The Cincinnati Reds took on the Chicago Cubs in Goodyear on Wednesday afternoon. Only in spring training will you see a tie, but this is spring training and the game ended in a tie.

Josh VanMeter hit a baseball to Mars. Probably. VanMeter, who hit the longest home run of the 2019 season among Cincinnati’s 227 of them, may have been trying to match that one. Look at where this thing lands….

OK, so perhaps it didn’t go 463 feet like the one he hit in Milwaukee last year, but using some google maps measurement tools, that thing went about 420 feet and was no slouch. For the record, that’s roughly 71 VanMeter’s for those of you keeping track at home. He’d also add a single, going 2-2 on the day and raising his average to .455 on the spring.

VanMeter wasn’t the only Red to hit a baseball over the fence. Derek Dietrich also unloaded on a ball an inning later, crushing his first homer of the spring into right-center. He and the pitcher both knew it as soon as he hit it, too. Dietrich struck a quick pose to watch it, while the pitcher didn’t bother to even turn around and check.

The big blow after the two solo homers came off of the bat of Alex Blandino. After taking over for Mike Moustakas in the lineup he smacked a 2-run double that brought in Jose Garcia and Christian Colon. Garcia went 1-3 on the day, while Colon walked earlier in the inning. That double gave Cincinnati the lead for the time, though the Cubs would eventually come back and tie the game in the top of the 9th. Alejo Lopez would single in the bottom of the 9th but was erased on a fielder choice.

On the mound it was Tejay Antone who got the start – he allowed a run in 1.0 innings with a strikeout. Pedro Strop, Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett, Sal Romano, and Nate Jones all tossed a shutout inning of relief. It was a tougher day for both Raisel Iglesias and Robert Stephenson – both of whom struggled with their control on the day. Ryan Lillie came on to record the final out of 6th inning, getting a fly out to center field. Cody Reed had a little bit of bad luck, with one of his two runs in the 9th inning being unearned. You can see the entire box score for the game here.

15 Responses

  1. Rich

    I have been big on VanMeter for the past two seasons. I sure hope that the Reds do not give up on him. For some odd reason, I see him maybe as a left handed hitting version of Paul Konerko?

    • Oldtimer

      He’ll have to do better than he did as a Red in 2019. 260 PA, 8 HR, 23 RBI, .237 BA.

      Those are not Konerko numbers.

      Joey Votto has 1 hit in 12 AB this ST.

      • Simon Cowell

        Walks are more important than hits dont you know.

      • RojoBenjy

        In 2019, folks made the following excuse for Peraza, “he can’t settle in because Bell has him playing all over the diamond.”

        The same thing was done to VanMeter in 2019–why can’t the same excuse be made for him?

        My biggest complaint about 2019 was that the manager didn’t pencil VanMeter in at 2B every game, in order to really let everyone see what kind of player he is (for better or worse). We still don’t know. We could have found out last season.

      • Oldtimer

        Peraza showed he could do it at MLB level the year before. JVM hasn’t yet.

      • Mike in Ottawa

        You are right in Konerko’s first 200 PA he had 7 HR 29 RBI and a .218 BA. Advantage JVM. Plus he had 33 BB to Konerko’s 16. He did K 14 times more than Paul. But still advantage JVM in my book.

      • RojoBenjy

        OT-

        I’ll give you that Peraza did something the year before. But when he wasn’t getting it done in 2019, an argument could be made that JVM needed his chance to show whether or not he could do it.

        Anyway, it would be fun if JVM turned out a nice productive career for the Reds, but probably not wise to hold one’s breath.

    • BK

      If Suarez (or another infielder) starts the season on the IL, I’d like to see VanMeter make the team and start in their place. If everyone is healthy, I hope he gets consistent at bats at AAA and remains ready for the inevitable call. His splits between starting and subbing were pretty stark last year. I’d hate to see him employed in a bench role when there are other good options to turn to. He’s a solid player that I think will eventually carve out a role as a solid starter at the MLB level.

  2. MK

    Pretty close to Konerko numbers. First full big league year combined Dodgers/Reds 239 PA, 7 HR, 29 RBI, .217 BA. In fact VanMeter was a little better. Josh is also an asset defensively. Konerko was absolutely the worst big league third baseman I ever saw but could not beat out Sean Casey at first.

    • Oldtimer

      Anything you wanna bet, anything, that JVM will not come anywhere close to Konerko MLB numbers in MLB. Anything at all.

  3. Stock

    I love VanMeter. I think he is better than Konerko. Here is what Fangraphs wrote about him today.

    —Josh VanMeter. This is the kind of thing that we—as conoisseurs of the downtrodden and neglected—live for. VanMeter, we think, can really hit. That .348/,429/.669 in Triple-A last year is induplicable anywhere but slow-pitch softball, but that leaves a lot of room for regression. Moreover, although he didn’t show it in the majors last season, Van Meter, a left-handed hitter, can hit left-handed pitching pretty well. Furthermore, he plays all over the field, so—though at the moment he doesn’t have a regular job on the suddenly-bulked-up Reds—he should get a fair share of plate appearances. If he gets 200, he should get at least 10 home runs and five stolen bases, and could hit .300. Not a bad guy to be able to plug in to your lineup when you need a plug, and—with an ADP of 456—he should be readily available when you’re ready for him.

    • Oldtimer

      LOL.

      In 2,349 games over 18 seasons, Konerko posted a .283 batting average (2,340-for-8,393) with 1,162 runs, 410 doubles, 439 home runs, 1412 RBI, 921 bases on balls, .354 on-base percentage and .486 slugging percentage. He finished his career with a .995 fielding percentage as a first baseman.