Another foot of snow fell here in Columbus since this time yesterday, so the Scrabbles household is staying home from work today. So while I'm outside building a few more snowmen (I almost have enough for a starting nine), here's some baseball reading to help stave off the cabin fever. Also, today is Papa Scrabbles' 50th birthday. Happy birthday, Pa!
Joey Votto’s Opposite-Field Power and Amazing Fly-Ball BABIP | FanGraphs Baseball
Dave Allen thinks that not all of Votto's 0.373 BABIP last season was just good luck, citing exceptional opposite field power and ability to prevent infield flies. I hope he's right, though I wonder if the latter in particular is a skill or just luck.
"He probably will not have a BABIP of over .370 next year, but it will most likely be quite high. This great BABIP coupled with his great — and opposite-field fueled — power and his walks result in one of the game’s best young hitters."
The Fay got his Prospect Handbook from Baseball America
and he gives a little blurb for each one on the list. He also reminds us that just two years ago, Jay Bruce was BA's #1, Homer Bailey was #9, Johnny Cueto was #34, and Joey Votto was #44. Votto as clearly had the better Major League career thus far, but he's also a few years older than the other guys.
10-game Power Packs go on sale on Saturday
It guarantees you a ticket to Opening Day, the Civil Rights Game, the Reds Hall of Fame Induction game, and Scott Rolen Bobblehead Day. You also get to choose 3 games.
Jon Heyman has a list of the biggest surprises of the offseason
and the Aroldis Chapman deal makes the list at #9.
"The Reds, who allegedly had monetary issues, made one of the bigger deals of the winter when they signed Cuban refugee Aroldis Chapman, a 21-year-old let-handed pitcher, to a $30-million, six-year deal. Chapman is said to have the talent of Randy Johnson but needs to harness his control. Some other teams wondered if there's a maturity issue, as well, but Cincinnati believes he'll be ready for the rotation soon."
It irritates me that even people as well-connected as Heyman still can't understand the financial specifics of the Chapman deal. Yeah it's $30 mil, but it's being paid out over 10 years. And yes, the Reds were really strapped for cash this winter, but Chapman is only being paid $1 mil this season. How is this difficult to understand?
Cannons in the bushes: Part 3, the left fielders
At +8 Runs, Todd Frazier had the third best arm rating (it's actually control of running game more than arm, per se) among all minor league left fielders last season. This is despite scouting reports of fairly average arm ratings.
Fake Teams takes a look around the NL Central at prospects who could be just an injury away from the Bigs
Here's what they say about the Reds:
"The Reds have a logjam in leftfield to start spring training with Chris Dickerson, Wladimir Balentien, Todd Frazier, Chris Heisey, Juan Francisco and possibly Jonny Gomes battling for the opening. Why the Reds would look to sign Gomes is beyond me. Once Scott Rolen takes his annual trip to the DL, I could see the Reds calling up Todd Frazier to play 3B, assuming Frazier does not make the team out of spring training. Frazier is also a candidate to play left field, and can play 2B or SS in a pinch."
Fay asked Dusty Baker a few questions about heading into the Spring Training
"Q: What's your biggest concern going to the spring?
A: How much depth we have on the bench. How we're going to be if we need to pinch-hit or double switch. Most teams, except the real rich ones, don't have a bunch of veterans guys they can afford to carry on the team."
Fay also spoke with Walt Jocketty
Lots of good stuff in this one about Walt's key acquisitions (Aaron Miles and Orlando Cabrera), the LF logjam (Chris Dickerson looks to be the early favorite), and the 5th starter spot (Matt Maloney and Justin Lehr have the early edge).
Baseball Prospectus' David Laurila had some questions for Chris Heisey
"DL: Do you pay more attention to your batting average or your on-base percentage?
CH: I would say on base percentage for sure. It’s more important. Getting on base is the whole point of the game, because that’s how you end up scoring runs, so I’d like to increase my walk numbers a little bit. But while I’d like to walk more than I do, at the same time I like to stay aggressive. I’ll still swing early in the count, because usually that’s when you get a good fastball to hit. I think there’s a fine line between walking a lot and not being aggressive enough, so I like to balance those two out."
There is a lot more there too. Head over and read the whole thing.
Jay Bruce: Handsome Optimist
CNati.com has up a short video interview with Bruce. Hard to believe, but he reminds us that he's still only 22 years old.
Circling the Bases does a fine job breaking down the Reds depth chart going into spring
The one head-scratcher to me is that Todd Frazier is listed as the #6 option (behind Miguel Cairo?) at 3B.
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NOTHING NEW HAS HAPPENED IN THE JONNY GOMES SITUATION! The Red Reposter News Team will keep you up-to-the-minute on this as it unfolds.