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The Reds Report

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


Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: September 11

Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning still hurting from yesterday’s football game. The start of the NFL season was a nice pick me up, but it couldn’t completely take away my disappointment. I knew there was only one thing that could bring me all the way back.

My guess is it’s the very thing you need to feel better as well. What could possibly cure our collective hurt like September baseball in Cincinnati?

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. Once again the Reds had a rough start to the week. They were swept by the Mets in a three game series at Great American Ball Park. However, they bounced back over the weekend to take three of four from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even though they finished the week 3-4 they stayed above .500 in the second half (28-25).

2. While it wasn’t enjoyable to watch the Reds get swept by the Mets, it was good to see Jay Bruce back in Cincinnati. The beloved outfielder was traded to New York on August 1. The Reds honored Bruce with a pre-game video tribute. You’ll want to get the kleenex ready.

3. Earlier today Zach Buchanan noted that Alfredo Simon re-injured his shoulder and is done for the season. The fact that Simon won’t take the mound again means he’s wrapped up a pretty inauspicious record.

4. One of the bright spots for the Reds over the past few weeks has been the play of Jose Peraza. Billy Hamilton’s oblique injury has meant more consistent playing time for the twenty-two-year-old rookie. Since returning to the major league roster on August 20, Peraza is hitting .425/.436/.562. It’s beginning to look like he could be a fixture in Cincinnati’s lineup for years to come.

Wick Terrell, C. Trent Rosecrans, and Mark Sheldon all took the opportunity to talk about the prospects of Peraza being a starter in 2017. Up to this point, he’s done everything necessary to earn a spot in the lineup. However, Cincinnati might have to make a trade, or Peraza might have to be willing to change his regular position, if he’s to play regularly.

5. Yesterday everyone’s favorite Red, Joey Votto, turned thirty-three. Since I can’t actually get him a present, the least I can do is honor him with the final few points of this week’s Reds Report.

6. Joey Votto’s interactions with fans have been a hot topic this season. There was the time he faked throwing a ball into the stands. There was the time he vehemently stomped on a paper airplane. Who could forget when Votto grabbed a fan’s shirt in disgust? Votto was in a kinder and gentler mood when it came to fan interaction this week.

7. How did you celebrate your birthday this year? I went to Outback (sorry Cracker Barrell) and enjoyed a bloomin onion, steak, and tasty beverage. How did Joey Votto celebrate his birthday?

Votto went 4-5 including a home run to help the Reds knock off the Pirates 8-7. Votto has been insanely hot the past few months, and he’s trying to become the first player to hit over .400 in the second half of a season since Ichiro in 2004. I really hope Reds fans are taking the time to appreciate Votto because you’re gonna miss this…you’re gonna want this back. You might even wish that these days hadn’t gone by so fast.

8. Not everything went right on Votto’s birthday. He did find himself in the dark during his post-game interview.

9. On a personal note, you can hear my debut on MLB Radio Network tonight at 7PM. I joined host Vince Gennaro for a segment on his show Behind the Numbers: Baseball SABR-Style. We took a few minutes to talk Brian Dozier of the Twins, Joey Votto, and Adam Duvall. The station is channel 89 (Sirius 209) for SiriusXM subscribers.

The Reds will be home this entire week. Tomorrow night the Brewers will travel to Cincinnati for a three game series. Over the weekend Cincinnati will hook up with Pittsburgh once again. They’ll play four games in three days against their Central Division rival (there’s a day night double header on Saturday).

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


The Reds Report: September 4

The Reds Report: September 4

Billy Hamilton1

The last 24 hours haven’t been the easiest for Kentucky fans. Why not distract yourself from the disappointment of yesterday by reading about a baseball team that went 2-4 this week, and stands 57-78 on the season.

Well..at least there are only 39 days until Big Blue Madness.

To Drew Franklin’s dismay this is the final month of baseball’s regular season, and we can start to reflect on what we’ve watched since April. While it’s been a down year for the Reds there have been some encouraging signs as the season has progressed. In the first half the team went 32-57 and they were outscored by a grand total of 154 runs. However, since the All-Star break they’re 25-20, and they’ve outscored their opponents by 40. It ultimately won’t matter for this season, but it’s a reason for optimism heading in to 2017.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. The first part of this week the Reds hit the west coast to take on the Angels. They were swept in three games by a combined score of 16-4. We’ll just skip this and move on.

2. Saturday provided your Billy Hamilton highlight of the week

3. Speaking of Hamilton, he bounced back from a tough series against the Angels (1-13), and tormented the Cardinals for a couple of days. On Friday and Saturday he went a combined 4-8 with 2 walks, 3 runs, and 4 stolen bases. He currently leads MLB in steals with 58 (7 ahead of second place Jonathan Villar). This was great, but…

4. Hamilton injured himself on a check swing on Sunday. It appears to be a strained oblique. This is why we can’t have nice things.

5. This week the calendar changed from August to September. As of September 1 MLB rosters expanded (a process explained here), and the Reds took advantage by calling up a handful of minor league players to the big league roster. Robert Stephenson, Keyvius Sampson, Cody Reed, and Wandy Peralta were all added to the club on Friday.

C. Trent Rosecrans took some time to talk about Stephenson’s promotion and what it means for the team. He’ll get the start for the Reds against the Mets on Monday. It will be his first taste of big league action since April 19. Stephenson ranks as the Reds 4th best prospect by MLB Pipeline.

In 24 starts for Triple-A Louisville this season Stephenson is 8-9 with a 4.41 ERA.

6. A prospect that fans have had their eyes on for a number of seasons is outfielder Jesse Winker. There was some belief that he might make the Reds in 2016, but he’s spent the year in Louisville. Zach Buchanan took a look at Winker’s season, and discussed the concerns over his recent lack of power. A corner outfielder in the big leagues is expected to have more pop in his bat than Winker has shown this season. If this development holds, how will it affect his long term future?

7. There was a scary moment for Jose Peraza in Monday’s game against the Angels. He was hit in the face by a pickoff throw from Matt Shoemaker. His injuries could have been a lot worse, but he was able to return to the lineup the next night.

8. Cincinnati was able to add a top international prospect to it’s system this week. The Reds signed Vladimir Gutierrez to a $4.75 million deal. According to Tony Wolfe of Red Reporter, “Gutierrez, 20, was No. 4 on MLB Pipeline’s top 30 international prospect list, and was the highest-ranked right-handed pitcher.” The Reds are stockpiling as much young pitching as possible over the course of the current rebuild.

9. In non-Reds news, on Monday Zach McAllister of the Indians made one of the most impressive defensive plays you’ll see all season.

The Reds remain home for a three game series against the Mets starting on Monday. They’ll head to Pittsburgh for four games against the Pirates beginning on Thursday.

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


Photo: The Associated Press

The Reds Report: August 28

Photo: The Associated Press

Photo: The Associated Press

Cincinnati has been on a nice run since the middle of July. However, this week was the first week in over a month in which they compiled more losses than wins. Things got off to a rough start on Monday when Cincinnati suffered a 19-8 beat down at the hands of the LA Dodgers. They were able to split a two game set with the Rangers, but they spent the weekend dropping two out of three in Arizona to the Diamondbacks.

It’s time for this week’s Reds Report.

1. Why don’t we start today’s report with a “what if” scenario. Earlier today Ken Rosenthal reported that the Dodgers have placed Yasiel Puig on waivers. Chad Dotson of Redleg Nation provided a helpful summary of the waiver process, and why he “absolutely” believes the Reds should put a waiver claim in on Puig. It’s easy to forget that Puig is only 25, and for the next two seasons he will “only” be making between 8-9 million per year.

What do you think? Should the Reds roll the dice on the polarizing Dodgers’ outfielder?

2. While the Reds might have struggled this week they did have a few praiseworthy performances. On Saturday night Anthony DeSclafani threw the first shutout of his career. The Reds acquired “Disco” following the 2014 season in a trade with the Marlins for Mat Latos. This season he’s 8-2 with a 2.96 ERA. He’s been a savvy pickup for the Cincinnati front office, and he figures to be a fixture in the rotation for the next handful of years. The twenty-six year old isn’t eligible to become a free agent until 2021.

3. It feels like a good time for the “I don’t believe what I just saw Billy Hamilton do” video of the week.

4. Reds beat writer Zach Buchanan opened up his mailbag yet again. Click the link to read his answers to questions like: Can the Reds be a wild card team next season? What are the chances that Votto hits .320 this year? Why haven’t the Reds called up Hernan Iribarren?

5. Brandon Finnegan has been up and down this season, but he’s provided value for the Reds by chewing up innings as a league average quality starter. C. Trent Rosecrans took some time this week to assess Finnegan’s development. In particular, he notes that a recent change to one of Finnegan’s pitches might bolster his opportunity to stick around in the starting rotation. Finnegan is 8-9 on the season with a 4.27 ERA. On Friday he gave up 2 runs on 3 hits in a loss to Arizona.

6. The month of September is right around the corner, and the change of the calendar should bring some changes to Cincinnati’s roster. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com looked at a few of the prospects who might be in line to receive some playing time at the big league level over the season’s final month. The most intriguing question for fans might be whether or not the club will promote the teams #2 prospect Amir Garrett. The twenty-four year old dominated Double A this season, and he’s pitched well since being promoted to Louisville.

7. As we close out this week’s Reds Report I’d like to submit this catch by the Royals Jarrod Dyson as a contender for the play of the year in baseball.

The Reds head to the west coast for the first part of this week. They’ll take on the Angels for three games starting tomorrow. Cincinnati returns home over the weekend to take on the Cardinals.

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


Aug 31, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen (50) delivers in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: August 21

Matt Marton – USA Today

The Reds might not have much to play for, but that’s not stopping them from stringing wins together. Cincinnati went 5-2 this week and won series against the Marlins and Dodgers. It would have been easy for the team to give up on 2016, but they’ve shown a lot of heart since the All-Star break. The #1 pick in next season’s draft is probably out of reach thanks to all these wins. However, it’s made the last month a lot more enjoyable to watch

1. Michael Lorenzen was clearly the best story of the week. The Reds reliever was placed on bereavement leave due to the death of his father, and Lorenzen made his return to the team on Friday night. He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings for Cincinnati. However, it was his rare trip to the plate that was the highlight of the night.

2. Robert Stephenson has been one of the Reds top pitching prospects since he was drafted in 2011. Unfortunately his manager at Triple-A Louisviile, Delino DeShields, raised concerns over his progress.

3. What we’ve all thought for a while now appears to be official. Billy Hamilton is the fastest man in baseball. Over at Red Reporter Wick Terrell broke down the latest research from Andrew Simon. Simon combed through MLB’s Statcast data and uncovered the worst kept secret in the game. To give you some idea of Hamilton’s speed he was clocked going from home to first in 3.61 seconds, and home to second in 7.3 seconds. That’s fast.

4. Billy “the fastest man in baseball” Hamilton had his talents on display against Miami this week.

5. Earlier in the season it looked like the Reds could potentially set a new franchise record for losses. However, thanks to their play over the past few weeks, the record appears to be safe. C. Trent Rosecrans broke down how many wins the Reds need over their final few months to avoid any unwanted records.

6. At some point during the Reds recent series against the Marlins a player (Ichiro) sent doughnuts to Joey Votto. What was Votto’s logical response? He had 51 pizzas from a California Pizza Kitchen in Louisville delivered to Ichiro’s locker. Zach Buchanan laid out the details of the gift including the fact that the pizza cost $640 + $200 for an Uber driver to bring them from Louisville to Cincinnati.

7. Speaking of Zach Buchanan, the Reds beat writer opened up his mailbag to answer questions about prospects, September callups, and Yorman Rodriguez.

8. Over the weekend the Reds called Jose Peraza back up to the big league roster. Peraza is getting some playing time due to an Achilles injury to Zack Cozart. Peraza made the most of his promotion going 3-5 with 2 R and 3 RBI on Saturday against the Dodgers. Kevin Goheen of MLB.com broke down the young shortstop’s big day.

9. Most summer nights you’ll find me flipping between baseball games. However, tonight is not one of those nights. Why? Because tonight the eyes of America will be on WWE’s SummerSlam. There’s only one thing that could pry my eyes away from Sunday night baseball, and it’s the thought of Brock Lesnar taking someone to Suplex City. Here are my picks for tonight:

Carmella, Naomi, & Becky Lynch over Natalya, Alexa Bliss, & ?

Jericho & Owens over Enzo & Big Cass

Gallows and Anderson over The New Day

John Cena over A.J. Styles

The Miz over Apollo Crews

Roman Reigns over Rusev

Sasha Banks over Charlotte

Dean Ambrose over Dolph Ziggler

Seth Rollins over Finn Balor

The Reds play the Dodgers one more time tomorrow before the Rangers come to town for two. Over the weekend they’ll play three games in Arizona.

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


David Kohl, USA Today Sports

The Reds Report: August 14

David Kohl, USA Today Sports

David Kohl, USA Today Sports

The Reds held steady this week with a 3-3 record. After dropping a series to the Cardinals they rebounded by taking two of three from the Brewers over the weekend. The next few weeks will likely bring a lull in news for Reds fans. Cincinnati is clearly out of contention for 2016, and it’s still too early to get excited about September callups. Regardless, there’s still plenty to talk about from the past seven days.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. I feel like I’ve said this every week recently, but Joey Votto has been insanely hot as of late. Since the All-Star break he’s hitting .462/.560/.692. In April and May Votto struggled at the plate, and some wondered whether or not we were beginning to witness his inevitable decline. It turns out that he was merely going through a cold stretch, and he’s about as locked in as he can possibly be right now.

2. With how important Votto is to the Reds success, it’s vital that they keep him healthy. Billy Hamilton did what he could to protect Votto from a foul ball over the weekend. However, I don’t know how much Votto appreciated it. Cue the Votto is “overrated” and “overpaid” comments.

3. Speaking of Billy Hamilton, the Reds center fielder has shown some nice progression at the plate. Since July 15 he’s hitting an uncharacteristic .308/.379/.356. That improvement at the plate has led to even more stolen base opportunities for one of the fastest players in baseball. In the first 74 games of the season Hamilton stole 22 bases. He’s stolen 29 in his last 25 games. If he can consistently get on base, he will become one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in baseball. C. Trent Rosecrans took some time to write about Hamilton’s recent stolen base binge.

Hamilton had his way with Yadier Molina and the Cardinals earlier in the week.

4. It’s hard to believe after how bad the bullpen was earlier in the season, but in the second half Reds relievers have the 5th best ERA in baseball (2.80). Raisel Iglesias has been an important reason why, and this week news picked up that he ultimately wants to be the team’s closer. Wick Terrell at Red Reporter took a look at the long term implications of a permanent move to the bullpen for Iglesias.

Mark Sheldon also wrote about the bullpen, and how important Michael Lorenzen’s newfound confidence has been.

5. Oh yeah, the bullpen still does some insanely frustrating things. Like allowing the Cardinals to win a game (they had no business winning) on a walk off hit by pitch.

6. Wednesday marked the 12 year anniversary of the longest home run in Great American Ball Park history. Adam Dunn sent a baseball into centerfield that went an estimated…535 feet!

7. While we’re taking a stroll down memory lane, there was another important anniversary this week. Wednesday also marked the 6 year anniversary of a massive brawl between the Reds and Cardinals. Brandon Phillips made a few comments about the Cardinals the night before this game, and once he got to the plate…well this happened.

8. Earlier this week the Reds announced their “college weekend” ticket package. If you purchase a special ticket (details here) you’ll receive a Reds hat with the logo and colors of your favorite college team. Can you think of THE school in Ohio that feels a little left out from this promotion?

The Reds begin a ten game home stand tomorrow night. The Marlins come to town for four games, and then the Dodgers will visit GABP over the weekend.

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


The Reds Report: August 7

The Reds Report: August 7

Votto

Frank Victores, USA Today Sports

The Reds kept the good times rolling early in the week. Cincinnati had won five straight series following the All-Star break, and they made it six by taking two out of three from the Cardinals. They finally stumbled and dropped a series in Pittsburgh this weekend, but they were still able to put up another win today. The Reds are an encouraging 13-8 since the All-Star break. Although there won’t be post-season baseball in Cincinnati this season, there have been signs of life from the club recently.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. The biggest news coming out of Cincinnati this week broke on Monday. The Reds shipped Jay Bruce to the New York Mets for a pair of prospects. It felt like rumors of a Bruce trade were a constant over the past two seasons, and it took the Reds all the way to the deadline to make a deal. Bruce had been a long time fan favorite since being called up as a twenty one year old in 2008.

The Reds right fielder had a number of memorable highlights with the team. However, the one that sticks out to most is his home run that clinched the 2010 Central Division title.

2. So what did Cincinnati get in return for Bruce? The Mets sent IF Dilson Herrera and LHP Max Wotell to the Reds. Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs has a helpful writeup on both players. Wick Terrell of Red Reporter also ran down the details of the transaction.

3. Tuesday night was Cincinnati’s first game since the trade. For a lot of fans it was hard to watch the team without Cincinnati’s fixture in right field. Earlier in the day the team had called up Scott Schebler from Louisville to fill the void left in the outfield. So was Schebler able to take advantage of this opportunity?

A walk off home run to beat the Cardinals in your first start filling in for Jay Bruce? Not bad at all…

4. Another week, another incredible play by Billy Hamilton. On Sunday in the Reds win against the Pirates the Cincinnati center fielder made his presence felt again.

5. You might not have noticed, but since the start of the second half of the season the best hitter in all of baseball plays for the Reds. Joey Votto has been hitting out of his mind since the All-Star break, and this week wasn’t any different. From July 15 on Votto is posting a video game line of .449/.557/.681 with 4 HR and 12 RBI. Oh yeah speaking of Votto…

6. “Bad” Joey Votto made a return apperance this week. On Tuesday night in the Reds game against the Cardinals Votto was attempting to catch a foul ball. He had to lean into the stands to try and make the grab, and a (home) fan got in his way. How did Votto react?

He made up with the guy, gave him a signed baseball, and took a picture. Say what you will about Votto, but he’s easily been one of the most entertaining (if not polarizing) aspects of the roster this season.

7. A pair of young Reds players are making some noise over the past few weeks. Nick Senzel, the Reds first round draft pick this season, is currently playing in Dayton for Cincinnati’s Single-A club. Over the course of 33 games with the team he’s hitting .333/.443/.579 with 5 HR and 20 RBI. His hot start has gone a long way toward justifying his selection with the second pick in this year’s draft. Another young player worth noting is TJ Friedl. Cincinnati recently signed Friedl as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Nevada-Reno. Friedl took advantage of the opportunity and homered in his first two at bats for the Billings Mustangs (Cincinnati’s rookie affiliate). While the Reds major league record isn’t what fans would want, there are a number of things to be excited about in the farm system.

8. We’ll end with maybe our most important note of the night. Everyone loves ball park food. In recent years, stadiums have sought to offer a number of…”interesting” options to raise fan interest. This past weekend I ran across a tweet from our very own Lexington Legends hyping their “fried bologna sandwich on a glazed doughnut.” Lexington is home Monday – Wednesday. Why not take advantage of this opportunity to try a combination of two wonderful things?

The Reds head to St. Louis for three games starting tomorrow. They’ll stay on the road through the weekend for a three game set in Milwaukee.

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


The Reds Report: July 31

The Reds Report: July 31

Jay Bruce 2

USA TODAY Sports Images

This edition of the Reds Report was completed prior to the conclusion of Sunday night’s game.

Who is this team and what have they done with the Reds? Since the All-Star break Cincinnati is 10-5, and they might just be playing their best baseball of the season. If they hang on to beat the Padres tonight they will have won five straight series. It might not matter much when October rolls around, but it’s been a nice change of pace.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. Easily the biggest topic of conversation in Cincinnati this week was the upcoming trade deadline. How would the Reds handle it? Would they finally end up trading Jay Bruce? Could a team entice them to part ways with Zack Cozart? Might the Reds take advantage of Dan Straily’s hot start and flip him for a younger prospect? The possibilities seemed endless.

Well…as of 6:37 PM on Sunday, the Reds have done nothing. There are still plenty of rumors swirling regarding a potential Jay Bruce trade, and the team has until 4:00 PM tomorrow to pull one off. Here was one of the most recent updates on where the situation stands.

Wick Terrell of Red Reporter also broke down some of the latest rumors as of Sunday.

2. While a trade hasn’t been made yet, Sunday was important for the Reds because it featured the return of Homer Bailey to the starting rotation. Bailey underwent Tommy John surgery in May of 2015, and today was his first appearance in a Reds uniform since he was shut down. Cincinnati’s rebuild will get a major shot in the arm if Bailey is able to return to form as a top of the rotation arm.

3. In one of the most surprising stats you’ll read all season, the Reds bullpen currently has the 4th best ERA in baseball for the month of July. A big reason for this recent success has been the production of Raisel Iglesias. Iglesias, who was the Reds Opening Day starter, injured his shoulder earlier in the season. Cincinnati moved him to the bullpen to help decrease his work load. Thus far, the move has been a huge success.

In 23 innings of relief work Iglesias has an 0.38 ERA, and he’s holding opposing hitters to a .101 batting average. On Sunday, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com broke down Iglesias’ “electric stuff.”

4. One of the most entertaining aspects of this season for Reds fans has been the Joey Votto “heel turn.” Earlier this season he taunted opposing fans by acting like he’d toss them a foul ball. He kept the ball for himself. Later in the season, he mercilessly stomped a paper airplane that found it’s way onto the field

On Wednesday, “bad” Joey Votto made his return.

5. Speaking of Joey Votto, the man is absolutely raking over the past month. His early season struggles are a thing of the past, and he has reminded fans why the team was willing to give him a 12 year, $251 million contract back in 2012. Zach Buchanan took a look at Votto’s numbers and recent success at the plate.

6. It was a special day on Sunday for Reds rookie Jose Peraza. Peraza was acquired by the Reds last season in the trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox. Since being called up to the majors he (disappointingly) hasn’t received much playing time. However, he took advantage of his start on Sunday and mashed his first major league home run.

#FreePeraza

7. For those of you interested in the future of the Reds, MLB Pipeline updated their team prospect rankings this week. Nick Senzel, Cincinnati’s first round pick from this season, checked in at #1. You can get the complete list here.

Mitchell Clark at Red Reporter wrote up his own mid-season prospect rankings.

8. Ah, summer camp. Every kid always enjoyed getting a few days away from home to swim, make crafts, and meet new friends. While at camp, maybe you’d even get the opportunity to check out a day baseball game.

CBS Sports had the story of “Camp Day” that took place in Daytona Beach last Wednesday. The home team, Cincinnati’s Class-A affiliate, was taking on Jupiter. The campers got to enjoy the sights and sounds of the ballpark, and the sight of a group of grown men attempting to beat the ever loving crap out of each other.

The Reds open this week against the Cardinals at home on Tuesday. Over the weekend they’ll head to Pittsburgh for a three game set against the Pirates.

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


The Reds Report: Ken Griffey Jr. Edition

The Reds Report: Ken Griffey Jr. Edition

Griffey Reds

Marc Serota, Getty Images

It was a slow week on the news front in Cincinnati. The team did rack up a 4-2 record since last Sunday, and they’ve won all three series since the All-Star break. However, the coming week could be an important one for the Reds’ rebuild. MLB’s trade deadline hits on August 1, and fans could be watching the final week of players like Jay Bruce in Cincinnati.

It might have been a quiet week for the current team, but Sunday featured some big news for the organization. Earlier today Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Admittedly, Reds fans have an odd mix of emotions regarding Griffey. His trade to Cincinnati felt like one of the biggest moments in team history. In his first few seasons in Cincinnati, Junior flashed some of the brilliance fans saw during his time in Seattle. However, a long list of injuries kept him from reaching his full potential with the Reds.

With those caveats in mind, today was still exciting for fans of a certain generation. More than any other player, Griffey Jr. defined baseball in the 90’s. Over the past few years there has been talk about baseball’s inability to create stars. Questions like, “Would you recognize Mike Trout if he walked into a room?” drive home the point. However, in the 90’s there were few stars in all of sports bigger than Griffey. Not only that, but he transcended sports and made a mark on pop-culture. There was an effortless cool about “The Kid” that made him a hero to baseball fans everywhere.

In honor of Griffey Jr.’s big day, this week’s Reds Report will be a trip down memory lane. In fairly chronological order here are a few of the things that stick out to me when I hear “Ken Griffey Jr.” What follows is a list of some of the most important things (baseball and pop culture) that solidified Griffey as an icon. Griffey’s time in Cincinnati might not have gone as planned, but there is still plenty to remember.

The Holy Grail

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 5.39.46 PM

On a spring day in 1991 my dad bought me a pack of baseball cards. This was one of a few crucial moments that fueled my life-long love affair with this game. As a baseball card collector in the early 90’s there was one card that everyone wanted to get their hands on. A 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie card. Sadly, I never owned this card myself, and I couldn’t convince my parents to drop $75-$100 for a piece of card stock with an athlete’s face on it. Like most baseball cards this was considered to be an item that would sky rocket in value. Who knew how much this card would be worth in 2016 back in the early 90’s?

My parents are probably glad they didn’t listen to me. You can now acquire one on eBay for under $50.

The Candy Bar

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 5.52.27 PM

You know you’ve made it big when there’s a candy bar named after you. The first edition of this was actually released in Griffey’s rookie season (1989). Jason Foster of the Sporting News describes the candy this way: It “featured the star’s image molded onto a flat, rectangular bar of milk chocolate. The treats were limited to the Seattle market, though they can still be found on eBay for less than $10.”

Griffey Jr. Hits the Warehouse

In 1993 MLB’s All-Star Game made its way to Camden Yards in Baltimore. Prior to the game a few of baseball’s best hitters faced off in the annual Home Run Derby. Juan Gonzalez eventually won the event in a playoff against Griffey, but it was “The Kid” who left fans with one of the most iconic moments in derby history.

Griffey Jr. vs. the Fresh Prince

In the early 90’s few things announced to the world that someone had “arrived” like a cameo on Fresh Prince. Griffey Jr. took his turn in 1993, and got to take a shot at Will Smith in the process.

Ken Griffey Jr. cameo on The Fresh Prince by 23city

Griffey Jr. on the Big Screen

If you were a kid and a baseball fan in the 90’s you likely watched this move on loop (along with Angels in the Outfield and Rookie of the Year). You remember this movie don’t you? The owner of the Minnesota Twins passes away and leaves the team to his twelve year old grandson The grandson then fires the manager and…appoints himself manager? It was every kid’s dream. Griffey made one of the best guest appearances in the film.

The Video Game

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 6.12.13 PM

There was an entire summer of my life devoted to eating, sleeping, and playing this game. It featured real major league teams, but fake players that the developers had fun with. The Colorado Rockies roster was named after famous horror movie characters.  The Kansas City Royals featured the names of former U.S. presidents. You can find a number of other connections like this, but at the end of the day it was just a fun game to play.

Griffey Jr. Meets Lil Penny

There was a time in the mid-90’s when one of the most popular figures in commercials was actually…a puppet of Penny Hardaway voiced by Chris Rock. The Lil Penny commercials were wildly successful, and when Griffey Jr. was added to the mix…magic ensued.

Griffey Jr. had other well known commercials for Nike, Pepsi, and Wheaties.

Griffey Climbs the Record Books

As mentioned above, Griffey’s time in Cincinnati was plagued by injuries. However, that didn’t stop him from reaching a few impressive baseball milestones. While playing with the Reds he reached the 500 and 600 home run marks. First, home run number 500 in 2004.

A few years later he found himself in the rarefied air of the 600 home run club.

Even with all of the injuries he faced, Griffey currently finds himself at #6 on baseball’s all-time home run list with 630.

Griffey Jr. Calls It Quits

In 2010 it was obvious that Griffey’s time as a player was coming to an end. He only played in 33 games for the Mariners that season before deciding to call it quits in June. Fans might wish that his final few seasons turned out a little differently, but Nike stepped in with a “Goodbye” to Griffey  that reminded us all why we loved him so much.

Junior Enters the Hall

Today, Griffey Jr. took that final step into baseball immortality. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Game, and he gave what was, by all indications, a very emotional speech. Once everything was said that needed to be said, he left us with one more memorable image.

Thanks for the memories “Kid.”

If you’re interested in reading more about Griffey’s time in Cincinnati check out this piece at Red Reporter.

This week the Reds will head out west for series against the Giants and Padres.

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