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Red Reposter - 2/28/09

The Reposter is hopefully going to become a regular feature here, but this past week has been a little nuts.  I haven't been around as much as usual, so you'll have to forgive me if some of this has been linked already.  So here we go...

Hall o' Famer Hal talked to Dusty before the game yesterday against the Phillies.  It was amazing.  Here is what he had to say about The Destroyer of Children, Juan Francisco:

"He can hit," Baker said of Francisco. "He is what you want young hitters to be. He is aggressive. You want a young hitter you can tone down rather than have to tone up. You want guys to be selective, you want guys to go deep in the count. But that comes with experience. But you want to see young hitters be aggressive."

Francisco’s aggression has led to 284 strikeouts the last two years and Baker said, "That’s what I mean about toning something down. You can turn that flame down. That’s easier than turning a flame up."

Indeed, El Nino Destructor is infamous for setting villages ablaze and cooking the children on roasting spits.  Let us all hope the flame is turned down before he invades Cincinnati.

Baker was just begging us to start a new meme here at RR, as he waxed eloquent about #1 prospect Yonder Alonso.  Regarding Alonso's key error on Thursday:  “A little too aggressive,” said Baker. “He needs to turn the flame down a little."

Here is a slideshow of pics from the Spring Training opener against the Rays on the 25th.  Hat tip to Doug for the link.

CHONE has his projected standings up, and he predicts the Reds to go 82-80 this season, sitting in 3rd place a game ahead of the Brewers.  What do you think?  Would you be happy about our first season above .500 since the Clinton administration?

For all you Fantasy Baseball weirdos out there, Razzball has their Reds fantasy preview up now, courtesy of our good friend jinaz.  Here is a snippet of what he says about Jay Bruce:

I think he absolutely has an opportunity to be spectacular, and maybe even will do it this year. But it’s also the case that his lack of patience and tendency to strike out (~25% of PA’s in the minors) may make it hard for him to employ all of his talents against major league pitching. Maybe I’m just letting my pessimism about the Reds invade my evaluations of Bruce, though. I sure hope he mashes this year.

I am one who is very optimistic about Bruce, as I think he will hit over 35 homers this season.  jinaz is right about his lack of plate discipline, but I think his overwhelming hitting ability will adequately make up for his lack of walks.  He may not get on-base at a .380 clip, but I think he will be around .340-.350.  And as long as he slugs over .500 (which I think he can easily do) he will be just fine.

John Fay says Alex Gonzalez ran the bases without pain or problem yesterday.  He may get into a few games next week as a DH.

Single-game tickets are now on sale!  Baseball is coming.  I, for one, am very excited.

Dave Cameron at FanGraphs takes a look at change-up artists and of course Edinson Volquez is a featured player.  He threw a higher percentage of change-ups than anyone else in the league last year, and he's in good company.  The top five change-up hurlers last year were Volquez, Cole Hamels, Johan Santana, James Shields, and Jair Jurrjens. 

Cameron notes that 4 of these 5 pitchers were unheralded by their respective first teams.  He makes the argument that although change-up pitchers are just as effective, they do not get the prospect love that a power fastball/breaking ball pitcher does.  This got me thinking about an unheralded change-up prospect of our very own, lefty Travis Wood.  He didn't make any top 10 lists of Reds prospects this year, but according to Doug one NL scout said, "(Wood has) the best changeup thrown by a lefty in baseball except for Cole Hamels".  So I guess we can look for Wood to be dominating for some other team in the next few years.