The Utility Player: Reds Catchers and LF, Beaning and Cough Syrup?

There are a million stats out there. There are many, many sites that carry those stats as well. One stat that hit the Twitterverse this past week was that of what the Reds record is when Ryan Hanigan starts versus those of Devin Mesoraco. The results are not even close.

Mesoraco shatters his bat in a recent a game against the Brewers.(Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE)

Same holds true for pitcher’s ERA when the backstop is either Hanigan or Mesoraco. When Hanigan is behind the plate, the staff ERA is 2.26. For Mes, 4.77. Sure, people will read into these what they will, but I think the point is still being missed.

One, Mesoraco is a rookie. He needs time to learn everything that an MLB catcher is responsible for. Needs to learn the hitters, umps and his own staff. In some instances, the catcher is an extension of the manager and pitching coach. This won’t happen over the brief 32 games in which Mes has appeared since his MLB career began at the end of last season.

And Hani’s MLB start held its own moments in the area of staff ERA.

In 2009, the first season where Hanigan started 88 games, his staff ERA was 4.27. 2010 saw a severe reduction down to 3.36. Last season, Hani’s staff ERA was 3.97. This year’s 2.26 has come primarily at catching Bronson Arroyo (as Hanigan always does) plus all of Johnny Cueto‘s starts. Considering Cueto and Arroyo are considered the two best pitchers on the starting staff (at the time, anyway), it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to glean too much from that stat.

Give Mesoraco some time and those numbers will improve. It may not happen in 2012 as much as we’d like to see, but with Hanigan showing Mes the ropes, I have extreme confidence that he will. It’s a process that takes time.

Welcome to the bigs

I’m sure you’re aware of Cole Hamels plunking Bryce Harper. After the fact, Hamels wore it like a badge of courage that he “initiated” the 19-year-old in the majors. He fessed up to the transgressions and was suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount.

In the aftermath, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo fired off this quote. (via Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post).

“Players take care of themselves,” Rizzo said. “I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball.

“Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school. He’s fake tough. He thinks he’s going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year-old rookie who’s eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”

A couple of things here. Does Rizzo forget a former Nats player that could stir the waters? Remember Nyjer Morgan, Mr. Rizzo? Of course, he’s no longer a player on your roster, but some would deem his “escapades” among those that were gutless and classless as well. Maybe you forgot the incident with the Cardinals…or even the then Florida Marlins.

For the record, Rizzo was also fined for his verbal barrage.

I’ve stated I’m not the biggest fan of Harper’s, but he handled this all as well as anyone could have imagined. He took his beaning, went to first, then later stole home to rub salt into the wound. That’s a “back at ya, Cole”.

And it’s all bush league.

I know what you’re thinking…big deal. I add: this could be a rivalry building similar to what we’ve seen with the Reds and Cardinals.

Mota is looking at missing 100 games due to a second positive test. (Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE)

Mota and kid’s cough syrup

It was announced earlier this week that San Francisco Giants reliever Guillermo Mota was looking at a 100-game suspension for a second offense of the MLB Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The test revealed clenbuterol, a stimulant that can build mass. It is also used as an asthma drug. Mota’s agent states that Mota will appeal the suspension. He also says that Mota’s test showed trace amounts of the banned substance due to taking children’s cough syrup.

If Mota needs any advice, I know a guy that could help him…

Forgotten?

With all the success of Billy Hamilton, I think there’s another Reds prospect that gets a little overlooked: Ryan LaMarre. The Reds 2010 2nd round selection is playing some solid baseball. He doesn’t have the number of steals or batting average of Hamilton, but LaMarre produces.

I’m sure Pensacola manager Jim Riggleman likes having him on his roster. LaMarre is 9-for-12 in steals, carries a .291 batting average and owns four outfield assists. Last season in Bakersfield, LaMarre was 52-for-66 in steal attempts while batting .279 with 6 HR and 47 RBI. He registered 16 outfield assists.

I’m wondering how much longer LaMarre will be a Blue Wahoo. Louisville manager David Bell could use a little offense. His outfield of Denis Phipps (.167), Daryl Jones (.158) and Felix Perez (.202) isn’t exactly producing. Bill Rhinehart (.256) leads all outfielders in average.

Surprise!

Were you as shocked as I was when Wednesday’s starting lineup was revealed? Yes, I say “revealed” because there’s always a flurry of activity when the starting lineup is posted…and then tweeted. Todd Frazier was starting. That’s not the biggest surprise. He was in left field and not at third base.

With Wednesday being “getaway” day, Scott Rolen is almost always a non-starter. The other slight surprise was who started at third: Wilson Valdez and not Miguel Cairo…or Frazier.

I believe Dusty could have actually been sending a message to the tandem of Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey. Start hitting because I have this kid that can hit if he’s presented the opportunity.

Maybe those two bats will awaken. The Reds need them.

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Topics: Baseball, Bryce Harper, Cincinnati Reds, Cole Hamels, Devin Mesoraco, Guillermo Mota, Mike Rizzo, MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, Ryan Hanigan, San Francisco Giants, Todd Frazier, Washington Nationals

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