" in the real world. Sure, we might _believe_ that "so and so lefty" has the same stuff as "so and so righty" because of career numbers and pitching speed. But I'm not sure one could classify them as identical.

Although maybe as more pitch FX data is gathered, we'll be able to put a more authoritative answer on things.

I don't think PFX can even really do it because while it shows us a release point, speed and movement, it doesn't show us how well a guy hides the ball, his arm action, his arm speed, whether he is tipping his pitches, whether he is hitting his spots, if he maximizes efficiency with mixing his pitches.... all other things that go into 'stuff' that PFX just isn't going to show us.

Ron Madden
03-09-2010, 03:56 AM
I believe production should always trump handedness in the case of pitchers and position players alike.

Sea Ray
03-09-2010, 10:59 AM
I believe production should always trump handedness in the case of pitchers and position players alike.

Production is fine and dandy but production is an after the fact deal. What execs have to do is project what the future holds in evaluating who to keep and who to move and they have to consider a lot of factors including salary, injury risk and handedness.

I believe in a balanced ball club. In a starting rotation you want a mix of RH/LH and a mix of power/finesse guys. I like the idea of having a Jamie Moyer in my rotation.

Of course all this is theory and how things will play out for the Reds remains to be seen. For now I'm saying that I'd love for a guy like Wood or Maloney pitch his way onto this 5 man rotation, but they do have to earn it, no question. The same holds true for Volquez when he comes back. He'll have to earn his spot back.

TRF
03-09-2010, 11:07 AM
I don't think Volquez will have to earn his spot back. I also don't think he pitches until September at the earliest. One or both of Arroyo/Harang are likely gone after this season. Next year's rotation is likely Bailey, Cueto, Volquez, Chapman and Wood/Maloney, depending on Maloney's 2010 season. If he (Maloney) wins double digit games and keeps his era around 4.00-4.20, he'll keep his spot. Volquez earned his spot with a 17 win season. He'll be 1 1/2 years removed from surgery, and at this point there is enough depth not to rush him back.

pahster
03-09-2010, 11:21 AM
I don't think Volquez will have to earn his spot back. I also don't think he pitches until September at the earliest. One or both of Arroyo/Harang are likely gone after this season. Next year's rotation is likely Bailey, Cueto, Volquez, Chapman and Wood/Maloney, depending on Maloney's 2010 season. If he (Maloney) wins double digit games and keeps his era around 4.00-4.20, he'll keep his spot. Volquez earned his spot with a 17 win season. He'll be 1 1/2 years removed from surgery, and at this point there is enough depth not to rush him back.

Don't forget about Leake.

TRF
03-09-2010, 11:36 AM
Don't forget about Leake.

I'm not. I think Leake doesn't have to be rushed. Let's let him throw a pitch as a professional first before annointing him to the rotation. I think Chapman's contract puts more pressure on the Reds to get him in Cincinnati. Leake might make his MLB debut in 2011, but I doubt he's a fixture in the rotation until 2012.

A lot hinges on how well Maloney does this year, IMO.

nate
03-09-2010, 12:47 PM
I don't think PFX can even really do it because while it shows us a release point, speed and movement, it doesn't show us how well a guy hides the ball, his arm action, his arm speed, whether he is tipping his pitches, whether he is hitting his spots, if he maximizes efficiency with mixing his pitches.... all other things that go into 'stuff' that PFX just isn't going to show us.

I'm not sure it can either.

But it will be fodder for discussions like this!

:cool: