The Cincinnati Reds began the season with a four-man outfield rotation. Now that they have traded Adam Duvall, the Reds currently have four outfielders. You heard me right.
Now, this isn’t that “new math” that they’re teaching the kids in school and I got plenty of sleep last night, so I’m not as off my rocker as I normally am. Phillip Ervin deserves his shot.
Look, I don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but the Reds aren’t doing any sort of postseason movement. Just as James said on the podcast, this season is about setting the table, so Cincinnati would be foolish not to explore all avenues.
In a small sample this season, Ervin has a 117 wRC+ and an on-base percentage of .371. An adjustment is forthcoming, but until that happens, he is batting .308. He’s done a little bit of everything, hitting from the second spot in the order, with a double, a triple, a homer, four RBIs, and a .500 average. Phil has been good when runners are in scoring position, too. He’s got a .286 batting average with all 12 of his RBIs.
Lets compare Ervin’s first 34 games of 2018 with Adam Duvall’s. Duvall had a wRC+ of 54 (advantage Ervin), a bating average of .164 (advantage Ervin), and an OBP of .240 (advantage Ervin).
So, okay, Duvall is a Brave, so this comparison is moot with regards to the Reds future. How about Billy Hamilton?
|Through 34 games||BA||OBP||wOBA||wRC+|
Now Jesse Winker and Scott Schebler are two outfielders that figure to be in the 2019 lineup. The Reds should basically have a sign out for open tryouts for the third outfielder spot. Sure, Billy’s glove is nice, nut the one week a year when he hits is not enough for me to want to slot him in there as the defect centerfielder. Make him the pinch-running, defensive replacement bench weapon he is destined to be and give Phil Ervin and Mason Williams (who has looked really good in nine games) a real audition at the last outfield spot for 2019.
If the Reds are going to contend for the playoffs next year, they’ve got to change things up. Sure, you lose a little bit on defense if Billy isn’t in the lineup, but the offense that Ervin has provided thus far is not something easily dismissed.
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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