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cincrazy
08-12-2012, 01:31 PM
I really enjoyed the discussion about the Top 5 Reds arms, so I thought I'd create another one. A lot of you have seen a lot more of the game than I have, and I love reading about old players I'm not too familiar with :).

Top 5 Reds defenders of my time as a diehard fan:

1. Barry Larkin (He was the gold standard for shortstops during his time. Great arm, great range. Total package.)
2. Brandon Phillips (Incredible second baseman. Makes the hard plays look routine, and makes the routine plays look like plays a little leaguer could make.)
3. Bret Boone (Before his head grew 3 sizes and he added 60 lbs of pure muscle, this guy was known solely for a great glove. And that glove alone was enough to keep him in the show and in the starting lineup.)
4. Pokey Reese (If he lasts a little longer, I probably put him higher on this list. He was an absolute joy to watch.)
5. Scott Rolen (This isn't Rolen in his prime, but I still feel he belongs on this list over Mike Cameron, Joey Votto, and some other deserving candidates. He's an absolute rock for our infield at the hot corner, and even with a bad shoulder and bad back, he's fascinating to watch).

cincrazy
08-12-2012, 01:32 PM
One thing the Reds haven't lacked for over the years seems to be elite defenders. With the exception of the lost decade, haha. This should be a fun discussion. The "honorable mention" lists should be just as impressive as the top 5 lists I'd imagine.

top6
08-12-2012, 01:38 PM
I have no clue if stats back this up or not, but I don't think I've ever personally witnessed a better defensive season than Pokey Reese in 1999.

Eric Davis was also awesome.

cincrazy
08-12-2012, 01:42 PM
I have no clue if stats back this up or not, but I don't think I've ever personally witnessed a better defensive season than Pokey Reese in 1999.

Eric Davis was also awesome.

Pokey was breathtaking. An argument could be made that he was even better than Phillips when he was at his peak.

Dan
08-12-2012, 01:49 PM
1. Bench
2. Concepcion
3. Eric Davis
4. Phillips
5. Larkin

top6
08-12-2012, 01:53 PM
Pokey was breathtaking. An argument could be made that he was even better than Phillips when he was at his peak.

I think he was definitely better, defensively. Again, that's just based on observation.

Obviously, Phillips is the vastly superior player overall.

SunDeck
08-12-2012, 01:56 PM
Bench
Buddy Bell/S. Rolen
Barry Larkin/D. Concepcion
B. Phillips/J. Morgan
E.D./C. Geronimo

steig
08-12-2012, 01:57 PM
1. Barry Larkin
2. Pokey Reese
3. Paul O'Neil - cannon for an arm and great helmet punter as a bonus
4. Scott Rolen
5. Eric Davis

RANDY IN INDY
08-12-2012, 02:08 PM
Bench- he still defines the position.

Phillips- never have seen anyone better.

Concepcion- made the spectacular look routine.

Bell- As good as anyone at 3b, ever.

Geronimo- see Concepcion.

RedsMan3203
08-12-2012, 02:13 PM
Funny, seems like this converstaion is all pointed/directed at the infield...

Can't Jay Bruce get some love in RF?

RedsBaron
08-12-2012, 02:14 PM
Johnny Bench re-defined the position of catcher. I do not have the words to describe how unparalleled and breath takingly great he was in his prime. He has to be first on my list.
As for shortstops, Davey Concepcion and Barry Larkin were both great. Barry is in the HOF because he was a much greater offensive force but in the field I view them as equals(I haven't done any statistical analysis to compare the two).
Joe Morgan, Pokey Reese and Brandon Phillips all deserve mention as second base men ( and Tommy Helms won a Gold Glove as well). Based just on observation I put Phillips first.
In the outfield Cesar Geronimo and Eric Davis stand out.

marcshoe
08-12-2012, 02:15 PM
Bench is on top. After that, I'd have to think a bit. BP, Davey, Morgan, Geronimo, Larkin, BretB, ED, Pokey (at shortstop in single A it was like he covered the whole infield), who knows who else. I throw one out there though--Tony Fernandez, playing a position he didn't like (3b) for one strike-shortened year.

Joseph
08-12-2012, 02:17 PM
Bench
Davis
Larkin
Morgan
Phillips

mth123
08-12-2012, 02:32 PM
1. Johnny Bench
2. Brandon Phillips
3. Dave Concepcion
4. Eric Davis
5. Cesar Geronimo

mth123
08-12-2012, 02:37 PM
Next 5

6. Pokey Reese
7. Barry Larkin
8. Scott Rolen
9. Joe Morgan
10. Buddy Bell

buckeyenut
08-12-2012, 02:54 PM
Here is my list
C - Bench
1B - Votto
2B - Reese (honorable mention for Phillips and Boone and even Ronnie Oester, but as amazing as Phillips is, Reese had a higher peak)
SS - Larkin (I didn't see enough of Concepcion to give him his due, but Davey needs mentioned)
3B - Rolen (Bell was great and we have had a few others, but Rolen is incredible day in and day out)
RF - Bruce (Oneill deserves honorable mention)
CF - Davis (no comparison, my favorite ballplayer ever)
LF - Hatcher (reds have had some awful left fielders over the years, Dunn, Gomes, Mitchell, etc. )

vic715
08-12-2012, 02:54 PM
1. Johnny Bench
2. Cesar Geronimo
3. Eric Davis
4. Brandon Phillips
5. Vada Pinson

2nd team
1.Barry Larkin
2.Dave Concepcion
3.Pokey Reese
4.Drew Stubbs
5.Tommy Helms

bellhead
08-12-2012, 03:17 PM
1.) Bench....He runs in the HOF talk 1a1b with Yogi Berra as the greatest all time at the position...

2.) Brandon Philips....Is really a GG shortstop playing 2nd base, there really isn't a comparable guy in the league right now.

3.) Larkin, Davey C... This is a tie as both where the standards of their era won multiple GG.

4.) Eric the Red... Cover CF in Riverfront like nobody else.

5.) Joe Morgan, if Brandon wasn't playing 2nd he would be higher up.

Scrap Irony
08-12-2012, 04:39 PM
Buddy Bell made more difficult plays look easy than anyone I ever saw.
Barry Larkin was awesome in his prime-- better than Davey Concepcion (and that's not a knock on Davey, who was phenomenal) by the strength of his arm, if nothing else.
Both Morgan and Reese were Gold Glove guys, but Brandon Phillips transcends defense. His creativity (and Votto's ability to handle even the toughest of angles) puts him in his own class at the keystone spot.
But the best defensive player I've ever seen in Cincinnati was Johnny Bench. He was not only without peer, he changed the way people played the position. In his prime (70 - 75), no one in the game came close to him.

RedsManRick
08-12-2012, 04:52 PM
Starting in about '87:

Barry Larkin: No weaknesses
Pokey Reese: Absolutely insane range
Brandon Phillips: Can make any play, most entertaining
Scott Rolen: Most accurate arm I've ever seen and strength to spare
Eric Davis: The player people want Stubbs to be

Honorable Mention: Bronson Arroyo

AtomicDumpling
08-12-2012, 05:05 PM
1. Johnny Bench -- Simply the greatest defensive catcher in the history of baseball.
2. Barry Larkin -- Could do everything great.
3. Eric Davis -- Astroturf derailed his Hall of Fame career.
4. Dave Concepcion -- Made difficult plays look routine.
5. Scott Rolen -- Perfect fundamentals, quick reflexes, rocket arm.
6. Joe Morgan -- Could do everything great.
7. Brandon Phillips -- Makes routine plays look difficult.

RedsfaninMT
08-12-2012, 05:33 PM
1. Bench - My grandfather played pro ball (AAA) many, many years ago (Ty Cobb was his manager at one time). He was always a pleasure to watch a game with, and he pointed out a lot about Bench I had never before noticed. For instance, he said Bench had ruined many careers of catchers who put out only one hand to catch a pitch, something nobody had done with regularity before and few could do with any level of success.
2. Geronimo. Great, great arm. And 9 foot strides? Seriously? He covered an awful lot of ground.
3. Buddy Bell
4. Eric Davis
5. Brandon Phillips/Barry Larkin tie.

Kc61
08-12-2012, 05:45 PM
Few comments.

Reds have a long tradition of great fielding second basemen. I won't rank Phillips, Morgan and Reese, but I will say that Pokey Reese covered more ground than any other second baseman I have ever seen, Reds or not. Oester was excellent too.

Hard to judge catchers, but the one thing about Bench was that he could throw a laser strike to second base in his sleep. Sometimes pitchers were slow to the plate, or something odd happened, but basically runners could not run on Bench. Period.

Davis as a very young player was unbelievable in CF. Less so as the injuries caught up with him over time.

I remember Dave Concepcion having throwing problems as a rookie. He overcame them fully. IMO, Concepcion and Larry Bowa revolutionized the SS position. They were the first SSs I recall going deep into the hole regularly and throwing guys out. Then the Smiths and Larkins followed. Of course, Leo Cardenas wasn't bad either, but the Concep/Bowa era really changed the expectations for top shortstops.

Prior to Rolen, I thought Buddy Bell was excellent at third. Of course, watching Brooks Robinson beat the Reds in 1970 was beyond belief. Reds hit shot after shot down the line, and Robby went into foul territory and threw them out every time. I've never seen a defensive display like that before or since.

Geronimo had a great arm but I never thought he threw out base runners that much. Just my take, probably the numbers are different. I do recall the 1990 team constantly throwing out baserunners from the outfield. O'Neill, Davis, etc., baserunners ran at their peril against that team.

On the current team, I really, really like the way Cozart plays SS. When Rolen is healthy, the left side of that infield is rock solid. Sure handed guys, seldom drop a ball. Juan Castro in his prime should back them up.

mth123
08-12-2012, 05:56 PM
Few comments.

Reds have a long tradition of great fielding second basemen. I won't rank Phillips, Morgan and Reese, but I will say that Pokey Reese covered more ground than any other second baseman I have ever seen, Reds or not.

Hard to judge catchers, but the one thing about Bench was that he could throw a laser strike to second base in his sleep. Sometimes pitchers were slow to the plate, or something odd happened, but basically runners could not run on Bench. Period.

Davis as a very young player was unbelievable in CF. Less so as the injuries caught up with him over time.

I remember Dave Concepcion having throwing problems as a rookie. He overcame them fully. IMO, Concepcion and Larry Bowa revolutionized the SS position. They were the first highly athletic SSs I recall going deep into the hole regularly and throwing guys out. Then the Smiths and Larkins followed. Of course, Leo Cardenas wasn't bad either, but the Concep/Bowa era really changed the expectations for top shortstops.

Prior to Rolen, I thought Buddy Bell was excellent at third. Of course, watching Brooks Robinson beat the Reds in 1970 was beyond belief. Reds hit shot after shot down the line, and Robby went into fould territory and threw them out every time.

Geronimo had a great arm but I never thought he threw out base runners that much. Just my take, probably the numbers are different. I do recall the 1990 team constantly throwing out baserunners from the outfield. O'Neill, Davis, etc., baserunners ran at their peril against that team.

On the current team, I really, really like the way Cozart plays SS. When Rolen is healthy, the left side of that infield is rock solid. Sure handed guys, seldom drop a ball. Juan Castro in his prime should back them up.

One note on Bench and Geronimo. The thing that was great about their arms wasn't the guys they threw out. It was the guys who simply didn't try to run at all. Guys just didn't go first to thrid on a single hit to Right Center with Geronimo out there and guys simply didn't try to steal against Bench.

When Lou Brock stole 118 bases in 1974, he only attempted 5 times against the Reds (and was caught twice) in spite of a .360 OBP against the Reds that year. The next lowest was the 10 he attempted against the Dodgers and the Expos.

Kc61
08-12-2012, 06:23 PM
One note on Bench and Geronimo. The thing that was great about their arms wasn't the guys they threw out. It was the guys who simply didn't try to run at all. Guys just didn't go first to thrid on a single hit to Right Center with Geronimo out there and guys simply didn't try to steal against Bench.

When Lou Brock stole 118 bases in 1974, he only attempted 5 times against the Reds (and was caught twice) in spite of a .360 OBP against the Reds that year. The next lowest was the 10 he attempted against the Dodgers and the Expos.

Good points. I must say, in the BRM years, the announcers always raved about Geronimo's arm. Personally, I didn't see many examples of it. Of course, watching baseball, I tend to notice the throws by right fielders to third base more than throws by CFers.

kaldaniels
08-12-2012, 06:28 PM
I should remember Pokey more than I do, but how would you compare his "improv" skills to Brandon. I'm talking about the between the legs, behind the back, sort of thing. Maybe "hot dog" skills would have been more apt? :D

HokieRed
08-12-2012, 06:30 PM
1. Bench
2. McMillan
3. Larkin
4. Davis
5. Phillips
6. Morgan
7. Reese
8. Concepcion
9. Geronimo
10. Pinson

Kc61
08-12-2012, 06:30 PM
I should remember Pokey more than I do, but how would you compare his "improv" skills to Brandon. I'm talking about the between the legs, behind the back, sort of thing. Maybe "hot dog" skills would have been more apt? :D

IMO, Brandon is better at that stuff. I don't recall as many acrobatic plays by Pokey.

Pokey was all range. Amazing range.

And like Brandon, people always wanted him at SS, but Pokey just remained at second base.

RedsBaron
08-12-2012, 06:59 PM
One note on Bench and Geronimo. The thing that was great about their arms wasn't the guys they threw out. It was the guys who simply didn't try to run at all. Guys just didn't go first to thrid on a single hit to Right Center with Geronimo out there and guys simply didn't try to steal against Bench.

When Lou Brock stole 118 bases in 1974, he only attempted 5 times against the Reds (and was caught twice) in spite of a .360 OBP against the Reds that year. The next lowest was the 10 he attempted against the Dodgers and the Expos.
I fully agree. When Bench first came up I can recall Dave Bristol wanting opponents to try to steal.
Bench was especially deadly during the pstseason. In his prime years of 1970 through 1976 Bench played in 5 NLCS and 4 World Series, a total of 42 games. The Reds gave up 2 stolen bases during those 42 games with 13 opponents caught stealing.

PuffyPig
08-12-2012, 07:37 PM
1. Johnny Bench, the gold standard of catchers.
2. Pokey Reese in 1999, maybe the best fielding performace over a year I have ever seen.
3.Cesar Geronimo, the best arm I've ever seen.
4. Davey Concepcion, he developed the way you play SS on artificial grass, with the bounce throw from deep in the hole.
5. Dave Cameron. The Reds defense in 1999, lead by Reese, Cameron and Larkin turned a middling starting staff into a winning one. Their team BABIP allowed was an astounding .267 that year, 20 points better than the next team..

PuffyPig
08-12-2012, 07:39 PM
Good points. I must say, in the BRM years, the announcers always raved about Geronimo's arm. Personally, I didn't see many examples of it.

They didn't run on him. A single to CF was always a 1 base advance.

mth123
08-12-2012, 07:44 PM
1. Johnny Bench, the gold standard of catchers.
2. Pokey Reese in 1999, maybe the best fielding performace over a year I have ever seen.
3.Cesar Geronimo, the best arm I've ever seen.
4. Davey Concepcion, he developed the way you play SS on artificial grass, with the bounce throw from deep in the hole.
5. Dave Cameron. The Reds defense in 1999, lead by Reese, Cameron and Larkin turned a middling starting staff into a winning one. Their team BABIP allowed was an astounding .267 that year, 20 points better than the next team..

Don't remember the fangraphs guy playing for the Reds. Mike Cameron was pretty good though.

PuffyPig
08-12-2012, 07:55 PM
Don't remember the fangraphs guy playing for the Reds. Mike Cameron was pretty good though.

When I typed it it didn't seem right, but I ignored my doubt and carried on.

Thanks.

RedlegJake
08-12-2012, 08:30 PM
Bench
McMillan
Helms
Freese
Geronimo
Pinson
Temple

I went old school on purpose because the newer guys got plenty of rep, any of these could hold their own with any of the new guys, playing in their own time and era

_Sir_Charles_
08-12-2012, 08:54 PM
Bench- he still defines the position.

Phillips- never have seen anyone better.

Concepcion- made the spectacular look routine.

Bell- As good as anyone at 3b, ever.

Geronimo- see Concepcion.

This is mine as well. Eric Davis pre-injuries would be very close as well.

Roy Tucker
08-12-2012, 09:35 PM
All of the names in here I agree with completely.

The up-the-middle defense in '99 with Larkin as SS, Reese at 2B, and Cameron in CF was as good as I've ever seen. Their range and sure-handedness was amazing. It was like Death Valley for balls hit up the middle.

Vottomatic
08-12-2012, 09:53 PM
1. Bench
2. Concepcion
3. Eric Davis
4. Phillips
5. Larkin

Catcher - Bench
1st Baseman - Votto
2nd Baseman - Morgan then Phillips
SS - Concepcion then Larkin, Cozart is looking pretty impressive
3B - Rolen, even at his age, is still really good
OF - Eric Davis, Geronimo, KGJ (in his prime), Dunn (just kidding)

BCubb2003
08-12-2012, 10:06 PM
I think Bench, Davis, Concepcion and Phillips are transcendent, reinventing their positions. I remember a game where Eric Davis invented a play where the centerfielder covers second, because he could.

Spitball
08-12-2012, 10:09 PM
Great topic. I don't see anyone mention Frank Robinson, but he really was a great, smart, respected outfielder.

Spitball
08-12-2012, 10:10 PM
Also, shortstop Leo Cardenas from the 1960s was a great fielder.

George Anderson
08-12-2012, 10:27 PM
Johnny Bench..If people ever forget or try to dispute just how good he was, pop in a video of his playing days and they will soon remember or realize just how good he was.

Eric Davis...The Michael Jordan of the outfield. He was so good and so entertaining.

Cesar Geronimo...Other than maybe Gary Maddox, there was no better CF than him in the NL during the 70's.

Davey Concepcion....I know Larkin was darn good but for some reason I just feel Davey was better with the glove.

Dan Driessen....I don't think he has been mentioned in this thread and maybe he wasn't one of the greatest fielders in Reds history but he was an outstanding defensive first baseman. He covered ground and he could pick it.

Tom Servo
08-21-2012, 01:11 AM
3. Bret Boone (Before his head grew 3 sizes and he added 60 lbs of pure muscle, this guy was known solely for a great glove. And that glove alone was enough to keep him in the show and in the starting lineup.)
I was just looking up some stats and wow, Boone had some pitiful years offensively for the Reds. The kind of years that would make even Drew Stubbs say "Dude, you really can't hit."

gilpdawg
08-21-2012, 03:15 AM
IMO, Brandon is better at that stuff. I don't recall as many acrobatic plays by Pokey.

Pokey was all range. Amazing range.

And like Brandon, people always wanted him at SS, but Pokey just remained at second base.
Pokey was so good he didn't need all that flash. Phillips is great, but I think he's overrated a little bit because of the flash.

klw
08-21-2012, 08:00 AM
Funny, seems like this converstaion is all pointed/directed at the infield...

Can't Jay Bruce get some love in RF?

Not after this year. He needs to get his head straight before he can reenter the conversation.

cumberlandreds
08-21-2012, 08:10 AM
Not after this year. He needs to get his head straight before he can reenter the conversation.

Yea he's been out of it this season. He's not been good at all in RF.

Here's my top five:

1. Bench
2. Phillips
3. Concepcion
4. Geronimo
5. Larkin

WebScorpion
08-22-2012, 02:20 AM
Wow, only five?

1 - Johhny Bench - what everyone else said.
2T - Cesar Geronimo - To this day I can see a throw Geronimo made from the warning track in dead center field to nail a runner coming from 3rd base by 2 steps...it defied the laws of physics...it was like he threw from SS. I don't remember a lot of throws from Cesar, but I don't think anyone ran on him. The only time I saw a throw close to that was Roberto Clemente from right field to 3rd base. Geronimo had great range, the most incredible arm, and was very dependable. Eric Davis was a great center fielder, but he was no Cesar Geronimo.
2T - Davey Concepcion - To me, he will always be the gold standard for a defensive SS. Like Geronimo, he had the whole defensive package; exceptional range, exceptional arm, and steady as a rock.
4 - Brandon Phillips - BP does some things I've never seen done at second base and he's maintained a superior level of play for many years. Pokey had more range, and Joe Morgan was more dependable, but overall Brandon would be my choice to be out there every day.
5 - Scott Rolen - Watching Scott play the hot corner now makes me wish I had seen him more when he was younger. His reflexes and his arm are just phenomenal. Someone mentioned the Brooks Robinson display in the '70 World Series...Scott is the only Reds player that's ever reminded me of Brooks.

All 5 of these guys made me regularly question my eyesight.

Honorable Mention: Mike Leake. I swear it's almost unfair to have him out there. It's like we have an extra infielder who can hit too. I hope he can maintain his athleticism over the years...I see a gold glove in his future. ;)


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