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Chip R
03-17-2010, 11:03 PM
Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3-16-10. Lance McAllister was the host tonight and Jeff Brantley called in from Arizona. Lance asked Jeff what Cueto needs to do to take his pitching to the next level and if it can be done this year. Jeff said there is no doubt it can be accomplished but he has to have more confidence in his change-up. He said Cueto has hardly thrown any breaking balls during his ST starts. He has pretty much been working on locating his fastball and throwing the change-up. That is probably why heís given up a few more hits than he normally would have given up. Jeff also said that not playing winter ball will help his stamina out.

Lance asked if Dickerson is making it difficult for Dusty to make a decision on the starting CFer and would it be shocking if Dickerson won the job. Jeff said it wouldnít shock anyone except perhaps Stubbs. Jeff said there are a lot of guys in the OF mix and mentioned Frazier and Francisco are hitting very well - especially Francisco. Lance asked about Francisco and would it be fair to him to be the 5th OFer rather than have him get regular ABs in the minors. Jeff said that will be a tough decision to make and he feels that itís time for him to make the club. He said if heís ready, he needs to play every day against RHers. Jeff said these are going to be difficult decisions but thatís what itís all about.

Lance asked if Lincoln is one of the best 25 players and does his contract play into it. Jeff said it does and options do too. He said if you put a guy on waivers who doesnít have options, you may not get him back and said that is how the Reds got Balentien and it might be how they lose him. He said you try to keep your best 40 guys as close to you as you can and maybe Francisco goes down for a month or so. He said that if everything is equal, the guy who has options ends up in the minors. (Well, no duh. But usually everything isnít equal. Some guys have 2 million reasons why they will make the club.) He said thatís not really fair but thatís the way it goes.

Lance asked Jeff what he thought of Chapmanís 2nd outing compared to the 1st and does he feel better or has his excitement leveled off. Jeff said every time heís seen him throw he is continually shocked by his talent level both physically and mentally. Jeff said that he seems to under stand that he needs to put his best foot forward not only physically but mentally and emotionally. He said the Spanish speaking players - especially Hernandez - have expressed that to him and they feel he can contribute to the Reds making the playoffs and they are trying to help him put his best foot forward.

After commercial, the first caller asked about the bench and wanted to know why the Reds couldnít use younger guys like Francisco and Frazier for bench players. Jeff said that may end up being the case. He said if there is going to be a L/R platoon in LF with Gomes and another lefty hitter - be it Dickerson or Francisco - it wouldnít surprise him to see a platoon in CF with Stubbs going against lefties and Dickerson against righties. He said then you have a trio of lefties in the lineup and you can move the younger guys into the picture in the OF. He said a lot of stuff could happen by the end of ST - like injuries - and thatís what hurts Dickerson.

The next caller asked about Chapmanís mental capability. Jeff said he thinks he has all the tools to be successful in the big leagues and having several teammates who speak Spanish and Dusty being fluent in Spanish is a big plus. He said the Spanish speaking players hang out together and are taking care of Chapman. He said Chapman seems young but he is very mature for his age. Jeff stressed that he isnít just a kid out of high school or college. He has been playing for the Cuban national team in international tournaments for some time. Lance said that he has cleared a lot of hurdles like defecting and leaving his girlfriend and baby daughter behind so pitching to him may seem the easier part. Jeff agreed and said he pitched under a lot of pressure in Cuba and the pressure of pitching here isnít even close. (Just wait till he loses a couple of games and heíll feel the pressure of RedsZone turning on him ;) ) Jeff said heís enjoying what heís doing and having fun and he can be himself out there and not be a life and death situation.

The next caller asked if Harang would still make the team if Leake and Wood pitch better than he does in ST. Jeff said Harang is going to start on Opening Day unless he gets hurt. He sees him getting better not worse and heís making some mechanical adjustments that he should have made 2 years ago. (No thanks to Dick Pole) Jeff said he looks like the pitcher he was 2 years ago. He said he does understand where the caller is coming from in regards to Wood and Leake. He said if you saw Leake pitch in the game on Monday, you would have thought he looked like Tim Lincecum. He said he was mowing guys down like they werenít even there and doing it in 3-4 pitches. He said heís really close to being ready and so is Wood. He doesnít think either one will make the team but they arenít too far off.

After commercial, Lance said there are teams who have very good players on their team that donít want to or donít enjoy being a leader. He was struck by what Dusty said about Orlando Cabrera that heís a leader who doesnít mind being a leader. Jeff said he played against him when he first came up and he struck him as a player who took the game to the opponent like Votto, Rolen and Phillips. He said the other team doesnít miss that especially if youíre pitching and that guy is hitting with a runner at 3rd and you know that the guy at bat is going to do all he can to get that run in. Jeff said that even if a guy like Cabrera strikes out in that situation, he wonít pout about it. He will pull as hard as he can for the next guys up to drive that run in. Jeff said he approaches the game the same way whether he goes 0-4 or 4-4. He said heís going to play hard and give you everything he has. Jeff said that Walt is going to bring in that type of player more often. He said they are going to have that killer instinct when they step out on the field and losing will not be tolerated.

The next caller asked about a rumored trade with Arroyo going to the Mets in exchange for Gary Matthews, Jr. (Talk about an old rumor.) They both said it was an old rumor Walt shot down a long time ago.

The next caller asked if THE Reds might work Chapman out of the bullpen instead of having him be the 5th starter. Jeff said that he doesnít think they will use him as anything but a starter unless he shows he canít do it. He said thatís why they have been working so hard solidifying his mechanics. Jeff said they want him to be more pitch efficient and thatís a change in philosophy from what heís used to.

Lance asked if there is a spot for Owings on the Opening Day roster. Jeff said if there is it will be because of his bat. He said Owings can be the long man and if the 6th inning rolls around without him being used, he can be used as a pinch hitter. He said that will help him more than pitching well. (Hereís a serious question, should the Reds used him as a DH in a game or two in ST so he can get used to hitting off of real pitching?)

After commercial, Lance asked Jeff about the pitcher Logan Andrusek. Jeff said he made a huge jump last year in his confidence and his pitch repertoire. Heís developed a cutter and itís made him a strikeout pitcher. Heís been amazed by him and so have the scouts. They are amazed heís able to locate the ball low in the strike zone and heís getting strikeouts. Jeff said he looks awfully dominant.

The next caller asked what they think of the Reds letting their minor league players wear their socks however they want. He also asked if MLB should make a rule making it mandatory for players to show some of their socks while playing. (Where do they get these people?) Jeff said that itís probably better that they are comfortable and not thinking about their uniform instead of how they play.

The next caller asked if they would make Arroyo the opening day starter instead of Harang. Lance said Bronson said that heíd rather not pitch Opening Day and going with Harang is a boost for his confidence. Jeff said that Harangís struggles had nothing to do with his arm or head, it was a mechanical issue. Jeff said heís throwing 93-95 mph and looks like he did 2 years ago.

Lance said when he watched Harang, it looked looked he wasnít bending over enough when delivering the ball. Jeff said thatís part of it but another part of it was that he felt funny when he pitched out of the bullpen in S.D. that day and he felt like he hurt himself. Jeff said part of it was getting on that back leg and really striding to home. He said he assumed that was something was in the back of his mind and really trying to run the ball in to RH hitters and what he was told wasnít meshing with what he was doing at his best. (Again, thanks, Dick Pole) He said Price is a new set of eyes who can give a fresh view and heís been working on his conditioning and flexibility. Jeff said heís able to turn his hips and get that drive out there and in Harangís mind he feels thatís the right thing and it feels like it used to feel.

After commercial, the next caller asked if Jeff is excited by the depth of young pitching in the minors. Jeff said heís excited when they are building up that young pitching because that quality will eventually show up at the big league level.

Thus endeth the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3-16-10. So let it be written. So let it be done.

RedsManRick
03-17-2010, 11:21 PM
Thanks as always, Chip. This whole having too much pitching thing is gonna take some getting used to!

icehole3
03-18-2010, 04:43 AM
Im amazed at it taking Harang 2 years to say what everyone else has been saying about him for 2 years, that he hasnt been the same since the SD game

reds1869
03-18-2010, 07:19 AM
Thanks again for posting this. It is really great for those of us who couldn't listen live.

Roy Tucker
03-18-2010, 08:18 AM
Thanks as always, Chip. This whole having too much pitching thing is gonna take some getting used to!

I know. I've been a Reds fan for 46 years and I can't ever remember that being said.

Hoosier Red
03-18-2010, 08:50 AM
Im amazed at it taking Harang 2 years to say what everyone else has been saying about him for 2 years, that he hasnt been the same since the SD game

? I didn't know the San Diego game forced him to change his mechanics for the worse.

icehole3
03-18-2010, 12:32 PM
he said he felt he hurt himself that game

RedsManRick
03-18-2010, 02:58 PM
? I didn't know the San Diego game forced him to change his mechanics for the worse.

This is the first I've heard of Harang suggesting as much...

gm
03-18-2010, 03:44 PM
He said he assumed that was something was in the back of his [Harang's] mind and really trying to run the ball in to RH hitters and what he was told wasn’t meshing with what he was doing at his best.

I hope that Aaron's "changes" to his pitching mechanics doesn't include returning to his old pattern of living on the outside corner. Even when he was successful a few years ago, it used to drive me crazy to watch batters lean out over the plate against Harang because they knew he wouldn't bust 'em high and tight. So go ahead and stride long like you used to, Aaron, but don't be afraid to let an occasional pitch "get away" towards the inside part of the plate to keep those hitters honest!