Long cold months heated by hot stove rumors define the offseason. Winter meetings, Redsfest, and the Reds caravan provide just enough of a fix to get everyone to spring training. Fake baseball and roster battles get us all to Opening Day. For many players, the offseason is still filled with baseball games. Winter leagues have been going on for years. Prospects play in the Arizona fall league and others play in their country’s offseason leagues. The Reds have about 30 players and prospects competing in different winter leagues. Here’s how they have fared. (All stats as of 1/20/2020)
Notable names (Reds Prospect rankings #): Jose Siri (15), Blake Trahan, Alfredo Rodriguez (18), Jose Garcia (9), Johnathan India (3), Christian Colon, Tyler Stephenson (7), Aristides Aquino, Narciso Crook, Stuart Fairchild (16), Andy Sugilio (19).
Aristides, Mr. August, has looked more like his Mr. September. Batting .209/.255/.395 with 1 HR 6 K’s and 3 BB in 43 at-bats is not great. Many Reds fans want to see Aquino play every day in right field but as it looks today, that is a long shot. A crowded outfield needs to sort itself out and Aquino needs to have a strong spring to earn MLB innings. Jose Siri is on the 40 man roster and is also struggling in areas. .196/.264/.411 with 34 K’s in 112 t-bats. His 6 home runs are a positive, but the strikeouts continue to haunt him no matter where he is playing. You can drool over his defense but if the bat doesn’t come around neither will the playing time. Trahan and Rodriguez will be SS depth in Louisville with Rodriguez hitting better this winter at .309/.351/.324 in 68 at-bats while Trahan is hitting .176/.235./.187. Christian Colon earned a September call up and will be a great veteran option this season for Cincinnati. In 60 at-bats his line is .217/.338/.267 9 BB to 6 K’s in 60 at-bats.
The three big prospects (India, Stephenson, Garcia) have mixed results. Stephenson continues to impress as his .347/.418/.490 and 7 doubles caught the eyes of many prospects ranking systems as they continue to move him up the list. Feels like he will be beating down the door to get to Cincinnati this season. Garcia, like Stephenson, has caught the eyes of prospects rankers and has increased his spot amongst popular list. .213/.290/.311 12 K’s and 3 stolen bases in 61 at-bats won’t raise his name to the top but what he has shown over the past calendar year has impressed many. India hit .133/.254/.333 with 3 HR 21 K’s in 60 at-bats. Where he projects in the Reds future is still a large question mark moving forward.
Notable Names: Vladimir Gutierrez (11), Jesus Reyes, Alex Powers
Gutierrez had a rough start in AAA Louisville but finished strong. 7 starts in the Dominican winter league resulted in a 3.21 ERA 20 K’s 12 BB 1.21 WHIP and batters hit .214. The 24 year old will need to show improvements in 2020 to earn a shot with the Reds. Reyes had a cup of coffee with the Reds in 2018. This offseason he pitched 20.2 innings 3.48 ERA 11 BB to 17 K’s .186 avg. Remains a depth bullpen arm for the organization. Powers earned an invite to Arizona this year. This winter he pitched 12 innings to a tune of 0.75 ERA 7 BB 12 K’s .92 WHIP .121 avg. No matter what level, Powers has been terrific. Cincinnati is far from set in the bullpen and a player like Powers is in a perfect position to earn a spot. He’s a name to keep a close eye on all year.
Before you get too excited or too low on a player just remember what these stats mean, not a whole lot. Small sample sizes and competition level make it hard to predict what a player will do in 2020. Regardless, it’s good to get familiar with seem of these names and see if they can impact the Reds in 2020 or beyond.
All stats and players can be found here: http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/org.jsp?id=cin&y=2019
Reds vs Brewers Series Preview
The Reds begin a pivotal series with the Brewers on Friday night. Let’s break it down.
The Reds just lost 13-0 to the Indians making their record 5-8 and 5.5 game back. The same team many of us thought would contend for the division has struggled early in this shortened season. The starting pitching has been incredible. Without them, this team would be in the basement. The offense has had spurts, but some of the big names have struggled. Suarez is hitting .091 while starters like Galvis, Winker, and Barnhart are at or below .200. Luckily, 34 of the next 38 games are against the NL Central and the Reds will have a better chance to climb the standings and see how they match up against divisional foes.
August 7th 8:10 Bauer vs. Lauer
BAUER LAUER matchup! The announcers will love that I’m sure. Bauer has been stellar. .68 ERA 20 K’s in 13.1 innings. He is looking like the pitcher the Reds thought he would be when they brought him over last year. Lauer is a good young pitcher who has only pitched 2.2 innings but struck out 6.
It will be interesting to see how Bell plays the lineup. In need of a spark, does he change the order? Lauer is a lefty so will Ervin play? He’s only hitting .067 (1-10 vs. LHP) but his track record versus LHP is great.
August 8th 7:10 DeSclanfani vs Anderson
Disco looked fantastic in his first and only start. 5 innings giving up 3 hits and striking out two. He was picked up where he left off at the end of last season. Anderson, another LHP, had his start ended early due to a ball off his foot. The veteran has always been a solid starter and facing a LHP two days in a row will likely be a similar lineup as the (vs) Lauer lineup. Feels like a series that Senzel can get going against LHP. He’s 1-8 against south paws this season and here’s an opportunity to get going against them.
August 9th 2:10 Gray vs Woodruff
Sonny Gray has been lights out. Cy Young level. 3-0 .96 ERA 28 K’s 8 hits in 18.2 innings holding batters to a .129 avg. We all know he’s going to bring it. Woodruff has been great in his 3 starts posting 21 K’s in 17.1 innings and carrying a 2.08 ERA. The first RHP the Brewers will start the lineup will have extra lefties in there. Although a small sample size, here’s how the Reds left handed bats have fared vs RHP:
Galvis (Switch) .259
So far this season has been frustrating. That start we imagined did not look like this. The offense has been struggling at times and the bullpen has been a mess. Facing NL Central teams will help us get a better idea of how the Reds matchup with the division. Hopefully facing pitchers the Reds have seen more often can help as well.
Tigers Reviews & Cubs Preview
Let’s put a bow on the weekend and look forward to the series with the Cubbies.
Friday night was incredible. After months of doom and gloom, we finally were able to sit back and watch the team that we all have been talking about for months. And they delivered. However, the following two games felt worse than your ex dating your best friend. Here is the recap and preview of the next series.
Friday: W 7-1 Vs. DET Saturday: L 4-6 Sunday: L 2-3
Friday was such a tease. The team looked determined, focused, and sharp. The bullpen went 3 hitless innings. The offense flexed its muscles for 7 runs. However, the rest of the series was painful. Disappointing. A reminder of the years Reds fans struggled to get through.
The starting pitching was second to none. Gray went 6 and had 9 K’s. Castillo went 6 with 11 K’s and Bauer went 6.1 with 13 K’s and only gave up 2 hits. Most teams that get starting pitching like that are looking at 3-0, not 1-2.
Let’s start with the bullpen. Brooks Raley, Nate Jones, and Lucas Simms did their job on Friday. Garrett and Strop came in and were effective. However, Lorenzen, Stephenson, and Iglesias all struggled, and it ultimately cost the Reds the game and series. These are the three guys you lean on to hold leads and close out games. Iglesias has not shown he can be trusted, and he should be on a short leash. Lorenzen did pick up some MPH on that fastball, but his pitches were simply too hittable.
What David Bell did was “play the numbers”. Subbing players in and out depending on match up. When it works, he looks like a genius. But often it does not, and it leads to criticism and upset players. In my opinion, players need to get in a rhythm and gets reps as quickly as possible. Taking them out after 2 AB won’t do that. What if this leads to players always worrying about getting replaced, and they struggle because of it. Bell is far from a proven manager, and the only thing shorter than this season is the patience fans have with him.
Trending Up: Casali and Galvis. Both showed patience at the plate, took walks, made solid contact. Getting plus seasons from them could go a long way.
Trending Down: Suarez/Bullpen/Injury. Suarez is sitting at 0-11. Yikes. But he could go off at any moment. Concerned, but not scared. I touched on the bullpen. Moose, Senzel, and Davidson have all missed time. Injuries could derail this season quickly. Watch out for them.
Preview: Chicago Cubs (2-1)
7/27 Lester vs Miley 7/28 Mills vs Mahle 7/29 Hendricks vs Gray 7/30 Darvish vs Castillo
Enough of that American League BS, bring on the hated Cubs. The Cubs won their series versus the Brew crew (W 3-0 / L 3-8 / W 9-1). This four game series against a divisional rival could set the tone for the rest of the season. 36-year-old Jon Lester isn’t the same threat he was a few years back, but a solid #4. Miley will have a chance to show what him and DJ have been working on. Mills posted solid numbers last September in 9 games, but Mahle is out to prove that he belongs and is more than a depth option.
Wednesday is the day you circle on the calendar. Hendricks vs Gray. Hendricks is one of my favorite pitches to watch. He also had 9 K’s on Opening Day and gave up only 3 hits. That could be a HUGE game. Darvish Struggled in his first start allowing 3 runs and 6 hits. Castillo should be able to lead this team against the aging Darvish.
What to watch for:
1) Bullpen Bounce Back
2) Suarez getting on track
3) Bell’s managerial adjustments
4) Reds injuries/ Tucker’s return(?)
Reds Mailbag: 7/08/2020
Let’s brush up on a few burning questions before the season gets going
BASEBALL IS BACK. The 2020 Reds will finally get to see the field. Sure, it will be totally different than we expected, but I’ll take it. Let’s jump into some mailbag questions.
Who will end up being the Reds MVP?
I think you have to go pitcher here. Pitching will be crucial in a shortened season, so let’s go with Luis Castillo. We all know he has the stuff of a true ACE. However, someone like Bauer/another starter playing at an MVP level would be a bigger impact to add to Gray and Castillo. Offensive MVP = Castellanos.
Will the Reds make the NLCS?
Yes. I think the Reds are set up well for a 60 game season. As many have said, the team that remains the heathiest has a huge leg up. The Reds have the starting pitching to have a chance to win each day. The offense should be there as well. Staying healthy is the most important thing to success this season.
Who will the 4 extra players be on the 30 man?
Injuries and illness could cause roster changes, but as of today: Nate Jones, Mark Payton, Tejay Antone, Alex Blandino.
I could be seeing some as locks or part of the “26” that others might see as bubble. Payton must be kept on because of the rule 5 pick or sent back to Oakland, and he shows enough talent. Blandino is the best option as a back up short (defensively) that’s had MLB experience. Jones is great when healthy, and you can’t have too many good arms in the pen. Antone is a guy I have been high on, and his increased velo stands out. He’s a back of the end rotation/Long relief guy.
Will Castellanos play for the Reds past this season?
Yes. Owners are likely to be cheap this offseason. Going into the free agent market hoping to make more than the Reds are set to pay him could be tough. I think Castellanos will love playing in GABP. This ballpark gives him an opportunity to put up big offensive numbers. I expect him to have a huge season.
Any chance Jose Garcia is on the Opening Day roster?
It would take a major injury to Galvis. Even then, I am not sure he would. He is the best pure SS of the back up options, but he hasn’t played above AA. I think if Galvis went down, the Reds might do it. But if Galvis just needs a couple of days off, Blandino/Farmer/”other” could step in.
Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to see Garcia take over the everyday SS at bats, but only once they feel he is ready. Who knows, a trade could still happen.
If the Reds win the WS do you think everyone will give it the same respect as a normal season?
Why not? It might even be more difficult to win this year than any other. Strategy will play a larger roll this year than any other. Managers will have to show what they are worth. Someone has to win the World Series this year, might as well be the Reds.