Same old, same old
Today, watching the Reds-Angels game, Joey Votto jogs to second on a Todd Frazier blooper to SS. No big deal. Except that was only the second out. It seemed to happen a lot last season, particularly to Votto. That, rather than the lack of RBI, is my bone to pick with the Red star. He simply didn't play smart. Too often, he'd make a defensive or baserunning lapse for no reason other than inattention. Hopefully, it's just a Spring Training hiccup and not a sign of things to come.
When Devin Mesoraco was a prospect, there were questions about his hit tool and his defense. There were no questions about his patience and his power. In the majors, his BB rate has dwindled to 7.4%, and he's slugged .359. The trade of Ryan Hanigan was supposed to open opportunities for Mesoraco. Instead, it seems to have shown a spotlight on his inadequacies. Again. I know it's only 20 ABs, but six K's and no BBs and a 579 OPS is worrisome.
The Reds need Ryan Ludwick. He's supposed to be the big lumber driving in Phillips, Votto, and Bruce. Another 25-homer season would be ideal. However, at this point, he looks really weak. One extra base hit. No BBs. Five K's. Lost in the good starts by Bernadina, Schumaker, and Heisey, Ludwick looks more like his 2013 version and less like the 2012 version. I've seen/ listened to three games so far this spring-- Ludwick's swung at the first pitch and flied out in all three games. Ugh.
Votto not so automatic
Like death and taxes, you can take it to the bank that Joey Votto will hit. But he's certainly struggled so far this spring. A .235 BA and a .631 OPS isn't getting it done. Add to that the aforementioned gaffes-- he needs to start picking it up.
The not-so-hot corner
Todd Frazier is scuffling. Again. What's new? I could see a platoon of Schumaker and Frazier at 3B if the young New Jersey native continues to struggle as he did in May, June, July, and August last season. At least his glove is solid. That does allow the Reds to play him even when he's scuffling. It'd be great if Seth Mejias-Brean was aggressively pushed this season through High A and AA.
What pitching prospects?
Daniel Corcino was, for a fairly long time, widely considered a better prospect than Tony Cingrani. Even as Cingrani put up Strat numbers across four playing levels, "experts" pushed the Dominican RH. After last season's cluster**** of a season (and Cingrani's dominance as a rookie), that's thankfully died down. Still, it's alarming how far the 23-year-old has fallen. He's a human batting tee at this point.
And he's not the only prospect struggling to put up decent numbers. Robert Stephenson, Chad Rogers, Michael Lorenzen, David Holmberg, Ismael Guillon-- none have done well. Even Simon, Francis, and Wang have ERAs at 5.00+. If one of the five starters gets hurt, no one looks ready at this point.