Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Joey Votto finished fifth among Reds receiving MVP votes. Also, is Johnny Cueto systematically underrated?
Congratulations to the Giants backstop on a much deserved award. Unfortunately, we all learned what he is capable of during the Series That Shall Remained Unnamed. In winning the batting title (however silly that ruling was), Posey joined Hall of Famer and Reds great Ernie Lombardi as the only other catcher to win the NL batting crown. The Reds' NL Central rivals Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen placed second and third respectively. I was especially happy to see that Hal McCoy put Braun at number two on his ballot. McCoy comes off as cranky and old-school some of the time, but I am glad to see him ignore last year's Braun fiasco on his ballot.
Five Reds players received votes: Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, and Johnny Cueto, in that order. Bruce finished a very respectable 10th with 46 points while earning votes as high as fourth place. I am not sure if I find this humorous or disconcerting, but I think one could construct a strong argument that the above five players finished in the opposite order of their value to the Reds. Obviously, Jay Bruce will be the point of contention in any such alternate ranking. I think one would meet little opposition in putting Cueto at number one and Votto at number two among Reds players this season. Phillips was probably more valuable than Chapman, but less valuable than Votto during 2010. How would you rank these five Reds by 2012 performance? Where would you place Bruce?
Andromache was in the spirit of complaining about the awards selections before it became fashionable. On Wednesday night, she looked at the official ballots to better direct her anger. I agree with her that there were good arguments to vote for R.A. Dickey and Clayton Kershaw over Cueto. Gio Gonzalez also finished ahead of Cueto, but Gonzalez was much closer to second place than he was to Cueto in fourth place. Andromache ultimately concludes that Cueto is the type of pitcher that will continue to be overlooked. Sadly, I also agree with this.
Bill James has said that players that do many things well tend to be underrated versus players that excel at one or two things. I think this statement applies well to the Reds ace. Cueto posts low ERAs, but his true greatness at preventing runs is partially masked by park effects. His strikeout numbers and groundball ratios are good, but not otherworldly. Cueto does not walk many batters either, but his BB/9 figures are hardly Cliff Lee material. He pitches plenty of innings, but again, he's not Justin Verlander. The two categories in which Cueto really stands apart from the crowd are home run rate and his control of the running game. However, neither of these are marquee skills despite how valuable they might be.
Tyler Grote breaks down the case for trading away Didi Gregorius instead of Zack Cozart. Grote's argument comes down to the fact that Cozart, despite his flaws, is a major league shortstop. While I believe that Cozart is league average shortstop, I am hesitant to assume so much certainty for a player who has only one big league season. As I said in last Friday's Reposter, I am not convinced that the Reds should trade either Cozart or Gregorius since the Reds just lost a shortstop by moving Billy Hamilton to centerfield.
The Reds continue to show interest in Shane Victorino per Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
I will miss Dioner Navarro as he proved quite useful down the stretch for the Reds in 2012. Navarro was another case of the Reds picking up a useful catcher for cheap. At a position where many teams struggle to produce much of anything at the plate, the Reds have gotten good performances out of an undrafted free agent in Ryan Hanigan and turned Ryan Freel and scrap into Ramon Hernandez. The Reds acquired David Ross for Bobby Basham. Cincinnati was also able to flip Yasmani Grandal for Mat Latos. I am not sure if it is just good luck or if someone in player operations knows how to pick catchers, but the Reds deserve kudos for continued production from behind the plate.
Bruce's hometown paper gives us a nice little interview with the Reds rightfielder.
MLB.com looks at Joe Nuxhall as the Reds legend died five years ago yesterday.