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View Poll Results: Gonzalez or Keppinger at SS for 2008?

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  • Alex Gonzalez

    50 56.82%
  • Jeff Keppinger

    38 43.18%
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Thread: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

  1. #1
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    Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    Assuming the Reds are able to trade Gonzalez this offseason, would you rather have Keppinger at SS? Or would you rather Alex start and Keppinger be a super utility player? Or would you rather move EE and slide Keppinger to 3B? The former seems to be more likely and to keep this poll easier, we'll stick with that.

    So let's look at some facts...

    First we'll start with Gonzalez. First off, my heart goes out his son. Such a tough spot to be in and probably has had some sort of affect on his play offensively or defensively. On the plus side for Alex, he has hit 16 HRs in only 91 games. It's probably safe to say in GAB that he would've hit 25+ which is pretty exceptional for a guy not usually thought of to be a power hitter. Most of his other offensive stats are pretty much on par for his career or would balance out to be over the course of a season. The other plus is that the guy has great range at SS with a very good arm.

    Now for the cons. Alex, at best, is an average major league hitter, and that may be a little generous. He strikes out quite a bit and has poor plate discilpine. He doesn't take walks and has a career OBP of under 300. Defensively, he's had 15 errors this season in 91 games. The last time he was on pace for that many errors or more was in 2001 (where he had 26). Again, it's hard to say whether or not his son plays a role in the errors portion of his game, but most of his offensive stats are on par with previous seasons and it's unlikely that Cincy was going to be the place he had a big offensive breakout season. Alex is also 30 and is making $3.5 million this year.

    Let's move to Keppinger...

    For the pros, in 106 ABs, he's hitting .368 with an OBP of .437. The guy has only struck out 5 times in 106 ABs. He's slugging .528 and he's OPS'ing at .965. Defensively, he has only committed 1 error in 16 starts at SS. Jeff is 27 years old and he is also making over $3 million less than Gonzo.

    For the cons, the sample size of his play is small as a Red. Though he is still sporting a mlb career .312 batting average in almost 300 Abs (his OBP is almost .370 career). So even with the small sample size, it seems like the guy does have plate discipline and knows how to hit. Jeff does not have much power. He's hit 7 career home runs and doesn't seem to hit a lot of extra base hits either. Defensively, he simply does not have the range that Gonzo does and I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but his throw is a little awkward. It has seemed to do the trick thus far though.

    So, the question really comes down to, are you willing to take a defensive dropoff for an offensive boost? And by no means has Kepp played bad defense, he just doesn't have the same range as Gonzo. It also comes down to whether or not you want to save some money and is Alex movable to another team (which I think he is and may land an okay prospect in addition).

    Since the Reds don't have a lot of RH bats and a lot of guys that hit with contact and have high OBP's, I say keep Kepp at SS and try to trade Gonzo if possible. Thus far, it just seems like really good things happen when he is in the lineup.

    What does everyone else think?

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  3. #2
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    Keppinger is a defensive liability (@ ss, 2b, 3b) who doesn't hit for power.

    As an every day middle infielder, he's untenable. As a corner infielder he's probably just a place holder.

    If compromising at a premium defensive position, the compromise should be in favor of defense rather than batting average.
    Last edited by jojo; 08-19-2007 at 07:45 PM.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  4. #3
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    1 error though at SS in 16 starts. He's on pace for far fewer errors than Gonzo. As I said, range withstanding, he's not really been a liability thus far.

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    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    Keppinger is not an everyday player.

    He is, however, an upgrade from Juan Castro.

    Alex Gonzalez or Brandon Phillips should be the starting SS in 2008.

  6. #5
    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    Keppinger deserves a reserve role on this team in 08, he doesn't deserve to start anywhere right now as far as I can see.

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    Quote Originally Posted by fearofpopvol1 View Post
    1 error though at SS in 16 starts. He's on pace for far fewer errors than Gonzo. As I said, range withstanding, he's not really been a liability thus far.
    Range is a huge part of defense especially at a middle infield position. If errors are are like holes in water bucket, lack of range is like trying to carry water in a flask made of pantyhose. In the case of Gonzo and his recent off the field issues or even EE and this throwing errors, the holes in the bucket most likely can be patched. A sieve on the other hand just doesn't make a good canteen.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  8. #7
    Member Ron Madden's Avatar
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    Whenever the Reds find good bench players they fool around and try to make starters outta them.

  9. #8
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    As always, I am on a fence.
    One side says that I like Keppinger a lot - he has been coming up with hits, and timely ones. He is also hitting the age where he should be hitting his ability summit - so why not go with the hotter hand.
    On the other side, I remember guys in the past whom the Reds have given a chance after such short termed success: Freel, Wily Mo, Denorfia, Jimenez, young Castro, to name a few of the more recent players. Could we be doing the same in expecting a lot more out of Keppinger than he is capable of?
    I think in the end, I see him as a super-sub type player, starting here and there when a player needs a rest or gets injured.

  10. #9
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    I voted for A-Gon in large part because I don't believe in moving players up the defensive spectrum to more difficult positions.

    That said, I also don't like conventional thought going unquestioned, so I go back and forth on the issue.

    As for their defense, I've always thought A-Gon was a bit overrated. As for Keppinger, I'm still not a big believer in him at short because of concerns about his range, but some of the basic defensive metrics actually rate Keppinger as being the better shortstop.

    2007 Shortstop Stats

    A-Gon

    Innings: 784.0
    FPCT: .961
    ZR: .842
    RF: 4.27
    DP: 68
    E: 15

    Kepp
    Innings: 134.1
    FPCT: .986
    ZR: .907
    RF: 4.89
    DP: 9
    E: 1

    I know Range Factor is heavily flawed and we have a small sample size from Keppinger, but at this point Keppinger has better range (ZR & RF) and a better fielding percentage. If this is truly indicative of their respective levels of performance, then the only downside of switching from A-Gon to Kepp at short might be turning double plays.

  11. #10
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    Keppinger without a doubt...
    The lowest acceptable payroll amount for ownership to show they are not greedy pigs is 15 million more than they are currently paying. No matter what that currently is.

  12. #11
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    If those are the 2 choices then I go with Phillips and let Keppinger have 2nd.
    Go Gators!

  13. #12
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Keppinger is a defensive liability (@ ss, 2b, 3b) who doesn't hit for power.

    As an every day middle infielder, he's untenable. As a corner infielder he's probably just a place holder.

    If compromising at a premium defensive position, the compromise should be in favor of defense rather than batting average.
    I couldn't have said it better. We're looking at a very small window on Keppinger right now. I like this kid. It's obvious, in all liklihood, he's not going to maintain his current offense performance, and I'm not sure what his defensive rating is.

    As far as Gonzo goes - I look at his overall career numbers defensively, and his struggles this year(# of errors) has to be affected by what his going on with his son. I know that if that were my son I'd have a hard time even going to work, let alone performing at the level expected of me.

    Offensively, it's obvious there is a GABP factor. He is hitting for power (16 Hrs .475 SLG&#37. The knock on him by some is his OB% (.317). Then you bat him at the lower part of the order where he belongs.

    We're paying him 3.5 Mil in '07, and then 4.6 Mil in '08. Some find that excessive?

    Maybe they miss Felipe Lopez who is making 3.9 Mil while putting up a .308 OB% .362 SLG% .670 OPS 9 Hrs?

    I will take Keppinger over a Castro though.
    Last edited by GAC; 08-19-2007 at 09:07 PM.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  14. #13
    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    I posted this on the "Keppinger's K'd twice in 90 AB's" thread, but it fits better on this thread:

    Can he really play SS? There was a ball today that went up the middle that I thought Gonzo gets every time; Kepp wasn't near it.

    I don't know if Kepp can play major league quality SS or not; it's a serious question. Aurilia played it for stretches last year when Narron was trying to get his stick in the lineup more often, and it was clear to me that Rich was no longer an MLB SS.

    I love what I see in Keppinger- who doesn't? A pleasant surprise coming from nowhere is always a good thing. Play the hot hand, and when (and if) he proves himself to be a utility player, then you haven't lost anything. I love a guy like him coming off the bench. If he can push Gonzo or EE for a starting job, well that's even better.

    Competition is always a good thing. But don't count on him for a starter. Hopefully the Reds have learned that lesson from Ryan Freel. Don't overpay him, don't sign him to a LTC, don't hand him a starting position, but DO count on him for bench strength. That's what I'd do, and I'd do the same for Norris Hopper, as well.

    But I love the way they are both hitting right now!

  15. #14
    Member cincrazy's Avatar
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    I'm not meaning in any way to minimize what's going on with Gonzo's son, I'm sure that's weighing heavily on his mind, but it's not as if this year is an exception for Gonzo. Twice he's had over 20 error's in the past, and one season he had 19. He's a very good shortstop, but I think he's always been a little overrated. He's prone to streaks where he's inconsistent, and then he'll go a long stretch with playing great D.

    With that being said, I don't think Keppinger is an everyday player, and I want Gonzo in there. Keppinger would serve us best coming off the bench and being a supersub type, but I don't think he could be an everyday player in this league. Sooner or later the law of averages would catch up to him I'd have to imagine.

  16. #15
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Gonzalez or Keppinger for SS in 2008?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Madden View Post
    Whenever the Reds find good bench players they fool around and try to make starters outta them.
    Another good point.

    Just envision what our bench strength could be like next year minus a Castro and Conine, and with RH'd/LH'd bats of Keppinger, Freel, and maybe even Hatteberg IF Votto finally gets the call up?
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations


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