Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Season Recap by Position: Outfielders

Day 1: Catchers
Day 2: Starting Pitchers
Day 3: Relief Pitchers
Day 4: Outfielders
Day 5: Infielders
Day 6: Management

In the fourth installment of our six-part recap series, we take a closer look at how the Reds' outfielders performed this season.

"Well, my dad taught me that there's three parts. There's hitting, there's defense, and there's base running. And as long as you keep those three separated, you're going to be a good player. I mean, you can't take your defense on the bases, you can't take your hitting to the field, and you can't take your base running at the plate. But defense, is number one." -Former Reds' CF and future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.

Jay Bruce - #Bruuuuuce had career highs in games (157), hits (150), homers (32), and RBIs (97) plus his fielding was solid as usual. The only thing you would hope that he improve on is his clutch hitting. It seemed all too often he would either strike out or hit into a double play in crucial situations, but then you also see his stats with runners in scoring position and he was .291 with 10 HR and 68 RBIs so he wasn't exactly slacking. He did a decent job filling in for usual cleanup hitter Scott Rolen, but certainly needs to mature as a hitter to become a true success at that spot in the order. In the end, right field is not and was not a position of question for the Reds as he started 151 of 162 games in RF.

Drew Stubbs - Everyone will remember the 205 strikeouts, and rightfully so, which put him third on the all-time list for a single season. However, he also set career highs in games (158), hits (147), runs (92), doubles (22), walks (63) and stolen bases (40). Despite his 205 K's, his OBP was .321, just eight points lower than last year (though it needs to be way higher). However, he did have seven less homers, and 33 less RBIs. So when you break it down, its not as terrible as you might think, other than the K's and RBI's. No question, though that in the future Stubbs has to make more contact, and put the ball in play so he has a chance to get on base and use what might be his greatest weapon...his speed.

Chris Heisey - Fans were destroying Dusty Baker on Twitter for not playing Heisey more and it's hard to blame them as Heisey's power numbers exploded to the tune of 18 HR and 50 RBIs in just 279 at-bats, where regular players often get 500+ ABs. His average was .254. It's hard to discount anything Heisey did, but understand also that Heisey often was played in favorable matchups as a platoon player, and a primary pinch hitter. Many feel he can be the long term answer in left field (that is if Alonso can't figure it out defensively) and some far, far out fans think he could replace Stubbs in center, but that's a little crazy. Since this is a recap though, Heisey definitely proved this year that he could get it done with both the bat and the glove (he played all three OF positions well) in 2011.

Yonder Alonso - Alonso came up after Jonny Gomes was traded away, and showed he could hit big league pitching. He hit .330 with five HR, 15 RBIs and 10 BB in 98 plate appearances. Problem was that he didn't have an opportunity to hit as much with MVP Joey Votto at 1B, and his suspect defense in LF. In his limited time in left (16 G, 24 chances) Alonso's fielding percentage was a homely .958, and he also misplayed several other balls, which do not figure into that percentage. Alonso was a beast at the plate, but only when that beast was allowed to be uncaged in the field.

Dave Sappelt - Sappelt played mostly left and some center and used his speed to cover lots of green grass in the outfield en route to a 1.000 Fld% in his small sample of playing time. He was nothing special at the dish, hitting .243 with no HR and five RBI.

Todd Frazier - Frazier was serviceable at the plate hitting .232 with six HR and 15 RBIs in 41 games for the Reds in 2011, but he was most valuable in his role as the super-utility man. He played at least three innings at every position except CF, RF, P, and C. He played in only four games in LF, but with a sterling 1.000 Fld%. For what it's worth, when he played LF he was 1-7 (.143) with zero's across the rest of the board.

Fred Lewis - Lewis was brought in to possibly help fill part of the void in left and at leadoff. He proved to be the answer to neither hitting .230 with two HR and 19 RBIs before being outrighted to Louisville to finish the season and open a roster spot for the Reds' younger talent.

Jonny Gomes - After a promising 2010 season, which was pivotal to winning the NL Central, the same type of season never materialized for Gomes in 2011 and his energetic play on the field wasn't enough to save his spot in Cincy as he was shipped to the Nationals to make room for Alonso. His final numbers with the Reds in 2011 were .211, 11 HR, 31 RBI and a one way ticket to Washington.

Jeremy Hermida - Hermida spent most of the year at Louisville, playing in only 10 games with the Reds before getting claimed off waivers by the Padres at the end of August. For the Reds, he hit .111, with one homer and three RBIs.

Group Grade: B
The young outfield group graded out at B too in the preseason preview. It's hard to change the grade at all with them. #Bruuuuuce improved some, Stubbs regressed some, and there is still a question in LF. Lewis and Gomes didn't pan out, but there were some glimmers of hope with Heisey, Sappelt, and Alonso. The group as a whole was 19 points below the NL batting average at .245, but was well ahead on homers and a little bit ahead on RBIs. Compared to last year's OF, they were 20 points lower on BA, with 19 less RBIs, but with six more HRs. The change in average isn't pretty, but 19 RBIs over 162 games is minuscule and besides this year has never been about how many, but when.

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