Some points about the Reds from sabermetric circles that were published in the last couple of days:

Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus reports on the latest Reds major injuries in a preview spot. They discuss Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Willy Taveras, and Scott Rolen‘s injuries. They don’t rip Dusty Baker, but don’t let him off the hook either. Carroll doesn’t seem optimistic about Cueto and questions how Dusty will handle Taveras when he returns.

Baseball Prospectus also mentions Juan Francisco in their minor league report on their pay side and his impressive AAA start. To summarize that paragraph, there’s nothing really surprising to Redleg Nation readers in the blurb; BP says that no one in the Reds’ system can match his power, but there are questions about his defense and his “impatient approach” at the plate which has only earned him 17 unintentional walks this season.

Rob Neyer’s ESPN Sweet Spot
was mentioned in a couple of comment sections yesterday about the “new” Reds centerfielder, Drew Stubbs, who has similar skills to the old Reds’ centerfielder, but costs a whole lot less and is younger. Neyer questions what the Reds will do with that $four million contract. You can read that one in full by clicking on the Rob Neyer link.

One more item of note, baseball historian Bill James was asked on his pay site about Pete Rose and whether he was truly Hall of Fame worthy as a player. A reader compares Rose to Juan Pierre, and James pretty much sets the record straight on just how important Pete Rose was to baseball in the 1970’s.

For the record, sabermetric statistical fans do not typically like Pete Rose. Not even getting into the gambling issue, most statisticians feel that Rose was overrated, just hung on to pad his stats, and really wasn’t that good when he played anyway…and, after all, who cares about veteran leadership?

James, in my opinion, pretty much started the whole idea of fantasy baseball as a result of his sabermetric baseball analysis and is definitely the guy who started the interest explosion of the “new” insightful baseball statistics. I don’t think fantasy baseball was his intention, but his writings started a full blown sport of its own as more and more information became available.

As readers of this website know, there’s a ton of information out there that’s available for anyone to read, anecdotal as well as statistical. Some sabermetricians may feel that James has “sold out,” but it’s my opinion that James gets it right when it comes to what makes a ballplayer famous. It’s more than just the stats; I said in a comments section the other day for Reds fans to not be surprised if Adam Dunn makes the Hall of Fame. With Dunn on track for over 600 career home runs (he’s the fifth fastest to get to 300), I think the election would come based on his massive home run totals in an era where home runs are on the decline due to the steroid scandal. It will make him even more unique than he is now.

There’s the other side of fame and Pete Rose meets that side, too. In addition to his 4.256 hits and a slew of other records, James mentions that the baseball world, especially writers, swarmed and swirled around Pete Rose. I think of it this way: While Reggie Jackson may have been the “straw that stirs the drink,” Pete Rose would have been the engine that motors baseball. Everyone and everything is compared to how Pete Rose played the game…we do it today, whether we mention Rose’s name or not.

James refers to Pete’s intangibles in his response, and also mentions that Rose was a better player than most statisticians give him credit, even if he wasn’t great. James says:

It’s fine to suggest that Rose wasn’t really that good; he wasn’t. You’re overstating the argument against him. He walked 75% more than Juan Pierre and had 40% more power, in a league where there was less hitting. Rose’s OPS for his career was 70 points better than the league average; Pierre’s is 30 points under the league average.

James also goes on to say that Rose may have been the first unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame ever, and that he probably would have been a first ballot Hall of Famer even if he had retired with 2500 hits.

I feel the steroid scandal may open a door for the Reds ‘prodigal son’ to come home.