Doing the dance of the Penn 'Ant.
Hall o' Famer Hal (friend of the site) hails Leak's 111 pitch, 2 hr 21 minute gem
The ball was landing squarely in gloves. If not the catcher's big round one, then in the gloves of the Reds' fielders. That's his secret. Dusty and Scott Rolen also opine on how to hit knuckleballs, the essence of which is: "See the ball, try to make contact." Hal covers a lot of ground in his latest column, including a Dusty Baker name-drop in an upcoming Clint Eastwood movie, Cy Cueto vs. Cy Dickey and some well-deserved gloating for Hal haters.
If you didn't already read about in Farmer's Only (for shame), go there now
And then come back, make amends, wash up and click on the link above. As MBP told us earlier this morning, he's "going to remain cautiously optimistic that the other shoe won't drop" with Cingrani. That's prudent for a pitcher with his staggering numbers, but thin repertoire. Cingrani makes a point in the article to mention mixing in a slider and change, but credits his success to fastball command - and estimates he threw about 80% fastballs in last night's outing. Player exit polls are sometimes all we have to go on in the minors... If you're a Cingrani critic, you'll take his fastball reliance and the photo of a somewhat painful looking delivery in the article and scream SELL. But he gets more credible with every dominant start.
Sam LeCure's sympathy pains for Scott Rolen continue
Both LeCure and Jonathan Broxton are still nursing sore shoulders. LeCure supposedly did some throwing before the game last night. In addition to being a genial Midwesterner, LeCure is also a versatile cog in the bullpen: he can go long, short and has similar splits against lefties and righties. While I wish him a speedy recovery, there is some upside to him hitting the DL: he cant rest up and be ready for the stretch run/playoffs. The Reds may need his help to tamp down some of the starters' innings next month. The Reds can also call up J.J. Hoover, who's slicing it up in Louisville. Both players would be eligible for the playoffs without using the 60-day DL maneuver.
Frazier highlight'd a 474-ft gufus last night
According to Jamie Ramsey (and HitTrackert), it was the "10th-longest (tie) home run ever hit at Great American Ball Park." GABP does not bow before the Year of the Pitcher. Frazier's blast was the fourth farthest this season, behind: Cameron Maybin (485 ft), Nelson Cruz (484 ft) and Travis Hafner (481 ft).
FanGraphs provides an exhaustive eyewitness report on Billy Hamilton
with the focus on his game from the waist up. Which makes the rest of us feel sleazy. I'm a little wary of drawing too many conclusions from a single viewing, especially the conclusions the writer draws from one failed stolen base attempt (when he promised he'd talk about "other tools" - who's the smut-monger now?), but there's a lot of really good analysis here. One element of Hamilton's game that's overlooked is his more natural hitting approach as a righty, though his splits in Pensacola haven't shown that, at least not yet.
Ryan Ludwick's Resurgence gets a big-up from Baseball Nation
Nice to see Ludwi C.K. getting the press he deserves, though this is sorely lacking a lengthy apology and a revision of a previous comment where you said Ludwick was "w0rst HUMAN." Just can't get that anywhere else.
Red Hot Mama looks at the Baker contract extension talks
"I would like to see Dusty Baker as a member of our organization for many years to come," sed Castellini recently. And, since there aren't teams closer to Dusty's West Coast home that are going to be aggressively courting him, this is going to happen. It's hard to be mad about extending a manager who will have made two playoff appearances in the 3 years after a 15 year franchise drought. But it'd be a lot more reassuring if Dusty somehow agreed to be more open to new things in his next contract.
C-ing Red asks, "Can The Reds Win Johnny Cueto A Cy Young?"
Andro digs into the Cy Young predictor. Johnny is probably going to have to win the award on his own merit, just like the rest of us.
HBT: "What is WAR good for?"
If you're disenchanted with WAR - or just sick of seeing player value stuffed into that box - this article might give some good context. It's not a great indicator of true talent level over a single season, but it does seem to very accurately gauge how valuable a player has been to his team's success, which I think was the point of all this in the first place.