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Schebler was initially replaced by Josh VanMeter, but he’s since been replaced by Phillip Ervin.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.