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Thread: Short Season Thoughts

  1. #1
    Member Bourgeois Zee's Avatar
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    Short Season Thoughts

    MLB owners have proposed an 82-game schedule with a universal DH. Random thoughts on that proposal:

    1. Bullpens are going to be vital.
    Each game is now twice as important. That means leads just cannot be blown late. Bullpens have to be effective in order for teams to win. Cincinnati's bullpen projects to be decent, with lots of upside. Igelsias' September is reason for optimism: 1.69 ERA and a 15:1 K:BB. Robert Stephenson's 18.9 swinging strike percentage is probably unsustainable, but that slider is legitimate. Lucas Sims may make a similar jump this season as an out of option relief arm. Largely, this bullpen will go as far as its veteran arms can take it. Is Raisel Iglesias completely cooked or was last season an aberration due to a juiced ball? Is Pedro Strop the guy we saw late or the guy we saw early? Both need to be answered positively if the Reds want to compete this year. Cincinnati does have some enviable relief arm depth-- Cody Reed, Lucas Sims, Nate Jones, and others may be important moving forward.

    2. Getting production from a DH might be just as important.
    The Reds have one of the best situations possible for the new NL DH. Nick Senzel, Shogo Akiyama, Nick Castellanos, and the platoon of Phil Ervin and Jesse Winker should help a great deal offensively without sacrificing too much defensively. Akiyama and Senzel are likely above average performers at two spots and should be able to hide Castellanos and Winker a bit. Too, the Reds have the ability to move their top offensive performers around enough that they don't necessarily have to give scrubs many ABs. Nice bit of luck, that.

    3. Taxi squads v. development
    What will be really interesting is just who the Reds decide is worth a spot on the taxi squad/ 50-man roster/ whatever MLB decides to call it. It is unlikely we have much of a minor league season, if any at all. Guys like Tyler Stephenson, Stuart Fairchild, and perhaps Jose Garcia can be upper level minor league alternatives and develop. Nick Lodolo, with his precocious blend of upside and poise, might also be an option. What, then, will they do with top prospects who aren't in the upper minors? Extended spring training makes all sorts of sense for the young guys from last year, but what about Hunter Greene? Will Packy Naughton earn a spot? Tony Santillan? Vlad Gutierrez?

    4. Getting off to a fast start
    With an 82-game schedule, the Reds cannot afford to get off to the same start as last season and expect to compete for a pennant. They have to get off to a good start. If they're 10 games out at any time, they're almost assuredly done. Dick Williams will have to be quick to act-- and react. If they suck in July, both Trevor Bauer and Nick Castellanos should be dangled. So should other free agents. If they're close, they shouldn't hesitate to make a move to acquire more help, either. I'd guess Mychal Givens would look good in red, for example. Or another big-time arm. The good news is that nearly everyone has been there before. Akiyama is the only question mark that hasn't any MLB experience. Everyone else should know what they need to do. Starters will have to be ready from the get-go. That augers well for guys like Bauer-- who always seems like he's working.

    5. Speaking of starters...
    Assuming no injuries in the shortened Summer Training, the starting eight (nine, if you include DH) should all be healthy and ready to go. In a shortened season, they won't need nearly as many days off. Hopefully, that means veteran bats like Votto can get off to fast starts-- and stay there. Remember, the ball tends to jump in July Cincinnati. That'll help Castellanos, Suarez, Votto, and the power bats. It may really hit the pitching staff hard, however. (Particularly Iglesias, DeSclafani, Mahle, and Bauer.)

    6. Speaking of starters, Part II...
    I assume MLB owners are pushing for some doubleheaders to make up games early enough for playoff baseball to be played before snow starts falling. If so, Tyler Mahle (and every team's sixth starting pitcher) takes on an outsized role. He's shown flashes, but has struggled with consistency. Typically, Mahle has started well before teams catch on to his arsenal. His career first half ERA of 4.24 isn't anything special, but how many teams have a guy like that as their sixth guy? He does have a penchant for absolutely sucking in July and August. Part of that may be humidity. If so, that'll suck. Trevor Bauer has dominated early; part of that is probably because he's always mid-season sharp. Sonny Gray gets a bit tired in September and October. That shouldn't be an issue this season. DeSclafani is good early and late, but struggles in the middle months. Luis Castillo tends to have a dead arm period in June each year before rounding back into shape from July on. That shouldn't happen this season either.

    7. Veteran importance
    There's not a player on the Cincinnati roster who hasn't been there before. Even bench guys have a couple months at the major league level, at least. As a result, they should be able to get themselves ready and hopefully be in mid-season form as the season hits. Votto often struggles for a month before finding his groove. (His struggle is different than others-- most guys would give their eye teeth to OPS over 900 for a month.) He'll have to be ready if the Reds want to compete.

    8. The schedule will help. Maybe
    Every year in my childhood, a swing through the west would doom the Reds, showing them to be pretenders instead of contenders. A 1-10 schneid as they went through San Diego, LA, and San Francisco seems to hit every. single. year.

    Well, it won't hit this season for sure.

    The Reds should have the advantage of playing Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Detroit, three of the five worst projected teams in baseball. (This assumes no Atlanta-for-Pittsburgh switch to save on travel.) That could pad the win totals and allow the Reds a rosier 82-game total than teams who are competing on the coasts. (That Tampa/ Atlanta/ Washington/ New York/ Philadelphia slog is brutal.) Cleveland and Minnesota both project to be very, very good, but neither team is as tough as Houston or the Dodgers or anything they'd have to deal with on the East Coast.

    9. Catching Fire
    For half a season, Derek Dietrich was as good a hitter as there was in the National League last season. Someone's gonna do it this year too-- because someone does it every year. Castellanos could be that guy. He's moving to a new park and has the chops to be dominant at times. (Witness his time with Chicago last year.) Winker's been that guy too-- when healthy. If a couple of guys can do it, it'd go a long way to winning the pennant.

    10. Just be good enough
    Finally, they don't have to be the best. They just have to be good enough. Second place will do it, for sure. Third place might even get them there. Just get to the playoffs, and they'll be a relatively tough out. (Especially with that Gray/ Castillo/ Bauer front of a rotation.)

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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    Will it matter as much? We're all starved for the Reds to compete and make the playoffs, but will the results of this season have such a big asterisk on it that no one will really "count" anything a team does in this season? I guess we won't really know how anyone feels about that until we get there in October or November or whenever playoffs are going to be.

  5. #3
    Two-Time Batting Champ Edd Roush's Avatar
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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Red View Post
    Will it matter as much? We're all starved for the Reds to compete and make the playoffs, but will the results of this season have such a big asterisk on it that no one will really "count" anything a team does in this season? I guess we won't really know how anyone feels about that until we get there in October or November or whenever playoffs are going to be.
    You bring up some good points, but a pennant chase is a pennant chase at the end of the day. It may even be more fun since we have gone so long without sports.

    It also helps that the Reds are built to win now.

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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    I guess a 2020 pennant is not a 2019 pennant in terms of stature, but I'd rather win on a one than not. I guess it might be the most meaningless World Series win, for whoever gets it, in the modern era.

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    Two-Time Batting Champ Edd Roush's Avatar
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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by EnglishRed View Post
    I guess a 2020 pennant is not a 2019 pennant in terms of stature, but I'd rather win on a one than not. I guess it might be the most meaningless World Series win, for whoever gets it, in the modern era.
    That could be debatable since the modern era included 1943 - 1945. It will depend if any players sit out due to health concerns and others play.

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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    All that being said, if the Reds win the World Series there is 0 doubt in my mind that I'm buying $500 worth of World Series gear and wearing it proudly! The 30 year old gear is getting a bit stale! The Royals just won theirs on the 30th anniversary of their last one. Why not us?

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by EnglishRed View Post
    I guess a 2020 pennant is not a 2019 pennant in terms of stature, but I'd rather win on a one than not. I guess it might be the most meaningless World Series win, for whoever gets it, in the modern era.
    Win the whole thing, hang the banner, and who cares what anyone else has to say about it.

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    Member Bourgeois Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    No one thinks less of the 1981 Dodgers or the 1995 Braves.

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    Bat Flippin’ Awesome Puig Your Red's Avatar
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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourgeois Zee View Post
    No one thinks less of the 1981 Dodgers or the 1995 Braves.
    The recent lockout shortened seasons for the NBA and NHL were two of the most exciting seasons for each of those sports in recent memory. A shorter season makes games that much more important, and hopefully that much more fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    A little bit off topic, but do you guys think that Jesse Winker profiles more like Pete Rose or is he just the next Hal Morris??

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    Baseball means warmth Joeyjection19's Avatar
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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by EnglishRed View Post
    I guess a 2020 pennant is not a 2019 pennant in terms of stature, but I'd rather win on a one than not. I guess it might be the most meaningless World Series win, for whoever gets it, in the modern era.
    They could only play for one week and they'd still all be MLB players, unlike 42-45.

    Edit: granted, this isn't the modern era, but it could be so much worse. This is hardly baseball's darkest hour.

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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourgeois Zee View Post
    No one thinks less of the 1981 Dodgers or the 1995 Braves.
    Or the 72 A's. Except that they beat the Reds in the WS.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    The shorter the season the better the odds for smaller market/smaller budget teams. Less opportunity for injuries to stars that these smaller budget teams typically have less success replacing.

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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    I wish they could have found a way to fit 100 games with the expanded rosters.

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    Knowledge Is Good Big Klu's Avatar
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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Cloninger View Post
    I wish they could have found a way to fit 100 games with the expanded rosters.
    Split squads.
    Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman. Damn glad to meet ya.

  25. #15
    Member Strikes Out Looking's Avatar
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    Re: Short Season Thoughts

    Being able to get any season is ice cream. Getting into post season makes it a sundae. Winning it all is the cherry on top.

    Right now, I just want to eat store brand ice cream.

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