The Utility Player: Streaks, Numbers, Slants, Frazier


Not long after the Reds had their 10 game winning streak snapped, the cry from some of the fans wasn’t that of getting Marty’s hair as much as it was that the Good Guys weren’t getting any respect on a national level. I have touched on this point in the past and I will reiterate it now…be careful for what you wish.

That 10-game winning streak has affixed at the very least, a small target on this Reds team. Their “response” has been a 5-game losing streak…and a plethora of tweets that have, by all indications, caused a tremendous uproar within the fan base. One event we’ll touch upon later.

Call me naive, but I don’t honestly believe that being ranked #1 on any power rankings list is of any importance. It’s not like MLB has a playoff system where voters decide who’s best or at the very least, who gets in. That idea for any sport is completely ridic…

Wait. There’s actually something like that in the United States?

These power polls and rankings are just like this site, an opinion. Those opinions do not decide the teams that will play in the postseason. That’s what the standings are for, right? According to, the Reds are currently in first place in the NL Central with a 2.5 game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates and a 5 game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals.

THAT is the most important “ranking” to me.

Numbers CAN lie…if in the wrong hands

Some of you may know that there is a certain individual that writes about the Reds that has the claim to fame of having been a newspaper carrier for a trio of the players from the Big Red Machine.

Did you know that the reason the Reds have performed so well this season is mainly because of the bullpen? That’s what I read. The team ERA may be impressive, but it’s strictly because the ‘pen and Johnny Cueto. That does sound plausible. This team gives up too many hits. That IS true, but bear with me. Actually, the Reds starters are, in this writer’s words, mediocre. I can go with that for a bit as well. Than I got to thinking…and you know what that means…

When I view starting pitching, I look at three stats: WHIP, batting average against, and LOB%, or as you may have seen it referred to as, strand rate. I could dispose of WHIP and use BB/9 or even add BB/9 into the mix…if I wanted. You can, and I will add a bit of that a little later.

So, I look at these because I feel I have numbers to construct a “path” of what a pitcher allows: hits, walks, runs. Going on this, the Reds staff as a whole owns, get this now, the NL’s 3rd best WHIP of 1.253. Starters WHIP is 1.26 and the ‘pen’s is 1.23. In looking at BAA (even after last night, the bullpen owns a BAA of .216, best in the NL), the entire starting staff does not fare well in this stat, which is a correct point made by Mr. Poe.

Now, I believe you must now ask: what do you do once you permit those runners to reach base? Well, you don’t want them to score. I know, DUH! According to Fangraphs, the Reds pitching staff has the best LOB% in all of baseball at 76.9%. Read that again. The Reds pitchers have an LOB% that is the best in baseball. Once runners get on base against Reds pitchers, the chances of that runner scoring are the least against any staff in all of baseball.

Oh, almost forgot. I’ll add this. While the Reds starting staff has given up the second most hits in the NL (712, only 1 behind the Phillies which is included in the linked post), they have issued only 171 walks, second least in the league (a point that is not). It’s not only the hits, It’s any base runner.

Another added note here. Sometimes, we shake our collective heads when we hear about defense, too. When everyone is healthy and in their right place, there is honestly no better defensive team in baseball than what the Reds put out on the field. None.

Here’s the entire thing if you want to read it. As I previously stated, there are some valid points in this as opposed to the one where he suggested trading Votto. (click)

One last word on this…

It’s unfortunate things transpired the way they did. Twitter can be brutal. You know where this going.

I personally chose not to air any take on the matter because I do not know all the particulars. I never will. Honestly, I don’t want to as that is not of my business.

I will state that there are some fallacies from the national types here. Deadspin attempted to portray Dallas Latos, and it stated maybe unintentionally, as one who may have provoked Jamie. Absurd to even conceive that notion. Looking for an angle that simply does NOT exist.

For those of us that do give Deadspin a look (and I do from time to time), we know that prodding and glamorizing an issue has become part of the site’s “label”. That can evolve into making something out of nothing and it truly is not present. This is such a case.

Now, Deadspin was not the only one that dropped the ball here. Or shall I say balls.’s Jimmy Traina had a flimsy take on the matter with a brief statement. Unlike Deadspin and despite the timestamps affixed to the post, Traina does not even acknowledge Jamie’s statement/apology. Instead, he only links to Deadspin. I would think that a reference to an apology would be in order since the piece was clearly published after the apology was issued.

But nooooooooooooooo…

The thing that is interesting about Traina’s post is the first “story” he covers. Not near the uproar on that, huh?

Frazier needs a rest

Even though Todd Frazier cracked a home run last night, the ToddFather needs a day off. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that may have been the initial objective for last night, but with Scott Rolen‘s back a-barkin’, that’s most likely why Frazier started last night. I can honestly seeing him getting a rest today. As of this writing, the lineup is not out…although I keep checking.

I know some fans will have a fit because of that homer and claim that this is a typical Dusty tactic. “Hit a homer, get a day off” will be the refrain if Frazier isn’t in today’s starting lineup. At the current rate (which will honestly slow once Joey Votto returns), Frazier will play 135 games this season, the same he played in a year in 2009. Even with his two hits last night, Frazier’s slash for August is only .188/.257/.438 with 2 HR and 6 RBI.

Overall, his batting average has dropped 10 points. Yet, I believe we can still put Frazier’s name atop a list of potential NL Rookie of the Year candidates. I’ve been saying such for over a month. He does have a trio of guys that are there with him: a couple of Brewers (Norichika Aoki and Mike Fiers) and a Diamondback (All-Star Wade Miley).

Others could emerge in the last 7+ weeks of the regular season, but you would be hard pressed to overlook any of these four guys.

Nope. Not a clown, bro. No Harper.

UPDATE: Here’s today’s lineup…