Position Review: Left was Out in Left

With the announcements of this award and that award now out of the way (for the moment anyway), we continue in taking a look at the Reds positions and grading their performance. Today, we pick up with the position of left field.

Prior to 2011, left field was a spot that provided a bit of intrigue to Reds fans. Well, maybe not intrigue. To my point, despite the fact Jonny Gomes had a career year in 2010, the fanbase didn’t particularly view him as an every day player. What didn’t really help (to some) was that keeping Gomes was viewed as somewhat of a high priority. He did drive in over 80 runs in 2010.

That still left a hole. Someone that can play a little better defense and own a lefty bat. GM Waly Jocketty went out a snagged…Fred Lewis. Sure, he can leadoff. He’s a little better defensively than Gomes. Plus, he’s better in the running game. We don’t really need Laynce Nix, do we? Everybody, who’s on board here?

These moves didn’t quite work. Neither did signing Jeremy Hermida to a minor league deal. One sentence can tell you how much of an issue the Reds had in left for 2011 and here it is…

The Reds used seven different players to start in left field in 2011.

Seven? Please don’t tell me Brad Pitt is going to star in this? May have been better if he did. How can any type of consistency begin to take shape with this hodgepodge? It can’t. Granted, Lewis and Chris Heisey did spend time on the disabled list (Lewis coming out of spring training and Heisey before September call-ups), but they did not contribute to all this mayhem.

Well, third base had as many starters, but they fared a tad better. The only other position that had more starters was…starting pitcher (10).

And what did it net the Reds in 2010?

The only two major stats where the Reds ranked in the top half among NL teams were runs (6th) and home runs (7th). In all others, as you might have guessed, they were in the bottom half. Despite the uncertainty heading into 2010, I honestly thought the position would provide a lot with the stick. Being ranked in the bottom five in average (15th), on-base percentage (13th) and slugging (12th) will obviously not get it done.


For 2012 all this “indecision” must cease.

The Reds brass and manager (yes, you, Dusty Baker) must make a commitment and stand by it. If you’re going to really go with a Yonder Alonso-Chris Heisey “platoon”, stick to it. If Alonso or Heisey separate themself rom the others as the everyday player, stick to it. If you’re going with speed atop your lineup and you’re set that the guy that can do the job is Dave Sappelt, stick to it. If you want someone that can play consistently (as he has in the minors) and be neither too flashy nor possess a ton of power and you think that guy’s Todd Frazier, stick to it.

I would love for someone (anyone) to be named the #1 in LF, but with all these guys, you simply can’t. You have to construct the competition.

Then again…why do that. That leaves one less thing for us to gloss over umpteen times over the winter. Yes, there will be posts for each Heisey, Alonso, Sappelt and Frazier and why each should be the starter. You know it’s coming, but this isn’t that time.

Grade: D+…seriously. The bats from LF were as bad as those from short. The defense percentage-wise wasn’t as bad as we think, but the actual “play” was.


To read any of the prior reviews, click on the position within the grade card.

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