Opening day is less than two weeks away, the final roster is starting to come together, and it's looking like the last bench spot will go to Chris Dominguez. Dominguez provides some defensive flexibility off the bench, even with 30 innings played at shortstop in the minors last season, but is probably more there for some pop off the bench. Between him and Brennan Boesch, our bench will have almost 50 2014 PCL home runs on it, which like, I'm not sure that isn't the secret to winning the division. He went to University of Louisville, so I'm guessing he just didn't tell Walt Jocketty what kind of Cardinal he was until after signing. Oh, and he won a world series ring last year, sitting in the Giants dugout. Not to get too statistical on you, but that's 1 world series ring per major league season. Literally, all he does is win.
With the approach of opening day, Johnny Cueto's absence has been a little distressing, and, going by instagram, the personal issues he's been dealing with in the Dominican Republic looked serious. But things seem to be looking positive, and Johnny Cueto returned to Goodyear yesterday. According to Bryan Price, he'll get two more spring training starts, and that should be enough. Johnny's also been working out at the Reds baseball academy while he's been away from spring training. And riding his horse.
Jay Bruce and Joey Votto are quoted in this USA Today article on the infield shift. Bruce, somewhat understandably is not impressed with the traditional advice of "don't hit into the shift."
"To me, it doesn't make sense when people are like, 'Oh, you just slap the ball through the six hole.' Well, first of all, no one does that. Secondly, guys who are doing it aren't guys hitting for power."
Votto also mentions that it's hard to change your approach in the major leagues. Which, you know, is something he has some experience telling the press.
The Hardball Times ran an interesting piece about batted-ball trajectory platoons. Basically, you can get some advantage by starting your groundball tending batters against flyball tending pitchers, and vice-versa. It seems a little simplistic to say that the average of a groundball and a flyball is a line drive, but kinda? Not that we're going to see any trajectory platoons on the Reds, but it could have some potential. (2015 Reds batters career batted ball data). For the most part, the bench players have much higher GB/FB numbers than the starters. On the other hand, Dominguez and Negron have numbers that are probably suffering from too low a sample size, leaving Schumaker as the only GB-tendency outfielder, and Pena vs Mesoraco is going to be more based on who our pitcher is than who our opponent's pitcher is, but, ok, it sounds really cool.