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Thread: The Case For: Xavier Paul

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  1. #1
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    The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Not many new topics on the board lately, so I thought we could go one by one, examining the case for (and against) each of the borderline guys for the 25-man roster. First up: Xavier Paul.

    Highlights
    Last season proved to be a very, very good one for the former Pirate and Dodger prospect. Paul hit well in AAA, then, after Jocketty picked him up for a pittance, as the Reds' fifth OF and primary LH PH. Paul hit, to the tune of an .844 OPS with patience and BA to boot.

    And many of those hits were big. Baker typically used him late, to either pinch hit for Drew Stubbs or the pitcher. (At that point in the season, they were pretty much the same player offensively.)

    The Case For:
    1. He has a pedigree. Kind of.
    It's not like Xavier Paul came out of nowhere. He put up decent to above average numbers for three years before struggling in his first extended major league test in 2011. He's got a minor league line that includes two 900+ OPS season and might have been the AAA MVP last year, had he stayed in Syracuse. A career minor league OPS of 817 isn't bad. Not bad at all.

    2. He's versatile.
    Paul, 27, plays all three OF positions, though he's not great at any of them. His minor league track record includes more games in CF than in RF or LF, but he's had enough experience at all of them to feel comfortable wherever he's put.

    Speaking of, he's also versatile offensively. Paul's got some pop, most recently seen in his .465 slugging percentage last season in the majors. He's also got some speed, as his 23 SB (in 500 career ABs) attest. As a bench guy, he's got to be able to do more than one thing. And Paul has shown he can do just that.

    3. He's produced already in the role.
    Last season, Paul showed what he was capable of. He's patient at the plate (9 BBs in 96 PAs is exceptionally good, especially off the bench) and showed the hit tool as well.

    4. He's young and cheap.
    The Slidell native is just entering his prime, at age 27. He's also not likely to cost more than $500,000 or so and is under team control until 2017. He won't be arb-eligible until 2014. What's not to like there?
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  2. #2
    Member Wonderful Monds's Avatar
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    I don't have much else to add except that I'm glad X-Man is on the team.
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  3. #3
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    I think Paul is the cleasr 5th OF at this point, but with Choo and Bruce filling 2 spots, Ludwick being better against RHP than LHP and Hannahan now on the bench, the need for a lefty OFer on the bench is much less urgent. If Rolen decides to play, Paul would seem to be the odd man out.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    .... Ludwick being better against RHP than LHP....


    LUdwick has been better vs. LH pitching each of the last 2 years, so his lifetime splits may be a changing.

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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I think Paul is the cleasr 5th OF at this point, but with Choo and Bruce filling 2 spots, Ludwick being better against RHP than LHP and Hannahan now on the bench, the need for a lefty OFer on the bench is much less urgent. If Rolen decides to play, Paul would seem to be the odd man out.
    I think the Reds outfield as currently structured, has excellent lefty/righty balance. I would keep XPaul.

    Heisey and Ludwick have hit righties better, but not last year. Both hit lefties better.

    If Rolen comes back, which I doubt, the Reds will have an overload of players in the infield. I wouldn't remedy that by going short in the outfield.

    Particularly with Choo playing out of position in CF, I'd want my full compliment of five outfielders.

  6. #6
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    I think the Reds outfield as currently structured, has excellent lefty/righty balance. I would keep XPaul.

    Heisey and Ludwick have hit righties better, but not last year. Both hit lefties better.

    If Rolen comes back, which I doubt, the Reds will have an overload of players in the infield. I wouldn't remedy that by going short in the outfield.

    Particularly with Choo playing out of position in CF, I'd want my full compliment of five outfielders.
    Somewhat agree, but Todd Frazier moving to an OF spot against LHP with Bruce or Choo resting and Rolen at 3B might be a better fit. I don't see much PT for Paul unless there is an injury. Keeping guys as a pure PH is a crapshoot. I'd say Heisey will be the primary back-up at all three spots and Frazier's versatility might make Paul the odd man out if Rolen returns. I can't see Donald or Hannahan being cut loose. They'll probably just make good use fo the DL and keep them all around.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Somewhat agree, but Todd Frazier moving to an OF spot against LHP with Bruce or Choo resting and Rolen at 3B might be a better fit. I don't see much PT for Paul unless there is an injury. Keeping guys as a pure PH is a crapshoot. I'd say Heisey will be the primary back-up at all three spots and Frazier's versatility might make Paul the odd man out if Rolen returns. I can't see Donald or Hannahan being cut loose. They'll probably just make good use fo the DL and keep them all around.
    Frazier will never be a good third baseman if he keeps getting moved around the diamond. We're no longer talking about Todd as a backup. If he's the primary third baseman, left field should be eliminated from his vocabulary unless it is an emergency situation.

    Paul gives the Reds a lefty pinch hitter and a guy who can fill in against righties as a corner outfielder.

    As for Rolen, I don't think he's returning. Even if he goes to spring training I think he will drop out before the season. If he does return, perhaps his spot will come from an injury. I would count on a bench of Hannahan, Donald, Paul, Heisey, and Mesoraco (or Hanigan).

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    Frazier will never be a good third baseman if he keeps getting moved around the diamond. We're no longer talking about Todd as a backup. If he's the primary third baseman, left field should be eliminated from his vocabulary unless it is an emergency situation.

    Paul gives the Reds a lefty pinch hitter and a guy who can fill in against righties as a corner outfielder.

    As for Rolen, I don't think he's returning. Even if he goes to spring training I think he will drop out before the season. If he does return, perhaps his spot will come from an injury. I would count on a bench of Hannahan, Donald, Paul, Heisey, and Mesoraco (or Hanigan).
    As I originally said, as of now, Paul is clearly the 25th man, but if Rolen decides to play, the Reds will make a spot and Paul seems the clear odd man out.

    This brings up a whole topic I've been thinking about starting a thread on. Hamilton is the CF of the future when Choo leaves, but the next opeining will be LF after Ludwick goes. IMO, that is Frazier's long term position. I think H-Rod, Vidal, Mejias Brean or maybe Mattair at 3B with Frazier shifting is the more likely plan. I think the Reds are actually on record as saying they think Frazier's best spot is LF and he's the 3B more out of need at this point.

    If the Reds have Rolen and Hannahan, I don't think they are going to worry about Frazier's development at 3B. He seems to be a stopgap there IMO. Frazier will play 3B most of the time to get his bat in the line-up, but if moving him around allows the Reds to play Rolen or Hannahan instead of Paul when somebody in the OF or Votto needs a day off, I think they'll move him around.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  9. #9
    malingered here too long malcontent's Avatar
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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    Frazier will never be a good third baseman if he keeps getting moved around the diamond. We're no longer talking about Todd as a backup. If he's the primary third baseman, left field should be eliminated from his vocabulary unless it is an emergency situation.
    Agreed, and I'm all for keeping Paul and not re-signing Rolen.

  10. #10
    Arbiter of Good Taste OGB's Avatar
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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I think Paul is the cleasr 5th OF at this point, but with Choo and Bruce filling 2 spots, Ludwick being better against RHP than LHP and Hannahan now on the bench, the need for a lefty OFer on the bench is much less urgent. If Rolen decides to play, Paul would seem to be the odd man out.
    I honestly can't imagine a scenario where Rolen and Hannahan are both on the team.
    I may not be fast, but I sure am slow.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by OGB View Post
    I honestly can't imagine a scenario where Rolen and Hannahan are both on the team.
    A Hannahan/Rolen platoon would be like having a regular player in reserve. The fact that Frazier can move around makes that Regular player capable of backing up 4 spots (maybe 5 if Bruce moves to CF in the event of a Choo injury). Surviving an injury is probably most important toward keeping this team on a post-season track (it happened last year).

    If they are all healthy, I can't imagine the difference between having Paul on the bench and Rolen on the bench would matter too much (neither will get many starts IMO). If one of the corner guys goes down, having a Rolen/Hannahan platoon might be a key to filling in. The upside of keeping Paul seems pretty minimal to me. The upside of keeping Rolen gives the Reds a ready-made platoon to plug in if somebody important goes down.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  12. #12
    Member Tom Servo's Avatar
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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    I can't seem to find PH stats on baseball-reference, but he had to be our most effective PH last season, right?
    "Since I've been with the Reds in 1989, we've never had a farm system this loaded," Bowden said. "If we were the New York Yankees and had unlimited dollars, we could have traded for Colon, (Jeff) Weaver, Rolen, (Cliff) Floyd, (Kenny) Rogers and Finley and gotten them all -- and still held onto our top five prospects. That's an amazing statement."

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    2013 W.S. Champions Nathan's Avatar
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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
    I can't seem to find PH stats on baseball-reference, but he had to be our most effective PH last season, right?
    He was 12/36 1 HR, 2 RBI's. (It's in the "More Stats" tab). Where that'd rank him, I don't know, but that seems pretty good. It was by far his best performance as a pinch hitter in his career.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Case against:

    - 28 years old, 507 PA, .259/.305/.364, .326 BABIP, 6% BB, 21% K, 23 SB/ 10 CS
    - Being able to a position, but to only play it poorly, calls in to question the usefulness of saying a guy can play a position. Jay Bruce could play SS poorly. I get the point, but still, being able to play somewhere without embarrassing yourself is a pretty low bar.

    He's basically the textbook definition of replacement level. That's not a bad thing. I'm totally cool with him as our 5th OF. I just don't see anything to get excited about.
    Like many that came before him, he's a guy that can be a 25th man
    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.

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    Lark11 11BarryLarkin11's Avatar
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    Re: The Case For: Xavier Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Case against:

    - 28 years old, 507 PA, .259/.305/.364, .326 BABIP, 6% BB, 21% K, 23 SB/ 10 CS
    - Being able to a position, but to only play it poorly, calls in to question the usefulness of saying a guy can play a position. Jay Bruce could play SS poorly. I get the point, but still, being able to play somewhere without embarrassing yourself is a pretty low bar.

    He's basically the textbook definition of replacement level. That's not a bad thing. I'm totally cool with him as our 5th OF. I just don't see anything to get excited about.
    Like many that came before him, he's a guy that can be a 25th man
    Yeah, I'm not sure there's enough evidence out there for us to feel confident with the notion that he can play center field. I know I've never seen him play center. At the MLB level, he's logged only 53.1 innings in center and zero out there for the Reds last year.

    He was rated the 23rd best prospect by Baseball America in 2008, which included the blurb "He can handle all three outfield positions, but his speed and plus arm profile best in right field."

    At this point, his ability to play an effective center field is, at best, an open question.
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