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Thread: The Not Being Negative Thread

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    Member membengal's Avatar
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    The Not Being Negative Thread

    We have a Taveras, whether we wanted it or not, now what?

    It appears the Reds have this off-season:

    1. Addressed the pen
    2. At least treaded water at Catcher, although I think they will be improved there
    3. Added the CF/lead-off hitter they apparently thought they needed

    How to maximize their chances of being competitive given the market and what Jocketty is professing to want this team to be?

    A few thoughts:

    1. Taveras' whole game is speed. Nothing else. Just speed. Unfortunately, the Reds have brought a guy who can't slug to a park that requires slugging. What to do? This was touched on in the Taveras thread by mth, I believe, but worth a longer look. Given that bloop hits will be fewer for Taveras in the much tighter GABP dimensions as opposed to Coors dimensions, in order to maximize what he does, I think they need to figure out what to do about the infield. In the olden days of yore, when Astroturf roamed the land, guys like Tavares would carve out extra hits with so-called "baltimore chops" and grounders that would find holes in the infield as nothing slowed them down. Should the Reds look into shaving the grass real low on the infield? Maybe not water it is as much? Would doing that help to maximize what Tavares does?

    2. If the Reds WERE to do that, they would need markedly better defense at SS than they currently have. Unless Alex G really can come back and be what he was, the Tavares signing puts a permium on them acquiring a SS who can pick it and hit it. Time to re-knock on the Braves' door re: Escobar?

    3. If this is to be a "pitching and defense" team, then they need more pitching too. Spend the money on a Sheets, say. Take a chance at putting another hoss into the rotation.

    4. At some point the LF hole will be filled. Let's hope that is at least an .825 OPS type bat. And he better be able to field, even though it is not a defensive position, since this team will be living on defense.

    If they make those kinds of changes, it would help, I think. If they are really going to embrace the Tavares, there have to be moves that accompany it that make sense.

    A lot of the frustration that many of us have with the organzation is that it is hard to discern a plan, and if there is one, understanding the approach to putting the plan into place.

    It would appear Walt thinks he has addressd up-the-middle issues with Ramon H and Willy T. If so, he needs to finish that off and deal with the gaping hole at SS. And he needs to do what he can to make GABP a little more friendly to a team with less of a pure SLG approach. That would be my hope for the remainder of the off-season. Maximize the return on Tavares, whatever that may be, configure the team to truly be "pitching and defense" if that is the approach, and give it a shot. What I don't want is them to go halfway on the approach. Commit to it and make it work, if that's the plan. Show a greater organizational commitment to it. And let the fans know for certain that is the approach.
    Last edited by membengal; 12-29-2008 at 10:48 AM.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    the Reds have brought a guy who can't slug to a park that requires slugging.
    Actually the park doesn't require slugging it enhances slugging.

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    It does for guys who can slug. Which is not Tavares. And that is not a slam on him, it is just not part of his game. He needs to be able to get on base a ton with balls in play, and I don't think the park suits his game in that respect. Which is why I am wondering about shaving the infield grass.

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    It does for guys who can slug. Which is not Tavares. And that is not a slam on him, it is just not part of his game. He needs to be able to get on base a ton with balls in play, and I don't think the park suits his game in that respect. Which is why I am wondering about shaving the infield grass.
    So the only way to score runs at GABP is by slugging?

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    At this point, it is far easier to score runs at GABP with that approach. Thick infield grass, not a ton of room in the OF for bloops to fall in, etc. Which is why I am asking about whether they should shave the infield down, and make it easier for guys like Tavares to scratch out hits. If indeed that would make it easier.

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    mth in post #511 on the Tavares thread wrote:

    Just saw this. Small ball teams usually were successful on turf with concrete IF, high bounces and fast rollers that get into the OF. The slow track approach can work until its adjusted to. Guys like Taveras don't hit the ball hard enough to deter teams from taking the slow roller away by simply playing in closer. The fast track, OTOH, does not allow the team to play deeper, because the speedy player will beat the longer throw. If they want to take advantage of this style, low grass and a hard surface is the way to go.

    That means the team needs a stellar IF defense to prevent the opposition from beating them at their own game. The Reds have no such defense.
    I think that is well worth a further discussion, and part of what prompted this thread.

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    Wouldn't tall infield grass make it easier for a speed guy like Taveras to bunt for a base hit?
    "In baseball, you don't know nothin'"...Yogi Berra

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    Which is why I am wondering about shaving the infield grass.
    Goes both ways, the Reds have a ?? at SS and EE who is erratic so that side of teh IF will probably be long, it drags the bunts of Taveras down (and be sure, that's what he's know for, not gap grounders) it also means that Phillips would probably bunt more. The other side of the IF I keep short Votto and Phillips can cover that better than the other side.

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    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Goes both ways, the Reds have a ?? at SS and EE who is erratic so that side of teh IF will probably be long, it drags the bunts of Taveras down (and be sure, that's what he's know for, not gap grounders) it also means that Phillips would probably bunt more. The other side of the IF I keep short Votto and Phillips can cover that better than the other side.
    What sort of differential in height are we talking about here to achieve this effect?

    If one side is cut to 1/4" while the other is 3" deep it's going to look kind of stupid isn't it?

    And does MLB have any rules about grass depth, not watering, etc?
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    Right, woy, which is why I think a premium ought to be put on acquiring a SS who can really pick it. Not sure what to do about EE.

    I am trying to figure out what the Reds might consider to maximize "pitching and defense" or "small ball" or whatever the term is that applies. I am not wedded to home runs and walks as a means of acquiring runs, if another approach works just as well, fine by me. Is the park and team as currently configured conducive to that? I don't think so, but know that the Reds are not moving the fences back or widening the alleys, so I wonder again about the IF grass, and what would be best. Even on short grass, good bunters can lay one down and get on.
    Last edited by membengal; 12-29-2008 at 10:55 AM.

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by chicoruiz View Post
    Wouldn't tall infield grass make it easier for a speed guy like Taveras to bunt for a base hit?
    I just don't think he will get enough bunt hits down to make that a real consideration. If he is a good enough bunter, he can lay one down and get plenty of hits with short IF grass. And short IF grass would perhaps help him slap the occasional ground ball through the hole as well.

    Again, part of this thread is me asking the best way to configure the park to fit Walt's apparent conception of how to build a winner. And what else should be acquired to fit that vision.

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    What sort of differential in height are we talking about here to achieve this effect?

    If one side is cut to 1/4" while the other is 3" deep it's going to look kind of stupid isn't it?

    And does MLB have any rules about grass depth, not watering, etc?
    This depends on the type of grass, Bermuda is tall and others are short and interlocked, and it can be cut in the way that makes an inch differential not noticeable.

    As for rules there are no out in the front rules that govern the maintenance of the terrain. But you can do all sorts of stuff to the dirt and the grass as far as firmness of the basepaths. The other team can complain, and the ump can try and make you fix it, but it's YOUR field, so there are tricks. I think this is some of what we'll see.

    Shorter grass in the gaps of the OF, it will aid the speed of the Reds hitters who have limited power but wheels and the better OF speed will be able to handle it the other way. The grass while termed as the longest in the league a few years back will probably be cut a tad shorter, look for the base paths to be a bit harder and the spot in front of home to be deader and have thicker grass closer in front of the plate and more on the third base side to slow down Taveras hits.

    That's what sort of small ball movement I expect to see, as with prior Baker teams there will be more movement on the pitch and a little more hit and runs than the prior Reds teams. I expect to see an emphasis on taking the extra base and on getting good secondary leads. The Reds are going to need to take extra bases and not give them away if they have both Phillips and Taveras as the speed answer to the Votto/Bruce/EE power approach.

    It's not all small ball, but it's not going to be the station to station stuff we've being watching the last 8 years either.

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    What sort of differential in height are we talking about here to achieve this effect?

    If one side is cut to 1/4" while the other is 3" deep it's going to look kind of stupid isn't it?

    And does MLB have any rules about grass depth, not watering, etc?
    I echo ltl's questions. It's an intersting thought WOY, and would cover some of the issues with Tavares. It also would give Bruce and Votto a faster track to pull balls though, and Phillips covers oodles of ground. Is that kind of approach okay under the rulebook?

    ETA: Oops, just saw WOY's post, thanks for the thoughts.

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    So the only way to score runs at GABP is by slugging?
    Goodness no.

    But a non "slugging" team requires players that can actually get singles, doubles and triples on a regular basis to make it work. A little speed doesn't hurt. The team, as it stands today, has two things going against it. Being OBP challenged (the consistency part) and a ballpark that suppresses doubles and triples (the extra base hit part). They have more speed than we've seen in the past few years but they have to use it wisely. Willy T and BPhill haven't always been successful in making their speed useful.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    Re: The Not Being Negative Thread

    http://www.actasports.com/sow.php?id=163

    Who were baseball's best bunters in 2007?

    March 20, 2008

    Each year we award baseball's best bunter with the Flat Bat Award. It's another one of those cyberspace awards—no real trophy or anything. Nevertheless, it does recognize a skill that seems to have become a lost art.

    First, we look at bunters who are most prolific and most effective at sacrificing for runners on the bases. Second, we look at the best bunters when trying for a hit.

    Here are the best at the sacrifice (listed in order of the most sacrifices):

    2007

    When bunting for a hit, the leaders are (listed in order of most bunt hits):
    Code:
    Willy Taveras 	Rockies 	37 for 52 	.712
    Norris Hopper 	Reds 	18 for 26 	.692
    Juan Pierre 	Dodgers 	17 for 46 	.370
    Luis Castillo 	Twins-Mets 	13 for 21 	.619
    Corey Patterson 	Orioles 	12 for 24 	.500
    Gerald Laird 	Rangers 	10 for 20 	.500
    Jose Reyes 	Mets 	10 for 25 	.400
    The best bunters hit well over .500 when bunting (the 29 players with 5 or more bunt hits in 2007 batted a collective .545 when bunting).

    The Flat Bat Award winner for 2007 (for the third year in a row): Willy Taveras. He led the majors in bunt hits with 37 and a spectacular .712 batting average when bunting for a hit.

    Here are the winners since 2004:
    Flat Bat Award Winners
    2007 Willy Taveras
    2006 Willy Taveras
    2005 Willy Taveras
    2004 Royce Clayton


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