The Cincinnati Reds (13-18) are ready for their first weekend home series of 2019 as they welcome the San Francisco Giants (13-18) to town. More importantly, Nick Senzel is here!
After languishing in the minors for what seems like a decade (he was drafted in 2016), the Reds top prospect finally gets the call. He has already been announced as the starting centerfielder and batting second, in Friday night’s lineup.
For many of us who have clamored for him to be getting everyday reps since, pretty much, last spring, this will be a day long remembered. There are numerous articles on the many outlets with which you can get Reds news, but none more telling than C. Trent Rosecrans’ piece at The Athletic. C. Trent interviewed pretty much the entire scouting department responsible for drafting Senzel and they outline how they’ve pretty much had him on their radar since 2011 when he was a sophomore at Farragut High School in Tennessee.
You can look at his minor league numbers, if you want, but it’s the scout’s grades that are best served, in this case, as rarely do minor league statistics have any predictive correlation to major league success.
|55 / 70||40 / 55||55 / 55||55 / 55||45 / 55||55 / 55||60|
As they break it down at fangraphs.com, 50 is Major League average, 60 is plus, and 70 is plus-plus.
His first big league taste will come at home against a team that is in the exact same spot as the Reds. The Giants not only share the same record, but also find themselves at the do-or-die potion of their schedule where if they do not get going now, they can about count themselves out of the race in 2019.
They even profile about the same. As a team they’re hitting .214 (second worst only to the Reds) and have an ERA of 3.72 (fourth in the National League).
On the hitting side, the Reds will need to watch out for Brandon Belt and Kevin Pillar. Both share the team-lead in homers (five) while Pillar sports 18 RBI and Belt is the only Giants hitter with an OPS+ above 100 (118).
Pitching-wise, for this four-game, wrap around series, just two Giants starters are listed.
Tonight the Reds will face Tyler Beede, a 25-year old righty pitching in just his third major league game (he pitched a pair last year). He allowed seven earned runs in 7.2 innings pitched, total, last year. He managed nine strikeouts, but also tallied eight walks and nine hits allowed. With that limited exposure, it’s worth looking at the scouting grades on him. They have a plus rating on his changeup, but everything else is at league average or below and doesn’t predict to improve much.
|55 / 55||50 / 50||55 / 60||50 / 50||40 / 45||40|
Saturday’s starter is a bit better. Dereck Rodriguez showed his potential for San Francisco last season when he finished the year with a sub-3.00 ERA (2.81) in 19 starts. 2019 has not been as kind, to start, for him, though, as he sports a 4.35 ERA in six starts and is allowing 1.45 home runs per nine innings. I got the chance to see Rodriguez pitch, in person, last season when he faced the Padres, in San Diego, and held them to one run in seven innings. Saturday may be a mixed bag for the Reds lineup.
With the other Derek on San Fran’s squad (Holland) currently on the shelf, due to a bruised phalange, that leaves two of Drew Pomeranz, Jeff Samardzija, and Madison Bumgarner to round out the four-game set. There’s one name I would like to see them avoid, there, and it doesn’t rhyme with Tomeranz or S’mores-ya?
UPDATE: Samardzija will be the Giants starter on Sunday and Pomeranz will be Monday’s starter, meaning Bumgarner will, in fact, be missed in this four-game set.
Samardzija (0.6) leads the Giants in WAR, according to baseball-reference.com, as he has a 2.53 ERA in 32 innings. In 90 career innings against the Reds, he has a 4.00 ERA, having allowed 87 hits (10 homers).
Pomeranz has pitched the least amount of innings (28.2) of any Giants starter (six starts). He has one career start at Great American Ballpark (June 25, 2016) in which he tossed seven innings of shutout ball for the San Diego Padres, allowing just three hits and fanning six.
On the bump for the Reds, will be Sonny Gray, Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, and Anthony DeSclafani, in that order. I’ll be there to see Roark, in person, which I have not yet done, but I am most interested for Gray’s start. More so for how the team supports him than how he pitches. The only two games which he has pitched that the Reds have scored more than two runs, he has no decisions in.
This starts a stretch of 10 games that the Reds really need to win at least seven. If they can do that, they will begin the tough part of their schedule right around .500. It’s not that farfetched to think they can pull it off.
Marty Moments #ATOBTTR
Marty Brenneman has had a profound impact on Reds Country and will be greatly missed when he hangs up the mic after Thursday’s game. Let’s relive some memories of Marty.
“I’ve had the same job for over 45 years,” how many people can say that?Not many. We tend to get sick of the company or, hell, they get sick of us. That’s not the case for Marty Brennaman. Marty has been a staple in the Cincinnati Reds organization and community since 1974 when he joined the legend Joe Nuxhall painting a picture through the radio of our beloved Reds. After Thursday, the Reds will be in search of a new artist. Marty is stepping away from baseball after leaving an impact that might never be equaled.
Many of us will say the Hall of Famer was the voice of the Reds our entire life. We could swap stories back and forth about our 10-year-old self listening to Marty as we hide under the covers. Or his voice putting us to sleep during the west coast trips. Grinding through the workday with a Thursday afternoon game turned down low enough that only you can hear. From Hank Aaron’s home run call in Marty’s first regular season game to Tom Browning’s perfect game to Griffey’s 500 and 600 home runs Marty has been the voice to many of baseballs special moments.
I wanted to post some clips of Marty’s calls. Some iconic and some, well, just Marty.
Enjoys these Marty Moments
Joey Votto – walk off grand slam
40 Year Celebration
Jay Bruce Clinching Call
Homer’s No Hitter
Now for some laughs:
Adam Dunn Prank Calling Marty
Marty and Joe Kroger Commercial (1994)
Everyone’s Favorite Laura’s Lean Commercial (FLAVOR!! EVEN JERKY)
(Locked on Reds nor I own the rights to these videos. All were found on YouTube.)
Thanks for the memories, Marty.
AND THIS ONE BELONGS TO THE REDS
A Look at the 2020 Reds
Taking a look at what the Cincinnati Reds roster may look like in 2020.
The 2019 version of the Cincinnati Reds was different from the past few years. New manager, new players, “rebuild” players finally getting called up. Unfortunately, the outcome was not that much different from years past. Players were moved at the deadline to help retool for the future. We all know this process far too well. Well, 2020 is the true start of “the future” of this organization. 2020 is the year they need to make the playoffs to keep the fanbase sane (according to my twitter feed). So, let’s dive in and see what this roster could look like.
This 2019 Reds roster will not likely produce 80 wins. Let’s get the facts out there. As of today (9/5/19) they are 65-75. Bringing back the same roster will not produce the same results. Plenty of players on the current roster are part of the future and some have yet to hit their prime.
Team needs/decisions for the offseason:
1) Bullpen help (especially adding a lefty)
2) Figure out the middle infield situation
3) 4th and 5th starters
4) The catcher situation
Let’s start with the pitching. What we know is Castillo, Gray, Bauer will be 3/5 of the starting rotation. I do not think Alex Wood will be brought back. Frankly, he can’t stay healthy. He pitched 30+ games each of the first three seasons in the league and reached that mark once in the past 6 seasons. His price tag will be too high for someone who’s honestly pitched “ok” this season. The 4/5 spots will be left open to DeSclafani, Mahle, Sims, (maybe) Gausman, or a free agent. I do not think many of the “prospects” will make the jump to make the team out of spring training. Vladimir Gutierrez is talented and had an up and down year in Louisville. Bringing back Gausman would be expensive and that money might be used elsewhere. Sims should get an extended look. He’s cheap, only 25, and shown he can strike out batters. DeSclafani has been good at times and a headache at times.
The bullpen needs stability. Players like Alaniz, Bowman, Herget, Mella, Peralta, Romano, Stephens, and Reed seem to be the most expendable. That’s not to say someone like Reed will build on this season to carry it over into next season which would be great. We all know a lefty would be appreciated. Right now, the pitching depth in the minors doesn’t seem to be ready for next season but a name to keep an eye on is Alex Powers. His 1.64 ERA this season and strong 2018 cannot go unnoticed. We all know Stephenson, Lorenzen, Garrett will be back. Iglesias is not as sure of a thing.
The catching situation could be the exact same as 2019. Barnhart and Casali have been, well, fine. But we all know management looked into trading for a catcher last offseason so I wouldn’t say either is a lock. Organizational depth is slim with Stephenson being the big prospect name and Reds legend Ryan Lavarnway released recently. (They are building his statue.)
The infield is a wild 2020 prediction. We know Votto at first and Suarez at third is a lock. Seems that Galvis will be back at either second or short. Iglesias will be due for a pay increase and his situation should be an article of its own. Mr. May, Derek Dietrich, offers similar versatility as VanMeter at a higher cost and less production. I’d say he’s elsewhere. Peraza and Blandino are not bad as backups but contending teams typically look for upgrades. I would expect at least Peraza gone. Do it all Kyle Farmer should be on the 2020 squad. I would not be surprised to see VanMeter as the second baseman next year or used in a utility role but getting near everyday at-bats.
The outfield is a bit easier to predict. We know Senzel will start in center while Aquino will be in right and Winker/Ervin will be on the roster. Aquino has been so much fun, but it would be absurd to think this pace keeps up. However, he has earned a starting spot in RF for 2020. Left might be some platoon of Winker and Ervin. Ervin against lefties, Winker against righties. O’Grady and prospect Jose Siri provide depth. Siri is fast as hell and plays top end defense so having him as a back up wouldn’t be a bad idea. He needs work with the bat so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Reds brought in a free agent for competition for a back up in spring training. Scott Schebler will be elsewhere. Although I think he still has MLB talent I think he needs a fresh start.
The “random” breakout players are always welcomed as well. O’Grady, VanMeter, and Aquino weren’t expected to be making contributions this season and look where they are.
A few names that could take a similar route:
Narciso Crook (Outfield)
Luis Gonzalez (Shortstop)
Chadwick Tromp (catcher)
Just to name a few from Louisville
Regardless of what is in hold for the long and cold offseason, 2019 has been fun. It was weird and also showed us a glimpse of what is to come.
Unappreciated Cincinnati Reds: Kyle Farmer
Numbers don’t tell the whole story when you look at Kyle Farmer. His value goes far beyond the box score.
On December 21st, 2018, the Dodgers and Reds made a splash in the offseason with a blockbuster deal. The Reds received aging all-star Matt Kemp, animated outfielder Yasiel Puig, lefty Alex Wood, and a versatile utility player named Kyle Farmer. While Kemp’s Reds career ended after 20 games and fan favorite (and now U.S. citizen) Puig’s career ended in a trade, Wood and Farmer very much could be part of the Reds future.
What Kyle Farmer brings to this team is far beyond the box score. David Bell has shown trust and confidence in Farmer and his ability to pinch-hit. Offensively Farmer has improved from his first two seasons in LA. Over two seasons with the Dodgers he only played in 59 games and had 88 at bats. A .250 hitter with no home runs his value might have seen minimal. Reds fans saw his value immediately in spring training when he would catch bullpens then play short and second. Due to injuries, he found himself on the 25-man roster to begin the season. Many thought he would be the first sent down but his pinch-hitting and versatility proved his value to be too high. Farmer has played first, second, third, catcher, and pitcher. I have to mention his pitching stat line: 1.1 innings 1 hit 0.00 ERA. Hell yeah. With Casali injured Farmer has stepped in as the team’s second catcher and Alex Wood’s “personal” catcher. As many of you all know Wood and Farmer have been teammates and friends for a long time. The familiarity they have only helps each other during the game. Farmer’s 7 home runs look good, but his other numbers could use some work. .248/.288/.438 and 45 K’s to only 5 BB are not great. Improving on the walk to K ratio would go along way for his development. If you watched the Cubs series, you saw a few great plays he made at second. He is no Jose Iglesias, but he can hold his own.
How does Farmer play into the Reds future? Well, it’s no secret that the catching depth is not the Reds strength. Tucker is under contract but Casali is on a one-year deal, with arbitration left. In the minors, Tyler Stephenson looks promising but after that it’s slim. Questions on where Jose Iglesias (if resigned), Galvis, Peraza, VanMeter, Dietrich, and even Blandino will get playing time could limit Farmer’s time at second base. Votto will get plenty of off days next season and Farmer could pick up at-bats at first. Dietrich, if brought back, might get the at bats against right handers. What if Alex Wood is resigned? You could keep Farmer as a pinch hitter/late game sub and have him catch Wood every fifth game. His ability to catch opens opportunities for Bell to pinch hit his backup catcher (Casali) and not worry about a “what if” situation when they need a catcher in late innings/extras.
While there are plenty of unknowns about this team as the offseason approaches, we do know that David Bell values versatility and Farmer brings just that. Maybe knowing that he really does deserve to be in the big leagues will help his confidence going into the offseason. Either way, he’s a fun player to watch and adds value to this Reds club.
Here’s a couple of home runs for you: