“Offensive futility,” is an understatement when describing the Reds’ short-stops. Paul Janish and Edgar Renteria have combined to post a .535 OPS, ranking dead-last in all of baseball among short-stops. The lack of power is especially painful. Only two teams in baseball have zero homeruns from the SS position, the Reds and the Mariners. Reds’ short-stops have collected only 10 extra-base hits in 73 games (tied for last in MLB). Sure, it’s a position where you don’t expect much power, but the Reds’ short-stops are slugging at the rates you’d expect from pitchers. On top of that, they don’t get on base or present a base-stealing threat. Renteria and Janish have combined for a .272 OBP (28th in MLB) while collecting only 5 stolen bases (17th in MLB).
In short, the Reds’ current short-stops rank dead-last in baseball in terms of power, are below league-average in terms of speed, and make far too many outs.
It sure would be nice if the Reds had a SS in their system who had proven himself at AAA…
Perhaps the most maddening thing about all of this is that the Reds have one of the hottest hitting prospects in all of baseball sitting at AAA. Oh, and he plays short-stop. His name is Zack Cozart and he is crushing the ball for the Louisville Bats. He ranks first in nearly every offensive category among International League (AAA) short-stops. For the year, Cozart is hitting .317/.361/.498 with 7 HR, 24 doubles, and 7 stolen bases. Cozart’s OPS is more than 300 points higher than what the Reds are currently getting at SS. For comparison, in Joey Votto’s final year in the minors (2007), he posted an OPS of .859 for the Louisville Bats – identical to Cozart’s current OPS.
*You can read Kevin’s interview with Zack Cozart here.
Surely Cozart cannot be expected to post those numbers at the Major League level. Still, it is obvious that he represents an offensive upgrade to any of the Reds’ current options.
Making the move even more obvious, Cozart is already on the Reds’ 40-man roster. If the Reds’ were to call him up however, one of the current short-stops would have to be cut. The obvious choice is Renteria. Neither Janish nor Edgar can hit, but at least Janish provides terrific defense, while Renteria may be the worst short-stop in baseball. The problem is salary. Renteria is signed for over $2 million for 2011. While we’re not talking Alex Rodriguez money, the Reds have to be conscious of the budget. Regardless, the Reds have to pay him either way. Releasing Renteria to make room for Cozart would improve the team. Make the move Walt.
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