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Cincinnati Reds Blog

A day-to-day record of the mind of a Cincinnati Reds fan.

Updated: 2017-01-22T07:59:22.957-05:00


Dan Straily Dealt


The Reds have traded pitcher Dan Straily to Miami for three prospects.

Straily, 28, out of Marshall University, was originally a 24th round pick for the A's in 2009.  Cincinnati got him off waivers just before the 2016 season began, with a plan to use him as a long reliever.  After just three relief appearances he was put into the rotation, and finished with a 14-8 record and a 3.76 ERA.

That lines up well with his 10-8 record and 3.96 ERA for the A's in 2013, but there were a lot of bad times in between.  Plus, with a so-so walk rate and a high homer rate, plus a low batting average on balls in play at .242 (or, good hit-luck) he was a strong candidate for regression.  Especially so because his fielding-independent pitching was 4.88.  He's a great guy and I will miss him, but 2016 was likely his career year.  Sell high, man.

Three prospects come back from the Marlins.  None is a sure thing, but all are interesting for the future.

Austin Brice, 24, is a right-handed pitcher drafted by the Marlins in the 9th round in 2010 by the Marlins.  He got to the majors as a reliever this season, though that didn't go real well.  He's a hard thrower with some control issues that got better when he went to the bullpen.  Brice will get a chance to make the team as a middle reliever this spring.

Luis Castillo, also 24, is from the Dominican.  He's the best prospect of the group because he throws really hard.  Last year he pitched very well in the Florida State League, but struggled at the double-A level.  That was just three starts.  Chances are the Reds send him to double-A at Pensacola to start the year and promote him quickly if things go well.

Isaiah White is the third guy, an outfielder who was a 3rd round pick in 2015.  He's just 20.  The first pro experience in the Gulf Coast League went pretty well, but he struggled last year in the New York-Penn League.  He hit just .214 in 51 games for Batavia, playing LF and CF.  White has tools but doesn't really know what to do with them yet.  He may start the year in Dayton.

No sure things here, but this is the kind of risk you take when rebuilding.

In addition, Steve Selsky was designated for assignment to make room on the roster.

Reds Sign Drew Storen


Cincinnati has signed reliever Drew Storen to a one-year deal with a $3 million salary and a possible $2 million in incentives.

Storen is 29 and is from Indiana, the same Indianapolis suburb as Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart, which is unlikely to be a coincidence.  He was a first-round pick by Washington in 2009, the 10th overall choice in that draft.  He debuted in the majors less than a year later, and became one of the best relief pitchers around.

Storen  has swung back and forth between closing and setup work.  In 385 2/3 major league innings he has 369 strikeouts and 109 walks, with just 94 unintentional walks.  After six years with the Nats, he was traded to Toronto for outfielder Ben Revere before the 2016 season.  Things didn't go that well with the Blue Jays; in his 38 games he posted a 6.21 ERA.  The Jays swapped him to the Mariners for Joaquin Benoit; things went much better for him in Seattle, a 3.44 ERA in 19 games.

He's coming to Cincinnati to try and rebuild his resume and get a bigger contract next offseason.  His major problem in 2016 appears to be a drop in velocity, going from 94 mph on his fastball to 92 mph last season.  His best pitch has been a wipeout slider, but he needs to velocity to set it up.  Storen also throws a changeup to battle lefty batters.

If Storen can recover his lost velocity he will be effective.  If not, he'll have to learn to adjust his pitching style to compensate.  The question is what this does to the Reds bullpen plans.  Does this make Storen the closer, with Raisel Iglesias and Mike Lorenzen, the two best pitchers on the staff (aside from a healthy Homer Bailey) as regular setup men?  Or are Iglesias and Lorenzen still to be multi-inning, pitch when the stakes are high guys?  It would be a shame to waste one of them as a "7th inning guy."

Easy Come, Easy Go


The Reds picked up two players on waivers while losing one.  The 40-man roster now stands at 40.

Tyrell Jenkins was claimed off waivers from the Rangers.  He's a right-handed pitcher, age 24, originally drafted by the Cardinals in the supplemental round (50th overall pick) in 2010.  He pitched 14 games for Atlanta in 2016, starting 8, posting a 2-4 record and 5.88 ERA.  His triple-A stats include a 12-7 record and 2.86 ERA.  He throws a 91 mph fastball plus a curve and change.  The stuff is good but the control is very shaky.  He comes in as a possible starter for 2017.

They also claimed 3B-1B Richie Shaffer off waivers from the Phillies.  Shaffer has played 51 games in the majors for Tampa Bay in 2015-16, getting 122 ABs with a 213/310/410 slash line.  His triple-A slash is 243/338/445 in 188 games.  He's got some power and draws walks, but has contact issues.  He's 25.  Has a shot at a bench job.

Cincinnati also lost Juan Graterol on waivers, making roster room for these guys.  Graterol, 27, is a light-hitting catcher picked up on waivers a few weeks ago.

More Roster Notes


The Player to be Named for the Rule 5 deal with the Padres has already been named.  That was fast.  The Reds get IF Josh Van Meter.  Van Meter has been moved around, playing second, short, and third during his four pro seasons.  He has hit .261 as a pro.  Van Meter profiles as a utility infielder in the majors, but is just 21 and could become more.

The team also announced the 19 minor league players invited to big league camp in the spring:

Rule 5 Shenanigans


The Reds were busy in the Rule 5 draft this morning, though the picks were hard to explain.  They selected two catchers in the major league phase; Luis Torrens from the Yankees organization, and Stuart Turner from the Twins organization.  Both are defense-first guys with suspect bats.  Then, they dealt Torrens to the Padres for cash (presumably to cover the cost of the pick itself) and a player to be named later.

Turner is 24 and hit .239 with 6 homers in double-A this past season.  He might make the team as a backup depending on Devin Mesoraco's health.

In the minor league phase, the Reds took Jose Adames from the Marlins organization, while losing Art Charles and Jefri Hernandez.  Both Charles and Hernandez were recent minor league signings who have not played in the Cincinnati organization, so it's a net money gain for the Reds.  Adames, a 23-year old from the Dominican, was 1-5 with an ERA of 6.00 in class-A ball last year.  He throws pretty hard but has no control.

There was some speculation the Reds might lose a guy in the draft, especially Ismael Guillon, but it didn't happen.

Renda to Louisville: Roster at 38.


The Reds outrighted Tony Renda to Louisville, putting the current major league 40-man roster at 38.  This gives them a couple of spaces to sign a free agent or draft someone in Thursday's Rule 5 draft.

Love Me Non-Tender


The Reds today announced they were not tendering a contract to Ramon Cabrera or Keyvius Sampson (both designated for assignment this week) and Gabriel Guerrero (recently picked up on waivers).  This makes all three free agents.  It also leaves the roster at 39, giving the team the opportunity to select someone in the Rule 5 draft next week.

Roster Shenanigans, End of November Edition


The Reds cut two and added two off waivers to begin this last week of November.

Ramon Cabrera and Keyvius Sampson were designated for assignment.  Cabrera, 27, served as backup catcher in 2016 and hit .246.  Him being cut comes as somewhat of a surprise.  Sampson, 25, was 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 18 games, mostly in relief.  He's a useful if limited arm.

The players added were Juan Graterol, a catcher formerly with the Angels, and Gabriel Guerrero, an OF previously with the Diamondbacks.

Graterol, 27, was 4-for-14 in limited action for the Angels.  He hit .300 in 68 games at Salt Lake City.  Hard to see him as a step up over Cabrera, but someone seems to like him better.

Guerrero, 22, hit just .234 in the minors in 2016, but it was all at double-A and triple-A so he was playing with a lot of older guys.  He had power and speed but may have been moved up too quickly.  Or, he might just not be able to hit a breaking ball.  He's been mostly a right fielder.

40-Man Additions


The Reds today announced seven players being added to the 40-man roster.  The seven are minor league prospects who had to be placed on the 40-man or be exposed to the Rule 5 draft to be held soon.  Today was the deadline to made additions to the 40-man.

Added were OF Aristides Aquino, Phillip Ervin, and Jesse Winker, and pitchers Barrett Astin, Keury Mella, Jackson Stephens, and Nick Travieso.

That still leaves a few guys who could be drafted not on the roster.  A risk you have to take sometimes.

Stan Musial Award


The BBBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) has announced the winners of the Stan Musial Award for top player in each league.  Link to the article.

More Roster Clearing


The Reds made some more roster-clearing moves.  Josh Smith was claimed off waivers by the A's, and Ivan DeJesus, Jr. was outrighted to Louisville.  Cincinnati has a lot of young players that must be protected or risk the Rule 5 draft.  The future must be protected!

Lamb Dealt


John Lamb had back surgery and will not be ready for spring training or the start of the season.  The Reds had designated him for assignment to take him off the 40-man roster, since he is out of options.  Now word comes that Lamb has been dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash.

Lamb came to the Reds from the Royals in the Johnny Cueto trade.  He had some minor league success, but was 1-5 with a 5.80 ERA for the Reds in 2015 and then 1-7 with a 6.43 ERA in 2016.  He'll look for a fresh start in another organization.

Roster Moves: Late October Edition


The Reds have announced some roster moves over the last couple of days.  This is a matter of getting the 40-man roster set in time for the Rule 5 draft at the upcoming Winter Meetings.

First the team activated from the 60-day disabled list those who were on it, which includes Caleb Cotham, Zack Cozart, Devin Mesoraco, and Yorman Rodriguez.  No one can be on the DL (60-day or 15-day) when the winter roster is set.  Alfredo Simon was placed on the 60-day DL, but this is a numbers move:  he comes off when the World Series is over and he becomes a free agent.

Ariel Hernandez was placed onto the 40-man major league roster.  Hernandez was chosen in the minor league part of the Rule 5 draft last year.  He throws very hard and has an amazing curveball, but also have serious problems throwing strikes.  He did that better than before in 2016, and the Reds hope he can become a bullpen force.

The Reds also outrighted to the minors Cotham, Rodriguez, Hernan Iribarren, and John Lamb.  All can become free agents, and may well, but are likely to re-sign with the Reds to minor league deals.  Lamb just had back surgery that means he will not be ready for the start of the season.  This clears roster space.

Abel de los Santos was also outrighted, but claimed off waivers by the Angels.

The Reds had earlier outrighted Tyler Holt, Matt Magill, Jon Moscot, and Raffy Lopez.  They will now have to decide who of their minor leaguers to protect, and whether this means needing to cut anyone else.

2016 Season Review: Bullpen


The Reds bullpen was a horror show in 2016.  The tools to do better are present, but they might need some or most of those arms in the rotation.  Here's what happened in the season past, in order of relief appearances.

Blake Wood pitched in 70 games even though he missed some time with injury.  The 31-year old was 6-5 with 1 save and a 3.99 ERA.  He's miscast as the setup guy they used him as in 2016, and is better cast as a middle reliever.  He's cheap so he'll be around.

Tony Cingrani spent much of the year as the closer and finished with a 2-5 record and 14 saves in 65 games while posting a 4.14 ERA.  He'll also be around but may end up also in middle relief or as a lefty specialist.  He's 27.

Ross Ohlendorf is now 34 and probably won't be back.  He was 5-7 with 2 saves in 64 games and a 4.66 ERA.  He was one of the contributors to the homers given up record, allowing 14 in 65 2/3 innings.

Jumbo Diaz pitched in 45 games at age 32, just a 1-1 record and 3.14 ERA.  He's still a useful arm.

Michael Lorenzen pitched in 35 relief games at age 24, delivering a 2-1 record and 2.88 ERA.  Lorenzen was the second-most effective pitcher on the team behind Raisel Iglesias.  He may be used as a starter next year.

Iglesias, who we also looked at last time, was 3-2 with 6 saves and a 2.53 ERA in 32 relief appearances and five starts.  He may also start in 2017.

Josh Smith made 30 relief appearances and two spot starts.  He was 3-3 with a 4.68 ERA and is a perfectly acceptable long/mop-up man.  He may get that job again.

J.C. Ramirez was in 27 games and was 1-3 with a 6.40 ERA.

Caleb Cotham was in 23 games and was 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA.

J.J. Hoover pitched in 18 games and was 1-2 with a save and a 13.50 ERA.

Those last three guys are likely to be cut loose.  And that's the list of those who pitched in more than 10 games.

2016 Season Review: Starting Pitching


In this installment, and in the spirit of late October, a look at the very scary Reds starting pitching crew of 2016.To open the season, the Reds used this starting rotation in this order; Raisel Iglesias, Brandon Finnegan, Robert Stephenson, Alfredo Simon, Iglesias again, and Tim Melville.  That lasted 11 games, then Jon Moscot and Dan Straily got starts.  In all seven pitchers would start at least ten games for the Reds, fifteen would start at least one game.Iglesias, 26, was the team's most effective pitcher in 2016 but would make only five starts before going to the sidelines.  He returned to make 32 relief appearances and finish with a 3-2 record, six saves, and a 2.53 ERA.  The question to team now faces is whether to try Iglesias as a starter again, gambling with his health, or shift him permanently to the bullpen.Finnegan, 23, made 31 starts and posted a 10-11 record and 3.98 ERA.  That answered questions of whether the small-framed lefty could last a full season as a starter.  The next question is whether he can cut down on the 29 homers he gave up in 172 innings.  If he can, he could be a solid mid-rotation guy.Stephenson made two early starts, went back to the minors, then later came back up and made six more.  The 23-year old had a 2-3 record and 6.08 ERA due largely to shaky command.  He has ace potential if he can throw enough strikes.  He walked 19 in 37 innings and gave up nine homers when he felt the need to come in with a fat strike.Simon, 36, was a disaster from start to finish, posting a 9.36 ERA that reflecting an inability to soak up the innings the team needed from him.  He will not be back, which improves the pitching immediately.Melville, 27, made two starts (and one relief appearance) and posted an ERA of 11.00.  He won't be back either.Moscot, 25, made five starts with an 0-3 record and 8.02 ERA.  He has a lot to prove before getting another chance.  Most especially he has to prove he is healthy.Straily, 27, was used as a long reliever for the first two weeks and then inserted into the rotation in desperation.  He finished the year as the team's top winner at 14-8 with a 3.76 ERA.  His peripheral stats do not give one confidence about his ability to repeat that, but in 2016 he was a rotation saver.And there are four guys who started a double-digit number of games we haven't named yet.  They didn't start early in the season because of either injury or youth, Now we come to Anthony DeSclafani, John Lamb, Tim Adelman, and Cody Reed.DeSclafani, the most effective starter of 2015, started the year on the disabled list.  The 26-year old was effective when he returned, making 20 starts with a 9-5 record and 3.28 ERA.  He was the team's best starter once again.Lamb, 26, looked overmatched in his 14 starts.  He posted a mere 1-7 record and 6.43 ERA.  Lamb has more potential than that but needs a reset to get going again.Adelman, 28, was not overpowering but was often effective.  In 13 starts he was 4-4 with a 4.00 ERA.  He figures to get a chance to show he can repeat that performance at the back of the rotation.Reed, 23, also looked overmatched in his 10 starts.  He was 0-7 with a 7.36 ERA and seemed to get worse each time out as his confidence waned.  The kid has too much stuff to shunt aside, but will need to work on his consistency.The other starter of note is Homer Bailey, who struggled in his six starts in a comeback from ligament replacement surgery.  He would look good one outing and bad the next, finishing with a 2-3 record and 6.65 ERA.  The hope is that with more rest and recuperation[...]

2016 Season Review: Outfield


The Reds opened the season with veteran Jay Bruce in right field, coming off two subpar seasons; speedster Billy Hamilton in center, with a splendid glove but questions about his bat and durability; and minor league veteran Adam Duvall, a power hitter who might not make sufficient contact in left field.

Bruce posted a comeback year by hitting .265 with 25 HR and 80 RBI in 97 games and was dealt at the trade deadline for prospects.  That counted as a win for the franchise.

Hamilton had a slow first half but a very encouraging second half until missing most of September with injuries.  He finished the season with a .260 average and .321 on-base average plus 58 steals.  That makes watchers feel better about his offense, but concerns about durability for the 26-year old continue.

Duvall put up 33 homers, 31 doubles, and 103 RBI in his first full season at age 27, but batted just .241 with 41 walks.  He made a lot of outs.  He did play good defense in left and showed durability, playing in 150 games.  Given his age that could be a career year for him.  He should at least have value as a part-time player going forward.

Scott Schebler got playing time early and did poorly, went back to Louisville and did well, then came back up after Bruce was dealt.  He started slowly again but ended well.  For the season he hit .265 with 9 HR and 40 RBI in 82 games.  His defense graded out about average in a corner spot; for some reason the Reds keep trying him in center, which he does not have the speed to cover.  Schebler has some skills but is best cast as a backup.

Tyler Holt had trouble covering CF too, but in his case he was supposed to have that in his skill set.  Short on defense, just four steals, and a .235 average mean he is unlikely to return, likely to get released.  He did get in 106 games but did not demonstrate many reasons to keep him around.

The hot prospect on the way is Jesse Winker, who should be in the outfield by midseason after a solid year at Louisville.  The Reds will delay his arrival a bit to put off his arbitration eligibility.

2016 Season Review; Infield


In this installment, a look at the 2016 Reds infield, with a peek forward.

Joey Votto got off to a slow start, but warmed up as the season went on.  He stayed healthy, playing 158 games.  When the year ended, he had batted .326 with 29 HR and 97 RBI.  If only he could have added a three-run homer to total 30 and 100, it would look superficially more impressive.  As it was, the Best Hitter in the National League posted a 160 OPS+.  Defense, meh.  Votto at 33 is still a force at bat.

Brandon Phillips continued to be durable, playing 141 games in his age-35 season.  He batted .291 with 11 homers and 64 RBI but rarely walks and shows declining power.  He is cheating on fastballs to catch up to the hard stuff.  He has settled in as a below-average hitter and his range has declined so that his defense is now below average.  2017 will be the last year on his contract and likely last year as a Red.  He might also lose some playing time.

Zack Cozart bounced back from an injury-plagued 2015 and had a terrific April.  He cooled off as the year continued and ended up missing most of the last month, finishing with 121 games played.  The Reds had hoped to trade him down the stretch and nearly made a deal with Seattle.  Cozart batted .252 with 16 HR and 50 RBI and still shows solid defense.  He'll have to demonstrate his mobility in spring training, and if he does the Reds will seek to deal him and replace him with someone younger than his 31 years.

Eugenio Suarez took over at third base and played 151 games there, establishing himself as an everyday player.  He made a number of errors but his range was good and he graded out as average or better at the hot corner.  Suarez started slowly with the bat but came on and finished at .248 with 21 HR and 70 RBI.  He also drew 51 walks and stole 11 bases.  That's some all-around skill for a guy playing his age-24 season.  Improvement at age 25 can be expected.

Ivan DeJesus Jr. returned to the majors in 2015 after a two-year absence and turned in a decent year as a backup.  In 2016 the bit of power he had shown disappeared and he was far less valuable, though his defense was still solid.  He is not yet eligible for arbitration and thus still cheap but 2017 may be his last year with the team at age 30.  The Reds may keep him to have a backup to cover shortstop for one more season.

Jose Peraza started the year without a position in the majors and mostly in the minors.  He ended up pushing his way into a supersub spot and finished the year playing shortstop for the injured Cozart.  The Reds would like to make him the 2017 starting shortstop after his .324 average for the club in 72 games.  He won't turn 23 until the end of April and his 21 steals injected some welcome speed into the lineup.  His work in the outfield was rough and he may not have the range for shortstop but the Reds would like to find that out for themselves.

On the horizon as prospects are Dilson Herrera, who hit .274 in triple-A at age 22, a second baseman; Calten Daal, ..310 at age 22 in double-A as a shortstop, but only in 40 games in an injury-filled year; Shed Long, hitting .293 with 15 homers in A-ball as a second baseman, age 20; and Nick Senzel, the first-round from 2016 and third baseman who hit .305 in his first pro season.  Help is on the way.

2016 Season Review: Catchers


We'll take a look at the catching situation in this entry.

As spring training started it was hoped Devin Mesoraco could resume his place behind the plate after missing most of the 2015 season.  Visions of his All-Star 2014 danced in Reds' fans heads; a middle of the order of Votto, Mesoraco, and Bruce would provide some thump.  Alas, Mesoraco followed up his 23 games of 2015 with only 16 games in 2016.

Missing nearly all of two seasons plus multiple surgeries make it very unlikely Mesoraco can come back to any reasonable quality.  At this point the best outcome is that Mesoraco becomes a respectable bench player.  He's 28 now.  His ceiling is "useful" rather than "star."

Fortunately the Reds have some alternatives.  Tucker Barnhart emerged as a capable backstop at age 25, batting .257 and showing good defense in 115 games.  Barnhart looks similar to former Red Ryan Hanigan, with a bit more power and less on-base skill, but similar strong defense.  He is still better suited to being a backup but will do for now.

Ramon Cabrera, age 26, put himself on the list of decent backup catchers with a .246 average in 61 games.  His hitting was not up to expectations but he did a good job defensively.  He can partner with Barnhart to cover the position, or step aside without much fuss if Mesoraco is able to return to duty.

The prospect on the way is Tyler Stephenson, just 20 years of age.  The 2015 first-round pick hit .216 in 39 games at Dayton but at just 19.  He'll likely be back in Dayton to start 2017, and hopefully move steadily up the ladder.

2016 Season Review, Part 1


Wow, it's been almost two months.  I'll try and get back into the habit of writing, spending part of the postseason on a review of the year in Reds, and then moving on to a look forward to 2017 and possibly beyond.

The Cincinnati Reds achieved a minor goal by avoiding their second-ever 100-loss season, with a 68-94 final record that was actually four wins better than the year before.  That was in spite of a pitching staff that, according to the Fangraphs WAR metric, was the worst staff in major league baseball history.  The 854 runs allowed was the highest since the 2005 team, in a much stronger offensive era.

At the same time the team got significantly younger, with the youngest team on the field since the 2003 season.  It was almost two year younger on average than the previous season.  That in itself offers hope for the years to come.

We will break down team performance by groups in the next few posts over the next week or two.  Hope someone is reading.

Reed Sent Down; Mercy Rule?


The Reds sent Cody Reed back down to Louisville before tonight's game.  In ten starts with Cincinnati, Reed was 0-7 with a 7.36 ERA and was averaging less than five innings an outing, as you would expect with that ERA.  The 23-year old has nothing to prove in triple-A, going 6-3 in eleven starts at Louisville earlier in the year with a 3.20 ERA, but probably needs to regain some equilibrium.  He will likely be recalled in September to pitch out of the bullpen somewhat.

With some nagging injuries the Reds recalled Kyle Waldrop to take Reed's roster spot.  Waldrop hit ..250 (4-for-20) in an earlier callup and was batting .250 in 81 games at Louisville.  He'll mostly be a pinch-hitter but may get a start or two.  He probably won't be around long because the Reds will need a starter to replace Reed in the rotation during the weekend series.

So Long, Jay Bruce


Jay Bruce, it was good to know you.  The Reds have traded their right fielder as part of the rebuilding program.  We're going to miss the fine man and fine player that is Jay Bruce.

Bruce was a first round pick in 2005, the 12th pick overall in that draft.  He went through the minors at a good clip and debuted in Cincinnati in 2008.  He has been the team's regular right fielder ever since, with some time spent in center that rookie year.  In 1220 games as a Red, Bruce has hit .249 with 233 HR and 718 RBI while playing solid defense and showing a strong arm.  Bruce departs the Reds as the #7 man on the all-time home run leaders chart.

Best of luck in the future, Jay.  You deserve it.

In the trade with the Mets the Reds received two players, Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell.

Herrera is a right-handed hitting second baseman from Columbia, just 22 years of age but with enough major league at bats that he has exhausted his rookie status.  He has batted just .215 in the majors, but that comes with a 94 OPS+ at a very young age.  In the minors he has hit .299 with 58 homers in 539 games.  He profiles as a good bat/average glove second baseman with some power.  He has 84 steals in the minors, so there's not a lot of speed but there is some.  He'll take over second base as soon as Brandon Phillips is incapacitated.

Wotell is farther away, a left-handed pitcher just 19 years old who has a low-90s fastball, a solid slider, and a changeup that is a work in progress.  He's pitching in Rookie Ball now, so this will take a few years, but if all goes well he could be a mid-rotation starter.  Worst case, he's a good reliever.

Nuxhall Hall?


Memo to Marty Brennaman; the National Baseball Hall of Fame is not in the habit of inducting pitcchers with a 135-117 record and 3.90 ERA.  Joe Nuxhall will not win induction to the Hall under any circumstances.

Marty, it's been a great run, but it's time to retire.  You've lost your grip.

Book Review: Handsome Ransom Jackson


Book review:  Handsome Ransom Jackson, Accidental Big Leaguer.

This is a book of stories from a major leaguer of the 1950s, mostly with the Cubs but also the Dodgers and Indians.  Ransom "Randy" Jackson signed with the Cubs and became a regular there, then was traded to Brooklyn to serve as insurance against Jackie Robinson's age, but faded just slightly after Jackie himself.  Jackson did manage to get on a couple of All-Star teams and hit 103 major league home runs.

This is a very lightweight book.  It is largely a collection of anecdotes from the man's career, written originally on yellow legal paper, then whipped into book shape by writer Gaylon White.  The book is pleasant and nostalgic, but provides no great insights or revelations.  It is a remembrance from one of the last living 1950s ballplayers.

Jackson lived an interesting life.  He played in two consecutive Cotton Bowls for two different schools, TCU and UT.  Can't do that any more.  It was possible then mainly because of the war.  Jackson didn't play high school football or baseball, but walked onto both teams at both schools because of his athletic ability.  Then the Cubs signed him.  Football didn't pay well then.

The tome is pleasant and sweet, doesn't knock on anybody except for some Old Ballplayers' Syndrome, where the oldtimer says players today aren't like we were in my day.  Of course, when you were teammates with Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, and Ernie Banks, you have some reason to say that.

Jackson has stories about what has happened since his retirement as well.  Again, nothing new here, just a pleasant easy read.  No great literature but it could help you pass a lazy hour or two.

Cincinnati Reds....In 2017


Hi, folks.  If anyone is still reading besides the bots, you know that I've been on radio silence for the last few weeks.  Personal reasons and all that.  I decided to emerge and post on what the team will look like come next season, since we are beginning to get some signs of that.Let's start with who won't be here.  Alfredo Simon will not be back.  He probably won't last this year, sticking around to be a mop-up man until they need the roster space.  They have to pay him either way.  Jay Bruce has an option for next year, which the Reds might actually pick up since he has been playing well after two bad years, but they will try and deal him if they can get a decent return.  I expect him to go before the trade deadline at the end of July.The guys that will be around if for no other reason than their contract:  Joey Votto, who has been picking up lately; Homer Bailey, who should return to the mound soon; Brandon Phillips, who has one year left on his contract; Devin Mesoraco, who has two years left on his, but whether he will be able to play is a question; and Raisel Iglesias, signed through 2020, though he may be a reliever since efforts to have him start have ended in arm troubles two years in a row.There's the arbitration guys; Zack Cozart, who has one year in arbitration remaining.  The Reds will also likely deal him by the deadline, since he has shown he is healthy.  At 30, the team would like to get some value out of a serviceable shortstop whom they can replace with Jose Peraza.  J.J. Hoover will not be offered arbitration after his early-year implosion, and he may or may not be back for around the minimum.  He might like a fresh start elsewhere.  Billy Hamilton is a wild card of sorts.  He's valuable for his defense, but has not hit.Ross Ohlendorf will be gone after this year; he's just filling a spot.  Dan Straily is a decision to be made; do you see if a contender wants to get him to fill out their rotation, or keep him since he's just 27 and cheap?  I think you at least have to see what someone will give  you for him.  Maybe someone even hands you something for Ohlendorf at the deadline.OK, so, 2017.  The infield looks much the same; Joey Votto at 1B, Brandon Phillips at 2B for one more year, Eugenio Suarez at 3B, and Jose Peraza moving in at short.The outfield is.....harder to predict.  Adam Duvall certainly has earned some time, and will be in LF or in RF replacing Bruce.  You've got to figure Hamilton is in CF until someone comes along who can play good defense there.  LF, there's Kyle Waldrop, who is showing some promise, or Jesse Winker, who has the best projection.  Even Scott Schebler, doing well in Louisville.  One of those guys takes the other flank.At catcher you simply can't count on Mesoraco.  Tucker Barnhart and Ramon Cabrera are fine, but both hit like backups.  They'll do until something better comes along.The pitching staff, well, that's starting to come into focus.  The rotation right this minute has the three guys from last year's Cueto trade, the lefties Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed.  Add in Dan Straily and Anthony DeSclafani.  By this time next year, that's a pretty good rotation.  Slip in Robert Stephenson, perhaps why you trade Straily (or at least listen) and then it looks like a rotation that might carry[...]

A Win!


It was a normal-scoring game at altitude, with the usual Coors Field funtime.  The Reds had fun, winning 11-8.

Dan Straily had a Coors-quality start, where a starting pitcher throws six innings or more and allows fewer runs than innings pitched.  He gave up one in the first and four more in the third, but allowed five runs in six innings on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts.  That qualifies as a quality start in Denver.  Blake Wood gave up a hit and two walks in the seventh, but escaped without a run scoring.  Ross Ohlendorf pitched a clean 8th.  Tony Cingrani started the 9th but was tagged for three runs so J.C. Ramirez came in to get the last out.

Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton had three hits each, Joey Votto, Adam Duvall, and Eugenio Suarez two hits each.  Cozart homered to lead off the game, Duvall homered twice, Votto hit his 200th homer on a solo shot, and Suarez also cleared the fence.  Tucker Barnhart walked twice.  However, Brandon Phillips is having trouble with his ankle and came out early.