The Utility Player: Starters, Bowlers, Late B-Day Wishes


This time of the year produces much rumor and conjecture. This will not be one of those posts…except for the very end and that will be minimal. After all, it is The Utility Player and we’re opting to offer a little different direction here.

We’re entitled to that, right?

Sure we are.

In case you haven’t noticed (and I’m sure most of you have) the Reds starting rotation has been in tact from day one. I hope I’m not jinxing that. The question, as posed by John Fay, is can they hold up? I have to admit that this thought has recently crossed my mind especially as it pertains to Homer Bailey. I’m not so much “in fear” for Mike Leake.

Why is that? Bailey hasn’t tossed more than 200 innings in any season (including minor league action) since 2009 (89.2 IP for Louisville, 113.1 IP for Cincy). In fact, the highest number of innings since ’09 Bailey has hurled was 162 IP last year. Maybe I could skew that as a positive and say we’re building, but of that 162 innings, 30 were rehab assignments.

Glass half-empty? Pretty much, although I love the way Bailey has performed as of late. Remember over the past two seasons we’ve said we are witnessing the maturing of Johnny Cueto? Might be time to add Bailey’s name to that sentence, but for some odd reason I’m a bit apprehensive to do so.

Please tell me I’m wrong for that apprehension…

My concern isn’t as great with Leake because of that “building up” of innings. In his rookie year, he tossed 138.1 innings and he threw 167.2 last season, Some, like SI’s Tom Verducci, believe Leake was pushed a little too much in 2011.

I’m not upset at Leake’s inclusion, but I am that pre-season, he didn’t consider the Reds a contender.

So far, so good.

Ebony and Ivory?

What to do in Denver on a day off? Sounds like a potential B-movie…unless the “stars” are Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier.

So what did the duo do?

First, lunch at the Yardhouse followed by a best 2 out of 3 bowling match at Lucky Strike. For the record…

The ToddFather has pizza…and took the bowling honors. I’m not surprised. Just another thing to add to Todd’s list of accomplishments. What hasn’t the potential NL Rookie of the Year not done in 2012?

The “trophy”? BP will be Frazier’s on-field servant for tonight’s game.

If only there could be video of that.

Belated Happy Birthday to Better Off Red’s Jamie Ramsey!

BRM wishes BOR’s Jamie Ramsey a belated happy ____th birthday! I know he received a lot of b-day wishes on Twitter, but he has so few on BOR itself. Only 17 as of this? Really?

Well, I’ll make it 18…actually, 19.

Spell check fail…

Happy birthday, Jamie!

BA Prospect List…Updated

Before all the wheeling and dealing GM Walt Jocketty did this past off-season, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper had the following as the Reds top 10 prospects.

Devin Mesoraco, c
Billy Hamilton, ss
Yonder Alonso, 1b/of
Yasmani Grandal, c
Zack Cozart, ss
Daniel Corcino, rhp
Robert Stephenson, rhp
Didi Gregorius, ss
Todd Frazier, 3b/1b/of
Brad Boxberger, rhp

Of course, Alonso, Grandal and Boxberger have since departed. Earlier this week, a Reds fan asked of BA’s Jim Callis how he would currently rank the Reds top 10 prospects.

Billy Hamilton, ss
Robert Stephenson, rhp
Tony Cingrani, lhp
Daniel Corcino, rhp
Nick Travieso, rhp
Didi Gregorius, ss
Kyle Lotzkar, rhp
Jesse Winker, of
Tanner Rahier, 3b
Jeff Gelalich, of

You may notice that four of those on this list were picks from this June’s draft (Travieso, Winker, Rahier and Gelalich). I also look over both lists and scratch my head a little. I have to ask: Where is Henry Rodriguez? I don’t care if he’s 22, the dude can flat out hit. His first season of organized baseball is the only season where HRod has not hit above .300.

Maybe anonymity is the best thing here.

Coors not Friendly?

Not if you’re tonight’s starter Bronson Arroyo. In four previous games at Coos Field, Arroyo owns a record of 0-2 with a lofty ERA of 8.84 and a WHIP of 1.800. By contrast, Saturday’s starter Johnny Cueto’s numbers are little better: 0-1, 3.00, 1.333 in 2 games. And what of Mat Latos who starts Sunday: 2-1, 3.51, 1.169 in four games.

All-in-all, looks like the Reds have thing going their way right now. Since the Rockies have become a member of the NL, the Good Guys are 78-81 overall against the Rox. The bad news is they are 29-49 at Coors Field.

I’d say it’s high time to reverse that trend.

Okay…Here’s Some Trade Stuff

The majority of trade chatter has revolved around the trio of Denard Span, Shane Victorino and Juan Pierre. Why? I’m not sure to be quite honest. I don’t view all three as lead-off guys.

Span? Sure. That’s all he’s done this season except for a couple of pinch-hit opportunities.

Pierre? Possibly. Has done so in that role in the past, but he’s been mostly the #2 guy in Charlie Manuel’s lineup this year.

Victorino? The one I would least like to acquire. Not a lead-off option. Just check his career numbers and his 2012 splits. In fact, I think the Reds are better off not pursuing Victorino. There was the report the Reds nixed a Victorino/Logan Ondrusek deal. Honestly, I would, too.

So where’s that leave us? Maybe this?

Enjoy your weekend!