Spring Training Game Review

Chris Dickerson went 1-2

Jerry Gil went 1-2

Adam Rosales went 1-1 with a solo HR (Photo by Keith Srakocic/AP)

Joey Votto went 0-2

Jay Bruce went 1-2

Paul Janish went 0-1

Craig Tatum went 0-1

Brad Salmon went 1 inning, allowed a hit and a walk.

Baker says the young pitchers could start in the bullpen

From John Fay:

There’s no question that Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez and Homer Baiely have three of the best arms in camp. They’re being prepared as starters. So, if they don’t make the rotation, do they start the year in the minors?

“Not necessarily,” Dusty Baker said. “I come from the Dodger way. With young guys, the next best thing is long relief. It’s in between starting and relieving. It’s probably the less pressure on the staff because most of the time you’re coming in when you’re behind. We did it with Dave Burba in San Francisco, and he ended up winning nine, 10 games.

“Throw up zeros, so the offense can come back. You can’t let add on or trade runs. That’s where that guy is really important. If you’re not going to come back (and win games), you’re not going to win the pennant or the wild card. You need a guy who allows you to come back.”

Nolan Ryan, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Don Gullett and Roy Oswalt are among the dominant starters who began their careers in the bullpen.

“A lot of young guys start out in long relief,” Baker said. “If a guy’s not going to start, that’s the next best thing.”

This will make for interesting decisions at the end. The Reds owe Mike Stanton and Todd Coffey a lot of money. They’re going to have to pay them regardless of whether they’re on the team or not. Sounds like Baker would like to go with 11 or 12 best arms.

Now of course we have to realize that Nolan Ryan had extreme control problems for almost his entire career, so starting him in the bullpen was a way to lessen the damage that was going to do. Johan Santana was also hidden away in the bullpen because he was a 20 year old with no experience above A ball just taken in the Rule V draft. That said, I don’t think it would be a horrible idea for one of them to start the year in the bullpen, but more than that and I think its a bad idea. You can only have one ‘long guy’ out of the bullpen and I think its counter productive to have a starting pitcher on the ‘Joba Chamberlain’ bullpen ride if you truly want them to be a starting pitcher.

Lisa Wintson has her 2008 Cincinnati Reds Milb Preview up

There is a TON of great information in this article, so be sure to go to the link and read the entire thing, but here is some of the highlights from it.

Devin Mesoraco, C
The Reds’ top pick in 2007 out of high school in Punxsutawney, Pa. may not be able to tell you if there will be six more weeks of winter in February, but he should be calling much bigger things before long as one of the rare five-tool catching prospects in the game.

Just 19, he is a good-hitting catcher whose arm seems fully recovered from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2006. He hit just .219 in 137 at-bats in the Gulf Coast League in his debut but the Reds feel confident that that was not indicative of his talent.

“He was pretty beat up and I’ve got to give him credit, he just hung in there and played hurt the whole season,” Reynolds said. “He went home, rested and had a great instructional league. He has great makeup and all the tools for the position.”

It is something that people often overlook when they see a players numbers and they aren’t the best looking. In this case, Mesoraco was playing with two hurt thumbs almost all season and just think about how difficult it would be to hit like that.

Drew Stubbs, OF
The Reds’ top pick in 2006 out of Texas was slowed in his first full season by a nagging case of turf toe that ultimately required surgery this past winter. Considered perhaps the best defensive outfielder in the system, the injury hampered his plus speed.

A 23-year-old with College World Series experience, Stubbs could move up quickly if he remains healthy. He has plus power and a strong arm that was good for 15 outfield assists at Dayton in ’07, where he hit .270 with 12 homers and 43 RBIs. Despite the injury, his 23 steals were third most in the Reds organization.

Just like with Mesoraco, Stubbs was playing injured for the entire season, although his injury led to surgery in the offseason. Stubbs is one of the guys that I really want to see play healthy this year.

Carlos Fisher, RHP
Keep an eye on this Lewis-Clark State product this year as he moves from the rotation to the bullpen. He began the ’07 campaign at Sarasota, going 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA in seven starts before moving up to Chattanooga, where he was 5-9 with a 4.29 ERA in 21 games.

His bread-and-butter pitch, a heavy sinker, should be more effective in the late innings and that’s where the 2005 11th-rounder should see the most time, either at Chattanooga or Louisville.

“He’s a good guy with good makeup and good stuff and we feel he’s gotten the innings he needed as a young pitcher, so now is the time for the move to the pen,” said Reynolds. “With his stuff he could be a real good relief pitcher.”

Looks like this move is one we should really follow. Fisher has a fastball that has gotten up to 94 MPH in the past although it generally is in the low 90’s. With him moving to the bullpen, I would love to see if he can dial it up just a little more knowing he is only going to be throwing 15-20 pitches a game instead of 90-100.

Daryl Thompson, RHP
Originally taken out of high school in Maryland by the Expos in the eighth round of the 2003 Draft, Thompson missed half of 2005 and most of 2006 with a torn labrum but was still a key cog in a multi-player deal with the Reds last summer. He made his Reds debut in 2007, and though still not yet 100 percent as the season began, he put up fine numbers.

The 22-year-old Thompson combined to go 14-5 with a 3.18 ERA at Dayton (5-0, 0.96 in five starts) and Sarasota (9-5, 3.77). His fastball is not back to its pre-surgery blaze, but it was still sitting in the low 90s and helping him lead the Reds organization in wins, finish second in ERA and fifth in strikeouts.

Another injury type guy who should be fully healthy this year, Thompson could start in AA and could be another guy who just steps forward a little bit thanks to being fully healthy.

That is just a few of the great things from the article. Seriously, go give it a read.

Paul Daugherty has a nice article on Jay Bruce and Joey Votto and their relationship with one another and what they hope for in the future.

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