The Reds lost the pitcher but won the battle. Now will they win the war?
From game one to game 162, the Reds rotation stayed perfectly intact. The only time a sixth man started was in August, when Todd Redmond was called up for a day to work the second game of a doubleheader. That durability turned a rotation that was merely pretty good into a huge asset.
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The Reds second baseman has gotten better, or at least, not worse.
Sam Miller and I were talking about baseball analysis oddities on Sunday. One such weird thing is context, especially with stats like on-base percentage. Since then I have searched for a player whose OBP remained steady in the face of the league-wide decrease. The idea being that the perception about this player’s OBP shifted without the values necessarily increasing (relative to themselves). Luckily, I found my player in Brandon Phillips:
A top prospect dealt twice, the player with the biggest smile in baseball found a home in Cincinnati.
Following a string of poor performances after promising low-minors work, Brandon Phillips was handed a chance to be the Reds' full-time second baseman in 2006. In a Cincinnati offense that often has troubles with scoring runs, Phillips has provided power and speed at a low cost. He's also one of the few successful acquisitions from the Wayne Krivsky era in Cincy--but that's a topic for another day. What slowed down Phillips' development, and why did he return to productive baseball upon his move to the Senior Circuit?
Derek tackles a Sheets-Harang duel, and one pitcher gets the better of it in the return of Prospectus Game of the Week.
The Reds, who lead the wild card race and are within scratching distance of the Cardinals for the lead in the NL Central, started off the major trading by dealing their starting shortstop (Felipe Lopez) and their starting rightfielder (Austin Kearns) to the Washington Nationals for a gift basket of middle relievers--Gary Majewski, Bill Bray, and Darryl Thompson--along with infielders Royce Clayton and Brendan Harris. The big trade was an acknowledgment of the weakness of the Reds bullpen--even now, with their new, improved bullpen, the Reds are still tenth in the league in WXRL, and fifteenth in Adjusted Runs Prevented--and a decision to emphasize defense. Still, that doesn't change the fact that the Reds surrendered two youngish full-time position players, one of whom was an All-Star last year, for three no-name relievers and a couple of role players.
Bobby Jenks: The next Goose Gossage? Bobby Estalella finds a job. Tony La Russa finds a new broken toy in Tony Womack. Syracuse could give the Devil Rays a good battle. These and other pontifications in today's jam-packed Transaction Analysis.
The Indians look to take a big step forward, even if much it can be chalked up to the fabled "Ugueto Effect." The Dodgers biggest off-season acquisition didn't come on the field, it came in the front office. And the Mariners enter 2004 with a checklist a mile long. All this and much more news from Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Seattle in your Friday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
"Back up in your ass with the resurrection..." The Tigers might have gotten all the attention in 2003 for struggling through one of the most pathetic seasons of the past century, but it should be noted that the Cleveland Indians didn't exactly set the world on fire, either. Thanks to a combined 1,900 ABs of below replacement-level production at the plate from the likes of Josh Bard, Coco Crisp, Jhonny Peralta, Brandon Phillips, John McDonald, and Brandon Phillips (yes, he was so bad we're naming him twice), the Tribe scored fewer than 700 runs in a full season for the first time since 1992, on their way to 68 wins in the easiest division in the game.
A lost season for the Angels has folks in Anaheim scratching their heads. John Smoltz's injury buries Bobby Thigpen's name for another year. The Royals' run evokes memories of George Brett and company. Sandy Alomar...you can probably guess what Chris will write about Sandy Alomar. Witticisms, Kahrlisms and roster schmisms in this edition of Transaction Analysis.