Opening Day Preview?

After today’s game against the Indians (a 5-1 win), the lineup for tomorrow was posted. Could this be a preview for Opening Day? (Courtesy of John Fay)

Drew Stubbs cf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Joey Votto 1b
Scott Rolen 3b
Jay Bruce rf
Jonny Gomes lf
Ryan Hanigan c
Paul Janish ss
Sam LeCure p

As Fay notes, the only change may be the Ramon Hernandez may get the start since Edinson Volquez is pitching. With two weeks to go until Opening Day, seems like Dusty wants to see where his starters stand. But there are some questions left to be answered…

Image: Barbour/Flickr

Leadoff: Stubbs hasn’t exactly impressed so far. He has 14 SO in 29 AB. He hasn’t had one stolen base. He’s batting .207. Maybe getting all the regular guys in there will get him going. I’m starting to get a little curious as to how long this “experiment” will last. Some people say the leadoff spot is overrated because the leadoff guy usually only hits leadoff once a game. Still, nice if that guy can get on base and set the tables.

You do have to find another alternative at some point or at least have a plan B. And at the rate in which Fred Lewis is performing, that’s not looking like a decent option either. He has more SO (7) than Gomes (2).

Left field: Gomes appears to be the guy, but he’s having a dreadful spring (.071). Like Stubbs, maybe with the other starters on board, he can find his swing. Remember, Gomes is streaky. He has made an concerted effort to make contact. Only 2 SO in 28 AB thus far.

LeCure: Baker and the rest of the Reds brass are giving this guy a realistic shot at making this squad by allowing him to start and get some more work in. LeCure more than deserves the opportunity. What will be interesting is to see how many innings LeCure will throw. He’s had possibly the best spring of any pitcher in camp. The only other pitcher that’s pitched at least five innings and yet to allow an earned run is Scott Carroll. And Carroll’s spring is extremely impressive, too. I know I’m beating the drum on LeCure endlessly, but it should be.

The one question we have had answer to…shortstop. Yeah, Janish has that gig. And his spring has been pretty good, too.

Some crazy stats:
- Want to see some outrageous OPS? How about Dave Sappelt (1.459), Jeremy Hermida (1.136), and Zack Cozart (1.118).
- After his appearance today, Aroldis Chapman now owns the club lead in SO with 10…in 8.0 IP. He also leads the staff in BB with 7.
- There’s only one pitcher that has more BB than SO. It’s Nick Masset (4 BB, 3 SO).

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Tuesday, Sep 22 Sep7:05at Baltimore OriolesBuy Tickets

Tags: Aroldis Chapman Baseball Cincinnati Reds Dave Sappelt Drew Stubbs Jeremy Hermida Jonny Gomes Nick Masset Sam LeCure Spring Training Zack Cozart

  • beeker

    I think Dusty is right that Stubbs is a “warm weather guy” and needs some time to get going. And with the lack of good alternatives, they may need to be prepared to wait for Drew to get going. I don’t favor putting Phillips leading off. He seems best suited in front of Votto.


    This may sound stupid, but what about using Janish at leadoff until Stubbs gets going? He is not a prototypical leadoff guy at all. You lose the SB threat, yes. But his .280 BA and 0 steals is better than Stubbs’ .207 BA and a few steals. I believe Janish’s bat is coming around and that he could be OK. Not great, but OK until Stubbs gets in gear.

    I also can’t help but wonder how long Dusty will stick with Gomes if his struggles bleed over into the season. At the pace Hermida is going, I hope Dusty will go with the hot hand.

    • Steve Engbloom

      Some do view Janish as having good plate discipline. Being in the eight hole, you have to develop a good eye considering the pitcher is up next.

    • Carl Allen

      As pessimistic as I am about the Reds lineup, they were one of the best (if I recall, best in the NL) last year. That being said, given their ballpark, they need to keep it up. Being a numbers-oriented/sports-minded person, I about vomited last year when I saw Cabrera hitting in the 2 spot. OK, so we have one of the best 3 hitters in the league, and we’re going to put someone who can’t spell OBP in front of him, to go along with an inexperienced leadoff hitter? Number-crunching aside, let’s be logical. If Votto is our best hitter, we should want him to be at the plate with the most chances to produce runs. That is, with the most people on base possible, but high enough in the lineup to get a large number of at-bats (hence, the 3 spot). Our options seem to be Phillips, Rolen and Gomes. Phillips is one of the best 2B in baseball, great defensively, steals bases, and hits for power. But what he does not do well is get on base consistantly (.330 over the past 2 years, to be generous). The same can be said for Gomes, who hits for more power. Rolen, however, has been a consistant .370 over his career, and .360 over the past 2 years. Not that Dusty Baker cares (*cough* Corey Patterson).

  • Carl Allen

    For the Reds to be successful this year they’re going to need Bruce and Stubbs to come into their own. Phillips isn’t a great #2 hitter (Rolen is much better suited for that spot) and the middle of this lineup, aside from Votto of course, is less than stellar. Votto isn’t going to see many good balls this year. But, he’s going to have an OBP over .400 and OPS around 1.00. How many people he drives in will depend on how often people can get on base in front of him. That is, Stubbs, Phillips (or, I think Rolen or Hanigan should be at the top given their strong OBPs). Speed is overrated at the top of the lineup. Yes, speed is important, but give me a guy like Rolen or Hanigan getting on base 36-38% of the time and not stealing and I’ll take that over someone getting on base 32-34% of the time and running (and getting thrown out 25-30% of the time anyway). Also, don’t sleep on Fred Lewis in LF. Gomes is far from consistant in LF, and Lewis has been a solid .272/.350/.418 guy over his career. If Stubbs doesn’t start getting on base more, he’s a great 2nd option, and Stubbs hitting down in the 6-7 spot wouldn’t be the worst thing, either.

    What I think the Reds lineup should look like:

    Stubbs .255/.330/.440- could move down in lineup for Lewis
    Rolen .369 career OBP, need guys on base in front of Votto
    Votto Duh/Duh/Winning
    Bruce .497 Slg% last year, and still getting better
    Gomes .250/.330/.460 career
    Phillips .430 Slg% , not on base enough to hit up in lineup
    Hanigan .379 career OBP, not a bad option at #2, either
    Janish .330 OBP last year, Renteria makes for a good backup