What do The Whip, Michael Lorenzen, and Ron Robinson all have in common? This blog post! Today we are all on the mound for a look back at some awesome stuff in Reds history thanks to the calendar.
When you think back on Reds nicknames there are some really easy ones to remember. Charlie Hustle, The Mayor, Big Dog, and Big Donkey are all pretty easy to remember. What about The Whip? He ruled the mound for the Reds 20 years before The Big Red Machine existed. He finished second in MVP voting in 1947 as he led the Major Leagues in strikeout per nine with 6.4 (different game back then) and tossed 23 complete games to lead the National League. I’m talking, of course, about Ewell Blackwell. The right-hander from THE University of La Verne tossed 1281 innings in eight seasons with the Reds with a 3.32 ERA. He got the nickname The Whip because of his 6′ 6″ frame and sidearm delivery. Per SABR he also struck fear into the heart of the man in the batter’s box and was unafraid of
plunking a dude laying down the law.
You may remember that Michael Lorenzen, in 2019, became the first Red to pitch more than 300 career innings and then start in centerfield, since Hal Jeffcoat in 1958. What you most likely don’t remember is the performance Hal Jeffcoat put on May 26, 1957. The Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals that day 7-6 with Jeffcoat launching the go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth. What’s more intriguing is the fact he hit a total of four dingers in his four years as a Red, and all of them in that season. Finally, what takes the cake of interestingness is the fact Jeffcoat tossed a complete game in that Reds win allowing five earned runs on seven hits with no strikeouts.
Speaking of mostly intriguing pitching performances, how about Mr. Almost-Perfect? On May 2, 1988, Ron Robinson entered the ninth inning having allowed no hits, no runs, no hits, no walks, and no errors while the Reds built a 3-0 lead on the Expos. He managed to dispatch the first two hitters with ease, bringing up the pitcher’s spot. Montreal brought in pinch-hitter Wallace Johnson…who laced a line drive to left field for a single. The perfect game gone, Tim Raines stepped up the plate and launched a two-run homer to officially erase the shutout, too. Manager Pete Rose had seen enough and brought in John Franco to get the final out, meaning in the span of two at-bats Robinson had gone from the first Red to pitch a perfect game to just another stellar pitching performance.
Positives of the Cincinnati Reds 2021 Season
The highs have been high, but man oh man the lows have been low. Clay Snowden checks in to highlight some of the positives from the first part of the Cincinnati Reds season.
The highs have been high, but man oh man the lows have been low. This season has entertained us with some big moments like sweeping the cardinals, Wade Miley’s no – no, and a couple of winning streaks. The low’s have been low. Like, lower than Geno’s batting average low. I still have nightmares about the west coast trip. And as of right now, the Reds are hovering around .500. To be frank, that’s about where they should be. A roster with this many flaws, fakes, and aches won’t win many divisions, even if it’s an easier one like the NL Central. I wanted to take today to highlight some of the positives from the first part of the season.
The Future is Bright
The Reds rookie class is shaping up to be more than a few contributing pieces, but a core a build around. Johnathan India started off scorching hot, cooled down, but has since blossomed into one of the integral parts of this team and the Reds future. The former 5th overall pick switched positions and has shown he can flash the leather at second. Slashing .262/.374/.396 on the year, he’s really turned it on in June slashing .303/.425/.455. The most important part…the Reds have found a leadoff hitter. Something they have struggled to find.
Tyler Stephenson has not only shown he can hit at the big league level, but that he can become one of the best hitting catchers. His ability to play first has been the cherry on top. Slashing .269/.378/.425 with 5 HR he’’s proving he needs to play every day. I expect a big breakout in 2022. What Alejo Lopez has shown in the minors is promising as a future switch-hitting bench bat that puts the ball in play.
The rookie arms have shown flashes as well. Vladimir Gutierrez and Tony Santillan have not been perfect, but they have shown enough to have a role in the future. Even if they become 4 or 5 starters under cheap team control, that’s a plus for the Reds. The top two pitching prospects, Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene, have been battling for the title of “future ace”. Both have looked great, especially Lodolo. Greene is younger but developing quickly. Art Warren isn’t exactly a prospect but has pitched well enough to get a mention.
Internal MVP Race
No matter what the Reds do this summer, we will always have the summer of the MVP race. Jesse Winker has blossomed into one of the best pure hitters in the MLB while tapping into more power than he was every projected to have. Nicholas Castellanos had a frustrating covid season in 2020, where he showed power but chased too many bad pitches. Fast forward to 2021 and he’s a doubles machine. He’s hitting everything. Who knows how much longer he’ll be a Red, but what’s happening right now, two all star outfielders, doesn’t happen often. Enjoy it.
Reds Broadcast Team
I watch about 8 MLB games a night. Fantasy baseball has turned me into a monster, and MLB TV quad screen has been feeding that monster. I listen to games every time I’m in the car, and I can say with certainty the Reds have one of the best radio + TV groups. John Sadak has been energizing, positive, quirky, and unique. He’s been a breath of fresh air compared to the previous. Larkin was awful at the beginning of the season but has improved, and will continue to improve. Tommy Thrall is gold. He’s in his second year but has been amazing. Chris Welch brings intelligence of the game that makes us smarter each day and Cowboy is just fun as can be. It might seem small but trust me a bad team with bad announcers is unbearable. The Reds nailed this.
A baseball season is a roller coaster of emotions. 162 games is a long season. Sure, it’s frustrating that Bob won’t spend the money, but at the end of the day I am thankful I have a team to watch every day. Especially after last season, I will not take that for granted.
Forgotten Names From Cincinnati Reds Past: Where They are Now
I decided I’d construct a list of former Cincinnati Reds players (or organizational players) who are rostered in some form of professional baseball.
On May 22nd, Jose Godoy, a back up catcher with 9 years of minor league experience, debuted for the Seattle Mariners. You might not know who Godoy is, and why should you? He’s already back in AAA. He became the 20,000 player to ever play in the major leagues, and likely an answer to a future trivia question. Every few months I find myself shuffling through random rosters in search of the “AH I Remember that guy” moment. While doing this, I decided I’d construct a list of former Reds players (or organizational players) who are rostered in some form of professional baseball. The process consisted of me reviewing rosters and going solely based off my memory, so I likely missed several.
Nick Longhi (OF – Isotopes)
Juan Graterol (C – Bisons)
Christian Colon (IF – Bisons)
Dilson Herrera (IF – Bisons) The return of the Jay Bruce trade.
Scott Moss (P – Clippers)
Patrick Kivlehan (OF Chihuahuas)
Brian O’Grady (OF Chihuahaus)
Jesse Biddle (P Stripers)
Tanner Roark (P – Stripers)
Phillip Ervin (OF – Stripers) I once wrote that Winker and Ervin would lead to a perfect LF platoon team…lol.
Joe Hudson (C – Indians)
Ron Villone (Pitching Coach – Iowa Cubs)
Josh A. Smith (P – Jumbo Shirmp)
Chad Wallach (C – Jumbo Shrimp)
Brandon Allen (Hitting Coach – Redbirds)
Rick Sweet (Manager – Sounds) Former Bats manager and one of the nicest guys.
Nick Ciuffo (C – Tides)
Seth Mejias-Brean (IF – Tides)
Josiah Gray (P – Dodgers)
Kevin Quackenbush (P – Dodgers)
Tim Federowicz (C – Dodgers)
Matt Davidson (1B – Dodgers)
Emmanuel Burriss (Hitting Coach – Dodgers)
Domingo Tapia (P- Chasers)
Alex Powers (P – Aces)
Stuart Fairchild (OF – Aces)
Jimmy Herget (P-Express) Man I was high on Herget. He never panned out.
Chadwick Tromp (C – River Cats)
Arismendy Alcantara (IF – River Cats)
Jolbert Cabrera (Fundamentals Coach – River Cats)
Packy Naughton (P – Bees)
Scott Schebler ( OF- Bees) He will go down as the most forgotten player to ever hit 30 HR in a season.
Lou Marson (Manager – Bees)
Ray Olmedo (Defensive Coach – Bees)
Sal Romano (P – RailRiders)
Asher Wojciechowski (P – RailRiders)
Derek Dietrich (IF – RailRiders) The 2019 Reds were not very good, but man they were fun. DD was a leader of that fun.
Ryan LaMarre (OF – RailRiders)
Rob Brantley (C – RailRiders)
Jose Siri (OF Skeeters) So many tools but too many K’s. Everyone was so mad when the Reds let him go, but he hasn’t made an impact in several other stops.
Cheslor Cuthbert (IF – Mets)
Zack Weiss ( P- Rainiers) Weiss is the owner of an INF ERA
Kristopher Negron (Manager – Rainiers)
Justin Grimm (P – Rainiers)
Matt Magill (P – Rainiers)
Mike Hessman (Hitting Coach – Mud Hens)
Ian Krol (P- Mud Hens)
Austin Brice (P – Red Sox)
Jeter Downs (If – Red Sox )
Keyvius Sampson (P – Barons)
Jameson Hannah (OF – Yard Goats)
Chris Denorfia (Manager – Yard Goats) One of my favorites growing up.
Hendrik Clementina (C – Braves)
Ibandel Isabel (1B – Trash Pandas)
Mitch Nay (IF – Trash Pandas)
Matt Bowman (P Patriots)
Yasiel Puig (OF)
David Holberg (P – Milkmen)
Gavin LaValley (IF/OF Kane County Cougars)
Nick Travieso (P – Kansas City Monarchs)
Darnell Sweeney ( IF _ Kansas City Monarchs)
Gabby Guerrero (OF – Kansas City Monachs) This guy had a great year with the Bats and I thought had a chance.
Tony Cingrani (P Lexington Legends)
JJ Hoover ( P – Legends)
Jordan Pacheco (C – Legends)
Brandon Phillips (INF – Legends)
Daryl Thompson (Southern Maryland Blue Crabs)
Mat Latos (P – Southern Maryland Blue Crabs)
Under the Radar Prospects for the Cincinnati Reds: 4 Names to Know
Here are four players you may not already be aware of who could be building their prospect status for the Cincinnati Reds
Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Jose Garcia, and many other names highlight most “Reds prospect list”. But who are some other names to watch for? So much time and focus goes towards the top 30 guys, but several organizational players are starting to blossom. Let’s look at 4 names to keep an eye on that are not on the top 30 prospects.
Alejo Lopez 2B AA (25 years old .373/.447/.458 .326 wOBA)
Anyone who’s followed me on Twitter knows my love affair with Alejo Lopez. The Lookouts leadoff batter is so fun to watch. He hits everywhere he goes. A career .302/.373/.757 slash line will show that. He simply always puts the ball in play and has enough speed to steal some cheap hits (10.6% K rate 88.5% contact rate). His glove plays well enough, but his power doesn’t. 7 career home runs in 1254 at bats, but there’s enough of a hit tool to keep him interesting. You’ll see in this video how he just pokes the ball and get’s the ball in play.
Reiver Sanmartin SP AAA (25, AA stats: 18 innings 0.50 ERA 23 K’s)
Sanmartin was the extra piece acquired in the Sonny Gray deal a couple of years back from the Yankees. The lefty has steadily worked his way through the system and just got the call up to AAA Louisville. He has an interesting arm angle which helps with deception and K numbers. He’s been a starter his entire career, but with the number of high-end starter prospects ahead of him, sliding to the bullpen could be the next move. The Reds have Doolittle (FA after 2020) and Amir in the pen with Perez, Finnegan, Osich, and Diehl as organizational depth. I will be watching closely to Sanmartin this year.
Leonardo Rivas SS AA (23, .375/.490/.550 16.3% BB% 20.4 K %)
The switch-hitting SS was acquired from the Angels in the Rasiel Iglesias trade last winter. Only 23 years old, he’s still young but has plenty of experience (1445 at bats). He has speed (89 SB) and has a career .383 OBP. The Reds need an answer at short. Garcia looks like the answer for 2022, but he’ll need a back up and the organization needs depth. Rivas doesn’t project to be a star, but the only other “prospects” at short in the organization in AAA are Errol Robinson and Alfredo Rodriguez.
Dauri Moreta RP AA (25, 2.08 ERA 12 K’s 8.2 innings 2 BB)
Moreta career numbers look good but not great. However, his 2019 (and so far in 20201) looked really good. 2019: 2.35 ERA 64 K’s to 9 Walks in 57.1 innings. He has a fast past pace, quick set delivery. His strikeout to walk ratio is good enough to play. With the amount of arms the cycle through a bullpen each year, Moreta could be looking to earn a spot in 2022, or at least a chance.
Other names to watch:
Lorenzo Cedrola, Evan Kravetz, James Proctor, Daniel Vellojin, Braxton Roxby, Eduardo Salazar, Quinn Cotton