PDA

View Full Version : Dusty: "I Want to Break Up Them Lefties"



reds44
05-06-2012, 02:25 PM
http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2012/05/06/baker-not-considering-bruce-for-cleanup/


“No, because I want to break up them lefties,” Baker said. “Plus, Jay’s hitting well and hitting home runs, but he’s still got improve on driving in runs himself.”
http://www.straferight.com/photopost/data/500/medium/double-facepalm.jpg

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 02:29 PM
Jay Bruce - 18 RBI (leading the team)
Next closest guy not named Votto has 11. That means Bruce has 63% more RBI than the other guy. Got to get better than that Jay.

Degenerate39
05-06-2012, 02:30 PM
How good is Jay suppose to be?

reds44
05-06-2012, 02:32 PM
Dusty does so really dumb stuff, but then his explanations actually manage to make his actions sound dumber.

LvJ
05-06-2012, 02:34 PM
Please stop reminding me that Dusty exists.

LvJ
05-06-2012, 02:40 PM
For now on, every time Bruce drives in a run I hope he gives Dusty the cold shoulder:

http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3krsrHxYK1qdlh1io1_400.gif

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 02:41 PM
Seriously, what was the follow up when he said that out loud? That is what I don't like about the media here. That wouldn't fly in New York or Boston. They would respond with something like 'So the guy leading the team in RBI needs to be better at driving in runs, but the guy batting clean up who isn't driving in runs doesn't need to be better at it?

Not to mention that Bruce has done this since the start of 2011
W/ men on - .270/.372/.510 48bb/83k
W/ RISP - .273/.412/.497 with 43bb/53k

Sure, he isn't Joey Votto. But he is a whole lot of good when men are on the bases.

757690
05-06-2012, 02:44 PM
This season, Bruce is hitting .143 with runners in scoring position with zero homers and has a .524 OPS. Remember close to half of his RBI's have been himself.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 02:45 PM
This season, Bruce is hitting .143 with runners in scoring position with zero homers and has a .524 OPS. Remember close to half of his RBI's have been himself.

Remember it is 5-6 games worth of at bats.

reds44
05-06-2012, 02:49 PM
This season, Bruce is hitting .143 with runners in scoring position with zero homers and has a .524 OPS. Remember close to half of his RBI's have been himself.
As opposed to the guy currently hitting cleanup, who is hitting .167 with RISP and has a .552 OPS, and a .622 OPS overall.

757690
05-06-2012, 02:50 PM
Remember it is 5-6 games worth of at bats.

Just trying to explain Dusty's thinking. Bruce has been beyond terrible with RISP this season. When it comes to building a lineup, Dusty goes with whose hot, whose performing now.

It's all meaningless anyway. Switching Bruce and Phillips would have little effect on the Reds overall run production.

reds44
05-06-2012, 02:51 PM
Just trying to explain Dusty's thinking. Bruce has been beyond terrible with RISP this season. When it comes to building a lineup, Dusty goes with whose hot, whose performing now.

It's all meaningless anyway. Switching Bruce and Phillips would have little effect on the Reds overall run production.
Except for the guy hitting cleanup.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 02:53 PM
Just trying to explain Dusty's thinking. Bruce has been beyond terrible with RISP this season. When it comes to building a lineup, Dusty goes with whose hot, whose performing now.

It's all meaningless anyway. Switching Bruce and Phillips would have little effect on the Reds overall run production.

Except where pitchers might throw to Joey Votto instead of walking him and his line goes up across the board. Generally, I would agree. But no one is fearing pitching to Brandon Phillips.

Kc61
05-06-2012, 02:53 PM
Just trying to explain Dusty's thinking. Bruce has been beyond terrible with RISP this season. When it comes to building a lineup, Dusty goes with whose hot, whose performing now.

It's all meaningless anyway. Switching Bruce and Phillips would have little effect on the Reds overall run production.

I think this last paragraph says it all. The topic is wildly overblown. Some posters use it to trash Dusty. Some use it to show their love for Bruce over Phillips. It's all overblown.

Hit Bruce cleanup, it will work some times. Hit Phillips clean up it will work some times. A lot depends on the particular pitching matchups and who is the hotter hitter at the moment.

The problem is that too many guys aren't hitting well. The batting order is really not that big a deal.

RedsBaron
05-06-2012, 02:57 PM
That's Dusty. He has his strengths as a manager, but making out lineups sure is not one of 'em.
In another thread I posted that if Dusty had Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, both in their prime, he would stick a right handed bat in between them so as to break up the lefties. Someone responded by noting that Votto and Bruce were not Babe and the Iron Horse, which is true enough, but the 2012 Reds hardly have the 1927 Yankees surounding Joey Votto and Bruce.
It shouldn't take a genius to figure out that it is good strategy to get as many at bats as possible to your best hitters.
If Jay Bruce was slumping, or if a team was starting a particularly nasty southpaw that Bruce can't handle, fine, split up Votto and Bruce. Otherwise, they are easily the two best offensive forces the Red have and should be batting 3-4, especially since Brandon Phillips is by no means a cleanup hitter. I would have Phillips lead off, followed by Cozart, Votto and Bruce.

fearofpopvol1
05-06-2012, 03:11 PM
I would bat Bruce 4th, but I don't mind that much that he hits 5th. What I do care about is Phillips hitting 4th. I just do not like it. I'd rather put Heisey or Ludwick there.

DGullett35
05-06-2012, 03:12 PM
I would bat Bruce 4th, but I don't mind that much that he hits 5th. What I do care about is Phillips hitting 4th. I just do not like it. I'd rather put Heisey or Ludwick there.

100% agree with this^

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 03:15 PM
Jay Bruce is the only Reds hitter that is going to allow Joey Votto to get pitches to hit.

VR
05-06-2012, 03:20 PM
Jay leaves more men on base than any other Reds players. That's life.

I have no problem hitting them back to back.....its the absense of any other left handed bat that causes a problem as well. You need a lefty specialist once, without exposing them to a power right handed hammer in between.

Now, the Reds don't have them hammer right now....but that's the other half of the equation.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 03:22 PM
Jay leaves more men on base than any other Reds players. That's life.

I have no problem hitting them back to back.....its the absense of any other left handed bat that causes a problem as well. You need a lefty specialist once, without exposing them to a power right handed hammer in between.

Now, the Reds don't have them hammer right now....but that's the other half of the equation.
Bruce, since the start of last year, has hit very well with runners on and RISP, as noted earlier within this thread.

757690
05-06-2012, 03:24 PM
Jay Bruce is the only Reds hitter that is going to allow Joey Votto to get pitches to hit.

Is he really? If he continues to hit this way, probably. But career wise, he's not much different than Phillips. They both have one thing in common... They aren't Joey Votto. Pitchers would much rather pitch to either Bruce or Phillips than Votto.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 03:27 PM
Is he really? If he continues to hit this way, probably. But career wise, he's not much different than Phillips. They both have one thing in common... They aren't Joey Votto. Pitchers would much rather pitch to either Bruce or Phillips than Votto.

I could care less what Bruce did 3+ years ago. Their recent history isn't that close.

Since 2010 began Bruce has a 125 OPS+. In that same span, Phillips has a 108 OPS+. Bruce has a .496 SLG. Phillips is at .438. There is a rather significant difference between the two guys.

edabbs44
05-06-2012, 03:29 PM
I could care less what Bruce did 3+ years ago. Their recent history isn't that close.

Since 2010 began Bruce has a 125 OPS+. In that same span, Phillips has a 108 OPS+. Bruce has a .496 SLG. Phillips is at .438. There is a rather significant difference between the two guys.

Fairly close if you use since the start of last year. Which you used above for his RISP numbers.

757690
05-06-2012, 03:29 PM
I could care less what Bruce did 3+ years ago. Their recent history isn't that close.

Since 2010 began Bruce has a 125 OPS+. In that same span, Phillips has a 108 OPS+. Bruce has a .496 SLG. Phillips is at .438. There is a rather significant difference between the two guys.

Again, neither are that scary. Neither have shown enough to make pitchers pitch to Votto.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 03:30 PM
Again, neither are that scary. Neither have shown enough to make pitchers pitch to Votto.

Jay Bruce would give more pitches to Votto than Phillips. Bruce is a better hitter and he has 40 home run power. Phillips has 20 home run power.

Nasty_Boy
05-06-2012, 03:31 PM
I agree 100% Doug... Teams would think twice about walking Votto with Jay behind him. Even when Jay isn't Red hot, he is much more of a threat synthesis plate. Reds fans ride Jay and act like he frustrating, other teams respect and fear his bat. But Bruce has been and will be a much better bat than BP. If you don't think so you're kidding yourself. Maybe it's the over exposure of guys but Jay Bruce is one heck of a hitter and would give Joey some protection, as opposed to no protection.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 03:32 PM
Bruce walks nearly as much as he strikes out with RISP. That is how you know pitchers respect him. They get concerned about pitching to him.

Nasty_Boy
05-06-2012, 03:36 PM
People seem to be ignoring the hitter that Jay Bruce has become. He's putting together a great start to this season and people talk about an 0-19 stretch or what he did 2-3 years ago. He's becoming one of the top power hitters in the league, yet we point out flaws. He's a stud and still growing as a hitter... Yer we continue to point out that he's not Votto Kemp or Braun.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 03:36 PM
Jay Bruce SLUGGING PERCENTAGE - .643
Brandon Phillips OPS - .606

Kc61
05-06-2012, 03:37 PM
One problem with the current configuration is that I fear it influences Phillips' hitting. He seemed more comfortable in the lead off spot. Cleanup brings out some of his bad tendencies, swinging too aggressively.

Bruce is prone to very hot streaks, like last May, like now. I think people are reacting to Jay's current streak, and I'm not sure he's ideal to hit fourth until he shows more consistency over the year.

But Brandon seems like a better hitter in other lineup spots. Maybe soon the Reds will have another middle of the order hitter. Mes could become one. Or a trade or something.

membengal
05-06-2012, 03:38 PM
To defend Dusty on this is to be contrary for the sake of being contrary.

RedsManRick
05-06-2012, 03:41 PM
Dusty has ALWAYS managed to the roster he wants rather than the one he has. WHy should we expect any different now?

edabbs44
05-06-2012, 03:41 PM
People seem to be ignoring the hitter that Jay Bruce has become. He's putting together a great start to this season and people talk about an 0-19 stretch or what he did 2-3 years ago. He's becoming one of the top power hitters in the league, yet we point out flaws. He's a stud and still growing as a hitter... Yer we continue to point out that he's not Votto Kemp or Braun.

Jay has ha multiple awesome 30-40 day stretches before.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 03:41 PM
Dusty has ALWAYS managed to the roster he wants rather than the one he has. WHy should we expect any different now?

Because tigers change their stripes?

Kc61
05-06-2012, 03:42 PM
To defend Dusty on this is to be contrary for the sake of being contrary.

I think that's a bit unfair. On a team with zero lefty hitting other than Votto and Bruce it is reasonable to argue that the ONLY two lefty bats shouldn't hit back to back.

After Bruce, then you have seven consecutive righty bats facing righty pitching most of the time, which is far from ideal.

Again, the overall problem here is that so few hitters on the team are producing. If more were producing the lineup would be less important. There certainly are good reasons to hit Joey and Jay together against righties, but other opinions are reasonable as well.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 03:44 PM
I think that's a bit unfair. On a team with zero lefty hitting other than Votto and Bruce it is reasonable to argue that the ONLY two lefty bats shouldn't hit back to back.
Not when they are clearly the best two hitters you have and it isn't really close before you get to the 3rd guy.

Kc61
05-06-2012, 03:48 PM
Not when they are clearly the best two hitters you have and it isn't really close before you get to the 3rd guy.

So now the Doug Dirt opinion is the ONLY opinion. Not the best opinion, but the ONLY opinion. I see.

It's fair for people to disagree on Votto Bruce. They are the only two lefties. Bruce is streaky. Some folks might want the two hot hitters spread instead of together.

If we've reached the point around here where we either follow in line or are chastised, I've had it.

Nasty_Boy
05-06-2012, 03:48 PM
Jay has ha multiple awesome 30-40 day stretches before.

No doubt, but they are becoming further apart as he's grown as a hitter and a player. Most hitters have these stretches... Is Pujols not a good candidate to hit 3-4 because of his stretch? Ortiz went through these stretches... Bautista seems to be coming out of one of these stretches... Same thing for Stanton. Granted most have a more extended track record than Jay, but he's young and has improved on a yearly basis. Do you predict him and BP to be similar hitters going forward? Teams are much more worried/cautious with Jay than they are BP.

VR
05-06-2012, 03:48 PM
So now the Doug Dirt opinion is the ONLY opinion. Not the best opinion, but the ONLY opinion. I see.

It's fair for people to disagree on Votto Bruce. They are the only two lefties. Bruce is streaky. Some folks might want the two hot hitters spread instead of together.

If we've reached the point around here where we either follow in line or are chastised, I've had it.

There you have it.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 03:49 PM
So now the Doug Dirt opinion is the ONLY opinion. Not the best opinion, but the ONLY opinion. I see.

It's fair for people to disagree on Votto Bruce. They are the only two lefties. Bruce is streaky. Some folks might want the two hot hitters spread instead of together.

If we've reached the point around here where we either follow in line or are chastised, I've had it.
So the side of the plate someone hits from is more important than actually being the best option? That isn't a dougdirt thing. No team wants their best two hitters spread apart than hitting together. It is why every team attempts to hit their best two guys 3 and 4. They have done that for 90 years.

757690
05-06-2012, 03:53 PM
To defend Dusty on this is to be contrary for the sake of being contrary.

To be clear, I'm not defending Dusty as much as explaining him. I have stated previously that I would hit Bruce fourth. However, I understand why Dusty isn't doing it, even if I disagree with him.

Nasty_Boy
05-06-2012, 03:53 PM
What makes splitting lefties even more ridiculous is how well Joey handles them... Not to mention Jay handles them pretty well.

RedsBaron
05-06-2012, 04:16 PM
Just trying to explain Dusty's thinking. Bruce has been beyond terrible with RISP this season. When it comes to building a lineup, Dusty goes with whose hot, whose performing now.

It's all meaningless anyway. Switching Bruce and Phillips would have little effect on the Reds overall run production.

I agree that lineup construction cannot itself turn a high scoring team into a low scoring team or a low scoring team into a high scoring team. If you assume the Reds offense will score roughly the 735 runs they had in 2011, even the best lineup construction might only net them another few dozen runs, and if Dusty decided to bat Votto 7th they would still probably score in the high 600s or so.
However IMO it is not meaningless. In 2011 the Cardinals made the post season on the final day of the regular season, by exactly one game. Do I believe that competent lineup construction could gain the Reds a few wins they might not otherwise secure, and could that make the difference in whether or not they make the post season? Yes I do.

Brutus
05-06-2012, 04:20 PM
To defend Dusty on this is to be contrary for the sake of being contrary.

Or it's possible, you know, that some people agree with Dusty's logic.

DGullett35
05-06-2012, 04:28 PM
I don't agree with Dusty all the time, but I feel like he gets too much of the blame for the failures of this team. The guy really isn't a bad manager. He only can play who Walt gives him. To be honest the guy knows more than we all do about the Reds and baseball in general

Vottomatic
05-06-2012, 04:39 PM
Jay Bruce is the only Reds hitter that is going to allow Joey Votto to get pitches to hit.

Bingo! I've been saying that since Bruce got hot. Have to take advantage of it to protect Joey into getting pitches to hit.

It's a no-brainer.

RANDY IN INDY
05-06-2012, 05:02 PM
I still think that most teams would gladly pitch around Votto, most of the time, to get to Bruce.

Nasty_Boy
05-06-2012, 05:27 PM
Possibly, but I'd rather have Bruce behind him to make them pay for it... Bruce is 2nd in the league in HRs and total bases, I'd say that would make a few fellas think twice.

Raisor
05-06-2012, 06:19 PM
For some reason this almost always gets ignored in this conversation. Joey Votto has a career OPS of .900 vs LHP. There is zero need to split the LHBs when one of them does that

VR
05-06-2012, 06:51 PM
For some reason this almost always gets ignored in this conversation. Joey Votto has a career OPS of .900 vs LHP. There is zero need to split the LHBs when one of them does that

I don't think the majority is saying Votto or Bruce can't hit lefties. It's everyone else not being able to hit righties that poses a problem.

Brutus
05-06-2012, 07:23 PM
For some reason this almost always gets ignored in this conversation. Joey Votto has a career OPS of .900 vs LHP. There is zero need to split the LHBs when one of them does that

That's kind of a misnomer.

The issue is not that Votto can't hit lefties, it's that you'd rather have him facing a lefty than a righty, and when you don't split he and Bruce apart, a team would just bring in a lefty, pitch around Votto and go after Bruce.

By breaking them apart, you don't make it as easy to do because if you do bring in a lefty against Votto (thus increasing your chances of getting him out), then you have to use a lefty against Phillips. That's actually advantageous for the Reds, despite his lack of being a true cleanup hitter.

This really isn't about what Votto can or can't do. It's simply percentages.

RedsManRick
05-06-2012, 07:42 PM
That's kind of a misnomer.

The issue is not that Votto can't hit lefties, it's that you'd rather have him facing a lefty than a righty, and when you don't split he and Bruce apart, a team would just bring in a lefty, pitch around Votto and go after Bruce.

By breaking them apart, you don't make it as easy to do because if you do bring in a lefty against Votto (thus increasing your chances of getting him out), then you have to use a lefty against Phillips. That's actually advantageous for the Reds, despite his lack of being a true cleanup hitter.

This really isn't about what Votto can or can't do. It's simply percentages.

I'm just curious, what percentage of PAs are effected by the issue of susceptibility to a reliever with a strong platoon split in a crucial situation?

Why make your lineup to give your team an advantage once a game at the expense of the first 3+ PA?

Brutus
05-06-2012, 07:46 PM
I'm just curious, what percentage of PAs are effected by the issue of susceptibility to a reliever with a strong platoon split in a crucial situation?

Why make your lineup to give your team an advantage once a game at the expense of the first 3+ PA?

I don't know the percentage, though I'd like to see that study. However, doesn't it come down to how you feel about the importance of high leverage plate appearances?

RedsManRick
05-06-2012, 07:48 PM
I don't know the percentage, though I'd like to see that study. However, doesn't it come down to how you feel about the importance of high leverage plate appearances?

Only if you consider them in the context of the value of all other plate appearances.

Brutus
05-06-2012, 07:56 PM
Only if you consider them in the context of the value of all other plate appearances.

We already know, though, that high-leverage situations contribute more heavily to win probability added. I realize that intuitively, one run is one run whether in the first inning or eighth, but the impact is stronger late in the game.

Personally, I think splitting the two is actually a benefit because teams are more likely to just walk or pitch around Votto early in the game. You could make an argument it might actually improve his OBP even though it takes the bat out of his hands a bit.

Ghosts of 1990
05-06-2012, 09:05 PM
Excuse my french here, as much as I like Dusty Baker the human being; he is a moron. An absolute, walking, talking baseball moron on some issues. How has he won 1,000+ ballgames?

Degenerate39
05-06-2012, 09:09 PM
Bat Bruce clean up until he starts slumping then bat him 2nd to get him out of his slump

Degenerate39
05-06-2012, 09:09 PM
Excuse my french here, as much as I like Dusty Baker the human being; he is a moron. An absolute, walking, talking baseball moron on some issues. How has he won 1,000+ ballgames?

Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa

reds44
05-06-2012, 09:15 PM
Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa
Joey Votto

PuffyPig
05-06-2012, 09:22 PM
Except where pitchers might throw to Joey Votto instead of walking him and his line goes up across the board. Generally, I would agree. But no one is fearing pitching to Brandon Phillips.

Vott's walks greatly help his OBA which affects his OPS.

Pitchers haven't been pithcing to Votto for 3 seasons and he still hits.

Pitchers didn't pitch to Pujols prety much his whole career.

AtomicDumpling
05-06-2012, 09:30 PM
In my opinion Dusty's logic for batting Bruce 5th is faulty, which is no surprise since his lineup construction is ridiculous from top to bottom. Just another brick in the wall.

mdccclxix
05-06-2012, 11:13 PM
It is perhaps lost on the Dusty bashers that Bruce has seen several looks at cleanup and failed to produce his normal numbers? I don't blame Dusty if he's a bit gun shy about messing with success with Bruce in the 5 spot.

Dusty's going to say whatever he says to the media, and in all it doesn't mean much. Especially his "reasons" for the moves he makes. Much of what he says is about deflecting criticism from his players or giving them room to work out of slumps.

Kc61
05-06-2012, 11:21 PM
It is perhaps lost on the Dusty bashers that Bruce has seen several looks at cleanup and failed to produce his normal numbers? I don't blame Dusty if he's a bit gun shy about messing with success with Bruce in the 5 spot.

Dusty's going to say whatever he says to the media, and in all it doesn't mean much. Especially his "reasons" for the moves he makes. Much of what he says is about deflecting criticism from his players or giving them room to work out of slumps.

This whole debate could be resolved if Brandon Phillips would do something about his .588 cleanup OPS.

dougdirt
05-06-2012, 11:37 PM
This whole debate could be resolved if Brandon Phillips would do something about his .588 cleanup OPS.

It really wouldn't though, because I don't believe that Brandon at his best at this stage in his career, is close to the same hitter that Jay Bruce is at this point in his career and I want my best two hitters batting 3 and 4.

bucksfan2
05-07-2012, 09:48 AM
I'm just curious, what percentage of PAs are effected by the issue of susceptibility to a reliever with a strong platoon split in a crucial situation?

Why make your lineup to give your team an advantage once a game at the expense of the first 3+ PA?

Its an interesting question. I went back and counted this year and the Reds had 17 out of 27 games that were decided by 3 runs or less. 63% of the time the game could be decided by a late inning situation. That also doesn't take into consideration games blown out late or games in which there were multiple game changing situations that never came to fruition.

Quite frankly I don't really put a whole lot of thought into the lineups. I don't think the lineup really makes all that much difference. I also don't really get the notion of "beat them with the first 2 at bats" and now caring about a situational lefty. The issue with that is those situations come up more often than not in close games. You can say score 5 runs early and blow the game open. Well everyone in baseball wants to do that, it just doesn't happen.

Sea Ray
05-07-2012, 10:08 AM
The problem isn't so much Dusty as it is the imbalance of the players at his disposal. I think he's doing fine given what he has to work with

Orenda
05-07-2012, 10:10 AM
I'm just curious, what percentage of PAs are effected by the issue of susceptibility to a reliever with a strong platoon split in a crucial situation?

Why make your lineup to give your team an advantage once a game at the expense of the first 3+ PA?

runs are runs right?...score them and prevent them? I say, get em while the gettins good!

I could never manage, it's too complicated! Should i call for the sacrifice bunt to manufacture a run? or maybe fill out a lineup card with more than 2 potential Bronson Arroyo kryptonites? It's almost too hard for me to wrap my head around!?! My only hope is that Bobby V. will get back with the beer soon. because then I'm just going to go CraaaaZy and hit a few lefties back to back...un-inhibited....PARTY!

REDREAD
05-07-2012, 10:40 AM
For some reason this almost always gets ignored in this conversation. Joey Votto has a career OPS of .900 vs LHP. There is zero need to split the LHBs when one of them does that

The idea is to protect Bruce from a late inning lefty, not Votto.
If they use a LH reliever against Votto, they have to face Phillips if they want to keep him in against Bruce.

Honestly, I think there's maybe only 6 hitters in baseball right now that could hit behind Votto and cause Votto not to be pitched around in key situations. Bruce is not one of them. That's not an insult to Bruce, it's just Votto is that good.

I really don't think it matters if Bruce hits 4th or 5th.

PuffyPig
05-07-2012, 10:51 AM
The idea is to protect Bruce from a late inning lefty, not Votto.


JSUK, Bruce has hit lefties better than righties since 2010.

Raisor
05-07-2012, 11:07 AM
Thing is, over the last three years Phillips is only slighty better vs LHP then Bruce while being considerably worse then Bruce vs RHP. Its shooting yourself in the foot for no real upside.

osuceltic
05-07-2012, 12:57 PM
Just keep in mind, if Bruce had been in the cleanup spot all season last year, then for five of the six months of the season, the Reds' cleanup hitter would have put up about a .735 OPS with a .235 average. That's 135 or so games of that kind of production. Granted, they would have gotten 27 games of Babe Ruth, but the rest of the time ... not so much.

Kc61
05-07-2012, 01:19 PM
Thing is, over the last three years Phillips is only slighty better vs LHP then Bruce while being considerably worse then Bruce vs RHP. Its shooting yourself in the foot for no real upside.

The logical cleanup hitters for Dusty (accepting his split the lefties concept) are Rolen, Phillips, and Ludwick. Against righties, none of them is hitting at all. Looking at OBP, all are below .275 against RHP at this stage. Ludwick has a .217 OBP against righties so far.

I still say the problem isn't Dusty's concept of lefty, righty, lefty. The problem is the absence of any righty hitter worthy of the cleanup spot on this club. In Phillips' case, I believe batting him cleanup hurts his performance.

The good news is that some of these guys have to improve because they aren't THIS bad against RHP. The bad news is that the offense simply has personnel needs.

Given the performances of some of these guys, it probably pays to put Todd Frazier in the cleanup hole for a few games. The theory is that he is hot right now and he can't do any worse than some of these other guys.

PickOff
05-07-2012, 01:48 PM
I'm with Doug, Bruce would give Votto more protection than anybody else. Atlanta doesn't seem to have a problem batting lefties back to back in the 3 and 4 spots. And they are leading the NL in runs scored.

fearofpopvol1
05-07-2012, 02:11 PM
Buster Olney had an interesting point. If Dusty is hellbent on not batting Votto and Bruce back to back, what about batting Votto 2nd and Bruce 4th?

dougdirt
05-07-2012, 02:41 PM
Buster Olney had an interesting point. If Dusty is hellbent on not batting Votto and Bruce back to back, what about batting Votto 2nd and Bruce 4th?

Because your best hitter bats 3rd, THEBOOK'D!

RedsManRick
05-07-2012, 03:00 PM
The logical cleanup hitters for Dusty (accepting his split the lefties concept) are Rolen, Phillips, and Ludwick. Against righties, none of them is hitting at all. Looking at OBP, all are below .275 against RHP at this stage. Ludwick has a .217 OBP against righties so far.

I still say the problem isn't Dusty's concept of lefty, righty, lefty. The problem is the absence of any righty hitter worthy of the cleanup spot on this club. In Phillips' case, I believe batting him cleanup hurts his performance.

The good news is that some of these guys have to improve because they aren't THIS bad against RHP. The bad news is that the offense simply has personnel needs.

Given the performances of some of these guys, it probably pays to put Todd Frazier in the cleanup hole for a few games. The theory is that he is hot right now and he can't do any worse than some of these other guys.

Rolen hasn't hit in over a year. Ludwick hasn't hit in over 2 years. Phillips has never hit righties well. You're right; that great RH cleanup hitter isn't on the roster. I don't think it's anything close to a likelihood that one of these guys is going to significantly pick it up.

But if you don't have the players to do it the way you'd like to, why not adjust your strategy to make the best use of the players you actually have. If the goal is to have the best available hitter behind Votto in the event they bring in a lefty, Phillips is a marginal step up from Bruce. But against righties, any of those guys is a healthy step down. So you hurting yourself in 75% of your plate appearances to gain a marginal advantage in 25%.

Kc61
05-07-2012, 03:13 PM
Rolen hasn't hit in over a year. Ludwick hasn't hit in over 2 years. Phillips has never hit righties well. You're right; that great RH cleanup hitter isn't on the roster. I don't think it's anything close to a likelihood that one of these guys is going to significantly pick it up.

But if you don't have the players to do it the way you'd like to, why not adjust your strategy to make the best use of the players you actually have. If the goal is to have the best available hitter behind Votto in the event they bring in a lefty, Phillips is a marginal step up from Bruce. But against righties, any of those guys is a healthy step down. So you hurting yourself in 75% of your plate appearances to gain a marginal advantage in 25%.

Just reading Dusty' mind for a minute, IMO he thinks Brandon will eventually be a good cleanup hitter this year. He thinks Brandon is just in a slump and will emerge.

My take is that Brandon hits worse as a cleanup man. I haven't researched the stats but he seemed much more comfortable leading off.

Point is, though, that however one believes a lineup is maximized, one thing is for sure -- having a below .600 OPS man hitting cleanup isn't a good idea. At current levels, none of the righty candidates fills the bill and there's no reason Dusty should just leave it this way.

Nasty_Boy
05-07-2012, 04:06 PM
I agree KC... I see BP changing his approach as a cleanup hitter. He really seems to try and slug the ball instead of just letting it happen. Maybe it's the injury, maybe he's just slumping, but this weekend he seemed to really pull off the ball. The weak rolled over ground ball to the left side and the pop ups to the right side are normally sure signs that a hitter is out in front and clearing the hips to soon. He'll even take the wild swing that sends him to a knee or one hand flies off the bat. BP's approach as a table setter has been to stay closed and through the middle while using the right side of the field. I can't remember the last time he hit the ball sharply to the right side, for a hit or an out. Maybe the big contract coupled with the injury has him pressing and trying to hit 5 run homers... I don't know. He's clearly not comfortable at the plate and he doesn't need to be in the 4 hole right now.

mdccclxix
05-07-2012, 07:20 PM
Rolen hasn't hit in over a year. Ludwick hasn't hit in over 2 years. Phillips has never hit righties well. You're right; that great RH cleanup hitter isn't on the roster. I don't think it's anything close to a likelihood that one of these guys is going to significantly pick it up.

But if you don't have the players to do it the way you'd like to, why not adjust your strategy to make the best use of the players you actually have. If the goal is to have the best available hitter behind Votto in the event they bring in a lefty, Phillips is a marginal step up from Bruce. But against righties, any of those guys is a healthy step down. So you hurting yourself in 75% of your plate appearances to gain a marginal advantage in 25%.

Anecdotally, the Reds do always seem to be playing for the win in the 8th or 9th inning.

mth123
05-08-2012, 05:01 AM
3. Votto, 4. Bruce 5.Mesoraco

The rest are interchangeable parts.

mattfeet
05-08-2012, 08:32 AM
3. Votto, 4. Bruce 5.Mesoraco

The rest are interchangeable parts.

I wonder if Dusty wouldn't try something similar, but just flip Bruce and Mes to appease his L/R/L fetish.

-Matt

757690
05-08-2012, 08:51 AM
Rolen hasn't hit in over a year. Ludwick hasn't hit in over 2 years. Phillips has never hit righties well. You're right; that great RH cleanup hitter isn't on the roster. I don't think it's anything close to a likelihood that one of these guys is going to significantly pick it up.

But if you don't have the players to do it the way you'd like to, why not adjust your strategy to make the best use of the players you actually have. If the goal is to have the best available hitter behind Votto in the event they bring in a lefty, Phillips is a marginal step up from Bruce. But against righties, any of those guys is a healthy step down. So you hurting yourself in 75% of your plate appearances to gain a marginal advantage in 25%.

What's baffling, well, maybe I should get used to being baffled by what Dusty says lol, is that when he was working as an analyst on ESPN, I heard him agree with your part in bold. He actually quoted the famous Bobby Cox quote about wanting to score as many runs early, so you don't have to worry about the late inning LOOGY.

Dusty did say that he liked to have the whole lineup go lefty/righty, because that makes it harder for the pitcher to get into a groove, since they have different approaches, and sometimes even different windups for different handed hitters. Rick Sutcliffe, who was also working the game, agreed with him and said he would rather face all lefties, than an all righty/ lefty lineup,

And his history shows that Dusty does believe that. For three years he hit a lefty or switch hitter in front or behind of Bonds in SF, and last year he hit Votto/Bruce over 70 times, and even had a few Alonso/Votto/Bruce lineups.

What I get out of this is that he doesn't think Bruce is going to stay hot if switched to fourth, and/or Phillips will get hot as the fourth hitter. I do believe that if neither comes true soon, Dusty will move a Bruce to fourth. He has already done it once this season.

Again, not defending Dusty, just trying to explain his thinking.

mattfeet
05-08-2012, 08:56 AM
Since Bruce currently is one of the best hitters in the NL, why not flip him and Votto? I don't think any of the lineup dynamics would change too much. Stubbs would still get pitched to in the 2 hole, Bruce would see quality pitches with Votto behind him, and Votto could still have BP/Rolen/etc., behind him like he currently does.

-Matt

Raisor
05-08-2012, 09:19 AM
The problem with hitting Mez that high in the lineup is, well, he's only on pace for 180-190 pa's. Dusty would actually have to, you know, play him.

AtomicDumpling
05-09-2012, 04:54 AM
Can someone tell me why the Reds ALWAYS put Votto and his .445 OBP in the 3rd slot in the order?

I don't buy the argument that your best hitter has to hit third, that is too generic. Give me a real reason. I genuinely want to know why it is a given that Votto must bat third.

If Dusty absolutely must put a righty betwixt Votto and Bruce then I would bat Votto 2nd and Bruce 4th. Each of them would get an extra 15-20 plate appearances per year that way, which would equal several more runs for the team on the season.

People tend to think of Votto as a guy who is great at driving in runs, which is true. But he is even better at scoring runs. His OBP is so high that he would be better utilized by coming to the plate when there are less than two outs. In the 3rd slot he too often comes to the plate with two outs and his stellar OBP is largely wasted. Additionally Votto is a doubles-hitting machine, so if the leadoff hitter gets on first base in front of him, Votto is nearly as likely to drive him in from there as he would be if the runner were on second. The pitcher is also less likely to pitch around Votto if there are no outs or one out instead of two outs. Why give superstar Joey Votto anything good to hit if the bases are empty with two outs? But it is a lot more dangerous to walk somebody when the inning is still young. Bumping Votto up to the second slot in the lineup would help get maximum value out of the Reds best hitter, especially in the first inning (and in the last inning since Votto would be more likely to get that extra at-bat).

In Tom Tango's famous "The Book", he showed how mathematically speaking it is wisest to have your best three hitters in the 1st, 2nd and 4th slots in the batting lineup to maximize run scoring over the course of the season. I think everyone would agree that Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are the Reds best hitters, yet they are batting in the less valuable and less important 3rd and 5th slots in the lineup.

AtomicDumpling
05-09-2012, 05:09 AM
Putting Votto in the leadoff spot might seem outrageous to some traditionalists, but I think it would work great. His OBP is so high that he would put the pitcher on the defensive from the very outset of the game. Would he pitch around Votto to start the game? No, he wouldn't want to walk the first batter so he will have to challenge Joey -- which is exactly what the pitcher wants to avoid. Challenging Joey Votto results in doubles and home runs. So why not put him in a position where the pitcher almost has to challenge him?

Votto is far, far more likely to get on base than any other Red. How often would he lead off with a double, then be driven in with a couple groundballs without even a hit? The Reds would be much more likely to score a run in the first inning with Votto leading off than they are now, and scoring early has been a problem for the Reds.

edabbs44
05-09-2012, 08:02 AM
Putting Votto in the leadoff spot might seem outrageous to some traditionalists, but I think it would work great. His OBP is so high that he would put the pitcher on the defensive from the very outset of the game. Would he pitch around Votto to start the game? No, he wouldn't want to walk the first batter so he will have to challenge Joey -- which is exactly what the pitcher wants to avoid. Challenging Joey Votto results in doubles and home runs. So why not put him in a position where the pitcher almost has to challenge him?

Votto is far, far more likely to get on base than any other Red. How often would he lead off with a double, then be driven in with a couple groundballs without even a hit? The Reds would be much more likely to score a run in the first inning with Votto leading off than they are now, and scoring early has been a problem for the Reds.

Two knee jerk reactions: 1, I don't want to see Joey getting up with no one on base. 2, who is going to knock him in? Is the trade off of getting he as Jay 20 more PAs each worth having the pitcher hitting in front of him?

dougdirt
05-09-2012, 08:03 AM
I would rather not waste Votto's power at the leadoff spot. Far too many PA's with no one on base. But put him in the #2 spot with Cozart, or even Hanigan at lead off and sign me up all day long. Especially if it means Bruce gets to the #4 spot in the line up. It is mind boggling that our cleanup hitter has a lower OPS than our #5 hitter has a SLG, but our manager openly comes out and says our #5 hitter needs to be better at driving in runs.

edabbs44
05-09-2012, 08:06 AM
I would rather not waste Votto's power at the leadoff spot. Far too many PA's with no one on base. But put him in the #2 spot with Cozart, or even Hanigan at lead off and sign me up all day long. Especially if it means Bruce gets to the #4 spot in the line up. It is mind boggling that our cleanup hitter has a lower OPS than our #5 hitter has a SLG, but our manager openly comes out and says our #5 hitter needs to be better at driving in runs.

You know BP will likely come around.

dougdirt
05-09-2012, 08:07 AM
You know BP will likely come around.

Sure he will. He still won't be near the same kind of hitter that Jay Bruce is.

edabbs44
05-09-2012, 08:15 AM
Sure he will. He still won't be near the same kind of hitter that Jay Bruce is.

Last year they were. BP has been hurt this year and Jay has gotten off to a great start. Let's see Jay do this for an entire year.

This happened last year, everyone was freaking out that Jay needed to be moved to the 4 spot, Dusty finally relented and he immediately went into the tank for weeks.

dougdirt
05-09-2012, 08:19 AM
Bruce should keep getting better given his age. Phillips should be declining given his age.

edabbs44
05-09-2012, 08:27 AM
Bruce should keep getting better given his age. Phillips should be declining given his age.

That's probably generally true. But BP improved last year and Jay's numbers took a step back.

BP also isn't ancient.

dougdirt
05-09-2012, 08:36 AM
That's probably generally true. But BP improved last year and Jay's numbers took a step back.

BP also isn't ancient.

He isn't ancient, but he is on the wrong side of the bell curve. Bruce is still well on the right side of it. One guy is crushing the ball. One guy is not. Everyone and their mother, if asked, even before this season, who would put up better offensive numbers would have said Bruce.

edabbs44
05-09-2012, 09:17 AM
He isn't ancient, but he is on the wrong side of the bell curve. Bruce is still well on the right side of it. One guy is crushing the ball. One guy is not. Everyone and their mother, if asked, even before this season, who would put up better offensive numbers would have said Bruce.

That was also all correct last year, except they ended up with very similar numbers.

Hoosier Red
05-09-2012, 10:12 AM
Just reading Dusty' mind for a minute, IMO he thinks Brandon will eventually be a good cleanup hitter this year. He thinks Brandon is just in a slump and will emerge.

My take is that Brandon hits worse as a cleanup man. I haven't researched the stats but he seemed much more comfortable leading off.

Point is, though, that however one believes a lineup is maximized, one thing is for sure -- having a below .600 OPS man hitting cleanup isn't a good idea. At current levels, none of the righty candidates fills the bill and there's no reason Dusty should just leave it this way.

I agree with this. And to read it a little bit further, I think he probably agrees that Brandon hits worse as a cleanup hitter but believes this is all just temporary until Rolen gets his swing going again.

I do think there's value in not moving people up and down the lineup on a regular basis. That value may not outweigh the value of having your hottest hitter getting an extra plate appearance per week, but there is some value in it.

There's also some value in preventing a situational lefty who has absurd splits from seeing back to back lefties late in a game. Again, this may not outweigh the marginal improvements from moving Jay Bruce up one spot early in the game.

So I can see where Dusty's coming from. It's just a matter of what value is higher.

AtomicDumpling
05-09-2012, 06:48 PM
Two knee jerk reactions: 1, I don't want to see Joey getting up with no one on base. 2, who is going to knock him in? Is the trade off of getting he as Jay 20 more PAs each worth having the pitcher hitting in front of him?

Joey comes to the plate with nobody on base most of the time as it stands right now.

It would actually be 35-40 extra plate appearances each for Votto and Bruce if you move them up two slots in the batting order.

Driving in runs is much easier than getting on base and scoring runs. You can drive in runs with grounders and fly-outs while spending a valuable out. Votto doesn't spend many outs. Joey Votto has a .445 OBP that is largely wasted when he bats at the end of the inning. His best attribute is his OBP. To get the most bang for your buck out of OBP you need to bat early in the inning so there is time for your teammates to drive you home. Giving more ABs to your best OBP guy creates more opportunities to bat for all the other hitters (because he will make fewer outs than anyone else in that spot and extends the inning).

It would be different if the Reds had a couple of high OBP table setters to put in front of Votto, but they most definitely don't have anybody like that.

I think having Votto bat 2nd and Bruce bat 4th is the best overall combination. But batting Votto 1st and Bruce 3rd is far superior to the current lineup with Votto 3rd and Bruce 5th. Get more ABs for your best hitters and good things will happen.

edabbs44
05-09-2012, 08:08 PM
#2 hitters for Cincy this year are 5th in the NL in OBP and basically one bloop hit away from being 3rd.

RedsManRick
05-09-2012, 09:05 PM
Baseball Prospectus has a great report that looks at RBI opportunities. I did a little number crunching on my own that might be of interest. Looking at just the 109 batters with 80+ PA in the NL, I considered two stats:

1. In what percentage of their plate appearances did they come up with a runner on base?
2. What was the average number of runners on base per plate appearance?
3. What percentage of the runners on base did they drive in?

Here's how our Reds fared in terms of opportunities:

1. In what percentage of their plate appearances did they come up with a runner on base?

PA PA_ROB PA_ROB% NL Rank
Cozart 123 42 34% 95
Stubbs 120 42 35% 93
Votto 128 61 48% 34
DatDude 94 54 57% 3
Rolen 97 50 52% 15
Bruce 117 47 40% 72

2. What was the average number of runners on base per plate appearance?

PA ROB ROB/PA NL Rank
Cozart 123 51 0.41 102
Stubbs 120 56 0.47 88
Votto 128 74 0.58 59
DatDude 94 73 0.78 8
Rolen 97 74 0.76 12
Bruce 117 77 0.66 35


Phillips and Rolen have had the most RBI opportunities, by far -- both in terms of frequency of coming up with guys on base and in terms of how many guys are on base when they come up. Thank you very much Joey Votto.

Interestingly, Joey Votto has an above average number of plate appearances with runners on base, but a slightly below average number of baserunners per PA. This means he's not getting a lot of opportunities to drive in multiple guys at once.

By contrast, Bruce is below average in terms of how often he comes up with guys on base. However, when guys are on base, he's more likely to have multiple ducks on the pond. That's a direct function of Phillips' and Rolen's poor OBP.

And now let's look at RBI conversions:


Cozart 123 51 4 7.8 97
Stubbs 120 56 7 12.5 62
Votto 128 74 15 20.3 13
DatDude 94 73 7 9.6 90
Rolen 97 74 9 12.2 66
Bruce 117 77 13 16.9 31

Pretty straight forward here. Joey Votto is very good at converting RBI opportunities. Bruce has also been solidly above average. Rolen has been below average at converting and Phillips has been very poor.

Obviously there's an issue with small sample size in 2012. Last year, Votto was 12th in the NL (of 129 guys with 300+ PA) in OBI%. Phillips was 32nd. Bruce was 65th. Stubbs was 123rd Heisey was 9th, but that was largely because he got a disproportionately large number of chances to drive in runners from 3rd base.

People talk about RBI like they're a power stat, but they really are a function of both power and contact. So far this year in the NL, 19% of runners who were driven in were driven in from 1B, 37% from 2B and 44% from 3B.

Phillips actually isn't a bad candidate for cleaning up, if he were hitting like he normally does. But the bigger issue, as I see it, is that the Reds aren't getting enough guys on base for Votto and aren't getting guys on base frequently enough for Bruce (way too much chance for him to hit solo HR). Particularly with Bruce's power, we need to be maximizing the chances he comes up with guys on base.

The problem with Phillips batting cleanup is that he's a bad RBI guy. He's actually fine in that role. The problem is that he's not a great table setter for Jay Bruce. Given the struggles Stubbs has had getting on base regularly, we'd be better off with Phillips mediocre OBP batting second or 5th.

If Rolen were healthy, I'd actually like to see him batting 2nd, Bruce at cleanup and Phillips 5th as both another RBI guy and the table setter for the bottom of the lineup. Well, I'd actually like to have a high OBP leading off, Votto 2nd, Phillips 3rd and Bruce 4th -- but that ain't happening.

edabbs44
06-13-2012, 11:01 PM
Since this thread was last updated, here are the numbers of Phillips and Bruce:

.206/.315/.373 for Bruce (124 PAs, 3 HR, 15 RBI)
.315/.363/.484 for Phillips (135 PAs, 5 HR, 25 RBI)

defender
06-18-2012, 08:00 PM
This is why people on the internet do not think Dusty Baker is a good manager. 7 pages, mostly saying he is a complete idiot. Everything he does, people are quick to point out how stupid/old school/wrong for this team he is. Whether it works or not, it is part of the lore of Dusty's tactical stupidity.

Since the time of this thread Phillips has been the better hitter. Significantly better with runners in scoring position. As has been stated before, neither are Joey Votto. Both have bad ABs sometimes. Overall, Phillips has better ABs and is probably getting Votto more pitches to hit.

Baker was bashed for staring a "pet veteran" Hannigan over Mes, but given little credit for keeping Cairo (who should be his ultimate pet vet) on the bench while Frazier struggled. Hannigan, who shouldn't be playing, should be batting at the top of the order. Baker got bashed for batting Cozart at the top of the lineup. For at least the last month Cozart looks like the best lead off man on the roster.

Earlier in the thread it was stated the Baker manages the roster he wishes he had, not the one he actually has. I think Baker manages who is players actually are, not the numbers we see on the internet.

Sea Ray
06-19-2012, 10:32 AM
This is why people on the internet do not think Dusty Baker is a good manager. 7 pages, mostly saying he is a complete idiot. Everything he does, people are quick to point out how stupid/old school/wrong for this team he is. Whether it works or not, it is part of the lore of Dusty's tactical stupidity.

Since the time of this thread Phillips has been the better hitter. Significantly better with runners in scoring position. As has been stated before, neither are Joey Votto. Both have bad ABs sometimes. Overall, Phillips has better ABs and is probably getting Votto more pitches to hit.

Baker was bashed for staring a "pet veteran" Hannigan over Mes, but given little credit for keeping Cairo (who should be his ultimate pet vet) on the bench while Frazier struggled. Hannigan, who shouldn't be playing, should be batting at the top of the order. Baker got bashed for batting Cozart at the top of the lineup. For at least the last month Cozart looks like the best lead off man on the roster.

Earlier in the thread it was stated the Baker manages the roster he wishes he had, not the one he actually has. I think Baker manages who is players actually are, not the numbers we see on the internet.

The amount of criticism Dusty gets on the internet is really quite nutty

dougdirt
06-19-2012, 11:40 AM
This is why people on the internet do not think Dusty Baker is a good manager. 7 pages, mostly saying he is a complete idiot. Everything he does, people are quick to point out how stupid/old school/wrong for this team he is. Whether it works or not, it is part of the lore of Dusty's tactical stupidity.

Since the time of this thread Phillips has been the better hitter. Significantly better with runners in scoring position. As has been stated before, neither are Joey Votto. Both have bad ABs sometimes. Overall, Phillips has better ABs and is probably getting Votto more pitches to hit.

Baker was bashed for staring a "pet veteran" Hannigan over Mes, but given little credit for keeping Cairo (who should be his ultimate pet vet) on the bench while Frazier struggled. Hannigan, who shouldn't be playing, should be batting at the top of the order. Baker got bashed for batting Cozart at the top of the lineup. For at least the last month Cozart looks like the best lead off man on the roster.

Earlier in the thread it was stated the Baker manages the roster he wishes he had, not the one he actually has. I think Baker manages who is players actually are, not the numbers we see on the internet.

I stand by everything I said within this thread, even though Phillips has hit better and Bruce has slumped. I would still put Bruce in the 4 spot because he is the better hitter of the two guys.

osuceltic
06-19-2012, 12:25 PM
I stand by everything I said within this thread, even though Phillips has hit better and Bruce has slumped. I would still put Bruce in the 4 spot because he is the better hitter of the two guys.

They're a lot more comparable than you are willing to admit. When they're as close as Phillips and Bruce have been, then the L-R-L thing not only isn't worth all the outrage, it makes sense. Add in Bruce's extreme streakiness (cue RMR's "is Bruce really more streaky?" response), and I also can see why Dusty would opt for the guy without the extreme peaks and valleys.

Your perception of the hitters Phillips and Bruce are is out of whack with reality.

dougdirt
06-19-2012, 01:07 PM
Since Jay Bruce came into the league, Brandon Phillips has never had an OPS higher than Bruce. Right now, Phillips has a .796 OPS. Bruce has an .877 OPS. That really isn't comparable.

osuceltic
06-19-2012, 02:01 PM
Since Jay Bruce came into the league, Brandon Phillips has never had an OPS higher than Bruce. Right now, Phillips has a .796 OPS. Bruce has an .877 OPS. That really isn't comparable.

Last year was .810-.814. That really is comparable.

The three years before that:

Phillips
.754
.776
.762

Bruce
.767
.773
.846

Outside of 2010 (bolded), I'd say they're pretty darn comparable. Phillips has the higher batting average and strikes out less (meaningless to you, I know). Bruce has the higher slugging percentage and more power.

As I said, when you also consider the lefty/righty thing and the greater consistency of Phillips, I don't think it's anywhere near as cut and dried as you make it out to be.

puca
06-19-2012, 02:18 PM
They're a lot more comparable than you are willing to admit. When they're as close as Phillips and Bruce have been, then the L-R-L thing not only isn't worth all the outrage, it makes sense. Add in Bruce's extreme streakiness (cue RMR's "is Bruce really more streaky?" response), and I also can see why Dusty would opt for the guy without the extreme peaks and valleys.

Your perception of the hitters Phillips and Bruce are is out of whack with reality.

Except the L-R-L really doesn't make sense at all to me. The handedness of the pitcher most likely to work around Votto is the same that Phillips is least likely to hit. By batting Phillips behind Votto you are making it more likely that a RHer will pitch around Votto while at the same time making more likely that strategy will work

Kc61
06-19-2012, 02:26 PM
Brandon's improvement over the months has made this issue quite secondary. Phillips and Bruce are both good offensive players. Whether they hit 4 or 5 to me is not that vital at this stage. When Brandon had a .600 OPS earlier in the year, it mattered more.

There is, however, an overall issue here. The Reds luckily have one of the great hitters in MLB. Votto. The question is how to maximize Joey. How to make him as productive as possible.

To me, Votto having 45 RBI at this point in the season is a travesty. The guy leads the NL in virtually every major offensive category (except homers), leads qualifiers in MLB in OPS, has 29 doubles already, and yet is tied for 9th-10th in RBI. Votto should have as many RBIs as Hamilton does, in the 60s. Or more.

The more meaningful debate now is how to get more men on base for Joey, while still providing him with "protection" with a good cleanup hitter behind him.

One route is to move Phillips to lead off and hit Bruce cleanup. That's ok, but then you have an inferior hitter at number 5 and you have the only two lefties in the lineup hitting back to back. And Brandon, as an OBP man, is pretty good but not excellent.

Another route is to add a table setter with a high OBP. Or to add a cleanup hitter and lead off Phillips.

Still another route, which seems out of the question, is to move Hanigan up near the top of the order. Hanigan does have a .368 OBP, second on the team with nobody else particularly close.

I know the Reds are hitting well right now, but I still think it's a poorly structured offense. Cozart and Heisey setting the table for Joey really doesn't work.

Bottom line, when you have a Joey Votto you can build a great offense around him. The Reds do and they haven't. Yet.