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Cincinnati Reds Links 4/30/15

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Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

There's a saying in Ohio, I mean, it's a saying in Kentucky, it's probably a saying in Ohio. One bird in the, uh...field is worth..., ok, two birds in the field...., anyway Marlon Byrd is not a good defender.

Incredibly passe jokes about former presidents aside, the Reds currently have a .713 Defensive Efficiency Rating (% of balls in play that are converted into outs), which is good for 6th in MLB, or 2nd in the NL, so generally speaking, defense isn't a major thing problem on this team, you know, like our offense. And our pitching. But smart people write articles about that, and this is just my intro to a reposter, so it's basically pointless.

In any case, based on incredibly insignificant sample sizes, one guy kind of sticks out. I mean, Phillips and Votto are both hovering under zero in UZR, and Negron and Schumaker are not impressing anyone as utility guys, but Marlon Byrd is apparently kind of stinking up the joint, which is a bit surprising in that he's had positive value in the field in his career, but also not super surprising as he is 37 and hasn't played a ton of LF in the last five years. Considering that the reds pitchers have one if the lowest GB/FB ratios, it's not a good thing.

Of course, since it's a whole day before May, I prefer to look at the raw #s, since if you're going to look at insignificant statistical samples, you might as well look at the once that represent actual play on the field, right? So, in 2015, Marlon Byrd has made 21 put outs, which is tied for second to last among qualifying MLB LF. That's not great. Separated out into fangraphs' categories, that's 5 out of zone plays, and 16 plays in zone, out of 20 balls in zone. That's still not great, per se, but really highlights why fielding metrics are so iffy. Four hits! Plus, he's got Billy Hamilton next to him, who has the best fielding numbers on the team, including 17 out of zone plays, which just might be kind of a relevant factor. So maybe Marlon Byrd doesn't suck so bad. At defense. In conclusion, this defensive question is relatively unimportant to the team as a whole, which compliments what I said in the first sentence. QED?

Did you know that Votto and Cozart are #5 and #7 on baseball reference's leaderboard for WAR for position players. It's not untrue.

Shelby Miller, Trevor Cahill, and Eric Stults are the starting pitchers listed on the Braves website for our series in Atlanta. But Trevor Cahill was used last night for two innings, so we could be seeing Mike Foltynewicz,'s #78th ranked prospect.

Zack Cozart says that picking up his baby all the time has helped his power. Also, that he improved his average by talking to Barry Larkin, and watching video of himself hit instead of talking to his wife.

MLB's speed-up-the-dang-game campaign is working, and it's working even more for the Reds, even including our extra innings games,

P.S.: An illustrated book about the Reds, "Reds statistician Joel Luckhaupt explains why on-base percentage matters",  and fangraphs looks at aging curves for different strikeout profiles (Bruce :().