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  1. #1
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    My Gut Feeling-Based Call-Up Schedule

    (Editor’s note: I claim no special baseball knowledge. This list is based entirely on the postings and comments I read here and on Doug’s page.)

    When will players be called up for a legitimate shot to stick with the ML roster (so not including temporary call-ups to fill in for an injured player). This is NOT about a given player’s potential (plenty of other prospect rankings do that) but rather about when they should get their chance to make it to the Show.

    Category 1 – Any Day Now

    Matt “Die Hard” McLain. Reds.com still gives him a 2024 expected arrival, but I just don’t see a single stat that favors caution. He’s two years older than Elly, strikes out only 17% of the time over the last ten games/24% of the time on the season. Never seems over-matched – has struck out twice in the same game only 6 times this season and never more than twice. (Hence the proposed “Die-Hard” moniker) IMHO too much minor league time could actually hinder his development at this point. We don’t want him to ‘adjust’ to weaker pitching at AAA. He is going to struggle in the majors for a while, but his entire track record evinces this will be only temporary.

    Chuckie “The Finster” Robinson. Or maybe we should call him “Crash” since he’s a 28 year old catcher with 7 years in the minors that once spent a few weeks in the Show. I get it… in 25 games and 59 ABs last year he was just …. not…. good. So maybe you just want to discount his performance this year as a small sample size… but look a level deeper. Last year across three levels he struck out at a combined 25% rate and walked at 5% rate. In 80 ABs this year his K rate is down to 11% and his walk rate is up to almost 9%. Something has changed for Chuckie. Maybe it’s the product of finally getting ML level coaches during spring training. As catchers go, he is still a ‘young’ 29 since he has only caught in 254 games over the last 7 years. Call him up and see if this season is a mirage and/or if he can call ML games.

    Category 2 – At Least a Month Away

    L.E.D. (Elly de la Cruz). This last week has shown the electric excitement he brings to each and every game as he continues to light it up (L.E.D.). However, this guy is young and seems to play with a lot of emotion. Unlike McClain, I think there is a very real risk of calling him up too early. Yesterday he faced the type of pitcher he will face every day in the Bigs and his lack of plate discipline became an obvious vulnerability. His season is still only a few weeks old. If I was in control of development, I would not have even tried to tweak his pitch discrimination yet, giving him time to get comfortable with his swing again first. He might need more time to develop emotional resilience. Even if the risk is minimal, the stakes are just too high. When in doubt take the conservative route. Don’t risk a decade of all-star play just to speed up his career a month or three.

    Believe the Hyp(hen)! (Christian Encarnacion-Strand). If I could pause a moment to blow my own fanfare, the day we traded for him I posted that I thought he would be a top 5 Reds prospect one year later. I confess that maybe subconsciously I am delaying his call-up because I don’t want to be wrong since if he gets called up he is no longer a prospect! This guy is destined to be a solid MLB performer, but I think he might need a little more time to learn how to adjust to the adjustments pitchers/catchers will continually make against him. Some have posted that he has “cooled off” on this board, but if an .802 OPS over the last ten games is considered a ‘slump’ for him, then we should probably start commissioning his Cooperstown bust right now. That said, zero walks in his last ten games/42 AB is a bit disconcerting, especially when paired with a 33% K rate during the same period. Like Elly, his swing is so strong that he can still drive pitches that he never should have swung at in the first place. That reeks of a plate aggression that needs to be tempered gently rather than crushed by a too early exposure to ML pitching and the days/weeks of futile efforts sure to follow.

    Andrew Abbott. How long until GAB becomes (say it with me Ye Men in Tights) “Chez Abbott!!” What can I say? This guy has been great this season. His last start he was almost mortal, giving up 7 hits in five innings, but he had not given up more than 4 hits in any game prior to that. However, note that they are still wrapping this guy with bubble wrap. Last game was the first time all year he was asked to go through the full batting order for a third time. This year he has only pitched more than 5 innings once. In fact, including all of last year, he has only pitched into the seventh inning exactly once. Stretch him out in Louisville over the next month and see how he responds before calling him up.

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  3. #2
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    Re: My Gut Feeling-Based Call-Up Schedule

    "LED" is a great nickname

  4. #3
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    Re: My Gut Feeling-Based Call-Up Schedule

    Quote Originally Posted by Brisco View Post
    (EditorÂ’s note: I claim no special baseball knowledge. This list is based entirely on the postings and comments I read here and on DougÂ’s page.)

    When will players be called up for a legitimate shot to stick with the ML roster (so not including temporary call-ups to fill in for an injured player). This is NOT about a given playerÂ’s potential (plenty of other prospect rankings do that) but rather about when they should get their chance to make it to the Show.

    Category 1 – Any Day Now

    Matt “Die Hard” McLain. Reds.com still gives him a 2024 expected arrival, but I just don’t see a single stat that favors caution. He’s two years older than Elly, strikes out only 17% of the time over the last ten games/24% of the time on the season. Never seems over-matched – has struck out twice in the same game only 6 times this season and never more than twice. (Hence the proposed “Die-Hard” moniker) IMHO too much minor league time could actually hinder his development at this point. We don’t want him to ‘adjust’ to weaker pitching at AAA. He is going to struggle in the majors for a while, but his entire track record evinces this will be only temporary.

    Chuckie “The Finster” Robinson. Or maybe we should call him “Crash” since he’s a 28 year old catcher with 7 years in the minors that once spent a few weeks in the Show. I get it… in 25 games and 59 ABs last year he was just …. not…. good. So maybe you just want to discount his performance this year as a small sample size… but look a level deeper. Last year across three levels he struck out at a combined 25% rate and walked at 5% rate. In 80 ABs this year his K rate is down to 11% and his walk rate is up to almost 9%. Something has changed for Chuckie. Maybe it’s the product of finally getting ML level coaches during spring training. As catchers go, he is still a ‘young’ 29 since he has only caught in 254 games over the last 7 years. Call him up and see if this season is a mirage and/or if he can call ML games.

    Category 2 – At Least a Month Away

    L.E.D. (Elly de la Cruz). This last week has shown the electric excitement he brings to each and every game as he continues to light it up (L.E.D.). However, this guy is young and seems to play with a lot of emotion. Unlike McClain, I think there is a very real risk of calling him up too early. Yesterday he faced the type of pitcher he will face every day in the Bigs and his lack of plate discipline became an obvious vulnerability. His season is still only a few weeks old. If I was in control of development, I would not have even tried to tweak his pitch discrimination yet, giving him time to get comfortable with his swing again first. He might need more time to develop emotional resilience. Even if the risk is minimal, the stakes are just too high. When in doubt take the conservative route. DonÂ’t risk a decade of all-star play just to speed up his career a month or three.

    Believe the Hyp(hen)! (Christian Encarnacion-Strand). If I could pause a moment to blow my own fanfare, the day we traded for him I posted that I thought he would be a top 5 Reds prospect one year later. I confess that maybe subconsciously I am delaying his call-up because I don’t want to be wrong since if he gets called up he is no longer a prospect! This guy is destined to be a solid MLB performer, but I think he might need a little more time to learn how to adjust to the adjustments pitchers/catchers will continually make against him. Some have posted that he has “cooled off” on this board, but if an .802 OPS over the last ten games is considered a ‘slump’ for him, then we should probably start commissioning his Cooperstown bust right now. That said, zero walks in his last ten games/42 AB is a bit disconcerting, especially when paired with a 33% K rate during the same period. Like Elly, his swing is so strong that he can still drive pitches that he never should have swung at in the first place. That reeks of a plate aggression that needs to be tempered gently rather than crushed by a too early exposure to ML pitching and the days/weeks of futile efforts sure to follow.

    Andrew Abbott. How long until GAB becomes (say it with me Ye Men in Tights) “Chez Abbott!!” What can I say? This guy has been great this season. His last start he was almost mortal, giving up 7 hits in five innings, but he had not given up more than 4 hits in any game prior to that. However, note that they are still wrapping this guy with bubble wrap. Last game was the first time all year he was asked to go through the full batting order for a third time. This year he has only pitched more than 5 innings once. In fact, including all of last year, he has only pitched into the seventh inning exactly once. Stretch him out in Louisville over the next month and see how he responds before calling him up.
    For my two Any Day now players, I batted .500. McLain was called up four days after this post, but Chuckie is still down at AAA. I went to Louisville and watched Chuckie and while his bat may be improving and he has impressive arm strength and accuracy on throws to 2d, I am not sure he is all that close on the core skill of catching pitches... specifically, he drops his 'frame' only marginally and leaves less experienced pitchers with a false target causing a lot of low balls that I believe would have been strikes if he polished this part of his game. More importantly, there is just no spot for him. The MLB roster is far more likely to lose a catcher than add one.

    For my At Least a Month Away, I am not doing so well at all. Abbott got called up a full week less than a month, though they did stretch him out a bit at AAA before that. Same with LED getting the call a bit earlier than I thought. He flipped the switch on plate discipline faster than i thought possible. The CES call up may be only days away as the Reds may be waiting to see if the new plate discipline is a short sample size mirage and/or seeing if a spot opens up for him on the mlb roster. He is another player they dont want to call up until he has an every day slot open, and he has a lot less positional flexibility than LED. With a lot of young pitchers in the rotation and pen, I think the Reds are going to be cautious about weakening their infield defense with too many changes, and from at least the eyeball test, CES may be the weakest of the potential corner infielders defensively. Further, the Joey Votto decision will probably affect CES short term future a lot.

    One final thought... I may be in the minority, but i still value the intangibles like clubhouse culture and leadership more than most. As fans we really only have access to stats, and so they probably carry a bit too much weight in our analysis. With the huge number of rookie and second year players on the Reds, fans are excited but I am guessing the coaches are starting to get nervous. Veterans, even underperforming veterans, provide a calming, steadying influence on the locker room that allow the kids to develop without the added pressure of serving as team leaders. Nothing can fracture an organization faster than inexperienced and/or simply bad leadership. Like us, the Reds want these kids to be together exceling for a decade, so they may keep a few veteran underperformers on the roster longer than us stat-driven fans would like if only to allow the kids a little more time to mature into leaders.


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