The first question on the mind of those who did not stay up to watch the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 defeat on Thursday had to be; who is Josh Collmenter?
Outside of SABR member circles, or devoted fans, not many know who Josh Collmenter even is.
A long reliever out of the Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen for the majority of his career, last night was both Collmenter’s first complete game, and first shutout. It just happened to come at the Reds expense.
Employing a magnificent changeup that just never quite seemed to reach home plate, Collmenter was extremely difficult to stay on top of. He was not blowing hitters away, but encouraging them to make contact, which was in his favor with the stellar Arizona defense.
After the game, Bryan Price went as close to nuclear as a manager can go without going “Ozzie Guillen” on his club. Saying that they have a five-man bench and that they will begin to get more opportunities is tremendous in theory. At the very least, it scares the starting players back into shape. But, like most teams with a desire to compete, the starters have to be playing to win.
Today, the rest of this article will be dedicated to the current five-man bench the Reds employ.
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Roger Bernadina – OF
The absolute perfect bench player. Bernadina possesses a blend of power, speed and defense that makes him a viable late-game option in nearly any scenario.
Much in the same way that Xavier Paul served his role as a left-handed bat off the bench that could hit hard-throwing right-handers, Bernadina serves the same purpose. His power numbers have never been through the roof as a Major Leaguer, but simply watch him take batting practice and it is clear as day that he possesses some serious power.
Any team looking to compete would be borderline insanity ward level should they give him upwards of 500+ at-bats, but in a late-inning situation where you need someone to pinch-hit and then go play an extremely serviceable outfield spot, Bernadina is your man.
Skip Schumaker – OF/2B
Schumaker is a throwback to a time when players wore their emotions on their sleeve. While it is done in isolated efforts, players of the 21st century are much more subdued than those of past.
A ferocious competitor, Schumaker should already be seeing a start or two every single week, in accordance with being the first left-handed hitter off the bench.
More than any of his teammates, it seems Schumaker is poised to breakout and potentially secure himself a position amongst the regulars.
Ramon Santiago – SS/3B/2B
A consummate professional, Santiago fits the mold of being the wily veteran.
Not necessarily brought in for his ability to play, as much as for his ability to communicate and relate with other players, Santiago’s influence is almost more valuable than his statistics.
It will not be likely that Santiago sees more than a start to attempt to scare Zack Cozart into become a productive hitter, but hopefully when given his opportunity, Santiago can excel much in the same way that Cesar Izturis did last season.
Donald Lutz – 1B/OF
A total wildcard, it will be interesting to see what Lutz can bring to the table.
There is no doubting his immense power; he is built like a small Mack truck. Where he surprises many baseball folk is with his wheels. An extremely adept runner, Lutz has a knack of turning singles into doubles, and doubles into triples.
With Joey Votto down, Lutz will have an opportunity to once again impress Reds brass with his skills and prove that come 2015, he should be a member of the Opening Day roster.
Chris Heisey – OF
Chances have come, and chances have gone. Heisey has had an ample amount of opportunities to prove himself as a starter for the Cincinnati Reds, but they have gone by the wayside.
Now, Heisey settles into his role as the best bench player in baseball.
An unbelievably skilled pinch-hitter, Heisey can also perform the obligatory spot start or two at any of the three outfield positions and provide Gold Glove-caliber defense.
Should Chris Heisey ever decide to move on to another club, there is always the chance for him to start again. But with the Reds, he has found his niche.
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Tonight, the Reds get a glimpse at their old pal, Bronson Arroyo.
Admittedly, seeing Arroyo in anything but a Reds jersey is still a bit surreal, but when the team is slumping as badly as the Reds are, wins are mandatory no matter who they come against.