It's go time
At 3:05 ET, the Reds take on the Indians for their first Spring Training game. Alfredo Simon will start as part of the team's look at options should Mat Latos need additional rehab time from knee surgery. Bryan Price is ready to go: "It will be great to talk about performance and how we see the team take shape over the course of this next month. That's exciting for all of us. Until they play, you really don't know where to go." Expect the starters (lineup here) to play about five innings today.
You can watch the game on MLBN, but on tape delay starting at 5. TV and radio broadcast schedules for the Spring are here.
The Hoov is in his groove
J.J. Hoover had a rough start last year, but credits Price with righting his ship. "B.P. definitely helped me. We just talked about pitch selection, and that's when I scrapped my slider and went to just fastball, curveball and changeup. It was a good mix and simplified some things. I got back to what I was doing in 2012." Hoover intends to bring his slider back this year.
The Hardball Times underwent a redesign this winter
They're going to do less statsy pieces, but they did release this gem summarizing infield shift data from last season. The Reds were 14th in total shift usage. Their shift BABIP of .267 seems about middle of the pack. Also, RLN writer Jason Linden is releasing his baseball novel over at THT. Here's the first installment.
Baseball Prospectus ranks the Reds' farm system at 16
The good news is that the system's trajectory is "up." Ben Lively and Jose Ortiz are identified as breakout candidates.
TOOTBLAN reviewed the '13 Reds
The Reds finished t-10th in baseball for boneheaded baserunning blunders. With Billy Hamilton taking over for Shin-Soo Choo (the team's most frequent offender), that ranking should improve. HT to C. Trent for the link.
MLB just announced a new rule to prevent egregious home plate collisions
The upshot is that the runner cannot "initiate" contact, but the catcher cannot block the plate when he doesn't have the ball. Meso, Pena, and Corky say it won't affect their approach. Kit Keller? She's out.
The second annual Slyde Press Preview is now electronically available for the bargain price of $3.00. I'm hearing some Pulitzer buzz on the Billy Hamilton piece. If you can't get enough Slyde, here he is in pod form with RLN.