Hump Day Meta Index for mid-week May 25th, 2011
2/20 Jay Bruce's hits/at bats with two outs and runners in scoring position this season
29-20 Reds' record last year after 49 games
3 number of games this year's vintage is behind that pace
.108 points in wOBA that Jose Bautista has over Joey Votto so far this season
0.85 WHIP of Bill Bray, good for 7th in the NL
Hall o' Famer Hal sings the praises of our two young outfielders
Jay Bruce has been the only Red hitting this past week. Through that six-game losing streak, he hit a cool .600 with four home runs. Drew Stubbs did something in the 9th inning last night that nearly blew Hal's mind. He bunted. "He bunted. He dropped a bunt. He actually bunted. And it was a great one. It was chased down by pitcher Ryan Madson. But with Stubbs’ speed, Madson hurried his throw and threw it away, putting Stubbs on second base."
Mike Leake is your front runner at the turn for the Friday start
When asked if Leake was the guy, Baker muttered a non-committal-but-telling "probably". Leake was demoted to the 'pen and then AAA with the returns of Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey, but he was actually a fairly serviceable starter in his short stint in the rotation. He pitched at least six innings in four of six starts and sported a solid 32/13 K/BB. Home runs were a bit of a bugaboo, but that's liable to regress. I'm looking forward to his return (Mike Leake!).
It turns out Bronson Arroyo's back issue isn't much of an issue
He hopped a plane back to Cincy yesterday to have Dr. Kremcheck take a look, but the MRI was negative. He won't have to miss a start. Dusty was all "woulda coulda shoulda" when he heard the news. "I didn't even know he was not OK, actually, until after the game," Baker said. "I had asked him in the elevator when we got here Sunday night, 'How are you feeling?' He just said, 'My back is a little stiff.' But you hear that from everybody. You know Bronson doesn't like not pitching. He doesn't like missing a turn. I do wish we had known. We might have switched him to Atlanta."
Marc Hulet at FanGraphs bird-dogs Todd Frazier
He implores the Marlins to take a look-see at the guy, as they are in desperate straits at the hot corner. Here's his final take on Frazier:
"He could be an extremely valuable National League player thanks to his versatility and gap power. As mentioned, I see an Eric Hinske comp as the worst case scenario for Frazier. He’s been bounced around the diamond throughout his career and some defensive stability could help him reach his offensive potential of a 3-4 WAR player with average defense at third base or in left field. Frazier is excellent insurance for future third baseman Matt Dominguez (as well as Logan Morrison), and would be an immediate upgrade over Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms, both of whom are excellent role players but stretched as regular contributors."
I'm extremely ambivalent to Frazier's versatility. Extremely. On one hand, a guy who can aptly fill in at four positions is a valuable player, but on the other the notion of keeping him as a super-utility could be too attractive and he may never find a regular job on the diamond. One thing is for sure though; if he keeps raking AAA pitching he is at the very least an attractive trade chip this summer.
There was a FayChat yesterday afternoon
Here are some of the highlights: "I think LeCure is doing well where he is. He's done a nice job bailing them out of the some tough spots. His stuff doesn't really fit in the closer role. The list of good closers who only threw 90 is pretty short"
When asked about the open 40-man spot vacated by Danny Ray Herrera: "I think they opened the spot for Willis. Then his leg acted up again. Now there's a chance, they'll use it for Chad Reineke, who's been the best starter at Louisville. The guy was pretty good in spring training as well. I think he deserves a shot over bring Leake back, which is other alternative."
When asked about how the Gomes sitch will play out: "The only way out is to designate him. I think what you'll see is him playing very little for a week or two, then getting some starts vs. left-handers. Lewis or Heisey could make it difficult for him by heating up at the plate."
Jim Caple at ESPN ranks the owners in MLB
and our own Banana Bob comes in at slightly-above-average. He ranks #12, and here's what Caple had to say about him: "Castellini is a driven, passionate owner who is working hard to return the Reds to their glory days. That's very good. Another bonus: He doesn't let his dog use the infield as a bathroom."
Some refreshing news from an objective source
I'm not on twitter myself (yet), so I can't really attest to the profundity of this. But Aaron Gleeman at HardballTalk had some flattering words about The Fay: "John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer is one of the best beat reporters to follow on Twitter because he frequently answers questions from followers and provides information and context that otherwise might not appear in his articles."
Many people have their criticisms of the man, but you can't deny that he works like a horse. While other beat writers are slow to adapt to new media, Fay seems to be very active on twitter. This all relates to a tweet he posted the other day responding to a question of how Josh Hamilton was perceived during his time in Cincy. As has been widely discussed, he was more "Everyone Hates Chris" than "Everybody loves Raymond".