The Enquirer's Zach Buchanan noticed how dingerrific the Cincinnati Reds offense had been of late, as well as how well distributed said dingers had been throughout the lineup. So, for Tuesday's Blog Above Replacement he conducted an anonymous poll among Reds players to see who they thought would finish the season as the team's leader. An interesting idea, to be sure, and one that produced rather interesting results. Jay Bruce got the presumptive nod from a plurality of his teammates, many of whom have had front row seats for his 213 career dingers. It's a curious choice, though, when you consider that there's a solid chance Bruce isn't on the team past the July 31st trade deadline, at which point the oft-trade-rumored RF may well be adding homers to his ledger for an entirely different franchise. I suppose that's not something most factored in with their votes, however.
In/re dingers, Tucker Barnhart's solo shot that proved to be the decisive run in Monday's win over the Pittsburgh Pirates was the first he's hit as a righty as a professional - at any level - as MLB.com's Mark Sheldon discovered.
Sheldon also spoke with Tony Cingrani after the latter's 2nd save of the season last night, and Cingrani certainly sounded like a guy who would welcome the opportunity to be the team's full-time closer. Bryan Price has made abundantly murky that he hasn't come to a firm decision on one guy as the team's closer - both Cingrani and Ross Ohlendorf appear to be the frontrunning options - but Cingrani does seem like he'd be the type who would thrive in the role. Of course, he's the lone lefty in the bullpen, and holding him out for a 9th inning lead that may or may not still be around sans another lefty to contribute may not be the most sound of strategies. Of course Manny Parra is in the frickin' Cubs organization right now.
WCPO.com's John Fay has thoughts about Cingrani as the potential closer, and you can read about those here if you sign your life away.
Speaking of Reds closers, remember when Ryan Madson was signed to both be the team's 9th inning guy and allow Aroldis Chapman to stick as a starter? Yeahhhhh. Well, Eno Sarris recently spoke with Madson about a device that helped him slowly but surely recover from the devastating UCL injury he had that Spring Training (and changed the course of Reds history), and it's a great read over at FanGraphs. Unless you're the extremely sentimental type, one who remembers John Fay having to bail out on his RRSB2K12 interview because the Madson injury news broke that very moment. Sniff.
Friend of the blog Chad Dotson took an early season look at Zack Cozart for Cincinnati Magazine, wondering whether his 2015 and 2016 offensive breakouts (devastating knee injury included) could possibly signal a different hitter than the one who struggled so much in the years before those.
Finally, if you've got the time to dig deep into a statistical breakdown, Jeff Zimmerman's look at whether or not pitchers can prevent solid contact - i.e. induce weak contact as a skill - for The Hardball Times is a pretty fascinating read. Indirectly, it's an attempt to determine how good of an analytic measurement FIP is, since that has consistently been cited as a metric that judges a pitcher solely on his skills while taking the defense behind him out of play. He doesn't reach a concrete conclusion in large part because of a data set that includes way too many moving targets, but the entire concept is one I've had shaking around my brain since Johnny Cueto consistently managed to post an ERA that far outperformed his FIP year after year after year.