Saturday, April 5, 2008

Random April Thoughts

Well, it's been an interesting week in the Reds nation and I've got a few random thoughts about our Redlegs.

***Interesting to read that upon making the MLB roster, Corey Patterson's salary jumped to $3M.

When he was set to make the minimum, he seemed like an all reward, no risk type player. A mere stop gap until Jay Bruce was deemed ready to take over. However, it's difficult to imagine the Reds making him a bench player and promoting Jay Bruce. Ryan Freel is making $3M in 2008, but his versatility really extends the bench and seems to make him a good value. But, would the Reds and Dusty Baker really put Corey Patterson and his $3M on the bench to make room for Jay Bruce?

Patterson is clearly a Baker favorite, so it seems unlikely that he'd favor moving him to the bench for a young prospect like Jay Bruce. And, I'm not sure Krivksy is going to be all that eager to have $3M sitting on the bench.

Given how this is playing out, I'm not sure I'd expect to see Jay Bruce prior to September, unless of course injury strikes Dunn, Patterson, or Griffey. And, at this rate, I could easily see Patterson being brought back in 2009 to again play center. The Reds will have to make some interesting decisions this offseason about their 2009 outfield, as both Griffey and Dunn could potentially be gone. As it stands, Patterson may be a better bet than either of them to return for 2009.

***Jeff Keppinger just continues to rake. There really isn't much more to say, as Keppinger continues to prove that he could roll out of bed at hit .300. The Reds have a problem, a pleasant problem, but a problem none the less. Keppinger continues to prove that he deserves a starting job, but they've got no room for him. If the Reds tire of Edwin's inconsistent play, then they could deal him and plug in Keppinger without losing much. Until that time, Keppinger will continue to be a tremendous backup at second base, third base, and shortstop. His presence gives the Reds great depth.

***Johnny Cueto was just tremendous. We couldn't have asked for anything more out of him. Ultimately, he may prove that the Reds fans' long winter of pitcher development is finally over. In addition, his arrival may provide Homer Bailey the opportunity for some much needed development time. At this point, Homer needs to spend the entire year in AAA. He would be out of the limelight and could work on both his command and control. At this point, he just isn't ready. Thankfully, the same can't be said of Cueto.

***Aaron Harang is a two pitch pitcher. I'm not sure why I didn't realize it, but Harang works almost exclusively with a fastball and slider. In 2007, 66.52% of Harang's pitches were fastballs, 29.66% were sliders, and 3.82% were curveballs. The average velocity of his fastball was 90.73 mph.

Clearly, Harang doesn't make pitching more complicated than it needs to be. He has very impressive command and uses good pitch sequences to get top notch results. In a day and age when starters are often required to have 3 pitches and many utilize four or more, it's interesting to see how effective Harang can be by keeping it simple.

***Bronson Arroyo features four pitches. In 2007, Arroyo threw 42.75% fastballs, 22.63% changeups, 19.01% sliders, and 15.61% curveballs. He used the curveball primarily against lefthanded hitters and the slider primarily against righthanded hitters. His fastball velocity is only 89.39 mph, but he understands how to get the most from his repertoire.

***So far, Dusty hasn't overworked anyone. He kept Harang under 100 pitches in his first start and under 110 in his second. Given the climate of the modern game, he won't be able to get away with heavily overworking his pitchers, but it's nice to see that he hasn't attempted to do so.

***The Reds current sit at 3-2, twice earning good victories over the D-Backs and once over the Phils. The schedule certainly hasn't been kind to the Reds, as they start out against three very good teams in the D-Backs, Phillies, and the Brewers. Things let up after they leave Milwaukee, as then they'll head to Pittsburgh.

***Stop the press!!! In 2008, the Reds bullpen has a 3.21 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. If the Reds can be consistent late in ballgames, then they are already ahead of the game.

***Overall, the Reds have started out the 2008 season in fine form and have even put together a couple of walk off wins. I don't know why, but nobody does walkoff wins better than the Reds.

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