Welcome to the first edition of Around the Diamond, where I’ll be taking a look at the Reds on a weekly basis, which I usually do on a daily basis, but this will be more of a round-about as opposed to a focused title. In essence, my hope is that Around the Diamond creates a few barstool conversations for Reds fans for the upcoming week.
Well, just like everyone called at the beginning of the season, the Reds are 9-5, which puts them atop the NL Central, 1.5 games ahead of the Brewers, 2 games ahead of the Cubs, and a whopping 4 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals (that’s the best factoid of the run).
Considering there’s still 148 games left in the season, there’s still plenty of time for micromanagement and speculative assumptions on adjustments that could lead to even more success. I’m well aware that adjusting a club that has a .643 winning percentage is a little misguided, but it’s also unrealistic to assume
the Reds any team will win 104 games (which the Reds are on pace to do). So, here we go.
After missing the better part of two seasons, Devin Mesoraco is preparing to return THIS WEEK, which should lead to the exodus of Rule 5 Draft selection Stuart Turner.
Maybe I’m beating a broken drum, but when Devin Mesoraco is probably the most exciting guy on the roster when healthy.
In Mesoraco’s last full season of baseball, in which he played 114 games behind the plate, the 28-year-old catcher hit .273 with an OBP of .359, hit 25 HRs, 25 2Bs, and 80 RBIs. Additionally Mesoraco has consistently grown stronger with the glove and arm, with strength in gunning down runners.
Stuart Turner was with AA-Chattanooga in the Twins organization last season and now finds himself on a major league roster.
Understanding that Turner’s story is fun, there’s really not room for three catchers on this team’s roster, especially considering that the two catchers ahead of Turner on the depth chart. Turner’s .167 AVG, 1 RBI, and 3 SOs in 12 ABs aren’t by any means setting the world on fire.
Tucker Barnhart is a considerable talent who has proven that he is fully capable of being a competent starting catcher. Mesoraco doesn’t have much to prove, as he’s been an All-Star and was a first round draft selection.
Barnhart, who’s .278 AVG, .333 OBP, and 3 RBIs have come as a great pairing with his game calling ability have more than positioned him as a great rotation option behind the plate with Mesoraco, who will need plenty of days off, considering the injury history.
Plus, Barnhart is part of the bread that has made the Reds’ PB&J sandwich work so far this season, while Turner hasn’t really joined the sandwich in any large capacity.
Next on our radar, it’s time to take off the bullpen training wheels for LHP Cody Reed and add him to the starting rotation.
Following injuries to LHP Brandon Finnegan and RHP Rookie Davis, which landed the pitchers on the 10-Day DL, there are two free spots in the Cincinnati Reds rotation.
Sal Romano made his rookie debut filling in for Davis on Easter Sunday, but didn’t look especially sharp, struggling to finish 3 innings, walking 4 batters and giving up 3 hits, but two of those hits went for home runs, finishing his outing with 2 ERs.
Pitching for Finnegan on Friday against the Chicago Cubs will be RHP Tim Adelman, who actually looked good in his flex appearance on Sunday against Milwaukee, going 4 innings and giving up a home run, but struck out 5.
After Adelman, the next man up appears to be Cody Reed, who has been nails (you’d get the joke if you were stuck watching rain delay content) in his 4 appearances this season, spanning 8 IP, with 8 Ks, 0 ERs, 4 BBs (all in his first appearance), and 0 hits.
Reed sits at 1-0 this season, which comes as a nice relief to the 24-year-old lefty, who was the major asset acquired by the Reds in the trade that sent Johnny Cueto to the Royals in 2015, considering Reed finished last season 0-7.
Although his appearances in 2016 lead to that ugly, 0-7 record with a 7.36 ERA, it appears Reed has turned the corner, finally looking like the guy the Reds took the ticket on in that trade two seasons ago.
Considering Reed’s start would likely be due up on Sunday of this week, we’re going to learn a lot about the young man’s ability to deal with pressure, as the defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs will be in Cincinnati for a three game series. In two starts against the Cubs last season, Reed managed just 4 innings in each appearance, with an ERA of 12.38, 14 Hs, and a .350 AVG against.
At some point, the Reds will need to throw Reed into the fire, so why not do it against a team that can hit the cover off of the baseball? Trail by fire, baby.
Closing out today’s discussion, I’d like to see Scooter Gennett start at least four games a week. This doesn’t seem like it needs to be some convoluted task.
At the age of 26 (although he’ll be 27 on May 1st), Gennett is actually one of the older position players on the roster, or at least one of the most experienced. Gennett is the sort of young, super utility guy teams love to utilize, as it allows for managers to regularly give starters a day off; this is the reason Joe Maddon keeps Ben Zobrist in flux for the Cubs, just as he did with the Rays (Maddon loves Zobrist, not a secret).
Gennett is off to a hot start, with a little bit of that Rusell Westbrook betrayal-based hatred going, as the Brewers inexplicably waived the guy. With a .290 AVG, 10 RBIs, and 3 HRs over 31 ABs have looked great.
Consider Gennett can play 2B, 3B, SS, LF, RF, and CF; there is no reason the Reds can’t give Scott Schebler, Jose Peraza, Adam Duvall, etc., a day off once or twice a week to make sure Gennett can get in the line-up to cause a ruckus.
Traditionally, the Reds have signed a 30-something-year-old utility infielder who ends up playing way too much at one position, taking reps from the young guys, but this isn’t that. Gennett has the potential to be a nice piece of this roster for the next few seasons, so why not integrate him as your motion option of the future.
Let’s close this with a tune, which was hinted by the title (something I want to keep doing with the Around the Diamond thing), coming off of a 9-3 win over Baltimore, the Reds are rolling. Without further ado, play us out, CCR: