The Cincinnati Reds took the field today against the San Francisco Giants to open up spring training. Not that spring training means too much, much less the stats from it, but that isn’t going to stop us from talking about it. The team lost on a 3-run walk-off homer. That’s of no consequence other than Kevin Shackelford probably feels pretty crappy right now.
Let’s talk about some of the good things. Perhaps the best thing comes from Rookie Davis. While he didn’t shine in that box score, allowing a run on four hits in 2.0 innings with two strikeouts, something important came out during the game. This is from Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
No pitch f/x here, but heard Rookie was sitting 93-95 mph in the first inning.
— Zach Buchanan (@ZachENQ) February 24, 2017
This, if true (not that Zach is lying, but assuming the information he got was good information), is huge. When Rookie Davis came over from the Yankees, he was a 92-95 MPH guy who had good minor league numbers. Last season he watched his stuff and numbers, specifically his strikeout rate, plummet. A part of that reason was because the right hander saw his velocity dip to 90-91 MPH. We know that Davis battled multiple minor injuries throughout the season. They weren’t enough to cost him time on the mound, but they certainly led to a drop off in his stuff and velocity.
The fact that it’s February 24th and he’s already throwing 93-95 MPH is a very good sign. The odds that he’s already peaking with his velocity for 2017 are incredibly slim. We know that pitchers ramp up their velocity throughout the spring and even into the early part of the summer. While that’s not true for every pitcher, it’s true for most of them.
Sal Romano followed Davis on the mound and he looked quite good. He did walk two batters in two innings, but he also struck out four Giants hitters. Barrett Astin struck out two batters in a shutout frame and Alejandro Chacin needed a handful of pitchers for a perfect inning.
At the plate no one had more than one hit. Aristides Aquino singled in a run and had a strikeout. Stuart Turner had a pinch hit single and walked in his other plate appearance. Blake Trahan also added a single. Patrick Kivlehan drove in two runs. Tony Renda showed off his speed with a triple to center field and he got there easily.
The game tomorrow, which will be started by Amir Garrett, will be on MLB.tv if you are a subscriber. Be sure to tune in if that’s the case. Otherwise, listen on the radio if you’re in the Cincinnati area.