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The Reds Report

Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: May 21

Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

How bad did things get in Cincinnati this week?

By the middle of Sunday afternoon’s game, Thom Brennaman was interviewing a bird.

What led to this level of despair? The Reds went 1-5 on the week. That lone win on Saturday snapped a season high seven-game losing streak. Cincinnati is now closer to the bottom of the division than the top, and the optimism/surprise of the season’s first month has worn off for most fans.

Now that you’re in a good mood, let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

The Highlight of the Week

Let’s think happy thoughts for a moment. The Reds win on Saturday required coming back from a five-run deficit. The rally was capped off by a big Scott Schebler home run.

Don’t Blame It On the Offense

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you can’t blame this week’s struggles on the offense. Since Tuesday, the Reds have scored five, five, five, six, eight, and four runs. At the end of the week, they only had one win to show for a pretty impressive offensive output. So, what’s the big problem?

The Starting Rotation Is Really Struggling

Cincinnati is in desperate need of a solid performance out of the starting rotation. Unfortunately, they didn’t get any of those this week. Here is what Reds starters accomplished since Tuesday:

  • Bronson Arroyo: 5 IP, 5 ER
  • Scott Feldman: 2.2 IP, 5 ER (7 R)
  • Amir Garrett: 4 IP, 6 ER
  • Lisalverto Bonilla: 5.1 IP, 6 ER
  • Tim Adleman: 4.2 IP, 6 ER
  • Bronson Arroyo: 5.1 IP, 6 ER

You’re not going to win many games with performances like that. The injuries to three Reds starters are really starting to take a toll on the entire staff. Cincinnati’s starting rotation has thrown the fewest innings of any rotation in baseball. That has left a lot of innings (the most in MLB) for the Reds bullpen to clean up.

Zach Buchanan detailed Bryan Price’s struggle to manage the staff this season. The Reds have tried every available option to fill the open spots in the starting rotation, but they don’t have a lot of reliable contributors at this point. Brandon Finnegan is expected to be the first man back, but that won’t be until mid-June. It could be a long month for the Reds unless a few starting pitchers step up.

What About Anthony DeSclafani?

One of the other major pieces the Reds are waiting on is Anthony DeSclafani. For the past two months, DeSclafani has been rehabbing his elbow in an attempt to avoid surgery. He was cleared to resume throwing this week. This is a good sign, but as Mark Sheldon notes the team still isn’t ready to put a target date on his return.

The Reds Make Their Facebook Debut

Recently, MLB and Facebook finalized a deal to stream a game on the social media platform every Friday. The Reds and Rockies earned the distinction of being the first two teams to have a game broadcast via Facebook. Head over to facebook.com/MLB to find each weekly matchup. In between looking at pictures of people’s kids and reading their political rantings…you can now watch a little baseball.

Let’s Talk About Zack Cozart

Who’s having the best offensive season in Cincinnati? Most would assume it’s Joey Votto, but by several advanced metrics that distinction belongs to Zack Cozart. Cozart is currently hitting .351/.432/.595 with 4 HR, 26 R, 19 RBI, and 2 SB. For a number of seasons, Cozart’s glove made him valuable to the Reds. Now, he’s providing production at the plate as well.

Should you expect Cozart’s increased production to last? Wick Terrell of Red Reporter took some time this week to compare Cozart’s development to that of another shortstop (Brandon Crawford). He finds some interesting comparisons between the two and suggests that the team might have a pretty valuable asset on their hands as the trade deadline gets closer.

This Week

The Reds take on the Indians for four games (two home/two away) to open the week. They’ll head to Philadelphia for a three-game series over the weekend.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: May 14

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s May 14 and the Reds still have a winning record. So far, they’ve exceeded most fans’ expectations for this season. However, the team is coming off of a down week. Cincinnati went 2-4 against New York and San Francisco, and they finished the week on a three-game losing streak.* A series against the Cubs kicks off on Tuesday, so things aren’t going to get any easier for the club.

*At the time of writing the Reds were trailing the Giants 7-2 in the 5th inning. Yes, I’m assuming they lost today’s game. If they end up coming back, I’ll gladly be wrong about their record.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Lisalverto Bonilla Shines

One of the Reds best performances of the week came from a pretty unexpected place. Lisalverto Bonilla started for Cincinnati on Saturday and gave up three runs on six hits in eight innings of work. Chris Biderman of MLB.com notes that this was Bonilla’s first MLB start since 2014. The team is desperate for solid performances out of their starting pitchers, and the 26-year-old Bonilla came up big this week.

Hello Wandy Peralta

Several players performing unexpectedly well has been a major reason for Cincinnati’s success. One such surprise has been reliever Wandy Peralta. Peralta has a 1.13 ERA, and he’s struck out 27 batters in 16 innings. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs offered a helpful breakdown of Peralta’s performance this season. In summary, Peralta is combining a nasty slider and changeup with a mid-90s fastball.

Also of note, Peralta has one of the fastest paces in baseball. If you think the game moves too slow, then Peralta is the pitcher for you. He might be the best chance we have of getting Drew Franklin to watch the Reds this season.

17 Innings of…Birds?

The Reds were in for quite a game on Friday night/Saturday morning. Cincinnati and San Francisco battled for 17 innings before the Giants finally won on a Buster Posey walk-off home run. C. Trent Rosecrans notes that the game ended at 12:45 AM Pacific time, and it took five hours, 28 minutes to play.

As the game went on, the stars of the night became the birds flying around AT&T Park. They regularly flew in front of the camera in the later innings, and their overwhelming presence was repeatedly highlighted.

It was almost like something straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

To WOOO or Not to WOOO?

There’s a controversy brewing at Great American Ball Park. If you watch, go to, or listen to a Reds home game, then you’re likely to hear a familiar sound in the later innings. A group of fans has taken it upon themselves to serenade the players and fans with a chorus of Ric Flair “WOOOOO”s for several innings.

Apparently, some analysts and fans have had enough. Paul Daughtery of the Cincinnati Enquirer penned a passionate column this week describing his hatred of all things “wooo.” How does he feel about those who participate in this nightly ritual?

“The Reds train their ushers in the ways of courtesy and pleasantness. They should also train them to identify Wooooers and warn them once to take a damned pill. Second woooo, banish them the rest of the game. Sentence them to doing something terrible, such as acting civil.”

I’m hoping and assuming that Daughtery was employing some hyperbole in his article. However, the growing frustration over the  “woo” does seem to be a bit of an overreaction. According to ESPN, the Reds have the fourth-worst attendance in baseball this season. At this point, I don’t care what Reds fans do when they go to games. I simply want them to start showing up.

Homer Bailey Update

On Friday, Homer Bailey threw 48 pitches in a bullpen session. Chris Biderman notes it’s the longest session Bailey has had since March. There is still hope that he can return to the rotation sometime in June.

Currently, Brandon Finnegan, Homer Bailey, and Anthony DeSclafani are all on the disabled list. Those losses have left a major void in the starting rotation. It will be interesting to see how the team looks when/if all of the starters are healthy. If the Reds can find ways to hang around the top of the NL Central, then things could get interesting as the team gets to full strength.

What’s Coming Up

On Tuesday, the Reds head to Chicago for the start of a three-game series with the Cubs. Over the weekend, they’ll play the Rockies at home.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Apr 30, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Adam Duvall (23) hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: May 7

Apr 30, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Adam Duvall (23) hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati’s struggles over the past two weeks had convinced some fans that the hope for a successful season was already over. However, the team rebounded and went 5-1 this week (Monday – Saturday). The rally pushed the Reds back above .500, and it put them in a tie with the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central lead. Baseball Prospectus still has Cincinnati’s playoff odds at just 11.1%, but for now, it’s fun to know that there will be meaningful baseball in May for the Reds.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

The Offense is On Fire

The Reds offense continues to be a major surprise this season. From Monday through Saturday the team scored 45 runs (27 on Friday and Saturday). A look at where the Reds stack up compared to the rest of baseball shows how well they’re playing. The team has scored the third most runs (159), hit the seventh most home runs (41), and is tied for the league lead in steals (36). Cincinnati’s batting average and slugging percentage are also both in the top five in baseball.

Joey Votto is Raking

More often than not, this is a statement you could make about Joey Votto. However, over the past week teams have really struggled to get the Reds first baseman out. He’s hitting .429/.654/.857 since Monday. Over that stretch, he’s also walked 11 times. (which is ridiculous).

Not only is Votto hitting for a high average, but he’s also hitting for more power than he has the past few seasons. Votto connected on his ninth home run earlier this week. That homer went 449 feet, and it was the longest blast of Votto’s career since MLB starting tracking data with Statcast.

Wick Terrell of Red Reporter recently looked at Votto’s start to the season. It appears that he’s trying to avoid another slow start by focusing on hitting for more power. This recent run has him on pace to hit just under 50 HR this season.

Billy Hamilton Steals His 200th Base

Billy Hamilton reached a personal milestone this past week when he stole his 200th career base. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com provided a review of Hamilton’s big night. He reached the accomplishment in the fourth fewest games since 1900. Only Vince Coleman, Tim Raines, and Ricky Henderson did it in fewer games.

Who Is the Fastest Man in Cincinnati?

Speaking of Hamilton, he’s been a part of a conversation in Cincinnati since the night of the first round of the NFL Draft. The Bengals took John Ross with their first round pick. Ross set an NFL Combine record in the 40-yard dash, and this fact led to an interesting question. “Who is the fastest man in Cincinnati?” C. Trent Rosecrans discussed the topic with Hamilton who thinks it would be a close race.

Joe Danneman offered his assessment of the potential showdown.

Amir Garrett Optioned to Louisville

Reds fans were surprised to learn on Sunday afternoon that Amir Garrett had been optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Garrett was coming off of a six-inning start on Saturday in which he allowed just two runs and five hits. For the season, Garrett was 3-2 with a 4.25 ERA in six starts.

Zach Buchanan noted that Cincinnati has two off days between now and May 15. That will allow them to go with a four-man rotation, and the Reds can limit Garrett’s workload in Louisville. There’s no reason to overwork him this season when the team has their sights set on 2018-2019.

The Reds will welcome the Yankees to Great American Ball Park on Monday for a two-game series. On Thursday, they’ll head to San Francisco to play four more games against the Giants.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


AP Photo: Morry Gash

The Reds Report: April 30

AP Photo: Morry Gash

AP Photo: Morry Gash

The good news: Cincinnati won today.

The bad news: Cincinnati lost every other game they played since Monday.

When the Reds opened the season 7-2, fans knew the team wouldn’t keep up that level of success. However, no one was expecting them to look as bad as they have over the past week. Cincinnati is 2-8 in their last 10 games, and they now find themselves at the bottom of the NL Central. Better times are ahead, but it’s been a frustrating few weeks to follow the team.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

The Offense is Getting the Job Done

There are reasons why Cincinnati is struggling right now. However, the offense isn’t one of them. Prior to Sunday’s game, the Reds ranked fairly well in a number of statistical categories. Here’s how they compared with other National League teams.

  • 5th most runs scored
  • 5th most home runs
  • 3rd most stolen bases
  • 4th best slugging percentage

On an individual level, Joey Votto and Scott Schebler were tied for the second-most home runs in the NL with eight. Adam Duvall was tied for third with seven. The team might not have won many games this week, but that’s not because of the offense. This week alone, the team scored four or more runs in every game except one.

Speaking of Scott Schebler

After a rough start to the season, Schebler has been one of the hottest hitters in Cincinnati’s lineup. In Schebler’s last five games he’s hitting .444/.500/1.333 with 5 HR and 9 RBI. Over the first 17 games of the season, Schebler was hitting .153/.242/.339 with 3 HR and 7 RBI.

C. Trent Rosecrans took some time this week to highlight Bryan Price’s confidence in Schebler as an everyday player. That confidence, plus some patience on Price’s part, looks like it could be reaping some rewards right now.

Zack Cozart’s Hot Start

Zack Cozart is another player who has impressed with his production at the plate this season. For much of his career, Cozart was seen as a defensive asset but an offensive liability. However, over the past two seasons, he’s given the Reds something close to league average production at the plate.

In 2017, Cozart has been one of the team’s best hitters. Prior to Sunday’s game, he was hitting .379/.475/.652 with 1 HR, 11 R, and 9 RBI. Mark Sheldon looked at Cozart’s hot start and noted that a few stats suggest he won’t sustain this pace (that should have been obvious). For now, the team is enjoying this unexpected production from their shortstop. If nothing else, this could increase his trade value as the season progresses.

Cincinnati’s Pitchers are on a “Record Breaking Pace”

The past few seasons, if someone mentioned “Reds pitchers” and “major league record” it wasn’t a good thing. That could hold true once again in 2017. Wick Terrell of Red Reporter looked at the high work rate of the Reds bullpen so far. If this keeps up, Cincinnati relievers might throw the most innings in one season in the history of baseball.

As of Thursday, Reds starters were averaging 4.1 innings per start. That’s a paltry number, and it’s put Bryan Price in a difficult position. Why have Reds starters pitched so few innings? As of Sunday morning, Cincinnati starters had the worst ERA in baseball (5.85), had allowed the third most home runs of any group of starting pitchers, and had given up the sixth most runs.

The 2012 Rockies currently hold the record for the most innings thrown by relievers in a season (657). Prior to Sunday’s game, Reds relievers had already thrown 97.1 innings.

Podcast Recommendation: Great American Dream

For the podcast fans among us, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer debuted a new project this week. It’s called “Great American Dream.” Over the next six months, Rosecrans will detail the story of Reds prospect Shed Long. The show will look at Long’s background, and trace the long journey through the minor leagues that so many players make trying to accomplish their dream of reaching the majors.

MLB Highlight of the Week

Chris Coghlan of the Blue Jays made this a pretty easy pick this week.

The Reds host the Pirates for four games starting on Monday night. Over the weekend, they’ll welcome the Giants to Great American Ball Park.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: April 23

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Every team hits a few bumps in the road during the baseball season. The Reds hit their first bump of 2017 this week. The team dropped series to Baltimore and Chicago, and they ended the week with a 2-4 record.

However, it’s April 23 and they’re still just a half game out of first. Even though there weren’t many wins on the field this week, there was plenty to keep fans entertained. Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Two Thumbs Up for the Bandwagon Cam

You can always expect quite a few Cubs fans to make the trip to Great American Ball Park when Chicago is in town. Fortunately, the team was ready for them, and they unleashed “The Bandwagon Cam.”

Tyler Mahle’s Perfect Game

The most impressive performance of the week didn’t come from anyone on Cincinnati’s major league roster. On Saturday night, Tyler Mahle pitched a perfect game for the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. This feat was made more impressive by the fact that he finished the game throwing only 88 pitches. Wayne Cavadi of Minor League Baseball has a helpful breakdown of the performance.

FanGraphs rated Tyler Mahle as Cincinnati’s 16th best prospect prior to the 2017 season. You can check out the final out from last night below.

More Player Debuts

The Reds have given several players the opportunity to debut at the major league level this season. This week, Phillip Ervin joined that list. Ervin was the Reds first round draft pick in 2013. He was hitting .286/.352/.531 with 3 HR and 11 RBI for Triple-A Louisville this season.

Over the weekend, Ervin received one at-bat. It came in the 7th inning of Sunday’s game, and he reached on an error. Wick Terrell had a helpful breakdown of Ervin’s call up over at Red Reporter.

Devin Mesoraco Update

It looked like Devin Mesoraco was going to join the team this week, but the Reds decided to leave him at Double-A Pensacola over the weekend. It now sounds like Mesoraco will join the team either in Milwaukee or St. Louis. C. Trent Rosecrans provided a helpful update on Mesoraco’s status.

Mesoraco did recently make one of the more athletic plays you’ll see a catcher make. There was some fear that he injured his knee on this play, but Mesoraco was able to catch a full game the following day.

Tony Cingrani Hits the DL

Cincinnati was unable to get through an entire week without another pitcher hitting the disabled list. The Reds sent Tony Cingrani to the 10-day DL following their game on Thursday night. Unfortunately, Bryan Price mentioned to Mark Sheldon that Cingrani’s oblique injury will likely keep him out for four to eight weeks. You can read more about the team’s expectations for Cingani here.

Cody Reed Gets His Chance to Start

On Saturday, Cody Reed received his first opportunity to start for the Reds in 2017. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very encouraging outing. Reed gave up 7 runs in 2 innings of work. Zach Buchanan provided a helpful summary of the performance and what this might mean for Reed the rest of the season.

Of course, if the whole baseball thing never works out, he could try and convince Sacha Baron Cohen to relaunch the Ali G show.

Tomorrow the Reds head to Milwaukee for a three-game series with the Brewers. Over the weekend, they’ll head to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: April 16

Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s April 16 and we’re two weeks into the major league season. How are things going in Cincinnati? The Reds are currently 8-5 and tied for the best record in the National League (with Colorado). Cincinnati also owns the second-best run differential (+15) in the NL. The team has had a surprisingly hot start to the season, and fans have plenty to be excited about right now.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Cincinnati’s Bullpen Has Been Really Good

Reds relievers have played a major role in the team’s early season success. Bryan Price has been willing to go to the bullpen early and often, and so far they’ve delivered. As of Sunday afternoon, Reds relievers had the third-best ERA in the National League (2.79). They’ve had that success in spite of the fact that they’ve been worked harder than any bullpen in baseball up to this point.

John Perrotto of FanRag Sports has a helpful summary of the turnaround. In light of the bullpen’s workload, it’s fair to be concerned about how many innings they’ve pitched up to this point. The team is going to have to start getting quality innings out of their starters.

Rookie Debuts

Fans had an opportunity to see two players make their Reds debuts this week. Jesse Winker made his long-awaited major league debut over the weekend. He got an opportunity to pinch hit on Friday and Saturday. That appearance on Saturday resulted in Winker’s first major league hit.

On Sunday, Winker was optioned back to Louisville in a series of moves to help bolster the pitching staff. Wick Terrell has a helpful breakdown of the moves at Red Reporter. This isn’t the last time Reds fans will see Winker in 2017.

Sal Romano made his debut for the Reds on Sunday. Things didn’t go as smooth for Sal, as he gave up two runs, three hits, and four walks in three innings of work. However, he’s likely to stay in the rotation at this time because…

Another Starter Goes Down

Cincinnati’s early season success has been even more impressive given they’re missing two of their best starting pitchers. Unfortunately, that number jumped to three this past week. Brandon Finnegan left his start on Saturday after one inning, and it sounds like he could miss several weeks of action.

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com quotes Bryan Price as saying the team can “realistically expect him to be back here in a few weeks.”

This makes it more likely that Bronson Arroyo will continue to see starts for the Reds. In two appearances for Cincinnati, Arroyo is 0-2 with a 9.90 ERA. Fans will remember Arroyo’s time in Cincinnati fondly, but this latest stint feels like it’s not going to end well for the 40-year-old pitcher.

Sorry, Matt.

Injury Updates

Cincinnati is awaiting the returns of Devin Mesoraco, Homer Bailey, and Anthony DeSclafani to the major league roster. Yesterday, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer had a helpful rundown of where each player stands.

If everything goes well for Mesoraco this week, he could be back in the majors by Friday. The team is likely to be cautious with Mesoraco’s playing time early on, but he could be a major boost to the middle of Cincinnati’s lineup. Since 2014, Mesoraco has only appeared in 39 games.

Both Bailey and DeSclafani are targeting a return sometime this summer. For the details on their progress check out Zach’s article.

Your Billy Hamilton Highlight of the Week

This guy continues to do things that make you say “Wow.” Even though the team lost on Sunday, this catch was impressive.

Cubs and Cardinals Update

I’ve noticed in the comments section some complaining that KSR doesn’t give equal time to the Cubs and Cardinals in this article. Let’s take a quick look at where both of those teams stand as of today.

Cubs Update: The Cubs are currently 1.5 games back of the first-place Cincinnati Reds.

Cardinals Update: The Cardinals are currently 4 games back of the first-place Cincinnati Reds, and they have the worst record in the National League at the time of writing (3-8).

Cincinnati gets an off-day tomorrow before hosting the Orioles for three games. On Friday, they’ll welcome the Cubs to Great American Ball Park for a three-game series.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Photo: John Minchillo, AP

The Reds Report: April 9

Photo: John Minchillo, AP

Photo: John Minchillo, AP

Baseball season is underway in Cincinnati, and the Reds are off to a great start. The team won both of their series this week (Philadelphia and St. Louis), and they’ll try to keep things going in Pittsburgh on Monday.

Is it early? Sure.

Will this last? Probably not.

But for now, I don’t mind these standings one bit.

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 5.59.25 PM

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Can We Have a Mulligan?

Opening Day didn’t get off to the best start in Cincinnati.

After last season’s struggles, fans were excited to get the 2017 season going. Unfortunately, Scott Feldman gave up a home run to the first batter the Reds faced this season. Things didn’t get much better for Feldman who gave up 3 runs in 4.2 innings of work. The Reds rallied back to make it a close game, but Philadelphia handed Cincinnati an Opening Day loss.

Impressive Pitching Performances

There were a lot of question marks surrounding Cincinnati’s starting rotation to open the season. Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani are both on the disabled list, and the team was left depending on Scott Feldman, Brandon Finnegan, and a cast of newcomers.

Finnegan held up his end of the bargain as he pitched 7 solid innings in Cincinnati’s second game of the season. Over those 7 innings of work, he gave up 0 runs, 1 hit, and struck out 9. Eno Sarris of FanGraphs had a helpful breakdown of Finnegan’s performance. He chalked up some of his success to an improved changeup.

The second big pitching performance of the week came on Friday as Amir Garrett made his major league debut. Garrett held St. Louis scoreless for 6 innings, and he only surrendered 2 hits. Garrett is an interesting prospect. He was drafted by the Reds in 2011, but before devoting himself to baseball full time he played two seasons of basketball at St. Johns. Below is a little more information about his journey to the majors.

Of course, you also have to mention Scott Feldman’s performance on Sunday. He bounced back from a difficult Opening Day to hold the Cardinals scoreless over 6 innings.

Welcome Back to the Big Leagues Bronson

Before yesterday, Bronson Arroyo hadn’t pitched in a major league game since 2014. Improbably, he made his return to the majors yesterday in a start for Cincinnati. Arroyo was clearly happy to be back on the mound…and St. Louis was happy to see him as well. The Cardinals lit up Arroyo for 6 runs in 4 innings of work. It’s hard to know how much longer Arroyo will be able to stay healthy, but it was nice to see him in a Reds uniform one more time.

What Can’t Michael Lorenzen Do?

On Thursday, the Reds did something a little unexpected. Bryan Price called on reliever Michael Lorenzen to pinch-hit in a game against Philadelphia. How did it go?

It was Cincinnati’s first pinch-hit home run since 2015. Because the Reds are employing a small bench to start the season, Bryan Price had mentioned his willingness to use Lorenzen at the plate on days he doesn’t pitch. So far, I’m all in on this strategy.

Oh Look, the Cardinals Are Cheating Again

No, this didn’t happen in a Reds game. However, I’ll never miss the chance to point out when something fishy happens in St. Louis.

On Thursday, Yadier Molina went to block a ball in the dirt. He began frantically looking for the ball once it bounced off of him. There was a small problem though. The ball was actually stuck to his chest protector.

What exactly is going on here? No one has come up with a good explanation for what happened. As Chris Cwik notes, it’s commonly accepted in baseball that pitchers will use substances to get a better grip on the ball. Most hitters actually encourage this. However, Molina and/or Cecil seem to be using way more than a little bit of a substance here.

I just chalk it up to the Cardinals being the dirtiest players in the game.

Highlight of the Week: A Rough Trip Around the Bases

Each week, I’ll try and bring you the best highlight from around baseball. This first submission is going to be pretty difficult to beat.

Stephen Piscotty probably had the worst trip around the bases in the history of baseball. Let’s relive all the action with some help from Scott Sterling.

What’s Ahead

Cincinnati kicks off a three-game series in Pittsburgh tomorrow, and they’ll finish the week with four games against Milwaukee at home.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: Opening Day Edition

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The long wait is finally over. Tomorrow afternoon at 4:10, the Cincinnati Reds will kick off the 2017 season. Scott Feldman will get the Opening Day start for Cincinnati as they take on the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park.

We’re less than 24 hours from meaningful baseball.

Sounds like it’s time to get to this week’s Reds Report.

Opening Day Lineup

Here is what the lineup will look like when Cincinnati takes the field tomorrow.

Few teams in baseball (if any) can match the speed the Reds bring to the table at the top of the order (Hamilton and Peraza). Other than Peraza at second, the lineup largely looks how it did at the end of last season.

The Starting Rotation is Set

On the other hand, the starting rotation has experienced some significant changes. Brandon Finnegan will be joined by newcomers Scott Feldman, Rookie Davis, and Amir Garrett. The final spot in the rotation looks like it will go to…Bronson Arroyo.

Mark Sheldon offered a helpful recap of the changes and got Bryan Price’s thoughts on the rotation. The article also highlights the names that will make up Cincinnati’s (hopefully improved) bullpen.

This is a YOUNG Team

As of now, the Reds have the youngest average age of any 25-man roster in the league. The team placed a priority on getting younger, and they’ve definitely done that.

Can Adam Duvall Silence His Critics?

Adam Duvall was one of the few bright spots for Cincinnati last season. However, a number of analysts point to Duvall’s poor second-half numbers as a reason to doubt he can match his production from 2016.

If spring training is any indication, Duvall seems to be up to the challenge. He was one of the Reds best hitters this spring (.302/.373/.679 with 6 HR), and home runs like the one below remind you just how much power he brings to the plate.

The State of the Rebuild

What exactly is the state of Cincinnati’s rebuild heading into 2017? C. Trent Rosecrans took some time this week to assess how successful Dick Williams has been implementing his four-point “blueprint.”

The team wanted to trade valuable assets to acquire young talent, invest aggressively in the amateur market, create payroll flexibility, and invest in areas outside of the payroll. How have they done so far? Click the link to get Rosecrans’ thoughts.

Joey Votto vs. Father Time

A number of players from the last competitive Reds team are gone. However, Joey Votto will still be at first when the team takes the field tomorrow. Votto is now thirty-three, and it’s fair to wonder what his production will look like over the next few seasons.

Zach Buchanan recently asked whether Votto will “grow old before the Reds grow up?” Up to this point, Votto has been worth every dollar of the 10-year, $225 million extension he signed back in 2012. However, he’s at an age when fans should expect some decline in his performance.

If the rebuild takes longer than expected, then it’s possible the next competitive Reds team will include a diminished Joey Votto.

Three Words: Ball Park Food

If you make the trip to Great American Ball Park this season, you will be rewarded with some new food options. Polly Campbell and Shauna Steigerwlad broke down the latest offerings.

If you’re not into the whole “reading” thing, here is a video summary.

Everybody Hurts

On Sunday, the Reds made several moves to finalize their roster prior to the start of the season. These moves included Devin Mesoraco and Anthony DeSclafani being placed on the 10-day DL. Wick Terrell has a helpful breakdown of what these moves mean and when you might expect to see a few prominent players back on the field.

This Week

Cincinnati will open the season with three games at home against the Phillies. On Friday, they’ll head to St. Louis for a three-game set over the weekend.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


The Reds Report: March 19

The Reds Report: March 19

usp-mlb_-st-louis-cardinals-at-cincinnati-reds-e1422563998789

It’s been a stressful day around here. Not only did we nervously sit through Kentucky’s win over Wichita State, but we were then treated to the drama of Drew Franklin vs. the NCAA. I think it’s safe to say that we could all use a distraction.

I have just what you need. How about some news from Reds spring training? Don’t worry, you can thank me later (in the comments). We’re just two weeks out from Opening Day, and as the start of the season gets closer the final shape of the roster is becoming clearer.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. It’s been a few seasons since Reds fans could utter the phrase, “Devin Mesoraco caught a Bronson Arroyo game.” However, that blast from the past played out in camp this week. Arroyo hasn’t pitched in a major league game since 2014, and he’s looking to get one more shot with a big league club.

So, how did it go?

Arroyo made it through 1.2 innings of work…before he was hit in the face with a ball when Mesoraco tried to throw out a runner at second. Bronson’s injuries weren’t serious, but it did bring an abrupt end to his day. Speaking of injuries to Reds starters….

2. The biggest question mark currently facing the team is who will open the season in the starting rotation. Brandon Finnegan and Scott Feldman are the only current pitchers projected as locks. Dan Straily, the team’s second best starter from last season, was traded to Miami in January. Homer Bailey will be out until at least June after undergoing a procedure on his elbow. Now, Anthony DeSclafani is also expected to be out until mid-May thanks to an elbow sprain.

That leaves three current openings in the Reds starting rotation. Earlier this week, Zach Buchanan broke down the most likely candidates to take those opportunities.

3. The news regarding DeSclafani was disappointing, but it could have been worse. He had recently been dealing with elbow soreness, and this week was diagnosed with a sprained elbow. Mark Sheldon offered a helpful summary of the news. DeSclafani will attempt to rehab the injury instead of undergoing surgery. He’s emerged as Cincinnati’s best starter over the past few seasons, and a healthy season from him would be a big boost to the Reds chances of winning some games.

4. The Reds made their first round of cuts at major league camp this week. Wick Terrell has a helpful breakdown of the decisions. The biggest name in the group was Dilson Herrera. Herrera was acquired by the Reds in the Jay Bruce trade, and there was hope he could make the major league roster as a utility/bench option. Unfortunately, he’s still battling recurring shoulder issues.

If you’re interested in the entire list of cuts, you can find them here.

5. This week, several of us at Red Reporter had the opportunity to talk with Chris Welsh of Fox Sports Ohio about the current state of the rotation. He talked openly about his assessment of a number of pitchers in the system, and what could potentially be done about preventing injuries to pitchers in the future.

You can find the episode here.

6. The World Baseball Classic has gotten lost in the shuffle of March Madness. However, if you’re looking to satisfy your baseball fix it’s been a million times more enjoyable than watching spring training games.

Last night, the US knocked off the Dominican Republic 6-3. The win sent the US to the semifinals, where they will face Japan on Tuesday night. If they can get a win in that one, they would play in the championship game on Wednesday.

Along with the win, the game also provided two of the best highlights you might see all season.

Eric covers the Reds for KSR and Red Reporter. He writes about fantasy baseball for Baseball Prospectus. You can follow Eric on Twitter @ericroseberry.

Photo: Sam Greene

The Reds Report: March 5

Photo: Sam Greene

Photo: Sam Greene

The Reds kicked off their first full week of spring training games by dropping three in a row to the Diamondbacks, White Sox, and Brewers. However, the team rebounded and closed the week strong. Cincinnati currently owns a four game winning streak. Again, these results tell us little about how the team will perform in 2017, but it was still nice to get some wins on the board (especially two against the Cubs).

Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Anthony DeSclafani Won’t Start Opening Day

Last week, there was some concern regarding Anthony DeSclafani. The team stated he was dealing with “elbow tenderness,” and his spring training debut was delayed. Fortunately, the issue doesn’t look to be serious, and DeSclafani should make his debut within a week.

Bryan Price mentioned this week that the delay likely takes “Disco” out of the running for Opening Day starter. However, he’s still on track to start the season in the rotation. Mark Sheldon noted that DeSclafani could appear in any other of the team’s first five games.

What is likely to happen, barring setbacks, is DeSclafani could pitch 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th game of season. Just not opener. #reds

DeSclafani was Cincinnati’s best starter a season ago. He went 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA, but he did struggle with an oblique injury that limited him to 20 starts. A healthy DeSclafani could have a significant impact on Cincinnati’s record at the end of the season.

You can read Wick Terrell’s break down of this news over at Red Reporter.

Devin Mesoraco is Progressing

There isn’t a bigger question mark on the Reds roster than Devin Mesoraco. In 2014, he had the most productive offensive season of any catcher in baseball. Unfortunately, he’s been unable to build on that production as injuries have limited him to just 39 games over the past two seasons.

Zach Buchanan checked in on Mesoraco’s progress, and noted that he faced live pitching for the first time since May this week. Buchanan described Mesoraco’s process of trying to re-discover the swing that made him so successful. The shoulder injury Mesoraco dealt with in 2016 got him into some bad habits, but he’s working hard to break those as he tries to re-establish himself as a middle of the order bat.

Mesoraco hopes to play in his first spring training game within a week.

The State of the Bullpen

The Reds bullpen was historically bad for the first few months of the 2016 season. Things started to turn around once Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen got healthy. The team has made it clear they are going to heavily depend on both pitchers in a variety of situations this season.

It looks as if the team won’t start the year with a set closer. Several pitchers (Iglesias, Lorenzen, and Drew Storen) will get opportunities to earn saves. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors noted the team’s intention to possibly give both Iglesias and Lorenzen around 100 innings of work. They were clearly the team’s best options out of the bullpen last season, and I’m all for letting them pitch as much as possible.

Speaking of Michael Lorenzen, Zach Buchanan’s profile of the Reds reliever was one of the best things I read during the off-season. You should definitely take some time to check out “In the Name of the Father.”

Assessing the Reds Farm System

Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline took some time to break down the Reds farm system.

Bryan Price on Rule Changes for 2017

Earlier this week, MLB announced several rule changes for the 2017 season. The changes getting the most attention pertain to intentional walks and replays. This year a manager simply has to signal for an intentional walk, and the batter will immediately go to first. The pitcher no longer has to throw four balls to the catcher. The other change is that managers will now have a 30-second time limit to challenge a ruling on the field.

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com got Bryan Price’s take on these changes.

It has been a slow week. Let’s get Red Hot.

As you can tell from the news above, it’s been a pretty slow week around the team. Why don’t we take this opportunity to re-live the time the 1990 Reds released a rap song?

A few months ago, I did an in-depth look at what makes this song so…great?

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast, and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.

 


The Reds Report: February 26

The Reds Report: February 26

Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

It was a pretty quiet week for the Reds. The team kicked off their spring training schedule with games on Friday (loss), Saturday (loss), and Sunday (loss). The next few weeks will be a great opportunity for fans to get a look at some of the younger players who could become regulars on the roster over the next few seasons.

1. The Reds opened their spring schedule against the Giants on Friday. For eight and a half innings things were great. There were a few impressive pitching performances (Sal Romano and Barrett Astin), and Cincinnati took a lead into the bottom of the ninth.

What happened next? Reds reliever Kevin Shackelford gave up a 3-run homer to give the Giants the walk-off win. These results don’t count, but given the bullpen’s struggles last season it was a rough way to end the first game.

Repeat after me: “It’s only spring training, it’s only spring training, it’s only spring training.”

2. On Saturday, things got out of hand for the Reds. Cleveland ended up winning 8-2, but in the eighth inning the baseball gods decided they had seen enough.

The outcome was disappointing, but Eugenio Suarez did hit the first home run of the spring for Cincinnati.

3. Saturday was also a chance for fans to get a look at top pitching prospect Amir Garrett. Garrett started the game for the Reds, and he gave up two hits and one run in 1.2 innings of work. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com took some time to profile Garrett this week. Sheldon also looked at the 24-year-old’s chances of making the rotation in 2017.

Prior to the season FanGraphsBaseball Prospectus, and MLB Pipeline all ranked Garrett as the Reds #2 prospect (behind Nick Senzel). He has the potential to be an important piece of Cincinnati’s rotation for a number of years.

4. Garrett isn’t the only player worth paying attention to this spring. Brandon Kraeling of Red Reporter broke down the “Players you should be paying attention to in spring training.” On a similar note, C. Trent Rosecrans looked at the competition for bench spots on the Reds roster.

5. The Reds did receive a bit of bad news this week. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enqurier wrote that Dilson Herrera will be unable to play in the upcoming World Baseball Classic due to a sore shoulder. This was the same issue that limited Herrera’s playing time after the Reds acquired him last season from the Mets (in the Jay Bruce trade). It’s possible Herrera could see some time in the big leagues this season as a utility player. The front office and fans will be hoping for a speedy recovery.

6. If you follow the Reds, it’s no secret that they’ve been in the rebuilding process the past few seasons. How is the rebuild going at this point? One way to try and answer that question is by looking at the state of the farm system. Over the course of the offseason, a number of sites released their Reds prospect rankings. You can find them at the links below:

7. I’ve mentioned their names already, but Zach Buchanan and C. Trent Rosecrans are doing a great job of letting fans in on the action in Arizona. Their regular Facebook Live videos have included: player interviews, Q&A sessions, and news recaps.

This week they had the opportunity to ask Zack Cozart one of the most important questions a person will ever have to answer. “Skyline or Gold Star?” (Skip ahead to the 10:00 mark to hear Cozart’s unsatisfactory answer).

I’m a card carrying member of Team Skyline.

8. This is probably the highlight of spring training so far. No, it wasn’t a Reds player, but it was still impressive.

That sound off the bat…

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast, and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: February 19

Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is back! Well…kind of.

On Monday, Reds pitchers and catchers reported to spring training which means the baseball season is right around the corner. Football and basketball have probably kept you pretty occupied since October, so the first edition of this season’s Reds Report will try and get you up to date with the major moves of the offseason.

The start of the season can’t come soon enough. The baseball world is in desperate need of some on-the-field news. Because recently we’ve been left discussing things like…

 

Yep, we need to get the games going.

1. Last week, the Reds sent Brandon Phillips to the Atlanta Braves for two minor-league pitchers in the team’s biggest move of the offseason. Cincinnati was also required to eat $13 million in the deal. Phillips had been on the Reds roster since 2006, and he played a prominent role on three playoff teams. However, Phillips wasn’t going to be on the team the next time they were competitive, and it was clear that his best years were behind him. It was time for the Reds to turn their attention to some long-term solutions at the position.

2. Speaking of long term solutions at second, Bryan Price announced this week that Jose Peraza would be the team’s starting second baseman in 2017.

The Reds acquired Peraza as part of the three-team deal that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox. Peraza played in 72 games for Cincinnati last season, and started to see more regular playing time following an injury to Billy Hamilton. From August 20 to October 2, Peraza hit .366/.387/.484 with 11 stolen bases. The front office is hopeful that Peraza can be a foundational piece on the roster for years to come. In 2017, the front office and fans alike will get a long look at the 22 year-old.

3. The other big news from Reds camps thus far is not what fans were hoping to hear. Homer Bailey was placed on the 60-day DL before throwing a pitch this season. He recently had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow, and stated this week he hopes to return to the big league roster by June 1. As Mark Sheldon notes, this was Bailey’s third surgery to this area in his career.

Prior to the 2014 season, the Reds signed Bailey to a six-year, $105 million extension. Since then, he’s only pitched in 31 games. He’s slated to make $19 million this season, followed by $21 million, $23 million, and $25 million from 2018-2020. Cincinnati signed Bailey hoping he could be the ace at the top of their rotation, but with each subsequent injury that hope seems a little less likely.

4. Several prominent projection systems released their pre-season win totals for each MLB team. FanGraphs projects the Reds to finish the season with a 70-92 record. Baseball Prospectus is a little more optimistic with their 75-87 projection for Cincinnati. Both records would be an improvement on last season’s 68-94 finish. It’s unlikely the Reds will compete for a playoff spot in 2017, but at least these systems think the team is heading in the right direction.

5. Some photos were released from spring training this week, and it appears that Joey Votto is channeling his inner Sting.

Sting

Let’s hope the Reds find a way to lower Votto from the top of Great American Ball Park for his at bats.

6. One potential addition to the Reds roster that fans might enjoy is Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo was signed to a minor-league contract, and he’ll pitch for the team this spring. He hasn’t pitched in a major league game since 2014, and he’s a long shot to be on the roster at the start of the season. Arroyo was a fan favorite during his eight seasons in a Reds uniform. From 2006-2013 he racked up a 105-94 record with a 4.05 ERA.

7. Arroyo won’t be the only new face in camp this year. The Reds signed Scott Feldman to a one-year, $2.3 million contract. Feldman has been in the majors for 12 seasons, and he should compete for a spot in the back end of the rotation or in the bullpen. Desmond Jennings and Ryan Raburn were also signed to minor-league deals. Both players could add depth in the outfield, and give the team some solid options off the bench.

8. Easily the biggest question mark in Reds camp, aside from Bailey, is the status of Devin Mesoraco. In 2014, Mesoraco was one of the best power hitting catchers in baseball. Since then, he’s only appeared in 39 games thanks to injuries to his hip and shoulder. Mesoraco will make $7.2 million this season, and the team is hopeful he can return to form after two lost seasons. He did tell reporters he was feeling “really good” as camp opened.

9. The Reds will kick off their spring training schedule on Friday with a game against the San Francisco Giants at 3:05 ET. They’ll follow that up on Saturday with a game against Cleveland at 3:05 ET.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast, and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Denny Medley-USA TODAY

The Reds Report: October 2

Denny Medley-USA TODAY

Denny Medley-USA TODAY

With the conclusion of today’s game against the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds season came to an end. Most analysts and fans knew it would be a struggle for the Reds to compete in 2016, and for the most part they were right. The Reds finished the season last in the NL Central with a 68-94 record. In spite of that finish, fans were able to see some progress from the Reds this year. While it might not have shown up in wins and losses, there were some good signs out of the club, and there are several reasons to think the club can take another step forward in 2017.

For one final time this season, let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. The biggest news of the week in Cincinnati was the announcement that Bryan Price would return as manager in 2017. Not only did Price receive an offer to return, but the entire coaching staff will be back next season. The deal includes a team option for 2018. As Zach Buchanan notes, the team assessed Price on more than wins and losses because they’re in the midst of a rebuild.

2. Wick Terrell of Red Reporter spent some time this week looking at the ups and downs this season in Cincinnati. The team might not have had as much on field success as fans wanted, but there were still plenty of reasons to be hopeful for the future.

3. One of the reasons Reds fans had to be excited was Adam Duvall, who joined a fairly exclusive club this week.

4. The final week of the Reds season did include one of the most controversial finishes in Major League Baseball this season. On Thursday night the Reds were facing the Cardinals, and the game was tied in the 9th inning. Yadier Molina hit a ball into left field which should have been ruled a ground rule double, but the call was missed by the umpires on the field. Instead it was ruled a live ball, and Matt Carpenter scored the winning run.

The umpired ruled that the Reds had not challenged the call in the allotted amount of time. While the rule was correctly applied, it’s still worth asking if MLB should leave end of game challenges up to coaches. Price noted that he was unable to hear the phone ringing in the dugout indicating he should issue a challenge because of the noise in the stadium. Jesse Yomtov of USA Today recapped more details from the confusing night.

The outcome of the game could have mattered for the MLB playoff picture. Thankfully, the Cardinals were eliminated from the post-season on Sunday.

5. Joey Votto officially accomplished something that had not been done since 2004. The Reds first baseman hit over .400 in the second-half of the season. Ichiro Suzuki was the last player to reach this accomplishment. This was the icing on the cake of an incredible few months for Votto at the plate.

6. Not everything went well for Votto this week. He did catch a baseball in the chin, and it required several stitches to close up the gash.

7. One rookie making a “good impression” in the final week of the season is “Stone Cold” Steve Selsky. C. Trent Rosecrans wrote about the 27 year-old’s impressive week at the plate which included a five hit game. Selsky likely won’t become a regular in the Reds lineup, but he could become a quality bat off the bench.

The nickname originated during his time at Triple-A Louisville.

8. Sunday brought the conclusion of the MLB regular season, and fans will now turn their attention to the post-season. In the American League the Red Sox will face the Indians, and the Rangers will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game (either the Blue Jays or Orioles).

In the National League the Dodgers and Nationals will square off, and the Cubs will take on either the Mets or Giants (NL Wild Card game). The AL Wild Card will be contested on Tuesday night, and the NL Wild Card will take place on Wednesday.

On a personal note I want to thank Matt and Drew for giving me the chance to write for KSR this season. I’ve been a daily reader of KSR since the Jai Lucas/Patrick Patterson recruitments, and it’s been an honor to contribute to the site in a small way. Thanks for reading everyone!

You can follow the Reds all offseason long at Red Reporter.


Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: September 25

votto

USA TODAY-Sports

usa-today-9197670-0The Cincinnati Reds season is quickly coming to an end. After today’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers the club has just seven games remaining. The past week was a struggle, and it was a reminder to all fans of the issues that have plagued this team in 2016. Earlier in the week, the Reds were swept by the Chicago Cubs by a combined score of 20-5. The Reds were able to bounce back and take two out of three from the Milwaukee Brewers this weekend.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. It’s hard to write or even think about baseball today without thinking of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. News broke early Sunday morning that the twenty-four-year-old was killed in a boating accident. On the field, Fernandez was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. His stuff was electric, and he always displayed an infectious joy. Details remain sparse, but this is one of the most significant tragedies to hit MLB in some time.

Jeff Passan wrote about Fernandez’s climb from Cuban immigrant to major league superstar in an article entitled “The American Dream.” C. Trent Rosecrans looked at several Reds players who had strong ties to Fernandez, and how they were handling the news.

There is no easy way to transition from this story to the normal events of a week in baseball. Jose Fernandez will be missed.

2. The Reds kept setting records this week. As you can imagine, they weren’t the good kind of records.

3. One of the biggest questions facing the Cincinnati Reds in 2017 is what to do with Jesse Winker. There was a time when Winker was considered to be the Reds left fielder of the future. However, the emergence of other options have left that conclusion in doubt. Zach Buchanan took some time this week to ask “Where does Jesse Winker fit in?

4. Another major question for the Reds as this season concludes is what to do with Brandon Phillips. 2017 will be the final year of Phillips’ six-year contract, and it’s likely Cincinnati could try and move him in the offseason. The team attempted to trade Phillips prior to the 2016 season, but he vetoed a trade to Washington. Phillips has put together a nice second-half at the plate, and it’s possible a team could look at him as a short term upgrade with an expiring contract. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com broke down Cincinnati’s in-house options if they move BP.

5. In sports, success is usually defined by wins and losses. Yet each year there are a handful of teams clearly out of contention from the beginning of the season. Most analysts put the Reds in this category prior to the season. Does the fact that the Reds weren’t going to win a title mean they couldn’t succeed this year? Over at Red Reporter, I took some time to assess whether or not the 2016 Reds season could be called a success. Specifically, did the Reds take the necessary steps to upgrade the roster and get closer to contention?

6. One thing is for sure. The future looks bright with Jose Peraza in the Reds lineup. The twenty-two-year-old rookie hit his third home run of the season against Milwaukee this weekend. For the season, Peraza is now hitting .330/.354/.425.

To close out the season the Reds will play four in St. Louis, followed by a three game series with the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park. As of Sunday afternoon the Cardinals were half a game back of a Wild Card spot. Cincinnati has the opportunity to play spoiler for their division rival in the early part of the week.

You can follow the Reds all season long, and Eric’s other writing, at Red Reporter.


David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: September 18

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

This week was another mixed bag for the Reds. They were able to take two out of three from Milwaukee to open the week, but they dropped three out of four to Pittsburgh over the weekend. Just like that, Cincinnati only has 13 games remaining in their season.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. On Sunday afternoon, one of the most unexpected events of the baseball season occurred. Dan Straily has been a pleasant surprise on the mound this season, but he’s struggled at the plate. Okay, to say that he’s struggled would be an understatement. In the 8th inning of today’s game Straily walked to the plate 0-48 on the season.

What happened next will be one of the enduring memories in Cincinnati from 2016. Yes, I realize the fact that this will be an enduring memory doesn’t say much for the rest of the season.

2. The 2016 season might be coming to a close, but it’s never too early to start thinking about 2017. Earlier this week, Major League Baseball released the full schedule for next season. What sticks out about Cincinnati’s 2017 schedule?

  • Cincinnati will open next season on Monday April 3. They’ll welcome the Philadelphia Phillies to Great American Ball Park.
  • The Baltimore Orioles will play in Cincinnati for the first time since 2005.
  • The New York Yankees will come to Great American Ball Park for the first time since 2011.
  • The Boston Red Sox will come to Cincinnati starting September 22.
  • The season closes with a three game series at Wrigley Field.

3. On Tuesday, Hernan Iribarren found himself wrapped up in a good old fashioned national anthem standoff. You’re not familiar with the practice? I’ll let Zach Buchanan explain. “For those unfamiliar, an anthem standoff is exactly what it sounds like. A player from each side remains standing with this hand over his heart long after the anthem is done playing in a game of chicken to see who will budge first.”

The players both stood in position following the anthem for 13 minutes. In the end…the Iribarren was victorious. If baseball games were decided by a player’s ability to stand in place, I have a feeling the Reds would do pretty well.

4. Well…it was bound to happen. On Friday night the Cincinnati Reds bullpen set a record that they probably didn’t want. They have officially allowed more home runs than any other bullpen in history for a single season. Dayn Perry notes that Jung Ho Kang of the Pittsburgh Pirates hit the record setting home run. It was the 93rd home run that the bullpen had allowed this season.

5. The Reds were expected to struggle this season, but that doesn’t make losing any easier. One of the questions that many have been asking in recent weeks is, “What do all of these losses mean for Bryan Price?” Chad Dotson was just one of a number of writers to tackle this question recently. His story assesses a number of arguments that fans make in favor of letting Price go. Are they valid concerns? Click the link above to check out his responses.

6. How about some good news? Because the Reds won today they can’t lose 100 games this season. That qualifies as good news right?

7. With things more or less settled on the field in Cincinnati this season, many have turned their attention to what the roster might look like in 2017. C. Trent Rosecrans looked at a few players the Reds might be willing to trade this offseason. He notes that the most obvious candidates are Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart, but he talks about a few other notable players as well. This article also includes his answers to several mailbag questions.

The Reds head to Chicago tomorrow for three games at Wrigley Field. Over the weekend they’ll be in Milwaukee to take on the Brewers.

You can follow the Reds all season long, and Eric’s writing, at Red Reporter