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Kc61
02-16-2012, 12:42 AM
What are the keys to improved starting pitching by the Reds this coming season?

Obviously, everyone needs to pitch well, but which pitcher or pitchers should be monitored most closely.

To me, the answer is undoubtedly Bronson Arroyo. Thing is, he pitches so many innings that a bad season has a huge impact on the ballclub. Last year he did poorly but pitched, as I recall, 199 innings.

If Bailey pitches poorly the Reds won't likely leave him out there every fifth day. I think it would be an upset if Cueto, Latos, or Leake bombs out this season. Bronson remains a key.

Arroyo's contract is a factor. The Reds have seemed unwilling to remove from the rotation pitchers, like Harang in the past, and Arroyo, even when not performing.

There is of course reason to expect Arroyo to do better this year, most notably his health, which should be better.

But, even after all the changes, the Reds need a decent season from Bronson to succeed. They can't afford 200 innings of pitching like Arroyo's of last season.

Captain Hook
02-16-2012, 01:04 AM
What are the keys to improved starting pitching by the Reds this coming season?

Obviously, everyone needs to pitch well, but which pitcher or pitchers should be monitored most closely.

To me, the answer is undoubtedly Bronson Arroyo. Thing is, he pitches so many innings that a bad season has a huge impact on the ballclub. Last year he did poorly but pitched, as I recall, 199 innings.

If Bailey pitches poorly the Reds won't likely leave him out there every fifth day. I think it would be an upset if Cueto, Latos, or Leake bombs out this season. Bronson remains a key.

Arroyo's contract is a factor. The Reds have seemed unwilling to remove from the rotation pitchers, like Harang in the past, and Arroyo, even when not performing.

There is of course reason to expect Arroyo to do better this year, most notably his health, which should be better.

But, even after all the changes, the Reds need a decent season from Bronson to succeed. They can't afford 200 innings of pitching like Arroyo's of last season.

You answered your own question and I expect over 100 more answers that sound just about like yours.

We all hope he gets it together but if he doesn't I do wonder if the Reds will actually let Bronson get to his normal 200 IP in 2012.I know ERA isn't a very popular stat around here but with Arroyo it's a little more relavent considering we just need him to be good this year and personally I could care less how his numbers this coming season project his future worth.With the innings he pitches I'll take a ERA under 4.50.I don't think that will kill the Reds.

RedsManRick
02-16-2012, 01:18 AM
More strikeouts. Fewer homers.

I don't mean to be flip, but that's the crux of it. We had the 3rd lowest strikeout rate and the highest home run rate. The walks weren't great, but they were league average.

In terms of where that improvement will come from, just looking at last year's numbers and not actually projecting:



Name GS IP K% BB% K/BB HR/9 HR/FB BABIP ERA SIERA
Bronson Arroyo 32 199 12.6% 5.3% 2.4 2.1 15.90% .278 5.07 4.57
Mike Leake 26 165.2 17.1% 5.3% 3.3 1.3 14.00% .267 3.86 3.74
Johnny Cueto 24 156 16.5% 7.5% 2.2 0.5 5.80% .249 2.31 3.93
Homer Bailey 22 132 18.9% 5.9% 3.2 1.2 11.50% .296 4.43 3.78
Sam LeCure 4 20.2 22.4% 5.9% 3.8 1.7 18.20% .268 4.79 3.30

Mat Latos 31 194.1 23.2% 7.8% 3.0 0.7 7.30% .284 3.47 3.48

Edinson Volquez 20 108.2 21.3% 13.3% 1.6 1.6 20.70% .293 5.71 4.25
Travis Wood 18 101 15.5% 8.6% 1.8 0.9 6.90% .329 5.08 4.66
Dontrelle Wilis 13 75.2 17.1% 11.1% 1.5 0.7 9.80% .310 5.00 4.29
Matt Maloney 2 3.2 3.5% 3.5% 1.0 4.9 20.00% .600 22.09 5.80
Chad Reineke 1 6.1 7.1% 17.9% 0.4 2.8 20.00% .167 7.11 7.18

Total Kept 108 672.4 16.1% 5.9% 2.8 1.3 12.30% .272 4.00 4.02
Kept + Latos 139 866.5 17.7% 6.4% 2.8 1.2 11.18% .275 3.88 3.90
Total Lost 54 293.7 17.7% 11.1% 1.6 1.2 13.14% .310 5.52 4.48

If everybody stays healthy (always the big IF) we're looking at something like a half a run improvement from our starters. That's ~80 runs worth of improvement, 8 wins, right there. It sounds crazy, but if you figure that Cueto's good BABIP luck and Arroyo's bad HR/FB luck balance out and that both Bailey and Leake can easily repeat, that's a pretty decent place to start. Even if you push Latos up a fair bit you're sill looking at 6+ wins worth of improvement. My personal projections have the rotation at a 4.10 FIP. Amazing what jettisoning the walks and regressing the HR rate will do for you...



Pos Player IP K BB HR K/9 BB/9 HR/9 FIP ER UER
SP1 Latos 200 200 55 20 9.00 2.48 0.90 3.33 74 4
SP2 Cueto 180 126 54 16 6.30 2.70 0.81 3.87 77 5
SP3 Leake 180 126 45 23 6.30 2.25 1.13 4.18 84 5
SP4 Arroyo 200 111 50 30 5.00 2.25 1.35 4.79 106 6
SP5 Bailey 140 114 35 18 7.31 2.25 1.13 3.95 61 4
SPX Other 100 67 39 13 6.00 3.50 1.20 4.77 53 3
Total 1000 744 278 120 6.69 2.50 1.08 4.10 456 27

RedlegJake
02-16-2012, 01:27 AM
Arroyo returning to something more like 2010-2011 form is certainly a factor, and everyone hopes last year was an aberration due to health but there is a storyline in all of the starters really.

Cueto will probably regress somewhat because most of his peripheral numbers support a slight fallback - nothing terrible but he did have some luck last year. Can he pick up his actual performance enough to offset that regression, or can he get enough support to overcome any regression in era per the won-loss column?

And the other big arm - Mat Latos - is a bit intriguing in how he will handle GABs launching pad effect. Will he let it bug him when he gets a few hit over the wall that might have stayed in the park in Petco? Will it get into his head? Or will he just shake it off and go get the next guy? Because that's the attitude it's gonna take in GAB - you are going to give up some home runs, you can't let it take you out of your game. If Latos delivers what he is capable of, and gets the support the Reds are capable of on defense and offense between Cueto and Mat the Reds could have as good a 1-2 as anyone by season's end. Right now you can't rightfully rank them there - but the potential is real and near.

Bailey is the guy I see as being the real key to this staff right now. A healthy Homer Bailey stepping into that long dreamed of role as a TOR starter changes everything for the Reds - and another broken down season with a half year's worth of starts damps expectations about as badly. Should Homer step up into the same caliber of pitching as Cueto and Latos the Reds could probably survive a weak season from Bronson - but Arroyo just isn't good enough to save a bad season from Homer.

Leake, to me, is the least questionable of the starters. I expect him to go out and do a yeoman's job - steady solid unspectacular but reliable pitching, keeping the Reds in games almost every time. His value is being able to rely on what he'll bring to the table, and as a 4th or 5th starter he is equal to any team's 4/5 - outside of Philly or maybe Saint Lou.

Then you have Chapman. I don't expect to even get a whiff of him until September unless he simply electrifies the minors with an unexpected K/BB ratio and I don't see that happening. If the Reds are in it close, he'll certainly be up in time to qualify for the post season, even if its a relief role in the playoffs. I think the fans have more expectation of him starting this season than the Reds do. Really there is little depth. The drop from Arroyo to Francis/Gallagher is steep unless Arroyo is as bad as he was last year. Then its even.

Arroyo's resurgence, Bailey's health, Latos limiting the long ball, and a fairly healthy season for all five starters - no long DL stints - those are my four keys to a successful season starting pitching-wise.

Jeff Francis is probably the first backup if something goes south. Sean Gallagher is likely right after him and may out pitch him. Francis has more experience but I'm not so sure I'd call him the better of the two, he was certainly a lot luckier last year. Everything I've heard indicates that Andrew Brackman is going to be used in a relief role so that probably rules him out as a starter.

Adding an edit because RMR put it as succinctly as it can be put - "more strikeouts, fewer homers". Pretty much what I was saying but he said it in about 4 words.

Captain Hook
02-16-2012, 01:37 AM
You have our projected starting five giving us 900 IP.I'm not positive who we would've projected as the Reds starting five in 2011 but regardless of witch five you pick they didn't give us more then 760 IP.In 2011 those other 240 IP by the starters were well below average to say the least.My guess is that the Reds will need at least another 200 innings from some combination of pitchers this coming season.The quality of those innings is just as important as how Arroyo does.400 innings(200 from Arroyo and 200 from 6th,7th and 8th starter) of subpar starting pitching could really kill the Reds.

Francis and Chapman could be huge in answering the question of how good the Reds starters will be in 2012 when it's all said and done.

RedlegJake
02-16-2012, 01:43 AM
That extra 200 innings of pitching is exactly why I wish the Reds could feel the need to sign Oswalt and keep Bailey but that's been argued ad nauseum. Teams may have a "starting five" but in truth a season always comprises a starting six or a starting seven.

Edd Roush
02-16-2012, 11:25 AM
That extra 200 innings of pitching is exactly why I wish the Reds could feel the need to sign Oswalt and keep Bailey but that's been argued ad nauseum. Teams may have a "starting five" but in truth a season always comprises a starting six or a starting seven.

The problem about signing Oswalt is that does not simply mean that he is getting those 200 innings and it is no effect to the rest of the staff.

If the Reds sign Oswalt, Francis will undoubtedly opt out of his deal on March 28. I do think Oswalt is an improvement over Francis. However, signing Oswalt eats up all of our payflex for a deadline deal.

The best way to handle the situation would be to move Arroyo full time to the bullpen (or cut him) and make your rotation:

Latos
Cueto
Oswalt
Bailey
Leake

Then you tell Jeff Francis that there is a very good chance that Bailey and Oswalt don't make it healthy throughout the year and that we expect him to be the guy up over Chapman to pitch in the rotation if an injury occurs. I would try to tell Francis that pitching as the AAA ace will better for him and the Reds because he will be more stretched out and ready for a spot start, but if he says I am going to opt out unless you put me in the bigs, I let him be the swingman (as mth suggested the Reds should).

Then your rotational depth would be
Latos
Cueto
Oswalt
Bailey
Leake
Francis
Chapman

I really don't see any bounceback from Arroyo this year. I hope I am wrong, but he doesn't have the stuff to K guys any more and gives up way too many home runs for any rotation. I know the Reds will have Arroyo in the rotation no matter what I want them to do, and I will hope for the best, but I don't expect him to bounceback.

RedsManRick
02-16-2012, 01:27 PM
You have our projected starting five giving us 900 IP.I'm not positive who we would've projected as the Reds starting five in 2011 but regardless of witch five you pick they didn't give us more then 760 IP.In 2011 those other 240 IP by the starters were well below average to say the least.My guess is that the Reds will need at least another 200 innings from some combination of pitchers this coming season.The quality of those innings is just as important as how Arroyo does.400 innings(200 from Arroyo and 200 from 6th,7th and 8th starter) of subpar starting pitching could really kill the Reds.

Francis and Chapman could be huge in answering the question of how good the Reds starters will be in 2012 when it's all said and done.

I guess I don't see why 2011 should be the baseline expectations for IP when the need for those extra IP was largely Volquez been inept. We've replaced him with Latos. Sure, my projection is optimistic relative something like Marcel that more heavily regresses expectations. But I do mine more like Bill James.

Bottom line, we agree. If the Reds need to get 50+ starts from their 6th, 7th and 8th starters, it's unlikely the staff takes a big step forward.

LegallyMinded
02-16-2012, 02:17 PM
Obviously Arroyo's performance is going to have a big impact on the starting rotation, and I was wondering how much improvement from last year we might expect based on his recovery from mono. To that end, I went looking for other MLB players who have had had mononucleosis:


In 2006, Casey Kotchman had a .196 wOBA before landing on the DL and missing much of the season with mono. In 2007, he rebounded with a solid .296/.372/.467 line.

In 2010, Jew Lowrie missed the first three months of the season with mono, but returned to put up a .393 wOBA when he was activated from the DL.

In 2011, Brandon Inge returned from a DL stint with mono near the end of June, and put up wOBAs of .108, .256, and .382 respectively for the next three months.


Recoveries like those give me a bit of hope for Bronson this year, although there are clearly some caveats: First, this is just anecdotal evidence, and probably doesn't have much predictive value overall. Second, all three of those guys were position players, so their recovery process might be fairly different than a pitcher's.

I also note that all three players above actually spent time on the DL as part of their recovery. Bronson, on the other hand, pitched through his recovery during spring training last year. As this (http://www.nesn.com/2011/03/bronson-arroyo-taking-unnecessary-risks-by-pitching-every-spring-start-while-battling-mono.html) article points out, that was very likely an unnecessary risk that inhibited his recovery, and might explain why his ineffectiveness seemed to last throughout the season, even after he was no longer ill. With that in mind, hopefully an entire off season of basically mandated abstinence from pitching in game situations will give him the chance to truly recover his form.

Sea Ray
02-16-2012, 02:34 PM
Arroyo is a concern but I think he'll bounce back.

I also have a concern that we don't have any lefties in that rotation. If Chapman can force his way into that rotation by August that'd be awesome for the stretch drive

Vottomatic
02-16-2012, 06:45 PM
I'm wondering if any pitcher struggles in ST, if the Reds sign Oswalt? Hmmm.

Vottomatic
02-16-2012, 06:49 PM
Last year, Arroyo and Volquez struggled.
Cueto and Leake were solid.
Bailey was somewhere in between.

This year, they've replaced Volquez with Latos.
Hopefully Cueto repeats his 2011 performance.
Hopefully Leake continues to improve and is even better than 2011.
Hopefullly Bailey fulfills his potential and this is the year he breaks out.
If Arroyo performs like the Arroyo of 2008, '09, and '10, it should be a good season for the Reds. :thumbup: