My Honest Thoughts

I could have written a few posts on various topics that have grabbed my attention this Spring, but I have decided to just lay it out there. Here are a few things that I am stewing about:

1. Fans are ready to write off Mike Leake as a contender for the Reds rotation and as a serious prospect in the Reds system. Leake struggled at the end of last season, and he has even struggled a bit this Spring Training. Some fans have compared Leake to Greg Maddux. So let’s take a look at Greg Maddux’s stats over the first two years of his career. Maddux was 2-4 with a 5.52 ERA in his first big league season. In his second season, Maddux was 6-14 with a 5.61 ERA.

Leake was far better than Maddux last season in his own rookie season. Leake was 8-4 with a 4.23 ERA. Therefore, fans need to take a step back and look at the facts. Mike Leake is not going to be perfect right away, but Leake is a very hard worker. He has been praised by Bryan Price and Dusty Baker as being one of the hardest workers on the team. He admitted to working hard this offseason to make sure that he is more durable in 2011.

At some point in 2011, a Reds starter will get injured and if Leake is not already in the rotation, he will have to step in. Let’s just give this man time. After all, he SKIPPED the minors all together. As fans, we need to get off this guy’s back wait and allow him to develop.

2. How far have the Reds come since Josh Fogg was signed to be the Reds #5 starter? Loyal Blog Red Machine reader Beeker commented that we should all be grateful for how much the Reds system has developed over the last 5 years. The Reds have come from searching long and hard to just find 5 starters to now having a surplus.

We have seen the strength of the Reds farm system this Spring Training. Dave Sappelt has grabbed the most headlines by batting .522 in 23 at-bats. Zach Cozart has hit .429, and Chris Valaika is hitting .417. Top catching prospect Devin Mesoraco is also hitting .400, and he may find himself in the majors sooner rather than later. The Reds pitching depth is obvious with 6 men vying for 5 spots in the rotation and not enough bullpen spots to go around. Logan Ondrusek, Dontrelle Willis, and Jose Arredondo are blocking other youngsters such as Philippe Valiquette, Jordan Smith, and Jared Burton.

Let’s take a look at just how bad Reds opening day pitchers were at some times over the last decade.
2000-2001-Pete Harnisch-combined 9-9 over those two seasons
2002-Joey Hamilton-went 4-10 in 2002.
2003-Jimmy Haynes-went 2-12 in 2003.
2004-Cory Lidle-was 7-10 in 2004.
2005-Paul Wilson-went 1-5 in 2005.

I would hate to know who the Reds other starters were these seasons if these


pitchers were the opening day starters.

3. I recently bought a Cincinnati Reds 4-pack of tickets. For the four pack, you are guaranteed to get a ticket to one game from the Yankees series. I opted for one game vs. the Cardinals in May. One game vs. the Yankees in June, and back to back games vs. the Cardinals in July. The 4 game pack is perfect for me since I live in Nashville, Tennessee, and I would encourage any Reds fan interested in attending a game to look into the four pack.

The ticket sales-people are very easy to work with, and they will accomodate you as best they can. Walt Jocketty and owner Bob Castellini have made it clear that the future ability of the Reds to sign their promising young players will come down ticket sales. The Reds need to generate more revenue, and ticket sales is the #1 way that the team will do so. As fans, we all wonder when the Reds will make a big trade or a big free agent signing, and to an extent, that will all come down to us. Here is a link to Reds ticket plans.

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