Bats Rack: Bats Could Beat the Reds


Lately I’ve noticed alot of people on Twitter discussing how good the Bats lineup is. I’ve also been thinking about how fun it would be for the Bats to take on the Reds in a “fantasy” type game. Obviously, Reds pitching would be much better than the Bats, giving them the upper hand in any such game. But what if the pitching was absolutely neutral? Then things get really interesting. Then the Bats could beat the Reds. Think I’m insane? Want proof? Keep reading.

First, let’s look at who would start at what position for each team in such a game. Please note both teams would be given a fully healthy roster as they are now and Bats players are placed in their primary position.

Now we’ll go through and compare each of these matchups and decide who would come out on top in the ultimate fantasy game: Cincinnati Reds vs. Louisville Bats!

Ramon Hernandez vs Devin Mesoraco

As most of you know by now, Mesoraco is just about ready to be with the Reds. He’s batting .311 this year with the Bats with 5 HR 20 RBI and 11 doubles. And I’m failing to mention his .401 OBP and .525 SLG. Devin loves clutch situations. He’s hitting .333 with RISP (10 H in 30 AB) with 1 HR and 16 RBI. With a carrer slash line of .267/.341/.452, the Reds are hoping he will be a valuable piece to the puzzle in the future. Ramon Hernandez is a veteran catcher who broke into the big leagues in 1999 with Oakland. He’s been with the Reds since 2009. Hernandez is a career .266 hitter with a .330 OBP and .421 SLG. That’s a pretty solid stat line. Add in the fact Hernandez is a solid backstop who has experience calling games behind the dish, and you have a solid catcher. Mesoraco still has some work to do when it comes to calling games, which is why Corky Miller is in Louisville mentoring Devin. And he’s doing a pretty good job. So who wins the battle of catchers? Mesoraco seems to have the better bat. Hernandez is a veteran guy behind the plate and has alot of experience calling games. Both guys have thrown out 30% of would-be base stealers. Ultimately, I think Mesoraco has come a long way under the tutelage of Corky Miller and think he wins this battle of catchers–by a very small margin. Score: Reds 0 Bats 1

Joey Votto vs Yonder Alonso

Yonder Alonso has been on a tear for the Bats lately. On April 23, Alonso had 0 HR and 0 RBI. Today (May 19, 26 days later) he has 5 HR, 20 RBI and sports a slash line of .331/.386/.547. Yonder has been played in LF alot this year, but it’s not going too well. He has very limited range and is relatively slow getting to balls that go into the left field corner. This is why I have him listed at first base in our ultimate game. Problem for Alonso is: Joey Votto is the Reds’ first basemen. Votto is the reigning National League MVP. Votto is hitting .340 with 5 HR 24 RBI along with a .465 OBP and .547 SLG. As an MVP does, Votto is hitting .393 with RISP with 1 HR and 16 RBI. Yonder is hitting a mere .235 with RISP. This isn’t even a debate. Votto wins the battle at first base. Score: Reds 1 Bats 1

Brandon Phillips vs Chris Valaika

Alot of people may think this match-up is not even close. But, if you look at the numbers, these two are very similar. In his major league career, Phillips’ slash line is .269/.319/.432. Valaika’s slash line in his carrer (granted, this is from the minor leagues) is .293/.337/.432. In 27 career major league games, Valaika’s line is .278/.304/.407. That’s a very small sample size for Valaika, but those number are still pretty decent. And what about defensively? In 3 minor league seasons, Valaika’s fielding percentage at second base is .984. Phillips’ career FLD% is .987. Not much difference between them fielding wise. Ultimately, Phillips is clearly the better of these two. Phillips has much more pop in his bat and can make plays in the field other players simply cannot make. Score: Reds 2 Bats 1

Scott Rolen vs. Juan Francisco

This is an interesting debate. Juan Francisco epitomizes the word potential. Scott Rolen is an 8-time Gold Glover. Juan Francisco has the potential to become a Gold Glover. There’s been times when Juan has looked as if he’s ready to be an everyday guy in the bigs. There’s also been times when Juan looks so disinterested in playing he looks like he hasn’t made it past little league. Sounds harsh, but unfortunately, it’s the truth. In six minor league seasons, Francisco has committed 109 errors. Scott Rolen, in 16 seasons, has committed 175 errors. Project Juan’s total errors over 16 seaons and he’ll have 290 total errors. So is there any good news for Francisco? His bat. Juan’s slash line in 59 career major league games: .295/.356/.400. In his six minor league seasons: .283/.314/.495. Rolen’s career line looks like this: .284/.369/.498. The only major difference in those lines? OBP. Francisco has to start being more patient. In those six minor league seasons, Juan has walked 89 times. How many times has he struck out, you ask? 528. That’s nearly 6 strikeouts for every walk. So, given Juan’s shortcomings defensively and impatience at the dish, Scott Rolen pulls out this battle of third basemen. Score: Reds 3 Bats 1

Paul Janish vs Zack Cozart

These two guys are pretty much mirror images of each other. Both wear #7. Neither posesses a great bat. Both are magnificent in the field. Janish’s career major league slash line reads: .230/.302/.382. That looks pretty bad, but as we all know and have seen, Paul makes some sick plays with the glove. Cozart’s bat has really come around lately and he has become a doubles machine, leading the team with 15 two-baggers, which is good for second in the International League. His career line is .263/.327/.412. That compares pretty well to Janish’s career minor league line of .261/.351/.382. What doesn’t compare well is the two slash lines in the current season. Janish: .242/.271/.292. Cozart: .272/.310/.401. With a pretty much even fielding percentage (.970 for Janish, .971 for Cozart), Cozart wins the battle at shortt based solely on the current year’s slash line. I know Cozart’s numbers come in the minors, but I am pretty sure Zack’s SLG would not drop below .325-.350. Score Reds 3 Bats 2

Jonny Gomes vs Todd Frazier

Yes, people, I realize Jonny Gomes may not be the best option for the Reds in LF. But Gomes has started 32 games this year. So, for this article, he will start his 33rd. Gomes is often considered a defensive liability. This season, Gomes has been about that at the plate, hitting an abysmal .183 with 7 HR, and 19 RBI. Gomes’ career slash line: .244/.329/.458. Todd Frazier’s career slash line is much better (again, just minor leagues, but still): .284/.356/.484. Also, Frazier is much better defensively than Gomes; and he’d give Chris Heisey and Fred Lewis a run for their money too (I personally think he’s better defensively than any of the three in Cincinnati right now). Once Frazier’s bat becomes consistent (.271/.348/.549 in 2011) he could find himself with the big league club in September. Winner of the left field battle goes to Todd Frazier. Score: Reds 3 Bats 3

Drew Stubbs vs Dave Sappelt

How similar are these two: Both have initials D.S. Both wear #6. Both hit the ball well. Both play a mean CF. Both play in the Reds’ organization. Stubbs this year is batting .278 with 7 HR, 20 RBI and 6 doubles in 43 games. Sappelt this year is hitting .341 4 HR, 11 RBI and 7 doubles in just 23 games. So, maybe Sappelt has a slightly (and I mean slightly) better bat. Defensively these guys are about even. Both have incredible range. Both have above average arms. Everytime you feel amazed by a great running catch Drew Stubbs makes, please remember, Dave Sappelt can make the same catch. What gives Stubbs an upper hand in this battle is baserunning. Combined between the minors and the majors, Stubbs has swiped 174 bags and has been caught just 47 times. That’s a 78.7% success rate. Sappelt has just 80 steals in 354 games and has been caught 46 times, a 63.4% success rate. The good news for Sappelt is that he can absolutely fly. So, once he harnesses that speed, Sappelt could be a stealing machine, like his counterpart in this game. So, who’s better? I’m calling it a draw. I love Stubbs. I love Sappelt. Plus, it’s easy to confuse two guys who hit well, field well, throw well, have D.S. initials and both wear #6. Score: Reds 3.5 Bats 3.5

Jay Bruce vs Jeremy Hermida

Once upon a time, before the 2006 season started, Jeremy Hermida was rated the 4th best prospect in all of baseball–ahead of Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Obviously, that didn’t pan out very well. But, Hermida’s numbers aren’t bad–.258/.334/.415 in 9 major league seasons. Jay Bruce’s career line of .255/.325/.470 is a little bit better. This year Bruce is batting .243 with 8 HR and 24 RBI in 40 games. Hermida has a line of .333/.429/.590 with 4 HR and 16 RBI in just 21 games this season. Hermida also played in 10 games with the Reds but only had two hits in 18 at-bats. Defensively, Jay Bruce is simply better. Bruce has proven how strong his arm is time and again, and other teams have figured it out and, for the most part, have stopped trying to run on Bruce. With Hermida, however, you should make him try to throw you out. I’m not saying Hermida can’t gun down a runner, Bruce is just much better at it. Given his defensive prowess and increased possibility of the long ball, advantage Bruce in this match-up of right fielders. Score: Reds 4.5 Bats 3.5

Although it’s by a very small margin, the Reds win this matchup on paper. However, I’d be willing to bet anyone–given neutral pitching–the Bats would take at least two, maybe three, possibly four, from the Reds in a seven game series. I am by no means trying to say the Bats are better than the Reds. I am simply pointing this out: the Reds’ future is very, very,  very bright. Watching these guys play down here is enjoyable because I know, one day, they will be wearing red and white, not purple and black. I may seem like a total blind homer, but that’s fine. If you disagree with anything I’ve wrote here, feel free to comment on this page and get a conversation going.

Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter @kevingeary10 and BRM @blogredmachine.