Today is the day! If you’re like me, you are getting everything ready and organized to head down to the Duke Energy Convention Center for Redsfest. So if you’re waiting in line to get in, or whatever, take a look back with me at the season the Cincinnati Reds closer had.
Ever since being moved from the rotation to the bullpen, Raisel Iglesias has flourished. Out of the bullpen, for his career, Iglesias has tossed 201 innings with a 2.42 ERA, 228 strikeouts, and 64 saves. Considering he’s done most of that in years of non-contention is still spectacular.
He recorded 30 saves in 2018, good for 11th in Major League Baseball. His four blown saves was tied with Kenley Jansen and Edwin Diaz (MLB saves leader with 57) and two behind Aroldis Chapman. Speaking of the former Reds closer, Iglesias eclipsed him in WAR (2.0 to 1.7).
According to Fangraphs.com, Iggy missed more bats in 2018 than he ever has. Hitters made contact on 68% of his pitches, which is down from 71% contact in 2017. He also induced a swinging strike 15% of the time. Comparatively, Chapman induced a swing-and-a-miss on 16% of his pitches. Chapman makes $17 million a year. Iglesias makes around $8 million, thanks to his new deal.
The front office and David Bell have been talking about changing up Iggy’s usage, this year. Opening his role to be able to pitch whenever the highest leverage situation presents itself. I love this, as do many folks who consume a ton of baseball. Sure, high leverage situations often happen in the ninth, but they just as often present themselves in the eighth, or even the seventh.
Just a for-instance, here. In a game against the Cubs, would you rather have your best pitcher facing Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant, when they come up in the eighth inning of a one-run ballgame, or would you rather he wait til the ninth inning to come out and face whoever else? I want him to take on the best of the Cubs bats. The save stat is nice, and it gets pitchers paid, but if it didn’t exist, then managers would be less inclined to care about which inning they put their best reliever in, and worry more about what point in the game to deploy him. Just a though, I won’t ramble on, because I could, but by now you’re moving on.
Come have fun at Redsfest this weekend! Pretty much everyone will be there (except Phil Ervin…I’m bummed) and they will be ready and able to talk with you and sign stuff and snap pictures.
As the clock hit 6:30 pm, last Saturday, I was ready to go to Great American Ballpark. That’s when my wife reminded me that it was December. Every year the Cincinnati Reds put on a first class party for their fans called Redsfest and they’re pretty good at what they do.
I got to meet Michael Lorenzen, Tyler Mahle, Ibandel Isabel, and Jimmy Herget. I got my copy of “The Big 50” signed by Chad Dotson and Chris Garber, made a video with Mo Egger, and talked shop with Doug Gray. Okay, I get it, enough with the name dropping. Basically, it was fun.
I made it a point to ask some light-hearted questions (or in Lorenzen’s case, make a light-hearted, but factual, statement) to see what their reactions would be.
I first met Lorenzen. I told him that he was the real silver slugger and I am attempting to get that other guy to mail him the trophy he deserves. Lorenzen responded with, “Well, that just gives me motivation to hit twice as many homers next year.” Might have to get me a Lorenzen jersey…
I then got Mahle’s John Hancock (or is it Herbie Hancock?) on a baseball and I asked him if we can expec upwards of three, or more, 20-strikeout games this year. He replied “Let’s hope so. I’ll see what I can do.” Hope you folks in the bleachers with K’s are ready to work, this season.
I then got autographs from Isabel and Herget. Isabel just gave me an awkward smile and a chuckle when I asked if he will focus on inside-the-parkers this year instead of traditional homers, since he’s already hit a lot of those. Herget gave me a classic answer to my simple question of what his favorite pitch was when he said, “A strike.” Well played Jimmy.
The main stage offerings were also enjoyable. The best was at the kids-only press conference. Joey Votto, Amir Garrett, and Eugenio Suarez were on stage for the show, and when asked what their favorite memory of 2018 will be, Joey decided it was “When Amir tried to fight the Cubs.” Suarez bumped in, “Yeah, when he struck out Baez and stared him down. That was awesome, man!” As much as we fans may have liked that moment, it seems to have been even cooler to the team.
Memorabilia-wise, there was a ton of stuff to get. I didn’t go too crazy, this year, but I did end up with a new hat that has a Jackie Robinson 42 patch on it. Definitely my favorite hat, now. All in all, a good weekend.
If you went, let me know how your experience went!
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Live (Sorta) from Redsfest with Mo Egger
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Instant Reaction: Bye, Bye Billy
Wow! It’s the first hour of Redsfest and there are fireworks, already! The world’s fastest man (probably), Billy Hamilton, was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds making him a free agent. I have a few instant thoughts on this.
Firstly, I am bummed. I watched his career develop in the minors all the way up til he got the call to the Bigs. He looked like a star in the making in Pensacola, but what we now know is that he was defensively gifted and offensively challenged. He will go down, in my book, as the foremost example of “You can’t steal first.” I hope that his next step (if he doesn’t return, that is, but more on that in a second) he finds that missing piece and becomes a star.
Nextly, where do the Reds go from here? The encouragement is that we know Bob Castellini loved Billy and wanted him to be here forever and ever. That means the front office has definitely, officially been handed the reigns. If that’s the case, maybe we see Nick Senzel brought up and given the CF job, or Jose Peraza move to CF (he has a few minutes of experience there) and Senzel put in at shortstop. Those possibilities excite me. Whatever gets Senzel in the lineup is the right course of action, to me.
Lastly, maybe this is a little Michael Johnson maneuvering? For those who don’t follow the other professional franchise in Cincinnati, the Bengals made a move, right before the season, where they cut one of their longtime veterans only to resign him a few days later. They made the move to get some young guys onto the practice squad, but I digress. What if the Reds and Billy have a little head nod and handshake agreement that they will sign him for a year or two at his current rate, avoiding the arbitration-hike in salary he was about to get? This is purely a hypothetical notion by me, by the way, and I don’t know if they can do that, or if Billy would want it that way. Just a thought from a fan who can never truly be unbiased when it comes to Cool Papa Bill.
Anyway, I am sure there will be more to come from Redsfest!
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