Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reds avoid arbitration with Heisey, Simon

The Reds tweeted on their official account that OF Chris Heisey and RHP Alfredo Simon have both agreed to one-year deals with the club for 2013. By doing so, they avoid having to go to arbitration, leaving Homer Bailey, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, and Shin-Soo Choo as the players left with whom the Reds have not yet come to terms.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reds holding Opening Day ticket chance


Are you bummed that you don't have tickets for Opening Day? Well, cheer up. The Reds are offering you a chance to score some. Here are the details...

CINCINNATI (January 29, 2013) — In a continuing effort to make Opening Day tickets available to as many fans as possible, the Reds have announced the annual online ticket opportunity for the April 1 game vs. the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Now through Wednesday, February 13, 2013, at 12:00 p.m. ET, fans can register on reds.com/openingday for a chance to purchase up to four (4) individual Opening Day tickets.

There are a limited number of tickets available through this opportunity.

Applicants must complete and submit the registration form online on Reds.com to participate in this opportunity to purchase Opening Day tickets.

Winners will be selected at random from the pool of registrants.

Winners will be notified via email and will have the opportunity to purchase up to four tickets to Opening Day.

The best way to guarantee Opening Day ticket options is with a VIP Full, Weeknight or Half-Season Mix plan.

Reds Billy Hamilton and others among MLB.com's top positional prospects

Hamilton was called a "potential superstar" by Mayo
MLB.com's Jonathon Mayo has been putting in work, analzyzing the top prospects in baseball and recently has run his series on the Top 10 Prospects at each position. Several Reds have shown up on these lists in the past including Devin Mesoraco and Aroldis Chapman. Add a few more names to the list as the Reds boast a Top 10 outfielder, a Top 10 second baseman, and a Top 10 left-handed pitcher.

Billy Hamilton recently made the switch from shortstop to center field and it landed him at number three on the list of the Top 10 outfield prospects:

Billy Hamilton tabbed as No. 4 top fantasy baseball prospect

ESPN fantasy baseball guru Eric Karabell recently took the time to tab 10 prospects he believes will pay dividends for owners this season. One of those players includes Reds top prospect Billy Hamilton at No. 4.
Although Karabell suggests to keep expectations in check on these upcoming rookies, he still believes they could have big fantasy baseball implications.

Here is what Karabell said about Hamilton:

4. Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds: Before the Shin-Soo Choo trade, Hamilton had a legit shot to win the center field job. Now he appears ticketed for Triple-A Louisville so he can learn the position -- he has been a shortstop -- and work on his bunting. The speed is ridiculous; Hamilton stole 155 bases in 132 minor league games in 2012. Give him 500 big league at-bats and, unless he hits like Dee Gordon, he'd swipe 75 bags easily. Of course, I would have ranked him No. 1 on this list if I thought he'd get such an opportunity. I think he's in the minors at least half the season, but he's still worth drafting late.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Johnny Bench named an all-time top 25 player under 25

Every year, Keith Law puts together a list of the top 25 Major League players under 25. Aroldis Chapman was on this year's list. Law's article inspired his colleage David Schoenfield to put together a list of the All-time top 25 players under 25. This is basically a list of what the ESPN.com writer feels are the best 25 seasons any player ever had while under 25 years of age.

Only one Reds player made the list, but he was pretty high on it. An age 22, Johnny Bench came in at number four on the list due to his feats from the 1970 season. Here's what Schoenfield had to say about Cincinnati's former backstop and the greatest catcher of all-time:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Two former Reds facing career-defining seasons in 2013

 

There was a time when folks around the Queen City were really excited about the potential careers of both Drew Stubbs and Edinson Volquez. Each experienced flashes of brilliance during their time in Cincinnati, but both find themselves on different ball clubs entering 2013.

Volquez will be entering his second year with the San Diego Padres, while Stubbs will be joining the Cleveland Indians for the first time after being traded this winter. Obviously, teams haven't given up on these guys, but they suddenly find themselves in make it or break it situations, as ESPN's Jim Bowden calls it.

Both players wound up on the list of Bowden compiled featuring guys who are facing career-defining seasons.

Drew Stubbs | CF, Cleveland Indians

The speedy outfielder gets a fresh start with the Indians, a chance to reset and use new voices in attempting some adjustments. Over the past three seasons, Stubbs has 539 strikeouts and a precipitous decline in his OPS:

Ranking the top third basemen in baseball



by: Chase Fitzgerald
Staff Writer

I made up this list by asking a couple of people to send me their top ten players for each position. Whatever position each player was on the list, they got that many points. The player with the least amount of points, got the top spot. If a player wasn’t on a top ten list, they got an “11”. I want to thank all the people that voted and there will be a top ten list coming out every Monday. Enjoy.

1. Miguel Cabrera
Last season’s stats: HR: 44 RBI: 139 AVG: .330 OPS: .999 OBP: .393 SLG: .606
Miguel Cabrera extinguished all doubt about who is the league’s top third baseman when he captured the AL MVP and the triple crown. He led the AL in just about every category you can imagine and also leads all third baseman in just about every category. Cabrera did have a lot of trouble making the transition to third and his defense was below average at best but, his hitting more than made up for it as he proved he was easily the best hitter in the American league and maybe in the entire league. There is no doubt that Cabrera is the best third baseman in the MLB.

2. David Wright
Last season’s stats: HR: 21 RBI: 93 AVG: .306 OPS: .883 OBP: .391 SLG: .492
David Wright might be the most under rated third baseman in the entire league. He always seems to put together a great season but since he is on the Mets, it usually goes over shadowed. If the Mets were contending, he would have been in the MVP conversation. He was third in the NL in WAR and was probably the NL’s best player until a late season drought. His play this year earned him a giant 8 year extension to guarantee him being a Met for life. The Mets are lucky to have him.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Is Devin Mesoraco being undervalued?


The 2012 campaign wasn't so kind to Devin Mesoraco. He was widely heralded as one of the top rookies entering the season, yet he failed to live up to the hype. Fellow rookies Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart overshadowed the young catcher, instead.

However, 2013 brings forth a clean slate for the former first round pick. While many fans have pumped the brakes on their enthusiasm for Mesoraco, still there are others who are quite high on him. Count Paul Swydan of FanGraphs as on the members of the latter group.

Swydan recently dubbed the 24-year old as one of "Five Players Being Overlooked" and undervalued by their respective teams. Here is what he had to say about the Pennsylvania native:

Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds

Even though he entered last season as one of the top prospects in the game, Mesoraco was never really given a chance to crack manager Dusty Baker's lineup on a regular basis. He actually had a productive April, when he hit .300/.389/.433 in 11 games, nine of which he started. But after that ninth start on April 27, during which Mesoraco smacked his first homer of the season, his backstop partner Ryan Hanigan started the next three games and seven of the next 10 overall. Mesoraco wouldn't start in back-to-back games again until after the All-Star break.

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: Ryan Wright


By: Jon Davis
Staff Writer

#21  Ryan Wright  2B
@RyanWright6 on Twitter

We conclude the countdown with Ryan Wright a 6-foot-1, 195-pound second baseman, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 draft.  He attended the University of Louisville, just like our very own Jimmi Adair and Jesse Welte.  In his three years at Louisville, Wright had a .349 average, a .408 on base and a .568 slugging, to go along with 33 homers & 38 steals.  After being drafted he jumped right in, playing 45 games mostly for the Billings Mustangs.  During that time, in his 206 plate appearances, he had a stash line of .301/.351/.536, to go along with eight homers, seven steals, 32 runs scored and 37 RBI's.  In 2012, he spent most of the year with the Dayton Dragons. In his 531 plate appearances he had a .282 average, a .331 on base, a .443 slugging, 10 homers and stole 17 bases in 19 attempts.

This day in Reds history: Flood leaves Crosley Field under water, Eppa Rixey elected as Hall of Famer


January 27, 1937 - The worst flood in Cincinnati history crests at 79.9 feet and inundates Crosley Field. At the flood's high water mark, 21 feet of water stood at home plate and the lower grandstand was completely under water. Many buildings in the neighborhood surrounding the ballpark were totally submerged. Reds pitchers Lee Grissom and Gene Schott and groundskeeper Matty Schwab tried to derive some humor out of the disaster by having their picture taken by a newspaper photographer while rowing a boat over the center field wall. The photo was published in dozens of newspapers across the country. Grissom also tacked a sign to the flagpole reading: "No Game Today, Wet Grounds." The flood caused considerable damage to the ballpark, especially to the playing field and the concession stands.

One story explaining the row boat episode credits it to a desire by Grissom to receive his paycheck, which was in the Reds offices at Crosley Field. Grissom also found love during the off-season when he met a Cincinnati woman at a restaurant. They were married on the night of the 1937 season opener. He was 12-17 in 1937, but tied for the league lead in shutouts with five and was second in strikeouts with 1949. Grissom even saved six games, to rank third in the National League.

This account came courtesy of "Redleg Journal", co-authored by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ranking the top 10 MLB shortstops


by: Chase Fitzgerald
Staff Writer
@Cfitzwrites

I made up this list by asking a couple of people to send me their top ten players for each position. Whatever position each player was on the list, they received that many points. The player with the least amount of points, got the top spot. If a player was not included on a top ten list, they received an “11”. I want to thank all of the people who voted and there will be another top ten list coming out again on Monday. Enjoy.

1. Troy Tulowitzki

Last season’s stats: HR: 8 RBI: 27 AVG: .287 OPS: .846 OBP: .360 SLG: .486

The short stop position is one of the least productive in the league hitting wise so it’s rare to see someone put up the kind of numbers Tulowitzki does and play SS. He has had an OPS over .900 the past 4 years excluding last year which was cut short because of injuries. He had swept the awards for short stops in 2010 and 2011 receiving two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. It’s going to be interesting to see how he comes off this injury and if he can return to the play he was the season before. I am a huge Tulo fan and I think he comes back better than ever as he proves to all the doubters that he is the best short stop in the league.

2. Jose Reyes

Last season’s stats: HR: 11 RBI: 57 AVG: .287 OPS: .780 OBP .347 SLG: .433

Reyes has been one of the best short stops in the league for a while and even though the name on the front of the jersey keeps changing, the name on the back doesn’t as he is still one of the best in the league. Even though the Marlins didn’t have a great season last year, he had a solid one hitting .287 while scoring 86 times. It was even close to the season before though where he won the NL batting title and had an OPS of .877. He was traded to the Blue Jays this off-season and I wouldn’t be all to surprised if he comes to the AL with a bang.

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: Seth Mejias-Brean


By: Jon Davis
Staff Writer


At #20, we find Seth Mejias-Brean a 6-foot-2, 210-pound third baseman, drafted by the Reds in the eighth round of the 2012 draft out of Arizona.  In his final year with the wildcats, he hit .355 with a .401 on base and .479 slugging, while striking out only one more time than he walked.  These contributions at the plate helped lead Arizona to their first title since 1986.  After being drafted, he immediately went to Billings where he performed very well.  He posted a .313 average with a .389 on base and .536 slugging, in just over 200 plate appearances.  In 2012, all of his offensive numbers were great, especially during his 22-game hitting streak where he had a .388 average, .671 slugging and 1.124 OPS during the streak.  

Top questions facing the 2013 Cincinnati Reds

Riddle me this
No team is perfect, but Reds fans have a lot to look forward to during the 2013 season. Coming off a strong 2012 where their 97-65 record was the second best in all of baseball, the Reds look poised to win the NL Central again and return to the playoffs for the third time in four years. They virtually lost nothing, and potentially fixed their biggest problem by adding Shin-Soo Choo to handle leadoff duties. They also, once again, plan to move the flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman to what was an outstanding rotation in 2012.

It sounds like all the pieces are in place, right? Well, while the outlook for 2013 is certainly looking bright, there are still some significant questions surrounding this Cincinnati Reds ballclub, so riddle me this.

1) Will Choo solve the Reds leadoff woes?

Friday, January 25, 2013

1975 Reds ranked as the No. 5 team in baseball history


Is the 1998 New York Yankees club considered the best Major League Baseball team of all-time? I can't say for certainty, but ESPN's Buster Olney seems to think so. Amazingly, three Yankees clubs ranked in the top four of his "Top 10 Teams in MLB History" list.

However, Olney also ranked the 1975 Reds team as the 5th-best team in baseball history. Good choice.

Here is what the baseball guru had to say about Spark Anderson's '75 crew:
They clinched a playoff spot in early September and won the NL West by 20 games, finishing the year at 108-54. Six of the eight guys in their everyday lineup had an OPS+ of 119 or better. Each Reds player through the middle of the diamond -- catcher Johnny Bench, second baseman Joe Morgan, shortstop Davey Concepcion and center fielder Cesar Geronimo -- won a Gold Glove award. And while the Reds didn't have the league's best pitching, theirs was pretty darned good. Manager Sparky Anderson -- known as Captain Hook -- relied heavily on his bullpen. The Reds had the fewest complete games (22) in the NL, and four Cincinnati relievers threw a whole lot of innings: Rawly Eastwick (90 innings), Pedro Borbon (125), Clay Carroll (87 1/3) and Will McEnaney (91).

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: Henry Rodriguez


by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer

#19 Henry Rodriguez 2B
@HenryRod39 on Twitter

Here at No. 19 we find another non-drafted free agent signing out of Venezuela. In March of 2007, the Reds signed Henry Rodriguez, 5-foot-10, 170-pound switch hitting middle infielder. In 2010 and 2011, he combined to hit .312, with a .353 on base, 27 homers and 63 steals. In 2012 he took a small step back, he still hit well at Double A but struggled when he was called up to Triple A, though at least part of his struggles were due to a hand injury. Overall he hit .282 with a .310 on base last season in the minors. During his September call up he hit .214 in a handful of at bats.

Rodriguez is still only 22-years old and remains an intriguing prospect. He is a good hitter from both sides of the plate, who can spray the ball anywhere from line to line with a little bit of pop. He is a good runner that can take an extra base when the opportunity comes around and will steal some bases. He is not a great defender at any one position, but does show great flexibility with the ability of playing average defense from second to third. There are not any big question marks with him just a few small things, that could mean the difference between a career as a solid top of the order regular and being a good utility infielder. First is plate discipline he does not walk very much, only 77 times in nearly 1,500 plate appearances since 2010. He is up there to hit so that likely isn't going to change too much, but on the positive with most free swingers they strike out a lot. However Rodriguez does not strike out that much. If he could be a little more patient he could draw more walks. Then, pair that with a few less K's and he could be one of those guys who walks more than he strikes out on a yearly basis. With those improvements in the batters box, as well as tightening up his defense, he could turn into a good big league starter.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Are the Reds in a parallel universe?


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

A few notes from my geeky alter ego. Dictionary.com defines a parallel universe as; a theory that there is a mirror universe and when one makes a decision in this universe, an alternate 'you' in the other universe makes the opposite decision. Are we Reds fans living in a parallel universe? While you’re scratching your head preparing to call the straight jacket people on my behalf, allow me to expound.

In 1970, the Cincinnati Reds won the N.L. West title, entering the post season for the first time since 1961. If you were born in 1961, you turned nine in 1970. In 2010, the Reds won the N.L. Central title, snapping a streak of nine straight losing seasons. Both seasons ended with disappointing post season losses. The ’70 Reds were dominated by the Baltimore Orioles; the ’10 Reds were dominated by the Philadelphia Phillies. Who did the Orioles defeat for their last World Championship? The Phillies in ‘83! The 1971 and 2011 Reds finished exactly at 79 – 83. Convinced yet? In 1972, the Reds rallied, in the deciding game, to win the pennant on a ninth inning wild pitch by Bob Moose, with Hal McRae at bat. The 2012 Reds lost the deciding game of the NLDS essentially on a home run by Buster Posey off Mat Latos. Here’s where it gets freaky, Moose, McRae, Posey, and Latos, are all five letter last names. Better yet, Bob Moose, Hal McRae, and Mat Latos have eight letters each! (Insert Twilight Zone theme here.) How about this one; during the 70’s the Reds lost their first four World Series games at Riverfront Stadium. This decade’s Reds have lost their first four playoff games at Great American Ballpark. Just a coincidence, of course, but please allow me to reject your reality and substitute my own.

Playing Pepper: A Cincy All-Star game and more Reds quick hits

Wrong kind of pepper
Is the offseason over yet? I'm ready for some baseball. It's been a while since I posted anything as I have been busy with a few other commitments, but I've found some time today to put together what I hope will become a regular thing. Today it's called Playing Pepper. Next time it could be called something else. I'm still working that part out. It's basically just going to be a post of quick hits (cuz Pepper kinda involves quick hits, get it?) summarizing things that have happened with the Reds within the last week or so and my thoughts on such things. Since this is the first one though, it could cover anything that has happened between now and when last season ended. I'm literally making it up on the fly and it's kind of just a big run-on thought of mine.

It is an open forum of sorts. Feel free to agree or disagree as you see fit. Discussion is half the fun.


How could I not lead off with the All-Star Game finally coming back to Cincinnati? Yesterday it was officially announced by Bud Selig that the 2015 All-Star Game will be played at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati is a city teeming with baseball history and some of the best fans in the country. It's about time and I couldn't be more pumped. The last time the ASG was in Cincinnati I was only about five months old. Now if I can just find a way to experience the awesomeness that this will be. Selig also announced that MLB would be donating $1.5 million towards a new Urban Youth Academy in the city. That's great. Maybe he can also find it in his heart to reinstate Pete Rose in time for the big game.

Buster Olney ranks 1976 Reds as having best infield of all-time



The Redlegs were really, really good in the 1970s. Heck, they won 90 or more games in every year during the decade except two (1971, 1977). They won 95 or more games in six of those years, including 100 or more thrice. Oh, and they also won back-to-back World Series titles during the middle of that stretch.

Their dominance led to the "Big Red Machine" moniker, and rightfully so. They were dominant in every sense of the word. Part of the reason for their success was due to their sensational infield unit. In fact, ESPN's Buster Olney tabbed their 1976 infield crew as the best of all-time.

Here is a snippet from that post on the '76 group:

1. 1976 Cincinnati Reds
1B Tony Perez, 2B Joe Morgan, SS Davey Concepcion, 3B Pete Rose

Start with this: Joe Morgan posted an OPS+ of 186 that year, which is the highest for any middle infielder after 1935.

Photo: Barry Larkin spotted in the stands during Duke-Miami basketball game


\
The Duke Blue Devils took over the top spot in the latest college basketball polls this week. However, their stay at No. 1 isn't going to last long after No. 25 Miami completely dismantled Duke on Wednesday. The final score read, 90-63, but the game wasn't nearly as close as the score might indicate.

One man who was in attendance to see the upset victory was Hall of Fame shortstop and Cincinnati Reds legend Barry Larkin. Larkin was spotted in the stands cheering on his son, Shane, who poured in 18 points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds during the rout. Needless to say, that is one proud dad in the photo above.

The sophomore guard is averaging 12.5 points per game and nearly four assists per game on the season. Yeah, I would venture to say that he is the beneficiary of some good athletic genes. He can think his father for that.

Via MLB Cut 4

The Cardinals should be worried now that the Braves are better than them


by: Parker Perry @ParkerPerry_

Since news has come through that the Atlanta Braves have received Justin Upton, people are flurrying with opinions on how this will effect the National League in 2013.

For it to have a lasting effect, the move will have to be good enough for the Atlanta Braves to move ahead of the Washington Nationals. If it does, the St. Louis Cardinals maybe in some trouble.

I think it is fair to say, in as much of a non-bias way I humanly can, that the Reds are the favorites to win the NL Central in 2013. The Cardinals are heavy favorites to come in ahead of everyone else. But now that the Los Angeles Dodgers have set themselves up to push the San Francisco Giants, and the Braves are sitting right there with the Nationals, the National League Central runner up better be in high gear even with a two team wildcard.

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: Tucker Barnhart


by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer

#18 Tucker Barnhart C
@Tucker_Barnhart on Twitter

Here at No. 18 we find Tucker Barnhart, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound switch-hitting catcher. The Reds drafted him in the tenth round of the 2009 draft out of Brownsburg High School in Indiana. In 2011, playing for the Dayton Dragons, he hit .273 with a .344 on-base in 372 plate appearances. Then last year, while splitting time between Bakersfield and Pensacola, he hit .247 with a .330 on base in the same number of plate appearances as the previous year. While his average dropped, it may in part be due to the large jump in levels. The good news is that even with the drop in average, his on base did not drop much at all.

Barnhart, who turned 22 earlier this month, is an excellent defensive catcher. He has a plus arm that is quite accurate, so the only question is his bat. Offensively, he has solid plate discipline and decent contact rates, getting most of his current value from his ability to draw walks and make contact. He has shown good bat speed and power, but it has yet to translate and develop. Being a switch hitter is a good thing, but Barnhart has shown to be a stronger hitter from the left side of the plate. At this stage, he is at worst a defense-first catcher in the Major Leagues. If he improves things on the offensive side where he had some struggles last year, mostly in Double-A, he could develop into a very good everyday catcher. Offensively, he will probably never be a big source of power, but has shown the combination of making contact and plate discipline to be an above average contributor.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's official: Reds to host All-Star Game


The official announcement came on Wednesday. Here's the press release....

CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Reds have been awarded Major League Baseball’s 2015 All-Star Game and will host the 86th Midsummer Classic at Great American Ball Park, Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today at a press conference. Commissioner Selig was joined by Reds President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini.

Commissioner Selig said: “I am very pleased to award the 2015 All-Star Game to the Reds and the great fans of Cincinnati. The Midsummer Classic will be a remarkable opportunity to celebrate Cincinnati’s rich baseball tradition, which parallels the history of the national pastime itself. I thank Bob Castellini and the entire Reds organization for sharing our enthusiasm about bringing the All-Star Game to Great American Ball Park for the first time in 2015.”

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: Jeff Gelalich


by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer
@I_Bleed_RedsRed

#17  Jeff Gelalich OF
@jeffgelalich on Twitter

As we march towards Opening Day, we have gotten to No. 17 on our countdown, with Jeff Gelalich a 6-foot-1, 185-pound outfielder. Apparently, not as strange as I thought, and definitely more common, we have another "flip flopper" in Gelalich. He too is a left handed hitter but throws right handed. A supplemental 1st round pick in the 2012 draft out of UCLA, he will enter the upcoming year at 22 years old. In his final year at UCLA he started all 64 games for the Bruins and was named a first-team All-American by Baseball America. He led the Bruins in batting average at .351, home runs with 11, hits with 86, slugging percentage at .535, on-base percentage of .444 and collected 16 stolen bases. In 2012, he went to Rookie ball with the Billings Mustangs, and in 146 plate appearances hit .244 with a .336 on base percentage. The low batting average is not a big concern, as he played through a hand injury last year, which I am sure contributed to the subpar numbers. Even with a low average, he did put up a very good on bases numbers, but with a lot of strikeouts, but how much of that had to do with his hand injury is yet to be seen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mat Latos pegged as one of six players to sign long term right now


It has been rumored that the Reds have been trying to work out a long-term deal with several of their players this offseason. Namely, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey. The practice of signing younger players before they blossom into stars is one used all across the big leagues. It's designed to not only lock players into place for many years down the road, but it's designed to save teams money in the long run, as well.

In his most recent post, ESPN's Jim Bowden features six youngsters he believes should be signed to long-term contract extensions. Latos is among them, and here is what the former Reds executive had to say:

A year ago, the Reds traded three of their former first-round picks -- catcher Yasmani Grandal, first baseman Yonder Alonso and reliever Brad Boxberger -- along with Edinson Volquez for Latos. With a trade of that size and significance -- especially considering what the Reds gave up -- it’s important that the Reds sign Latos to a long-term deal. This past season he won 14 games for the second time in his career. He has logged a minimum of 180 innings pitched in each of the past three years with a steady ERA of 3.49 and WHIP of 1.17 over the past two seasons. Latos has the potential to develop into a No. 1 starter, and the Reds could do as well as they did when they signed Johnny Cueto to a long-term deal in 2011, a contract that saved the Reds millions of dollars.

Reds ink Armando Galarraga to minor league contract


A pitcher who once came within a blown call of a perfect game in 2010 has inked a minor league deal with the Reds, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Right-hander Armando Galarraga, 31, is the newest member of the Cincinnati organization. He is most well-known for his near-perfect game when he came within one out, and a Jim Joyce blown call, from perfection.

He pitched last season in the Houston Astros franchise where he posted an 0-4 record and 6.75 ERA in five starts in the big show. He was removed from the Astros' MLB roster in August. However, he fared much better in 10 minor league starts as evidenced by his 3-2 mark and 3.97 ERA (47.2 IP).

Galarraga compiled a 23-26 record during the 2008-10 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, including posting a 13-7 record in '08.

The Venezuelan will be brought in to the Reds to help provide more pitching depth at the high minor league level, with an outside shot at making a spot start or two for the big club down the road.

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: Donald Lutz



by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer

#16 Donald Lutz 1B
@braunerhulk on Twitter

Next on the list we have Donald Lutz, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound first baseman, who was a non-drafted free agent, signed in July of 2007 out of Germany. He was born in New York, but raised in Germany and still retains dual citizenship. He is "a flip flopper", just like No. 11 Ryan LaMarre, but he hits left handed and throws right handed, the opposite of LaMarre. Now to the numbers, 2011 was the first year he played more than 55 games in a season. In 123 games, all with Low A Dayton, his bat really came alive hitting .301, with a .358 on base, .492 slugging, 20 homers and 75 RBI's. Last year, splitting time between High A & Double A, he hit .269, with a .336 on base, .517 slugging and 22 homers, in 50 less AB's than the previous year.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Report: Cincinnati Reds to host 2015 All-Star Game



Big news for the Queen City: Great American Ball Park will reportedly play host to the 2015 All-Star Game, according to sources confirmed by John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is scheduled to be in town on Wednesday to officially make the announcement. He is already slated to make an appearance to announce the newest Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy, which is being built in Cincinnati, the first of its kind in the Midwest.

Cincinnati hasn't hosted an All-Star weekend since 1988 at Riverfront Stadium. The city also hosted the Midsummer Classic in 1938, 1953, and 1970. This will be the first All-Star Game played at GABP, which opened in 2003.

The Reds have yet to issue a statement on the development.

Reds to host a pick-your-seat event


Fresh off the Reds press release, ummmm, press....

CINCINNATI (Jan. 21, 2013) -- Reds fans can choose their seats for the 2013 season at the annual Select-A-Seat event on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm in the FOX Sports Ohio Champions Club at Great American Ball Park.

“The Select-A-Seat event is the best way for fans to sit in different seats around the ballpark, determine what locations are right for them and personalize their own Reds experience for the 2013 season,” said John Davis, Reds Vice President of Ticket Sales. “We invite all Reds fans considering partial or full season tickets to visit the Select-A-Seat event.”

2013 season tickets ranging from a 13-game plan to an 81-game full season plan will be available to purchase from a Reds ticket representative.

The 1990 Reds bullpen tabbed as the second-best of all-time



We all know that the 2012 version of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen was really good. Heck, Reds relievers led all other Major League League clubs with a tidy 2.65 ERA last year. Their dominance even struck up a debate around Cincinnati as to whether or not they were better than the 1990 Reds 'pen.

Well, at least one respected ESPN writer has chimed in on his opinion. As good as the '12 relief core was, they still didn't make his list of the Top 10 Bullpens of All-Time. But The Nasty Boys and the 1990 World Series champion bullpen did:
Really, we're talking about three guys here: Randy Myers, Rob Dibble and Norm Charlton. They were all relatively young -- Myers and Charlton were 27 years old, Dibble 26 -- and Lou Piniella went to them constantly to end games after the sixth inning. Charlton was moved into the Cincinnati rotation midway through the season, before switching back for the postseason, and that year, he threw 154 1/3 innings in 56 games, striking out 117. Dibble threw 98 innings in 68 appearances, striking out 136, and Myers had a 2.08 ERA in 66 appearances, accumulating 31 saves. But their reputation was fully made in the postseason, when the trio allowed one earned run in the National League Championship Series (against the Pirates), before shutting out Oakland for 8 2/3 innings in the postseason -- so all told, the Nasty Boys allowed one earned run in 24 innings in October.

Ranking the top ten first basemen in big league baseball


by: Chase Fitzgerald
Staff Writer

I made up this list by asking a couple of people to send me their top ten players for each position. Whatever position each player was on the list, they received that many points. The player with the least amount of points, got the top spot. If a player wasn’t on a top ten list, they got an “11”. I want to thank all the people who voted and be sure to stop by next Monday for another top ten list. Enjoy.

1. Joey Votto
Last season’s stats: HR: 14 RBI: 56 AVG: .337 OPS: 1.041 OBP: .474 SLG: .567
Joey Votto was the unanimous number 1 first baseman and he’s earned that with his past couple seasons. He would have been the runaway MVP in my opinion if it wasn’t for an injury that took away his power and kept him out for almost a third of the season. He still led the league in walks and OBP despite his time missed and he just showed us this season that he is the best hitter in the game. Cabrera may have something to say about that but I’d take Votto over him any day. He also is the best fielding first baseman in baseball which, along with his hitting, makes him the best first baseman in the game.

2. Prince Fielder
Last season’s stats: HR: 30 RBI: 108 AVG: .313 OPS: .940 OBP: .412 SLG: .528
Fielder was unanimously chosen as the second best first baseman but it still was a tough decision. The thing that got my vote was that he keeps improving. He had a better year than last season and he succeeded despite changing cities and leagues. He led all first baseman in slugging, OPS, and RBIs and was a key factor in the Tiger’s World Series run. His average has been going up each year and this was the first season that Fielder had an average of over .300. I wouldn’t be shocked if he keeps improving and really challenges Votto next season for first on the list.

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: Neftali Soto



by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer
@I_Bleed_RedsRed

#15  Neftali Soto  1B

At No. 15, we find Neftali Soto. Soto is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound first baseman, who was drafted by the Reds in the third round of the 2007 draft out of Puerto Rico. In 2011, he led the Double-A Southern League with 30 homers, despite missing a month with a broken bone in his left wrist.  In 2012, in a full year at Triple A he struggled, hitting .245 with a .313 on base and a .400 slugging to go along with his 14 homers. The only improvement Soto made at the plate was that the one area he most needed to work on, plate discipline. In 2012, his walk rate went up to 8 percent while his strikeout rate went down to 22.7 percent. He will still need to make some strides in this department, but '12 seemed like a step in the right direction.

Video: Brandon Phillips talks about WBC


Reds Gold Glove second basemen Brandon Phillips says he's honored to play for Team USA and under manager Joe Torre in the World Baseball Classic. Phillips is among 27 players who will be wearing the red, white, and blue when the WBC kicks off in early-March.

Team USA is 7-7 all-time and is looking to advance to the semifinals for the first time. They settled for a fourth-place finish in the last tournament (2009).

Japan was the winner of both previous Classics.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: David Vidal


by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer

#14 David Vidal 3B

Checking in at No. 14 is David Vidal, a native of Puerto Rico, who was the Reds' eighth round Draft pick in 2010 out of Miami Dade CC South. He will enter the 2013 season at 23-years old. At 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, he is not a big guy, but despite of his size he has shown a good amount of pop. In 2011, playing exclusively in Low A Dayton, he had a very good year to the tune of a .280 average, .350 on base, .498 slugging, 20 homers and 85 RBI's. In 2012, his numbers were not a good he had a .243 average, .311 on base & .428 slugging. This was possibly due to only playing 35 games at High A before his promotion and subsequent struggles at the Double A level.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Legendary writer Hal McCoy offering free tickets in exchange for transportation to Reds games


Hal McCoy is one of the most respected sports writers to ever grace the world with his presence. He has been covering Reds baseball since 1972, which is longer than most of us have even been alive. He coined the nickname "Big Red Machine" for the 1970s Reds teams and was honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 as the winner of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award. Now, McCoy is asking for a favor:
As most of you know, I am legally blind and unable to drive. For the past five years, my friend Larry Glass has been my driver from Dayton to Cincinnati and back for Cincinnati Reds home games. 
Unfortunately, Larry has some health issues and won't be able to drive this year, leaving me with no transportation to and from Reds games. 
So…is there anybody out there with nothing much to do on their hands who would like to see most of the Reds home homes this season…for free.

Six questions for Reds pitching prospect Justice French


by: Matt Bollmann
Staff Writer

Justice French is a rising pitching prospect in the Reds organization. Drafted in the 25th round of the 2011 MLB Draft, the 23-year old will be entering his third season as a professional in 2013. French, a Georgia native, split time between Class-A Dayton and Bakersfield last year, which he compiled a 4-4 record, 3.72 ERA, and 1.446 WHIP in 92 innings pitched.

I recently got the chance to catch up with the right-hander. Here is the transcript for that Q&A session:

1. When you were drafted by the Reds what was your initial thought to be drafted by a team like the Reds?

Initially, I was just happy to continue my lifelong dream. I always knew I would do well if a team gave me a chance, and the Reds gave me that opportunity. I will always be thankful for that and the organization has been nothing but good to me.

2. Success for you personally in 2013 can be defined by what?

Highlighting top prospects in 2013: Dan Langfield


by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer
@I_Bleed_RedsRed

#13 Dan Langfield RHP
@D_Langfield on Twitter

At No. 13, we find Dan Langfield, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound right handed pitcher. Langfield was drafted by the Reds in the third round of the 2012 draft, out of the University of Memphis. In his final year with the Tigers, he posted an ERA of 2.79 and a league-best 111 strikeouts in 93.2 innings of work. In 2012, while pitching for the Billings Mustangs, he had a 3-0 record, 2.68 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 54 strikeouts in just 37 innings.

Langfield has a live arm and a smooth delivery, with a good four-pitch mix. He has a fastball that sits in the mid 90's, that has good movement and can on occasion hit the upper 90's, when he needs it. Along with his heater, his slider is already a plus offering and could potentially be even better. He has a sharp breaking curve, that shows good potential and could become a plus offering. Both the curve and slider are thrown very hard. This power approach leads some to believe he is headed for a bullpen role down the line. He also has an improving change-up that gives him a good four-pitch repertoire. The only concern is control, as he walked 17 batters in 37 innings this past year. If he can improve his control, he could move quickly and be a middle of the rotation guy, but if not he may wind up being a power bullpen arm with a two-pitch combo.

Ranking the top 10 second basemen in MLB


by: Chase Fitzgerald
Staff Writer

I made up this list by asking a couple of people to send me their top ten players for each position. Whatever position each player was on the list, they received that many points. The player with the least amount of points, got the top spot. If a player was not included on a top ten list, they received an “11”. I want to thank all of the people who voted and there will be another top ten list coming out again on Monday. Enjoy.

1. Robinson Cano
Last season’s stats: HR: 33 RBI: 94 AVG: .313 OPS: .929 OBP: .379 SLG: .550
Robinson Cano extinguished all doubts this season by showing that he is the best second baseman in baseball. He easily led all second baseman in pretty much every category and has a higher WAR than all second baseman, easily. Second place trails him by nearly four points. All stats have their flaws, but a margin by that much must mean something. Along with his bat, he is also one of the best defensive second baseman in baseball making tough plays look like routine grounders. Cano earned the top spot this year.

2. Brandon Phillips
Last season’s stats: HR: 18 RBI: 77 AVG: .281 OPS: .750 OBP: .321 SLG: .429
Brandon Phillips had a pretty average year; on paper. In reality, he had a pretty good year. He was always consistent and always had the clutch hit when the Reds needed it. He also stepped in very nicely in the superstar role when Joey Votto went down and proved that he was one of the best teammates in the league. Also, his glove is still the best in baseball, and I don’t care who won the Gold Glove. All you need to do is watch him for one game and you know how good he is. His defense won the Reds at least three games this season and it also helped Phillips earn a couple of MVP votes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Reds exchange salary figures with six arbitration-eligible players



Friday marked the deadline for players and teams to exchange salary figures for arbitration. If necessary, salary arbitration hearings will be held between Feb. 4 and Feb. 20.

Here is a look at the figures from the Reds, courtesy of CBS Sports:

Homer Bailey: player $5.8M, team $4.75M

Shin-Soo Choo: player $8M, team $6.75M

Chris Heisey: player $1.65M, team $1.05M

Is baseball living up to the dream set forth by Dr. King?

 

By: Dan Howard
Staff Writer
@DaHermit16 on Twitter

On this weekend, we set aside to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, I wanted to use this forum to express my gratitude toward what he stood for. I also want to posthumously commend Jackie Robinson for his bravery in blazing a trail many have followed.

This year is an anniversary year for so many notable events in American history. The 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier, and the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s monumental “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Sadly, 2013 will also be remembered for the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death, along with the 45th anniversary of two leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King, and former Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

My first memory of Jackie Robinson was of him throwing out the first pitch before Game 1 of the 1972 World Series between the Oakland A’s and the Reds. Afterwards he was allowed to give a brief speech. His words were sharp and to the point; a frail man making a strong statement. He said he would not rest until he saw a black man in a dugout managing a baseball team. Mr. Robinson never lived to see Frank Robinson become the first black manager in baseball in 1975. Mr. Robinson died ten days after speaking in Cincinnati that brisk October afternoon.

Highlighting Reds prospects in 2013: Amir Garrett


by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer
@I_Bleed_RedsRed

#12 Amir Garrett LHP
@Amir_Garrett

Next on the list we have Amir Garrett, a prospect who is every bit the definition of that word. Garrett was a two-sport star in high school and ultimately agreed to join the St. John's basketball team prior to being drafted by the Reds in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft. Now, some might say that he is ranked too high here at No. 12, but given the incredibly high ceiling he has, I say he is just right. There have been multiple people that have compared him to Aroldis Chapman. That is probably going a bit far, but Chapman-lite I can see that. To this point he does not have much experience at all having only 20 innings in rookie ball last year, so there is not much we can take from such a small sample size.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Brandon Phillips to represent USA in upcoming World Baseball Classic


On Thursday, the United States revealed its roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. It had been rumored for a while that Brandon Phillips' name might be on it. Well, it turns out that it was.

Phillips is one of 27 players who comprised the preliminary roster released by Team USA.

Phillips, 31, is likely slotted to be the starting second basemen on the national squad. He is a 2-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glover, and a recipient of a Silver Slugger Award, as well.

The colorful Georgia native batted .281/.321/.429 with 18 homers and 77 RBI in 2012. He is a career .273 hitter and is revered as one of the best defensive second basemen in the modern game.

Former Reds Willie Bloomquist and Jeremy Affeldt will also represent America.

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: Ryan LaMarre


by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer
@I_Bleed_RedsRed

#11 Ryan LaMarre OF
@RyanLaMarre4 on Twitter

Next on the list we have 6-foot-2, 205-pound outfielder, Ryan LaMarre -- who the Reds drafted out of the University of Michigan in the second round in 2010. He is what I like to call "a flip-flopper", as he bats right handed and throws left, a la Ryan Ludwick. LaMarre's time in the minors has been clockwork to date spending one year at each level and then moving on. In the two and a half years since being drafted, he has been the model of consistency. Since the draft in 2010, he has hit .272, with a .355 OBP, .369 slugging, 17 homers and stolen 104 bases between Single-A and Double-A.

15 bold expectations for the Reds in '13


I will be the first to admit, the outlook for the 2013 version of the Cincinnati Reds looks pretty rosy. The organization's recent history of success has dramatically raised expectations around the Queen City. And they appear to have the pieces in place needed to reach or exceed them.

With that being said, here are 15 expectations I have for the Redlegs in 2013. Disclaimer: Some may or may not be positive. Some may or may not bias. Some may or may not be outrageous.

1) The Reds will win their third division title in four seasons.

2) Ryan Ludwick will not have the kind of season he enjoyed in 2012 (.275 BA, 26 HR, 80 RBI), but he will be a productive bat in the lineup. Chris Heisey will play more of a role this year.

3) Devin Mesoraco will bounce back from a horrid rookie campaign (.212 BA, 5 HR, 14 RBI, -0.5 WAR) and eventually earn majority of the playing time over Ryan Hanigan.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Joey Votto dubbed the face of the franchise


CBS Sports has been running a series they call "Core Values", which looks to highlight the "cornerstone player", the "face of the franchise", and the "face of the future" for all 30 MLB teams. The Reds were up on Wednesday.

While other clubs had three different players represented for these titles, Cincinnati had just one: Joey Votto.

Matt Snyder dubbed Votto as the unanimous face of the franchise and future, as well as the cornerstone of which the team is built around. Although I found it hard to believe that he could bear the honor for all three, how can you really argue?

Votto is by far the best player on Cincinnati's roster and only a fool would say otherwise. At 29, he has already won one MVP award and finished in the top 15 on two other occasions. He owns a career batting average of .316 and a lifetime on-base percentage of .415! That's pretty incredible, folks.

ESPN: Reds' window of contention is now


ESPN is running a series this week in which they are breaking down each MLB team's "window of contention". In other words, it's an attempt to project at which time teams look most poised to contend in the playoffs.

On Wednesday, the crew took a stab at the National League Central. And one of those teams, obviously, was Dusty Baker's Reds. No real surprises in the post. They, like others, believe Cincinnati is in a position to win now and for a few years to come.

ESPN cites the fact that the Reds have most of their best players locked up for the long haul and for the prime of their careers too. One key question concerning the Reds and ESPN is how Aroldis Chapman handles the transition to a starter.

Five questions for prospect Jimmy Moran


by: Matt Bollman
Staff Writer

Jimmy Moran is a right-handed pitcher in the Reds farm system. He was selected in the 18th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. In 2012, he split time between Billings, Dayton, and Bakersfield. In 43 games overall, the 22-year old posted a 3-4 record with a 3.94 ERA in 59.1 innings pitched. He allowed just two homers and has given up just three total in his professional career (82.1 IP).

1. You were drafted by the Reds in 2011 out of the University of South Florida. On draft day, what were your thoughts on being drafted by a team such as the Reds?

Being a big baseball fan and knowing the history of the reds dating back to the beginning of baseball then the Big Red Machine years I was honored to be selected by such a respected organization like Cincinnati and since they are a smaller market team they build through the minors which is always a positive.

2. I read your dad was a scout in the MLB for 17 years. How much of an influence was your dad in you playing baseball?

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: Ismael Guillon


by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer
@I_Bleed_RedsRed

#10 Ismael Guillon LHP

The selection of Ismael Guillon, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound lefty, here at number ten makes back-to-back prospects who were signed out of Venezuela at the age of 16. In fact, Guillon was signed just two months after Yorman Rodriguez back in 2008. After a bad 2011, where he had 6.6 BB/9 and an ERA of 6.57, Guillon bounced back nicely in 2012 sporting a 2.38 ERA in 75.2 innings. The numbers that jumped out were the 10.7 K/9 and the huge drop in walks down to 3.7 per 9 innings.

Guillon has a delivery which is a little herky-jerky, but with good deception. He has a fastball that ranges from 88-93, but will usually be around 90 or 91. It has no significant movement, but it does appear to jump at hitters because of his deceptive delivery and arm speed. Guillon's best pitch is by far his change-up, which is a legit plus change-up that generates a lot of swings-and-misses. He does have a curveball that he can throw for strikes, but it is still a work in progress. Guillon probably won't come quickly, but he does offer the potential of a mid-rotation starter; that's if his curveball gets better. Otherwise, he could be a solid innings eater and back of the rotation starter.

Video: MLB Hot Stove crew discuss Billy Hamilton



MLB.com's Hot Stove crew discuss what Reds top prospect Billy Hamilton can expect during his first big league Spring Training. Hamilton is one of 15 non-roster invites to Spring Training. He set a new professional baseball record by stealing 155 bases last year between Single-A and Double-A. The 2013 campaign will mark his first as an outfielder.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A few Reds news, notes, and nuggets


+ John Fay reports that there is still no word from Scott Rolen. Will he stay or will he go? This has been the burning question for Rolen this winter as he weighs retirement.

+ ESPN released its 2013 television schedule for Sunday Night Baseball on Tuesday. Amazingly, the Reds aren't on it. Neither are the Washington Nationals, who boasted the best regular season record in baseball last season. Cincinnati finished second at 97-65.

+ Mat Latos and his wife Dallas are allowing fans a pretty neat opportunity this spring. The couple provided directions on how fans could get their Latos jerseys autographed by sending them to the team's complex in Goodyear, Arizona. Check out Dallas' latest blog post details for the details.

+ One Bleacher Report writer suggests that Walt Jocketty would do well in extending the contracts of Latos, Johnny Cueto, and Homer Bailey....immediately.