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Thread: The Future of the Reds Defense

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    Member mdccclxix's Avatar
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    The Future of the Reds Defense

    One of the biggest, if not the biggest, concern for me in 2012 and beyond is the defense. Since the Mets series, and possibly just before, this team has been so horrific on defense in comparison with their better selves.

    It cannot be overlooked that 2010 happened in very large part because of the defense. Scott Rolen is a once in a generation type defender at third and he as much as anyone stabilized the young rotation. It is plain as day this year watching Cairo and Frazier flub plays that Rolen, at 36 and wounded, delivers with stunning command. It is a huge deal if he cannot contribute in 2012. 2013+ is far enough away right now, yet, there ought to be plans to upgrade what we currently can project at 3b. Frazier, Francisco, ALONSO for petes sake, are all nice bats, but create a whole new climate defensively, which as we know is 1/2 the game. I'm pinning for Zimmerman right now.

    Knowing what was said and reported out of Louisville and by the prospect mavens about Yonder's LF progress makes you wonder if Yonder is just having a panicky start and he'll settle, or if their respective agendas or visions colored the reports inaccurately. I'm jaded at this point, and I think batsfan was honest when he said Yonder is just not fit for LF.

    There is also cause for concern, IMO, with regards to Frazier, who's rap is that he doesn't have a position. SS and 2b are definitely out of the question for him. LF and 3b are serious questions given that neither has stuck. In a defense first organization, this is not an ideal situation to rely on.

    Francisco's defense is just not something I want to endure. I've heard enough about his range and accuracy to scare me away.

    As for Sappelt, I've heard his arm is not very strong, we shall see, but is it really time to be thinking of moving Stubbs because we've got a guy that can hit for a little higher average? Again, this is another prospect that weakens our current defense.

    As for the veteran players on this team, I think I expected a lot more from Votto, Janish and Bruce. Phillips has been amazingly good and no one in the organization will come close to his defense in the next 2 to possibly 4 years.

    Overall, I think if you start taking out these defensive stars from the lineups of the future, just for the sake of offense, or just for the sake of fitting all these minor league prospects into the team to see how they finally play out, we will almost certainly begin remembering how painful it is to watch a season slip away with "uninspired play", "poor fundementals", "lack of focus" and all those other awful descriptors that really just describe "crappy defensive players".

    EE, Dunn, and Griffey were all shipped out for good reason, defense being chief among them. I believe Dusty knows what he's talking about when he states the value of good defense. I also believe this pitching staff could further turn in to a pumpkin when a season of comical infield defense breaks their spirit by June.

    Really, the key dilemma in 2012+ is what happens in a world without Gold Glovers Rolen and Phillips? Literally none of the current group of prospects can assuage this fear. I'm sorry, but the trend in baseball is not "out-slug the opponent". It's foolish to think any alignment without those 2 vets can out-slug the defensive drop-off that is created by their absence.

    Defense is also a large factor in the psychology of the game. Bad defense is bad vibes no matter when it occurs. Perhaps its because its one area of the game where success is in the high 90's percentage wise. You should make all the plays you can touch. Likewise, a commanding defense has that much more of a smothering effect on the opponent.

    So, a world without Rolen and/or Phillips is a scarey place. Heck, right now a world without Gomes in LF is scarey, but we'll see how long Sappelt can hold onto his spot and if his arm is truly a serious detriment. Frazier, Francisco and Alonso are not defensive players, and they are not likely to offset anything significant with their bats, otherwise I'd have to believe some of Gomes and Cairo and Lewis even would not have been on the 2011 team, as these prospects were "ready" offensively. In general, I think Reds fans need to start thinking realistically about constructing a complete team again. We may be able to keep pace with the FO or at least understand them a bit better.

    Edit: I forgot about Mesoraco - his defensive development is paramount to his success - remember, it's half the game. Get him up here so we can have a look, sure, but I won't be surprised if his delay in arriving is tied to him having a fully rounded game.
    Last edited by mdccclxix; 08-08-2011 at 02:18 AM.
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    SSG, Red Army Choir Guacarock's Avatar
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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by mdccclxix View Post
    One of the biggest, if not the biggest, concern for me in 2012 and beyond is the defense. Since the Mets series, and possibly just before, this team has been so horrific on defense in comparison with their better selves.

    It cannot be overlooked that 2010 happened in very large part because of the defense. Scott Rolen is a once in a generation type defender at third and he as much as anyone stabilized the young rotation. It is plain as day this year watching Cairo and Frazier flub plays that Rolen, at 36 and wounded, delivers with stunning command. It is a huge deal if he cannot contribute in 2012. 2013+ is far enough away right now, yet, there ought to be plans to upgrade what we currently can project at 3b. Frazier, Francisco, ALONSO for petes sake, are all nice bats, but create a whole new climate defensively, which as we know is 1/2 the game. I'm pinning for Zimmerman right now.

    Knowing what was said and reported out of Louisville and by the prospect mavens about Yonder's LF progress makes you wonder if Yonder is just having a panicky start and he'll settle, or if their respective agendas or visions colored the reports inaccurately. I'm jaded at this point, and I think batsfan was honest when he said Yonder is just not fit for LF.

    There is also cause for concern, IMO, with regards to Frazier, who's rap is that he doesn't have a position. SS and 2b are definitely out of the question for him. LF and 3b are serious questions given that neither has stuck. In a defense first organization, this is not an ideal situation to rely on.

    Francisco's defense is just not something I want to endure. I've heard enough about his range and accuracy to scare me away.

    As for Sappelt, I've heard his arm is not very strong, we shall see, but is it really time to be thinking of moving Stubbs because we've got a guy that can hit for a little higher average? Again, this is another prospect that weakens our current defense.

    As for the veteran players on this team, I think I expected a lot more from Votto, Janish and Bruce. Phillips has been amazingly good and no one in the organization will come close to his defense in the next 2 to possibly 4 years.

    Overall, I think if you start taking out these defensive stars from the lineups of the future, just for the sake of offense, or just for the sake of fitting all these minor league prospects into the team to see how they finally play out, we will almost certainly begin remembering how painful it is to watch a season slip away with "uninspired play", "poor fundementals", "lack of focus" and all those other awful descriptors that really just describe "crappy defensive players".

    EE, Dunn, and Griffey were all shipped out for good reason, defense being chief among them. I believe Dusty knows what he's talking about when he states the value of good defense. I also believe this pitching staff could further turn in to a pumpkin when a season of comical infield defense breaks their spirit by June.

    Really, the key dilemma in 2012+ is what happens in a world without Gold Glovers Rolen and Phillips? Literally none of the current group of prospects can assuage this fear. I'm sorry, but the trend in baseball is not "out-slug the opponent". It's foolish to think any alignment without those 2 vets can out-slug the defensive drop-off that is created by their absence.

    Defense is also a large factor in the psychology of the game. Bad defense is bad vibes no matter when it occurs. Perhaps its because its one area of the game where success is in the high 90's percentage wise. You should make all the plays you can touch. Likewise, a commanding defense has that much more of a smothering effect on the opponent.

    So, a world without Rolen and/or Phillips is a scarey place. Heck, right now a world without Gomes in LF is scarey, but we'll see how long Sappelt can hold onto his spot and if his arm is truly a serious detriment. Frazier, Francisco and Alonso are not defensive players, and they are not likely to offset anything significant with their bats, otherwise I'd have to believe some of Gomes and Cairo and Lewis even would not have been on the 2011 team, as these prospects were "ready" offensively. In general, I think Reds fans need to start thinking realistically about constructing a complete team again. We may be able to keep pace with the FO or at least understand them a bit better.

    Edit: I forgot about Mesoraco - his defensive development is paramount to his success - remember, it's half the game. Get him up here so we can have a look, sure, but I won't be surprised if his delay in arriving is tied to him having a fully rounded game.

    You're right to be concerned. The prospects we're calling up from Louisville all look weaker on defense than on offense. The one exception might be Cozart, who didn't seem particularly challenged at SS, although he only played a few games before going down with his hyperextended elbow. Fortunately, SS is the single most important defensive position on the diamond, so if Cozart is a strong glovesman, then we at least know that Phillips will have some capable support up the middle.

    The two other prospects we really need to see play are Sappelt and Mesoraco because they would presumably hold down two positions -- CF and C -- where defense has to be paramount. I say presumably because we could always shift Sappelt over to LF and retain Stubbs in CF if we find that Sappelt's arm limits his value in CF, but we determine that he's our ideal leadoff man.

    Sappelt made a spectacular catch in his debut game today, so even if his arm's not quite as strong as Stubbs, it's apparent that the kid can get to and track down line drives. In other words, even if he's not a CF, he would be a serious defensive upgrade over Gomes, Lewis, possibly even Heisey in LF.

    Mesoraco, we don't know yet. The knock on him is that he's weaker on defense than Grandal, but the superior bat. Still, it's clear that Mesoraco has worked hard to improve his defense, and continues to step up his game in that arena. He has a strong arm and a decent record in shutting down opponents' running game, and he has also cut down each year on the number of passed balls he allows. So even if his defense has some holes, he's fixing them. Bear in mind, he doesn't have to exhibit Johnny Bench's chops coming out of the gate, only match Ramon Hernandez.

    At 2B and 3B, I share your reservations. For 2012, we would be wise to solve the 2B dilemma by picking up the option to bring back Brandon Phillips for the year. Should we extend him for 2013 and 2014? I'm not so sure. His defense remains golden, but his power and speed are fading. He hasn't fallen off the same cliff as Rolen did this year, but you can see it happening in the not-so-distant future.

    As for Rolen, he is a unique cat. We're probably not going to be able to replace his glove anytime soon. If Frazier can match Rolen's offense, and not be as dismal on defense as EE, then that's an acceptable short-term fix for 2012. Long-term, Frazier might not be a steady enough 3B and have to reassigned to a super-sub, utility role. I wouldn't waste a lot of time trying to dislodge Zimmerman from the Nationals or Wright from the Mets. It doesn't look like either will be available this winter at an acceptable price.

    Which brings us to our last prize prospect -- Alonso. He appears to have more offensive upside than anyone else, but also more defensive warts. If we can play him at 1B or in LF, who cares? Of all the positions on the diamond, 1B and LF are the ones where you not only can play slower and more wooden defenders, but you absolutely should if you're having trouble scoring the runs you need to win. We've gone 17-26 in one-run games this season. Pitching is partly the culprit for that, also some bad luck, injuries, lame dugout calls. But the other fault line lies in the fact that we have an offense that is potent at times, but lacking in steady sticks outside Votto's. Alonso would give us another tough out, another guy whose OBP and SLG combined would likely surpass Rolen, Phillips, Bruce or Stubbs.

    If it's at all possible, it would be best to add Alonso's bat to our arsenal, especially knowing we could be forced to trade Votto by 2013, whether we like it or not. The rub probably lies in how you might platoon Sappelt and Alonso in LF, or whether Sappelt can man CF. We have about seven weeks to sort those questions out -- longer if we want to go through another inactive winter -- but I wouldn't recommend that after seeing the results from our last inactive off-season.

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    Member Ron Madden's Avatar
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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Guacarock View Post
    You're right to be concerned. The prospects we're calling up from Louisville all look weaker on defense than on offense. The one exception might be Cozart, who didn't seem particularly challenged at SS, although he only played a few games before going down with his hyperextended elbow. Fortunately, SS is the single most important defensive position on the diamond, so if Cozart is a strong glovesman, then we at least know that Phillips will have some capable support up the middle.

    The two other prospects we really need to see play are Sappelt and Mesoraco because they would presumably hold down two positions -- CF and C -- where defense has to be paramount. I say presumably because we could always shift Sappelt over to LF and retain Stubbs in CF if we find that Sappelt's arm limits his value in CF, but we determine that he's our ideal leadoff man.

    Sappelt made a spectacular catch in his debut game today, so even if his arm's not quite as strong as Stubbs, it's apparent that the kid can get to and track down line drives. In other words, even if he's not a CF, he would be a serious defensive upgrade over Gomes, Lewis, possibly even Heisey in LF.

    Mesoraco, we don't know yet. The knock on him is that he's weaker on defense than Grandal, but the superior bat. Still, it's clear that Mesoraco has worked hard to improve his defense, and continues to step up his game in that arena. He has a strong arm and a decent record in shutting down opponents' running game, and he has also cut down each year on the number of passed balls he allows. So even if his defense has some holes, he's fixing them. Bear in mind, he doesn't have to exhibit Johnny Bench's chops coming out of the gate, only match Ramon Hernandez.

    At 2B and 3B, I share your reservations. For 2012, we would be wise to solve the 2B dilemma by picking up the option to bring back Brandon Phillips for the year. Should we extend him for 2013 and 2014? I'm not so sure. His defense remains golden, but his power and speed are fading. He hasn't fallen off the same cliff as Rolen did this year, but you can see it happening in the not-so-distant future.

    As for Rolen, he is a unique cat. We're probably not going to be able to replace his glove anytime soon. If Frazier can match Rolen's offense, and not be as dismal on defense as EE, then that's an acceptable short-term fix for 2012. Long-term, Frazier might not be a steady enough 3B and have to reassigned to a super-sub, utility role. I wouldn't waste a lot of time trying to dislodge Zimmerman from the Nationals or Wright from the Mets. It doesn't look like either will be available this winter at an acceptable price.

    Which brings us to our last prize prospect -- Alonso. He appears to have more offensive upside than anyone else, but also more defensive warts. If we can play him at 1B or in LF, who cares? Of all the positions on the diamond, 1B and LF are the ones where you not only can play slower and more wooden defenders, but you absolutely should if you're having trouble scoring the runs you need to win. We've gone 17-26 in one-run games this season. Pitching is partly the culprit for that, also some bad luck, injuries, lame dugout calls. But the other fault line lies in the fact that we have an offense that is potent at times, but lacking in steady sticks outside Votto's. Alonso would give us another tough out, another guy whose OBP and SLG combined would likely surpass Rolen, Phillips, Bruce or Stubbs.

    If it's at all possible, it would be best to add Alonso's bat to our arsenal, especially knowing we could be forced to trade Votto by 2013, whether we like it or not. The rub probably lies in how you might platoon Sappelt and Alonso in LF, or whether Sappelt can man CF. We have about seven weeks to sort those questions out -- longer if we want to go through another inactive winter -- but I wouldn't recommend that after seeing the results from our last inactive off-season.
    Great post.

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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    If Sappelt is starting in LF, he doesn't weaken your defense. He upgrades it. If he is in CF, he weakens your defense.

    Problem is, Frazier, Alonso and Sappelt all fit in LF on this team.

    I do think a plan at 3B this offseason is critical. Rolen needs a heart to heart. We can't count on him next year. The guy I really want in that role is David Wright, if we can somehow convince NYM they need to tear this thing up. Not sure if resigning Reyes helps or hurts that option. But we have the horses to deal them if we want him.

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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    I think Sappelt will be fine in CF. He won't be as smooth as Stubbs, but he'll cover plenty of ground and will be far from a weakness. He'll fit better in the line-up. As noted earlier, he'd be a real plus in LF.

    Alonso's bat has looked great so far, but he needs to be dealt IMO. I just don't think he'll be adequate out there (but he should play out there every day until dealt).

    Frazier won't be Rolen, but there is a chance he could be OK at 3B. His bat has been OK for now, but I'm a skeptic that he could play every day at any spot. I like the idea of him on the team, but probably in Cairo's role. If the combo of Frazier and Francisco end up becoming the 3B tandem for the next few years, the Reds will most definitely take a step backwards.

    I need more info on Mesoraco's defense. I don't trust everything I read about a player's defensive ability. A lot of times defense is used as a default "but" in a report. If a player has a strong bat, its often followed with "but there are questions about his defense" whether he's a good defender or not. That may be what is happening here. Kind of the opposite of what happened with Paul Janish or Jaun Castro where questions about the bat were followed with exaggerated superlatives that made them sound like the greatest defensive players of all time rather than the merely solid defensive players that they are. I think we've seen a bit of that with Stubbs too BTW.

    Second Base is the black hole. The Reds have a lot of strong defenders, but Phillips is the heart and soul of this team's defense. He make plays that no other second baseman in the game today makes and saves the pitchers a lot of baserunners. I don't see anyone above A ball that might be an adequate replacement. I'd just as soon see the Reds sign him up through 2014 than to let him walk. By then Torreyes or Hamilton might be ready to take over.

    Defense might be an issue moving forward especially at 2B and 3B. Go for it before they leave.
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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    I'm not overly concerned about the future of the defense sans perhaps 3rd base. Whoever we get there short of David Wright or Ryan Zimmerman is gonna be a downgrade, Rolen is quite slick and extremely knowledgeable down there. I'm not sure BP is back after '12 but he isn't gonna be all world forever either but I just I highly doubt he goes for a 2 year deal after '12, this will be his final and likely best contract opportunity. He's probably thinking 3-4 years minimum and Uggla type money. After '12 it'll likely be time to find his replacement. I still think that guy can be Cozart if we invested in a top of the order SS. But I am ok with Cozart at SS as well although I think he will have a Hardy Lite type of offensive future complete with long bouts of ineffectiveness.

    But Stubbs in CF, Sappelt and/or Heisey in LF and Bruce in RF is as good an OF defense as there is in baseball and they will only continue to improve. Yes they have had some hiccups but again as I have said with regards to their offensive games, once they learn to quit pressing those hiccups will be fewer and much further between. That only leaves Votto who will always be solid if not better and Mes/Hanny who are both above average defensive catchers (well Mes will get there, just like he did when so many panicked about his offense). The only thing I worry about with Mes is his long throwing motion which might be tough to get squared away but his arm strength makes up for some of that.
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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    I'm not sure I follow what the concerns are for Frazier at third. From everything I've seen and heard, he's very solid there defensively. The only reason he wasn't playing there regularly in Louisville was because Francisco needed the reps there. And since they didn't see a very viable option for LF down there, they decided to get Todd some reps in left. He didn't get bumped off of 3B due to poor play.
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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario-Rijo View Post
    I'm not sure BP is back after '12 but he isn't gonna be all world forever either but I just I highly doubt he goes for a 2 year deal after '12, this will be his final and likely best contract opportunity. He's probably thinking 3-4 years minimum and Uggla type money. After '12 it'll likely be time to find his replacement.
    I think you're right about Phillips. He'll be back in '12, there's little doubt about that. But then he's likely to be gone. While the Reds might be agreeable to extending him a two-year deal after '12, he's going to want a final, longer term contract and to wrap up his career in style like Uggla. Can't see the Reds guaranteeing him $12-$14 million annually through 2015 or 2016.

    The Phillips situation could be another reason the Reds seriously weigh trading Votto for Bautista this winter. Otherwise, we might have to face the prospect of letting go of both Votto and Phillips, the two faces of the franchise, over the winter of '12-'13. That would provoke a firestorm beyond belief from the royal unwashed public.
    Last edited by Guacarock; 08-08-2011 at 10:45 AM.

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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    The need for strong defense is one reason why the Front Office's "accumulate young players and hold them" philosophy is a problem.

    IMO the Reds simply have too many guys who don't fit defensively or who are redundant defensively.

    Some examples:

    Number one is that Alonso is a first baseman, redundant with Votto.

    Number two is left field. Yes, Sappelt can play left. Yes, Frazier can probably play left. But I thought left field was the place for a clean up hitter. How do guys like Sappelt and Frazier in left field satisfy the Reds' need for a clean up man?

    Most reports I have read suggest Frazier as a super utility type. Does he have the bat or the glove to be a regular third baseman?

    Francisco is a bust to most people on this site. I disagree and think he is a powerhouse against RHP. But again, does he have enough defensively at third?

    And for those who want to trade Stubbs, you just can't plug a corner outfielder into CF.

    Those are the defensive issues I see now. They exclude issues like Phillips. But it's noteworthy that the Reds have accumulated all this talent -- still, there is no second baseman who could conceivably replace Phillips on the horizon.

    What I see is a lot of AAA talent that doesn't fit the Reds needs well. It requires player transactions to get the right pieces. The Reds don't seem to do those.
    Last edited by Kc61; 08-08-2011 at 10:59 AM.

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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    I'm not sure I follow what the concerns are for Frazier at third. From everything I've seen and heard, he's very solid there defensively. The only reason he wasn't playing there regularly in Louisville was because Francisco needed the reps there. And since they didn't see a very viable option for LF down there, they decided to get Todd some reps in left. He didn't get bumped off of 3B due to poor play.
    Just lack of range is the problem people seem to be seeing with him.
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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    The need for strong defense is one reason why the Front Office's "accumulate young players and hold them" philosophy is a problem.

    IMO the Reds simply have too many guys who don't fit defensively or who are redundant defensively.

    Some examples:

    Number one is that Alonso is a first baseman, redundant with Votto.

    Number two is left field. Yes, Sappelt can play left. Yes, Frazier can probably play left. But I thought left field was the place for a clean up hitter. How do guys like Sappelt and Frazier in left field satisfy the Reds' need for a clean up man?

    Most reports I have read suggest Frazier as a super utility type. Does he have the bat or the glove to be a regular third baseman?

    Francisco is a bust to most people on this site. I disagree and think he is a powerhouse against RHP. But again, does he have enough defensively at third?

    And for those who want to trade Stubbs, you just can't plug a corner outfielder into CF.

    Those are the defensive issues I see now. They exclude issues like Phillips. But it's noteworthy that the Reds have accumulated all this talent -- still, there is no second baseman who could conceivably replace Phillips on the horizon.

    What I see is a lot of AAA talent that doesn't fit the Reds needs well. It requires player transactions to get the right pieces. The Reds don't seem to do those.
    Plug one into 3rd and problem fixed, now you can have your leadoff hitter in LF.
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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario-Rijo View Post
    Plug one into 3rd and problem fixed, now you can have your leadoff hitter in LF.
    Yes, but Mike Schmidt is unavailable.

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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    The grass is always greener. There have been a few ugly games the past few weeks, but is that really an accurate assessment of our team defense? The defensive stats are not perfect by any stretch, but:

    Defensive Efficiency Rating: .721, tied for 3rd in MLB
    UZR/150: 9.1, 1st in MLB
    Defensive Runs Saved (vs. Avg): +25, 4th in MLB
    Total Zone FRAA: +27, 1st MLB

    There is a consensus among that stats that the Reds are an excellent defensive team so far this year. But looking ahead, firstly I'd say it's pretty silly to project out more than a year or two. We just need to go back a few years and look at all the projected lineups for of guys who aren't on the team.

    C: Hanigan & Mesoraco: Hanigan won't get any worse. And Hernandez isn't exactly a stud. Maybe a small step back.
    1B: Votto. Shouldn't get any worse, could get better.
    2B: Phillips, we'll have him next year -- our best talent in the system are middle IFs. Maybe there's a gap year in 2013, but I'm terribly concerned.
    3B: Legitimate concern. Are we poised to take a hit at 3B when/if Rolen is gone? Though we should note, replacing him with Fransisco or Frazier is not like going back to EE.
    SS: Janish isn't going anywhere, though the bat is obviously an issue. Cozart looked quite good out there. And there's talent on the way.
    LF: Clearly our biggest defensive weakness with Gomes out there. Alonso certainly doesn't look the answer, but the Reds LFs put up a -8.9 UZR last year. They've put up a 5.4 so far this year. Heisey and Sappelt are massive steps up, but it does remain to be seen who gets the bulk of the time. I think Sappelt wins the full-time gig.
    CF: Stubbs. He's been inconsistent. He's among the most defensively talented guys in the league, but his routes going back on the ball have been hit and miss. I'd like to see him play deeper. In any event, he's not likely to get worse.
    RF: Bruce. Less stellar this year than last, but still solidly above average.

    I guess my problem with your argument is this. Defense is only a problem if we make it one. The offense is producing at at average level, so it's not like Stubbs has to go. Janish isn't acceptable, but Cozart certainly looked promising.

    Could these guys play better? Obviously. Will we have to replace them at some point? Of course. But it's not really a concern for 2012 nor a major one for 2013. Of the 3 major facets of the game, defensive is our biggest strength. I'm definitely worried about improving in all three areas moving forward. But in the context of where we can improve the most or where we're in risk of taking massive steps back, it's not a concern for me.

    As for the bat vs. glove argument, it's silly in my book. Sure, there are traditions based on the types of players who are the most common/ most available. But there's no one way to do it. Would we be a better team with (the old version) of Dunn in LF or the current version of Jacoby Elsbury or Brett Gardner? There's nothing magic about having a slugging LF or speedy SS. How many teams get as much offense from C as we do? Or from 2B? Runs are runs. Sticking to some made-up hard and fast rule about which type of production you get from which position merely limits your options and prevents you from taking advantages of market inefficiencies.

    The question should always be, how can we get the most overall production in a cost-effective manner? Sometimes that's adding offense. Sometimes that's adding defense. But robbing Peter to pay Paul just because you like Paul better doesn't leave you any richer.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  15. #14
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    The grass is always greener. There have been a few ugly games the past few weeks, but is that really an accurate assessment of our team defense? The defensive stats are not perfect by any stretch, but:

    Defensive Efficiency Rating: .721, tied for 3rd in MLB
    UZR/150: 9.1, 1st in MLB
    Defensive Runs Saved (vs. Avg): +25, 4th in MLB
    Total Zone FRAA: +27, 1st MLB

    There is a consensus among that stats that the Reds are an excellent defensive team so far this year. But looking ahead, firstly I'd say it's pretty silly to project out more than a year or two. We just need to go back a few years and look at all the projected lineups for of guys who aren't on the team.

    C: Hanigan & Mesoraco: Hanigan won't get any worse. And Hernandez isn't exactly a stud. Maybe a small step back.
    1B: Votto. Shouldn't get any worse, could get better.
    2B: Phillips, we'll have him next year -- our best talent in the system are middle IFs. Maybe there's a gap year in 2013, but I'm terribly concerned.
    3B: Legitimate concern. Are we poised to take a hit at 3B when/if Rolen is gone? Though we should note, replacing him with Fransisco or Frazier is not like going back to EE.
    SS: Janish isn't going anywhere, though the bat is obviously an issue. Cozart looked quite good out there. And there's talent on the way.
    LF: Clearly our biggest defensive weakness with Gomes out there. Alonso certainly doesn't look the answer, but the Reds LFs put up a -8.9 UZR last year. They've put up a 5.4 so far this year. Heisey and Sappelt are massive steps up, but it does remain to be seen who gets the bulk of the time. I think Sappelt wins the full-time gig.
    CF: Stubbs. He's been inconsistent. He's among the most defensively talented guys in the league, but his routes going back on the ball have been hit and miss. I'd like to see him play deeper. In any event, he's not likely to get worse.
    RF: Bruce. Less stellar this year than last, but still solidly above average.

    I guess my problem with your argument is this. Defense is only a problem if we make it one. The offense is producing at at average level, so it's not like Stubbs has to go. Janish isn't acceptable, but Cozart certainly looked promising.

    Could these guys play better? Obviously. Will we have to replace them at some point? Of course. But it's not really a concern for 2012 nor a major one for 2013. Of the 3 major facets of the game, defensive is our biggest strength. I'm definitely worried about improving in all three areas moving forward. But in the context of where we can improve the most or where we're in risk of taking massive steps back, it's not a concern for me.

    As for the bat vs. glove argument, it's silly in my book. Sure, there are traditions based on the types of players who are the most common/ most available. But there's no one way to do it. Would we be a better team with (the old version) of Dunn in LF or the current version of Jacoby Elsbury or Brett Gardner? There's nothing magic about having a slugging LF or speedy SS. How many teams get as much offense from C as we do? Or from 2B? Runs are runs. Sticking to some made-up hard and fast rule about which type of production you get from which position merely limits your options and prevents you from taking advantages of market inefficiencies.

    The question should always be, how can we get the most overall production in a cost-effective manner? Sometimes that's adding offense. Sometimes that's adding defense. But robbing Peter to pay Paul just because you like Paul better doesn't leave you any richer.
    Preach it.
    Can't win with 'em

    Can't win without 'em

  16. #15
    High five! nate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Irvine, CA
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    Re: The Future of the Reds Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    The grass is always greener. There have been a few ugly games the past few weeks, but is that really an accurate assessment of our team defense? The defensive stats are not perfect by any stretch, but:

    Defensive Efficiency Rating: .721, tied for 3rd in MLB
    UZR/150: 9.1, 1st in MLB
    Defensive Runs Saved (vs. Avg): +25, 4th in MLB
    Total Zone FRAA: +27, 1st MLB

    There is a consensus among that stats that the Reds are an excellent defensive team so far this year. But looking ahead, firstly I'd say it's pretty silly to project out more than a year or two. We just need to go back a few years and look at all the projected lineups for of guys who aren't on the team.

    C: Hanigan & Mesoraco: Hanigan won't get any worse. And Hernandez isn't exactly a stud. Maybe a small step back.
    1B: Votto. Shouldn't get any worse, could get better.
    2B: Phillips, we'll have him next year -- our best talent in the system are middle IFs. Maybe there's a gap year in 2013, but I'm terribly concerned.
    3B: Legitimate concern. Are we poised to take a hit at 3B when/if Rolen is gone? Though we should note, replacing him with Fransisco or Frazier is not like going back to EE.
    SS: Janish isn't going anywhere, though the bat is obviously an issue. Cozart looked quite good out there. And there's talent on the way.
    LF: Clearly our biggest defensive weakness with Gomes out there. Alonso certainly doesn't look the answer, but the Reds LFs put up a -8.9 UZR last year. They've put up a 5.4 so far this year. Heisey and Sappelt are massive steps up, but it does remain to be seen who gets the bulk of the time. I think Sappelt wins the full-time gig.
    CF: Stubbs. He's been inconsistent. He's among the most defensively talented guys in the league, but his routes going back on the ball have been hit and miss. I'd like to see him play deeper. In any event, he's not likely to get worse.
    RF: Bruce. Less stellar this year than last, but still solidly above average.

    I guess my problem with your argument is this. Defense is only a problem if we make it one. The offense is producing at at average level, so it's not like Stubbs has to go. Janish isn't acceptable, but Cozart certainly looked promising.

    Could these guys play better? Obviously. Will we have to replace them at some point? Of course. But it's not really a concern for 2012 nor a major one for 2013. Of the 3 major facets of the game, defensive is our biggest strength. I'm definitely worried about improving in all three areas moving forward. But in the context of where we can improve the most or where we're in risk of taking massive steps back, it's not a concern for me.

    As for the bat vs. glove argument, it's silly in my book. Sure, there are traditions based on the types of players who are the most common/ most available. But there's no one way to do it. Would we be a better team with (the old version) of Dunn in LF or the current version of Jacoby Elsbury or Brett Gardner? There's nothing magic about having a slugging LF or speedy SS. How many teams get as much offense from C as we do? Or from 2B? Runs are runs. Sticking to some made-up hard and fast rule about which type of production you get from which position merely limits your options and prevents you from taking advantages of market inefficiencies.

    The question should always be, how can we get the most overall production in a cost-effective manner? Sometimes that's adding offense. Sometimes that's adding defense. But robbing Peter to pay Paul just because you like Paul better doesn't leave you any richer.
    Don't go trying to get two high fives in a day!

    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"


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