Jay Bruce is hot again. Why isn't he always hot?
Both Hal and the Enquirer comment on Jay Bruce's hot bat and inconsistency. Dusty reminds everyone that "It’s not a finished product at all." He goes one step further with Hal, pointing to Barry Bonds as a comparison: "People forget what Barry hit his first few years. All they remember is the finished product and Bruce isn't a finished product. The product is still in the mold." Streaks and all, Bruce is having his best season to date, with highs in all major categories. For the old-school crowd, he also leads the team in RBIs with 78.
It's signing day for the draftees
Technically, they don't have to sign today since the deadline is 12:01 AM on Tuesday. But we will find out which Reds draft picks will stay with the organization in the next twelve or so hours. This includes first-rounder Robert Stephenson, who should fetch quite the treasure from the Reds if all goes to plan. Jonathan Mayo explains the hold-up: "[T]he high school arms are in a holding pattern, waiting to hear how negotiations for No. 4 Dylan Bundy and No. 7 Archie Bradley (who have the same adviser) are going. Jose Fernandez, Tyler Beede, Taylor Guerrieri, Joseph Ross and Robert Stephenson are all in that prep pitcher boat together." FWIW, Baseball America's Jim Callis expects Stephenson to sign.
Infirmary - Arroyo's Achilles aches; BP's back; Willis wounded
Bronson Arroyo is expected to make his next start on Thursday despite a hurting heel he suffered on Friday, when he made an awkward reach to first base while attempting to beat Jason Bartlett to the bag. His pride, if not the Reds' season, is at stake: "I get paid an awful lot of money to go out there and do my job,. If every little ache and pain kept me off the mound, I'd never put up the amount of innings I know I'm capable of posting. And I think the Castellini family [which owns the team] wouldn't be too happy with me, either."
BP was back and hitting cleanup yesterday. The article suggests that the HBP from Esmil Rogers may have been in retaliation for Brandon's star-gazing on a previous HR. I didn't see any of those games. Is that right?
Finally, Dontrelle Willis was pulled early from yesterday's start with soreness in his left forearm. No word on the severity yet. This is really too bad, as Willis was coming off his best start and looked to be a rotation favorite heading into next year.
Our friend Doug Gray has some observations about Didi Gregorius
And has the video to back it up. Didi is a bit of a forgotten prospect, but maybe he shouldn't be. He's a 21 year-old AA shortstop who's now flashing some decent power for a middle infielder. Keep it up, Mariekson.
More on the Alonso quandry
Yonder Alonso continues to work out at third base during pre-game drills even though he hasn't seen any game time there. And if that's not going to be in Cincinnati, why not give it a go in Louisville? Dusty: "There’s a chance we discussed that. You’d rather do it there than here." Walt: "I don’t know if we will or not. If we do something, we’ll probably do it in the Instructional League." Fayplacement also notes that Scott Rolen has been helping Alonso on the finer points of manning the hot corner.
Homer Bailey had a good week, dominating the Padres on Friday
Integral to his performance was the moral support of buddy Andy Roddick, who attended the game with his better half. Pictured, but not really pictured, is Brooklyn Decker (HT to OMGReds). And just when it couldn't get better for Homer, he makes JunkStats' All-Adverb Team.
Speaking of junk stats, SBN's Jeff Sullivan found five splits of impossible interest
The most relevant to this audience is Chris Heisey's 1.729 OPS on pulled balls. So while he loses time to Dave Sappelt in the dog days of this season, he at least has this going for him.
Baseball Analytics - Best Offspeed Hitters
Warren Spahn is attributed with saying that "hitting is timing; pitching is upsetting timing." So, a hitter's ability to discern offspeed pitches and then make solid contact are critically important skills. You may be surprised to see that the Reds' top offspeed hitter (by AVG) in the past two seasons - and fourth best in baseball - is Ryan Hanigan.
The deception behind Cueto's corkscrew (ESPN Insider)
Johnny Cueto has been one of the few pleasures of a dreary season, with a new throw-back delivery that is as effective as it is aesthetically pleasing. But how has the corkscrew helped produce such extraordinary results? Besides the obvious deception factor, which helps throw off a hitter's timing and can induce weaker swings on the ball, the delivery also helps keep him from tipping his pitches (he has had intermittent issues in the past with tipping his slider). Additionally, it keeps Cueto from opening his front side too early, which was one of his past issues when he would struggle. The new delivery kind of forces him to stay closed.
Rox weren't insisting on Meso for Ubaldo
In the aftermath of the trade deadline, we find out via Jon Heyman that the Rockies did not insist on Devin Mesoraco, who Heyman calls "untouchable." The Reds and Yankees were believed to have been the favorites before Cleveland swooped in. I wonder what offer the Reds made, but if it didn't include Meso (or presumably Grandal, since Colorado likes their catching prospect) it probably wasn't close to Cleveland's.
Dustoyevsky's Crime and Punishment
Dusty Baker will certainly deny that he's an Idiot. He would have difficulty arguing that he's studious, but I can't say that I've read Crime and Punishment either: "Cliff Notes were the way to go, that little yellow and black book. I read Crime & Punishment that way." When somebody mentioned that Cliff Notes are still available, Baker said, "Really? Don’t tell my son that." Can someone get Dusty the Cliff Notes for the double switch?