Earlier this week I reached out to supporters of the site through Patreon to request some questions to answer in the early part of the season (you can support the site through Patreon and get some perks for just a few bucks a month). With that out of the way, let’s get to the questions and answers.

What roster moves do you expect at months end? Assuming Castillo is ready, it seems three guys have to be sent down.

Injuries are always going to be a factor that we can’t account for, so that could certainly come into play. My guess would be that Sanmartin goes to the bullpen to open up the rotation spot. But that Sanmartin pushes Hunter Strickland out – he currently has an ERA of 12.46 and 5 walks with just 2 strikeouts in 4.1 innings. Jake Fraley hasn’t shown much of anything to this point, so I’d guess he gets optioned. With the injured list for the position guys being a bit of a mystery because of who will still be around after Naquin and India are likely activated in the next few days it’s tough to say, but Aristides Aquino feels like someone who could get DFA’d. He has 21 strikeouts in 40 plate appearances and just 2 hits this season.

Which do you look forward to more, comments on game threads or zillow listings with one picture? Follow up question. Is there one prospect outside the top tier that has you irrationally excited?

I guess I do say that I’ll answer pretty much anything in these mailbags, huh? I look forward to Zillow listings with one picture – like the one I saw yesterday where the one single picture was a screenshot from Google Street View….. from 2007. House shopping is soul crushing the last three years.

I don’t want to say that I’m irrationally excited, because I’m not. But the guy that’s the most “off the radar” that has me intrigued is Carlos Jorge. While he certainly got a nice signing bonus, it was still the 5th biggest among just the Reds signing class. He’s a non-top 25 guy right now, too. It seems everyone I have talked to like his chance to hit, but there’s a very wide variety of opinions on his power potential.

How real are Michael Siani’s early season results? Don’t expect him to continue to be this hot but have their been changes to his approach that will lead to better results than we have seen in the past?

The biggest change seems to be in his plate approach. And it might be something that began last fall when he was in the Arizona Fall League and walked 10 times with 9 strikeouts. This season in Double-A he’s got 10 walks and just 7 strikeouts in 12 games. The hits have stopped falling in for him over the past few days, so his average is down to .256 as I type this, but if he’s going to continue to walk as often as he strikes out (or more), that’s going to be a big thing for him.

It might feel like Siani’s been around forever and that’s he’s getting a bit old, but he’s 3 weeks older than last year’s 1st round pick (and now Chattanooga teammate) Matt McLain. He’s been a pro since 2018 because he came out of high school, and there’s been some ups and downs in his development, but if we count his AFL time, he’s got 20 walks and 16 strikeouts in his last 102 plate appearances while also showing a bit of pop for an elite level defender in center. Still kind of a small sample size here, but you have to like what you see here.

Of the players not currently assigned to a team, do you know which ones are in extended spring training, and which ones have been released?

So here’s the list of guys that were released that came across my radar (some could be missing due to the transactions log being wacky):

Do you have any reads on Yerlin Confidan‘s athleticism? I have seen clips of him running where he does and then does not look athletic. Big, big arm, big power, yeah. Yet most of his errors in complex ball last year were fielding errors. He’s listed as 6’0″ and 170 by BA, so he’s not exactly a lumbering power hitter. Can he stick in RF or will he end up tethered to the left field foul pole?

The Reds 2022 Media Guide was finally completed this week. Not sure if it’s available yet to the public, but I’ve got the PDF version of it and he’s now listed at 6′ 2″ and 212lbs…. so he’s a lot bigger than his old listing. With the whole 2020 and 2021 restrictions (when the season began), it seems that there were some real delays in updating the height and weight of a lot of minor league guys and Confidan certainly fits that bill. With that said, he’s still got ample room to add to his frame.

With that said, I’ve never seen him play in person. There’s a decent gap right now in what I’ve been able to see due to the 2020 and 2021 situations, particularly guys in rookie and A-ball. That leaves me relying mostly on secondary reports. One person I spoke to wasn’t exactly high on his athleticism after seeing him play last year in the complex league. That said, the crew at Fangraphs said they felt he was more athletic this spring than he was last year. I’m hoping to get down to Daytona in the 1st half of the season, so I should get eyes on him soon enough.

How soon would you expect Elly De La Cruz to get to Chattanooga and Matt McClain to get to Louisville based on their starts to the season?

Unfortunately we saw Miguel Hernandez break his hamate bone this past week. That’s going to have him on the injured list for a bit, leaving a shortstop opening in Triple-A that needs to be filled. The Reds did not send Matt McLain up to take that spot. That’s not entirely too surprising – he’s only played for like two weeks at the Double-A level, and Jose Barrero is going to be back on the field soon and at the very least when he’s rehabbing it’s likely to be with Louisville at shortstop.

I think that McLain could be promoted before De La Cruz. He’s just more polished, particularly in his approach, and I just think that De La Cruz needs to work on his. If it were up to me, without big improvements in the approach, I’d keep him in Dayton all year. It’s not up to me, though.

Do you think that promotions including Matt McLain and TJ Hopkins might be coming soon?

I could see McLain being promoted before the first half is over, but it might also be related to what happens with Jose Barrero, too. Both guys are likely to play shortstop, so if Barrero is optioned to Triple-A when he’s activated, that doesn’t leave room for McLain if the team wants him playing shortstop.

As for Hopkins – he played in Double-A last year. That, at least in theory, means he could get an early promotion because he’s already shown stuff at the level. But there’s also the “where will he play” question. If TJ Friedl winds up back in Louisville, which is a possibility, he’s going to have to compete for playing time with Friedl, Cedrola, Almora, and Dawson. Having the DH option helps, but still, if you’d rather everyone play every day you might keep him in Chattanooga to do that until there’s a more clear answer.

Is it time to get excited about Andrew Abbott and Joe Boyle?

I’m not sure there’s any more reason to be excited about Joe Boyle today than there was before the season began. He’s got elite stuff and he’s got a walk rate that is simply way too high to play at the highest level. The sample size this year is just too small to change my opinion there. He’s pitched just 8.0 innings this season and while he hasn’t allowed a hit and he’s struck out 17 of the 28 batters he’s faced, he’s also walked 5 of them.

In a similar way with Andrew Abbott – he’s pitched just two games and covered 9.0 innings. The results have been good as he’s given up just one run while striking out 14 batters. Still, the stuff hasn’t exactly changed from where it was. He’s got good stuff and he’s using it well.

Both guys are worth getting excited for, for different reasons. But right now I don’t think either guy is flying up prospect rankings right now based on new information from the start of their 2022 seasons.

Jose Torres also appears to have a better bat than scouts gave him credit for. Should we start taking him seriously?

What he did last year in his debut certainly changed the narrative at least a little bit. He’s a top 20 Reds prospect entering the year just about everywhere, so I think we all started taking him a little more seriously – particularly at the plate. If he can keep hitting he’s going to keep on moving up the rankings. His defense is very, very good. He made a play the other night in Dayton that showed off his baseball smarts just as much as his athleticism at the position…. just an impressive player right now.

Any reports on Chase Perry’s stuff and velocity so far this season?

I got a little bit of Trackman info on him from one of his games this year. He’s in the mid-90’s (sat 94-96, topped at 97). Low-spin rate on the pitch, but that’s actually good since he’s trying to throw sinkers, and it’s getting exactly the kind of results you want from it – he’s got a 66% ground ball rate so far. He’s still pretty limited on his pitch count, but even so he only threw two change ups in the outing, but one of them did get a swing and a miss (the other one induced a ground out). The slider was good in the results column, working 83-86 and 9 of the 10 he threw were strikes and none were put in play.

I have been enamored with some of the metrics that are now available to track/quantify stuff and command. Do you know if the Reds internal pitch quality models closely resemble the models that are publicly available?

At this point I do not know. With Kyle Boddy now gone things *may* be disseminated a little bit differently than they were in the last few years. Maybe they aren’t. I’ve only been to one game this year in the minors, so I haven’t really had too much of an opportunity to talk to people and see what – if anything – is different in these terms. I do know that much of the Driveline “stuff” metrics do resemble the public stuff we see. I would imagine most teams – if they are doing their own stuff here instead of just buying data from Driveline or someone else – is going to be quite similar.

Now, with that said, I do think that the “stuff” models are pretty good in the public sphere. I’m still skeptical of the control/command models. Like, I get what they are trying to do, but I just don’t think it’s something that we can truly model based on intent because we can’t/don’t get into the intended target.

8 Responses

  1. Stock

    I know I am alone in my opinion of Joe Boyle right now but feel I won’t be at the end of the year.

    Randy Johnson had the best slider in the history of the game (although I never saw Bob Gibson pitch). He struggled with his control early in his career. In fact he walked 7.9/9 IP as a 22 year old in the Florida State league. As a 23 year old he walked 8.2/9 IP in AA. I feel his slider was so good it just took him time to learn the proper release point and target. Even as a professional his control was not the best. He walked 5.7/9 IP in his first 818 innings.

    Fast forward to Joe Boyle. Joe Boyle walked 9.2/9 IP last year. But his BB% went down every start. His slider is so good it takes time to learn how to throw it for strikes. But on the 19th two things happened that made me feel he has comfort with his location. First 64% of his pitches were strikes. That is better than any Reds starter from last year. Even more important is the fact that MK posted on here that most of his first pitches to batters was his breaking ball and not his fastball. That tells me he is comfortable with throwing that pitch for strikes.

    I agree that one game is a small sample size. But to throw his slider on the first pitch speaks to his confidence for getting it across the plate.

    Finally Boyle has struck out more than 50% of the batters he has faced in his career. Only 4 batters have put the ball into play this year and two of them were IFFB. He is as close to being unhittable as any pitcher I have ever seen.

    • DaveCT

      Time will tell. Boyle may no longer be an anomaly. If there are even 3-4 others with his ability at his level, he is no longer be a Randy Johnson. He’s a #2 starter on a good team behind a Keyshaw or Scherzer.

      • Doc

        I’ll be comparing Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and other young Reds starters to Bob Gibson. Bullet Bob’s first three years were not spectacular, but then he was dominant until his final season. Problem is that if pitchers take three years to reach dominant status in today’s game, they only have three more years before they are on the bidding war market. The Cardinals had Gibby for his entire career and reaped great rewards for the patience over those first three seasons.

    • Luke J

      Yeah, 5 walks in 9 innings is an improvement. Especially when it was 4 walks first game and only 1 the second. I absolutely see the walk rate improving. I watched his last start and he didn’t seem to be a wild pitcher at all. I think the narrative is going to be changing, even if some are slow to give him credit for the progress he’s made.

  2. LDS

    I know AA is out of options but what about Fraley and Strickland? Do they wind up at Louisville or become free agents? And if we were discussing moves from the minors to the Reds, who or is there anyone, that could be brought up that would breath some life into the team, e.g. Dawson?

    • MK

      As GM will not want to lose anymore face on the Seattle deal Fraley isn’t going anywhere.