On an individual level, who do you view as Louisville's MVP so far? And do you think Kevin Barker has any potential value as a LH bat off the bench in Cincinnati?
Smit is on the DL
Yes, the defense is much better and I credit Sweet. He basically put his foot down and said enough is enough. Errors have been lowered across the board since. I can't say for sure if there's been extra practice or what but I would have to guess that there has been.
On pitching v offense, I'd have to give pitching more credit. The offense has been there a few times to pick up when pitching has faltered but more often, it has been the other way around.
MVP is a tough question. For me, it's between Stubbs, Lehr and Barker. I have a problem giving MVP to a starting pitcher, especially one that hasn't been with the team the whole season. Stubbs has been superior defensively and with baserunning. He has had good times and bad times at the plate but overall has been good. Not great, but good. Barker started the season slow. Since he's picked it up, the one word to describe him is Votto. If he started the season the way he's been playing for the last two months or so, there would be no question that he is the MVP.
If I have to choose a guy, it would probably be Stubbs by a hair at this point. But if Barker continues like he is now, at the end of the season it will be Barker, no question.
Could the Reds use Barker? Not if Votto is healthy. He could make a good DH or pinch hitter but that's not what the Reds need. They need an impact everyday guy. That's not Barker. It might be Stubbs or Heisey soon though.