Cincinnati Reds should bat Schebler seventh to keep the pressure off

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds may have found a replacement for Jay Bruce in Scott Schebler, but they need to remember that he is still young.

The Cincinnati Reds have a problem when planning their batting order for next year, after the first three players, it pretty much falls apart.  It’s easy to see that the top three should be Billy Hamilton, Eugenio Suarez, and Joey Votto based on what happened in 2016.  After that it is wide open.

Scott Schebler could be the beneficiary of a good placement in the order or have his career derailed completely.  Schebler had a great 2016 spring, batting .288 with three home runs.  His early season results in Cincinnati were not so good.

Once Jay Bruce left for New York, Schebler stepped into right field and the clean-up spot in the line-up for much of the last two months of the season.  That doesn’t mean that it is a good idea for 2017.  Schebler still only has 100 MLB games under his belt over two partial seasons.

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Schebler also has little competition for 2017.  Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran both look to have fallen off of the team’s radar.  That pretty much leaves contact hitter Steve Selsky as Schebler’s competition for right field, unless Jesse Winker is suddenly big league ready.

Even with his great end to 2016, Schebler deserves the right to develop lower in the order where the pressure is lower.

With the lack of competition Bryan Price’s job becomes the development of Schebler.  They should not put a few 2017 wins ahead of that goal.  A veteran like Zack Cozart can bat anywhere in the line-up.  He can be sacrificed for the development of Schebler.

Schebler still has a weakness against left-handed pitchers.  He needs support to overcome that weakness.  The best way to protect him is to let him have off days against lefties.

It doesn’t work to have your clean-up batter on the bench to start games once a week.  Instead the Reds should let Schebler bat seventh.  Batting ahead of the mess that is know as the Reds’ catching situation should allow Schebler to earn a ton of walks.

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Bruce also had difficulties vs. left handers early in his career.  His OBP is still unacceptably low.  Bruce has worked to get his slugging and batting average up to acceptable numbers.  That’s why the Mets adde him to their team.  Now the Reds want to see similar production from Schebler.