Fangraphs breaks down the majors' best catchers and first basemen while Hal McCoy gives us his two cents on the Chapman situation.
In what was arguably the most highly anticipated WBC game for Team USA in the tournament's short history, the Americans scored first on a bases-loaded walk in the opening frame. The Dominican's Sam Deduno (MIN) issued a five-pitch base on balls to Eric Hosmer (KC) to force Brandon Phillips home. Unfortunately for Team USA, Hanley Ramirez (LAD) answered by absolutely crushing an R.A. Dickey (TOR) knuckleball to left with one out in the second.
The two teams proceeded to trade scoreless innings until the top of the ninth when the Dominican's Nelson Cruz (TEX) led off the frame with a double off of the Chapman-esque Craig Kimbrel (ATL). Erick Aybar (LAA) singled Cruz home and stole second during the next at-bat. Jose Reyes (TOR) drove home Aybar with a single to provide the Dominican Republic with an insurance run they wouldn't need. Fernando Rodney (TBR) retired Team USA in order in the ninth to seal the victory for the DR. Team USA will play Puerto Rico tonight in an elimination game.
Fangraphs 2013 Positional Power Rankings: Catcher & First Base
The stats savvy site is once again previewing the major leagues by position rather than by team. Fangraphs is using a combined projection (ZiPS and Steamer) to rank the players. The Reds' catchers come in at 10th overall and sixth in the National League. The Giants, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks make up the top-three in that order. Jeff Sullivan praises Ryan Hanigan, mentioning that the backstop's lack of power is the only thing that separates him from greatness. Like most Reds fans, Sullivan doesn't know what to think of Devin Mesoraco.
Not surprisingly, Cincinnati leads the way at first base due to one Joey Votto. The specially blended projections have the Say Eh Kid slashing .299/.422/.534 (.404 wOBA) in 630 plate appearances with Todd Frazier and Jack Hannahan handling backup duties. The Angels and Tigers round out the top three with the Cubs making some noise with young Anthony Rizzo in the five-spot.
MLB.com's William Boor reports that the Reds are erecting a statue of Joe Morgan on Crosley Terrace this season. The team will officially unveil the statue on Saturday, September 7th prior to the start of a game against the Dodgers.
John Fay reviews shortstop Cesar Izturis' hot spring. Fay also breaks down Cincinnati's transactions from earlier this week:
Left-hander Tony Cingrani and right-hander Daniel Corcino were optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Right-handers Kyle Lotzkar and Josh Ravin were optioned to Double-A Pensacola. Right-hander Carlos Contreras and outfielder Yorman Rodriguez were optioned to Single-A Bakersfield. Left-hander Ismael Guillon was optioned to Single-A Dayton.
Hal McCoy weighs in on the Chapman decision with a pretty reasonable position. He believes that Chapman is better suited for the closer role, but says that the lefty will be a positive no matter how he's used. I've been vocal in my support for trying Chapman as a starter, but I think the Reds will find a way for him to produce value regardless of how the rotation experiment unfolds.
The glass-armed Mark Prior pitched in Tuesday's game between the Reds' AAA (Louisville) and AA (Pensacola) affiliates. He started for Louisville. Prior struck out two batters and 14 of his 15 pitches were strikes.
CBSSports.com's Dayn Perry unearthed the following clip from the country-themed variety show. Bench performed the late Jim Croce's "You Don't Mess Around with Jim".
This is only tangentially related, but Terry Cashman produced and provided background vocals on Croce's version of the song. Cashman is known for his song, "Talkin' Baseball".