PDA

View Full Version : Cave Man Baseball



Scrap Irony
08-17-2011, 10:05 AM
Last night brought back memories of the Lost Decade for me.

It wasn't Mike Leake's meh start or his propensity for allowing long balls and liners. It wasn't the swing first and ask questions later offensively bad offense either.

It was a first inning pop fly.

The first batter of the game hit a pop fly any left fielder would have gotten. It landed five feet in front of the normal LF standing spot, roughly 70 feet behind the SS.

And our erstwhile LF jogged in, stared the CF for a clue, and watched it fall.

When seeing it on TV, I couldn't believe Alonso could have been that slow. So I timed it. It took almost five seconds (4.7 hang time) for it to drop. Enough time, in fact, for George Grande to hit us with a paragraph about how much of a 'tweener it was.

Five seconds.

That's enough time for a returner to camp under a punt kicked within 40 yards of his position in any direction.

That's enough time for a high school sprinter to go 40 yards.

That's enough time for Billy Hamilton to steal second base, dust himself off, and call time.

No other LF in the game allows that ball to fall. Not Carlos Lee. Not Jonny Gomes. Not anyone.

Then I saw the brutality of Edgar Renteria at SS. Two botched plays due to fall down range. Later in the game, a Votto E and, realistically, four of Leake's runs given up should have been prevented.

Then it got me to thinking. (Dangerous, I know.)

If the Reds are truly going to ignore defense completely and play guys at places they clearly don't belong, why not go whole hog and truly get the most out of it?

Put mashers everywhere you can and let the chips (and balls) fall where they may.

Phillips 2B
Votto 1B
Bruce CF
Hernandez/ Mesoraco C
Alonso RF
Frazier SS
Francisco LF
Neftali Soto 3B

It has a nice LH/ RH swing to it and every player on the team would likely OPS over league average. Sure, you might point to Frazier at SS as ridiculous, but I'd point at his past experience there and Edgar Renteria as proof that he couldn't be any worse. In fact, Frazier's taller, so his fall down range might actually exceed Renteria's!

And, if you don't like Alonso in RF, switch he and Francisco. If defense really doesn't matter, it shouldn't matter who can't get to the balls in the gap anyway, right?

Of course, this lineup may necessitate an odd bench, as Jay Bruce is likely to be worn out after ten games or so. You may need two CF on the bench. But, with Stubbs and Heisey, that shouldn't be much of a stretch. (They can hit the ball too! Ugh-Ugh.)

Selling Neftali Soto at 3B, particularly after he failed there as a prospect might raise a few eyebrows, but we've got the find a way to get that 900 OPS bat in the lineup and he owns an infielder's glove. So he's good to go. Or, he did get drafted as a SS. You could move Frazier to third. Then, you could make Brandon Phillips play rover-style in the middle of the field.

You know, like softball.

mdccclxix
08-17-2011, 10:27 AM
Scrap, I love the sarcasm. I am also rolling my eyes about this Alonso situation. I'd like to give Dusty credit for sparing us from Alonso in LF, for at least a little while. You know, in each game Alonso's had to make up at least one run at the plate because of his defense and even though he's hitting .400, he hasn't come close to offsetting his mistakes in the field. Each time up, I'm thinking, "He needs to hit a three run bomb to net positive in this game." LOL.

Chip R
08-17-2011, 10:29 AM
Perhaps Alonso starts in LF when someone like Willis or Cueto are pitching since they get a lot of their outs on ground balls.

lollipopcurve
08-17-2011, 10:31 AM
No mention of Bruce's two misplays in RF last night?

mdccclxix
08-17-2011, 10:33 AM
No mention of Bruce's two misplays in RF last night?

Bruce and Stubbs are not "great" glove guys, meaning they drop some stuff that perhaps they shouldn't.

nate
08-17-2011, 10:50 AM
Bruce and Stubbs are not "great" glove guys, meaning they drop some stuff that perhaps they shouldn't.

As do nearly all players.

Even ones with "gold glove" awards.

dfs
08-17-2011, 12:15 PM
Put mashers everywhere you can and let the chips (and balls) fall where they may.

Jim...Jim Bowden? Is that you?

(I still don't think Todd Frazier would kill this team playing now and again as a shortstop.)

Dan
08-17-2011, 12:37 PM
I was at the game last night, and saw the play in its entirety. Alonso's first two steps were to the back and left, and only then did he start charging in. The ball DID sound like it was hit harder than it was, but I doubt that was why his first reaction was what it was. To me it looked like he misplayed it.

mth123
08-17-2011, 07:42 PM
Its tryout camp time. The Reds aren't going anywhere and IMO are just trying to showcase Alonso's bat however they can get him in there. I can't imagine him actually playing out there next year when the games start to matter again.

VR
08-18-2011, 12:23 AM
Put mashers everywhere you can and let the chips (and balls) fall where they may.



They tried that. It's now remembered as the lost decade.

dougdirt
08-18-2011, 01:56 AM
They tried that. It's now remembered as the lost decade.

I really don't think the failures had much to do with the offense or defense. The pitching was brutal for those teams and the defense wasn't much to blame. Yeah, some of it was the defense, but even with the best defense in baseball those pitching staffs would have still sucked.

VR
08-18-2011, 02:41 AM
I really don't think the failures had much to do with the offense or defense. The pitching was brutal for those teams and the defense wasn't much to blame. Yeah, some of it was the defense, but even with the best defense in baseball those pitching staffs would have still sucked.

I'd be excited to hear where the good defense was during those years.....not that the pitching was much better, but the d...or lack thereof, contributed to that.

dougdirt
08-18-2011, 02:43 AM
I'd be excited to hear where the good defense was during those years.....not that the pitching was much better, but the d...or lack thereof, contributed to that.

If what I said came off as me suggesting the defense was good, either I typed incorrectly or you misunderstood what I typed. I don't think the defense was good at all, but good defense or not, those teams had no pitching at all and that is the reason those teams didn't win. A great defense wouldn't have made a difference with those pitching staffs. That was the point I was trying to make.

VR
08-18-2011, 02:46 AM
If what I said came off as me suggesting the defense was good, either I typed incorrectly or you misunderstood what I typed. I don't think the defense was good at all, but good defense or not, those teams had no pitching at all and that is the reason those teams didn't win. A great defense wouldn't have made a difference with those pitching staffs. That was the point I was trying to make.

Pitching was bad....but the defense was a major player in those bad years. My eyes still hurt from seeing those hack defenders in action.

reds44
08-18-2011, 02:59 AM
The Reds are playing meaningless baseball games right now. If that reminds you of the lost decade, so be it, but now is the time for things like Alonso in LF.

The Operator
08-18-2011, 03:33 AM
Pitching was bad....but the defense was a major player in those bad years. My eyes still hurt from seeing those hack defenders in action.I agree that those defenses were bad, but when you have the likes of Joey Hamilton, Jimmy Haynes, Jimmy Anderson, etc. on the mound, I don't think a team full of gold glovers would have made a bit of a difference. It's hard to defend against balls that land 20 rows deep.

Guacarock
08-18-2011, 04:05 AM
I agree that those defenses were bad, but when you have the likes of Joey Hamilton, Jimmy Haynes, Jimmy Anderson, etc. on the mound, I don't think a team full of gold glovers would have made a bit of a difference. It's hard to defend against balls that land 20 rows deep.

Which begs the question -- What if our rotation then consisted of Joey Ramone, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix?

Could the defense-skilled Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Mrs. Robinson have fielded all of the unleashed balls? No doubt, we would have seen tons of balls landing 20 rows deep, but every seat in the stadium would have been packed anyway.

Probably we would have needed to hire Bill Veeck as our GM and Stephen Hawkings as his sabermetric guru a la Bill James. Probably would have forever changed the course of the franchise, if not the universe.

The more I know, the less I know any hard and fast answers. But as long as we're invoking cave men, might as well curl up inside a cave and alternate reality that would be kinda fun to inhabit.

Ron Madden
08-18-2011, 05:01 AM
There were a few years during The Lost Decade that the Reds had a very productive offense. Sure the defense left a lot to be desired but the main culprit of those dismal years had more to do with the Horrible pitching staffs both in the starting rotation and in the bullpen.

GAC
08-18-2011, 05:03 AM
Alonso simply is not a LFer. He's a 1Bman. If, in the off-season, they can't extend Votto, who will have only 2 years left, and he shows no desire to be in a Red's uniform after that time, or is wanting that really big pay-out, then I know what I'd be attempting to do.

mth123
08-18-2011, 05:15 AM
1. Keep Alonso's bat in the line-up.

2. Parlay that into James Shields in the 2012 rotation.

It will have been worth the Richie Scheinbloom act we'll see out there defensively.

RedsManRick
08-18-2011, 01:00 PM
There have been some ugly games as of late, but let's have some context. This team has converted 72.0% of batted balls in to outs, tied for 2nd in baseball.

Now, Alonso in LF doesn't look like a long term answer. And pretty much anybody in the organization is going to be a step down from Rolen at 3B. But short of a trade, Rolen will be our opening day 3B in 2012.

Who is going to be worse next year? Nobody except maybe Phillips is having a particularly "good" defensive year. Yes, Alonso in LF will make us worse defensively, but we'll still be a plus team.

I find it interesting how differently people seem to treat offensive and defensive performance. I know they say that defense doesn't slump, but "they" are wrong. Defensive performance fluctuates just like offensive performance does. And sometimes, like with offense, you have a number of players who slump at the same time.

I liken this to the ongoing Jay Bruce conversation. He's had some real rough stretches. But we need to keep the big picture in mind.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the round peg/square hole approach. If we didn't have other options, I can see trying to make Alonso fit, but we do. Sappelt, Heisey, Frazier, Fransisco. Turn Alonso and a pitcher in to a better SP and figure out LF/3B from some other place.

SunDeck
08-18-2011, 02:22 PM
Watching Alonso reminds me of a night when I sat in the bleachers and listened to Adam Dunn getting coached by Ken Griffey. At the crack of the bat, Griff would yell out "BACK!", or "UP!" to get the Big Donkey moving. I was astounded, really. It never occurred to me that a MLB outfielder would need basic knothole instruction, but there it was at the top of every inning. Contrast Dunn's tracking ability with Griffeys- it's comical, I know- every time a ball was hit in his direction, he was gone before I could look to see where he was. We may have seen him in the slowest of his years, but his anticipation never slowed down.

gonelong
08-19-2011, 01:44 PM
Watching Alonso reminds me of a night when I sat in the bleachers and listened to Adam Dunn getting coached by Ken Griffey. At the crack of the bat, Griff would yell out "BACK!", or "UP!" to get the Big Donkey moving. I was astounded, really. It never occurred to me that a MLB outfielder would need basic knothole instruction, but there it was at the top of every inning. Contrast Dunn's tracking ability with Griffeys- it's comical, I know- every time a ball was hit in his direction, he was gone before I could look to see where he was. We may have seen him in the slowest of his years, but his anticipation never slowed down.

Balls hit right at you are the toughest to guage, it always helps to have someone at another angle help you out. We did this all through high school, including heads up on the warning track and the wall. I also did this for a number of years playing softball. It doesn't suprise me in the least that you would see that at the MLB level.

GL

WVRedsFan
08-19-2011, 02:20 PM
Alonso is in left because the GM refused to believe that we needed help there. Why Gomes would return to form, would'nt he? Heisey would OPS .900, would't he? We are satisfied with what we have, aren't we? Covet the prospects into a losing season? Probably.

I'm a big Walt fan, but he clearly dropped the ball. And I think he and Bob know it.

WMR
08-19-2011, 03:25 PM
Alonso is in left because the GM refused to believe that we needed help there. Why Gomes would return to form, would'nt he? Heisey would OPS .900, would't he? We are satisfied with what we have, aren't we? Covet the prospects into a losing season? Probably.

I'm a big Walt fan, but he clearly dropped the ball. And I think he and Bob know it.

It's going to take a really solid effort all around this off-season and into next season or people are going to start thinking last season was just an aberration.