This is what it’s like when people pay attention.
Fox Sports baseball writer Dayn Perry says the Reds can make it to the post-season, if they stay healthy. Perry’s really sharp (he used to write for Prospectus), so it’s worth a read.
Prospectus’ Joe Sheehan uses today’s column (subscription, I think – but worth it) to dissect the Reds’ hot start.
We can comfortably say that the Reds arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t as good as their 19-8 record. Few teams are .700 teams, and this Reds team isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to be one of them.
This team is in first place because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been scoring like Ashton Kutcher on a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Singles Over 40Ã¢â‚¬Â cruise. The Reds lead the NL in runs, runs per game, OBP, OPS and EqA, and are second in homers and slugging. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re on pace for 948 runs, surpassing even the 901 I thought they could score. . . . Led by Felipe Lopez (9-for-9), the Reds are 23-for-28 stealing bases, a tremendous rate.
The minor pickups the Reds made, a mix of moves slagged (Hatteberg, Aurilia) and praised (Phillips) in these pages, are all turning out to be good ones. WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s truly encouraging is how quickly they moved to cut bait on Tony Womack.
Joe writes that while the Reds are capable of keeping up this level of run scoring, the pitching has been “over its head for a month.” But while noting Arroyo’s absurd BABIP (.193, compared to Harang’s .301), Joe says that Harang and Arroyo’s peripherals show that they “can be credible starters for a contending team. ” He (correctly) points out that Milton, Williams, and (less-correctly) Claussen “have been getting murderized.” True, but doesn’t that contridict the theisis that they’re pitching over their heads?
The Reds will simply have to outscore people, then make a decision in 70 days as to whether they have a real chance at the postseason. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not going to put the division away, and their best-case scenario has them on the bubble, needing at least one pitcher and maybe two. This will be the first real shot at contention the Reds have had since Great American Ballpark was built, and it’ll be interesting to see how this team manages it.
Bailey: Scouts say that Bailey projects to be a Number One starter at the Major League level, assuming that he can harness his command. Both his fastball and curveball are (or will be) plus major league pitchers, and if the changeup develops as expected, he can really dominate. We have to see if he can stay healthy, of course. His control does look better in the early going this year.
By the way, Homer turns 20 today. Happy Birthday, Homer!
(Edited to add the BP article to the day’s round-up).