In some interesting news, Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Iglesias has switched agents according to MLB Trade Rumors’ Steve Adams. What makes this interesting is several layers deep. First, is the fact that despite being an average caliber Major League starting shortstop, the weird offseason that was, left him having to accept a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training that paid him $2.5M if he made the team. That was nearly a $4M paycut IF he made the team. As we now know, he did.

The Reds loss of Scooter Gennett to injury late in spring training opened up a starting spot on the team for Jose Iglesias. He’s played 43 games at shortstop for the Reds this season and is hitting .295/.327/.425, good for an OPS+ of 96. That’s would be his best mark since 2015 when he was an All-Star for the Tigers.

With his success this season, he’s probably looking to secure something much better after this year than what happened last year. Switching agents now, though, may signal that he’s interested in talking with Cincinnati about something right now. Stay tuned.

The Reds are a slow group, but improving

One of the more fun things about the whole implementation of Statcast in Major League Baseball is that it’s helped settle some age-old debates. Who can hit the baseball the furthest? We’ve got the answer (Nomar Mazara – at least so far this season). Who is faster? We’ve got the answer (Byron Buxton).

How are the Reds looking thus far? Well, using Statcast spring speed data we can answer that question. And in terms of pure speed, it’s not great. But it has gotten better recently. The fastest player, by far, is Nick Senzel. He’s at 28.6 feet per second. The next closest player on the Reds is Jose Peraza at 28.0 feet per second. League average is 26.9 feet per second. The Reds have five players who are considered above-average for the year. But the fourth fastest player of that group, Scott Schebler, is no longer on the big league club.

Schebler was initially replaced by Josh VanMeter, but he’s since been replaced by Phillip Ervin. He isn’t qualified yet this season, but he was last season and he came in at 28.0 feet per second. Another thing that has helped is Matt Kemp no longer being on the team. He was well below-average, coming in at 25.4 feet per second.

One stat used is called “Bolts”. The bolt stat is any play where a player reaches at least 30 feet per second. The team as a whole has three such plays. Nick Senzel, who has been with the team for two weeks, has two of them. Jose Peraza has the other. 45 players in Major League Baseball have at least three plays classified as “bolts”. 17 players have 10 or more.

The team clearly doesn’t have that “Billy Hamilton-level” speed guy on the team. Nick Senzel’s a plus speed guy, and you can toss Jose Peraza and Phillip Ervin in there, too. The starting eight, though, is below-average. And on days when Jose Peraza isn’t in the lineup, only Senzel and Puig come in as better than average.

If you’re wondering how the Reds rate out on the bases, well, your initial thoughts were probably right. They’re not good. According to Fangraphs Baseunning Metric, the Reds are 28th in the league, ahead of just the Blue Jays and Padres. Nick Senzel is already well ahead of the rest of the team with a +1.1 mark.

Alex Blandino playing in Goodyear

Alex Blandino, according to Mark Sheldon, has begun to play in games out in Goodyear in extended spring training.He’s recovering from ACL surgery after tearing his ligament in his knee late last July. Assuming there’s no set backs, he could be on his way to joining a minor league team on a true rehab assignment shortly.

24 Responses

  1. wutinthehail

    Is this data from Baseball Savant? Just curious about the best place to go for Statcast data.

    • Doug Gray

      Yes, Baseball Savant has the best database for this.

  2. Bred

    Where does Alex Blandino fit with the Reds right now? The only spot he may be an upgrade to would be Paraza or Duke.

    • Doug Gray

      I’m guessing that after his rehab is complete he’s optioned to Triple-A.

    • Warren Leeman

      Yes, what Doug says. With Iglesias and Dietrich on the 25-man roster, Blandino and Peraza fill a nearly identical role on the 25-man roster. Farmer can also be added to that twosome making 3 players filling nearly identical roles (RH utility IF) with Blandino’s activation from the IL.

      Once Scooter returns from the IL, that probably makes Farmer expendable for a trip on the Louisville Express shuttle.

      • MFG

        Farmer is a very good pinch hitter with some pop.

  3. matthew hendley

    Interesting news about iglesias, timing indicates 2 things, 1. he is obviously unhappy with the contract he received under his old agent, and considering his play so far this season, so would anyone else. 2. The early switch may indicate the wish to rework this years contract, which of course would only be done in the case of an extension.
    I think its a good sign, at least he is willing to talk.
    Good to see that blandino is nearing a rehab assignment. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who I want him to replace on the roster.

  4. Ron Payne

    The Reds would be smart to extend both Jose Iglesias and Derek Dietrich.

    • Warren Leeman

      Dietrich doesn’t need to be extended, at least not yet. The Reds control his contract thru arbitration for another year (2020) before he becomes a FA (2021).

  5. Old-school

    Reds have done a nice job with recent contracts. Suarez in particular.

    I did not realize( per Cots contracts) that Tucker Barnhart’s highest salary year as a Red will be 2018 at $4 million. He’s a pretty good cheap back up catcher or trade piece to a young pitching staff in rebuild mode. Reds just need a better #1 catcher. Yasmani Grandal is a FA next year.

    Do the same with Iglesias contract. Pay him now with a signing bonus and a solid offer in 2020 and then 2021 is a Reds option. He’s a great defensive weapon.

    Jose Peraza is making $2.775 million. What is his arbitration number next year if hes a 0.7-1.1 WAR part time player in his 2nd year of arbitration. If Blandino is healthy , he’s a good
    cheap utility infielder option.

  6. redfan4life

    Team speed is a problem. I am not talking stolen bases so much.
    Doug, Do you know where the Reds rank in terms of going first to third base on a single.
    I am guessing near the bottom. One reason is lack of base runners.

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t know. But as you noted, simply having the “counted” times that has happened doesn’t tell us whether or not the team is doing well on the bases in the scenario as much of it could be the amount of opportunities and the performance of the hitters with guys on first.

  7. RedsFan11

    A question for the “more” part of this article. What is ther actual (if any) news on Scooter returning? I keep hearing June 1st from people, but I feel like if that was the case we would of heard about him doing some rehab by now. I haven’t seen anything from the Reds which makes me think it could be all star break.

    Unless I’ve completely missed information on this

  8. jreis

    Doug after watching these past 2 series with the cubs and dodgers I was kind of down because they just seem so much better than us (even though we split). so it got me thinking how can we ever compete with these power teams? obviously great pitching is the key but we that wont generate offense and lets face it, we nearly got shut out in 3 of the 6 games. So maybe speed can be the great equalizer like it was for us in 1990 and in the brm days. I am glad to see that Senzel can really fly and our minor league top prospects all seem like they are built for speed except maybe India. I am glad to see that Bell is calling for more stolen bases as well. I think for the month of april we had only 4 sb as a team.

    • VaRedsFan

      They could start competing when they stop overvaluing their prospects and grab young, All Star Caliber players, when they are available. (Yelich/Realmuto). How would this year’s team look with those 2 bats added (at a very below-market price), to the improved pitching staff. Yelich would have cost Senzel, and JTR would have cost Trammell. Hopefully, one day Senzel will be an MVP, Yelich already has one and is well on his way to a 2nd

      • RojoBenjy

        Are there others that think that Senzel and Trammel are being overvalued?

      • greenmtred

        It would be great to have Yelich and Realmuto, but we wouldn’t have gotten them that cheaply.

      • greenmtred

        I’m sure that there are others who think they’re over-valued. The problem is, we won’t know their value until they’ve played in MLB for a few years.

    • greenmtred

      I’m not sure that I’d characterize the speed as an equalizer for the BRM: They didn’r really need an equalizer because they had pretty much everything. The 1990 team had the Nasty Boys and they had Eric Davis: He was fast, for sure, but he was a lot more, besides. Same with Larkin.

      • jreis

        Sparky said it himself in his interviews that speed is what really separated the reds from other teams

    • MFG

      It only seems that way because we are not hitting. If some of these guys were even close to their averages we would in first place.

    • Lwblogger2

      And you were worried about Senzel being too slow…