It hasn’t quite been two weeks since Jose Garcia was called up to join the Cincinnati Reds at the big league level after spending the earlier part of the year at Prasco Park as a part of their alternate site roster. Since he made his debut on August 27th, Garcia has played in nine games. Defensively he’s looked as good as expected. He’s shown off his arm strength, some range both at shortstop and in the shift while playing on the other side of the bag in shallow right field.

At the plate, though, it’s been a struggle for the young shortstop. Through 32 plate appearances Jose Garcia is hitting just .161/.188/.161. He’s drawn just one walk and he’s struck out 11 times.

When he was called up, manager David Bell noted it was the right time to call him up, but also that there were going to be some growing pains.

“(He’s) Really mature beyond his years, he’s still a very young player,” said manager David Bell on the day of the call up. “Yeah – it was the right time to add him to the team, to bring him here and for a young player to join at this time, it only makes sense if they’re going to play a lot and get a lot of starts and a lot of playing time. That doesn’t mean he’s going to play every inning of every game, but we really went into this committing to giving him an opportunity to play. And we believe just by being the best version of Jose Garcia, he’s going to contribute to helping our team win without trying to be too much. It was the right time. It’s exciting to add a player to the middle of the field. He has range, he has athleticism. He’s shown what he can do offensively. There’s definitely growing pains there, but we wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t think that by having him in the lineup, we determined that was our best lineup to win right now. So that’s how the decision was made.”

The growing pains have been there at the plate early on. And that leads us to the headline of this article. Jose Garcia is both swinging too much, and he’s not swinging enough. How is that even possible? Well, here’s a sentence that I wrote on the day he was called up:

He can have an aggressive approach at times, though, and that could lead to more advanced pitchers being able to get him to expand the zone a bit.

That’s one of the things we’ve seen so far. Fangraphs has Jose Garcia with an outside of the strikezone swing rate of 38.7%. The Major League average rate is 30.3%. Garcia’s only got 32 plate appearances, so we are definitely dealing with a small sample size here and those numbers can change quickly with such a small number of pitches seen – but early on he’s expanded the zone a lot more than your typical Major League hitter. Among the 414 players with at least 30 plate appearances, Garcia’s chase rate of 38.7% ranks 364th. This is where Garcia needs to swing less. No one is actually good at hitting non-strikes overall. There may be a very specific spot out of the strikezone that they can handle, but overall it’s an area where no one is particularly good at doing any sort of damage.

Being too aggressive outside of the zone is a problem. Being aggressive inside of the strikezone usually isn’t. But for Jose Garcia the problem is that he’s been taking a lot of pitches inside of the strikezone. According to Fangraphs, Garcia’s zone swing rate is 61.5%. The league average rate is 67.3%. That difference may not seem that large, but of the 414 players with at least 30 plate appearances this season, that rates out 338th, and it’s last on the Reds among active players – and only now traded Josh VanMeter’s 59.7% rate was lower. It’s here, in the strikezone, where he needs to swing more.

Of course, hitting theory is a lot easier than hitting. There’s usually a reason that hitters chase pitches out of the strikezone – they didn’t decipher that it was out of the strikezone soon enough to not swing. That same thing, identifying the pitch quickly enough, could be the reason that they don’t swing at certain pitches in the strikezone, too.

With Jose Garcia, pitchers are throwing him a ton of strikes in the zone. Fangraphs has his zone% at 46.4%, which is easily the highest among all Cincinnati Reds this season and 25th highest in all of baseball – again, of the 414 hitters with at least 30 plate appearances. But as noted above, Garcia isn’t swinging too frequently on those pitches. Just as troubling, though, is that when he does – he’s not making contact. His zone contact is just 75%. While three out of four swings making contact may sound good, it’s not. It rates 378th in baseball, where the average is 85%. His contact rate on balls swung at in the strikezone is far and away the worst among the Reds hitters.

Jose Garcia is just 22-years-old. While some guys step into the Major Leagues and just hit right out of the gate, that’s not the typical case. That’s almost never the case when it’s a guy who has never played Double-A or Triple-A baseball – which is the case for Garcia. When the 2021 Major League season begin, he’ll still be 22-years-old. There’s a lot of time for him to make adjustments, to learn, to figure things out.

For now, it’s a tough question of what he should do. Do you preach aggressiveness in order to try and get more swings on pitches in the zone where he should be able to do more damage? If so, does that lead to expanding the zone even more than he already has been, leading to more swings and misses, or more soft contact? Being more aggressive when pitches are pounding the strikezone against you could help, but if they notice you are swinging more do they adjust to fewer strikezone pitches and cause you to adjust your approach once again this season?

The answer isn’t easy. As noted above – hitting theory is easy. It’s the hitting execution that is insanely difficult. Garcia needs to swing more at pitches in the strikezone, and he needs to make more contact on them when he does. He could also benefit from swinging at pitches out of the zone a little less frequently, too. How to make that happen may not simply be a matter of “want” or even approach (for the most part). It could be improving pitch identification, which takes time as it generally involves seeing more and more pitches.

Whichever reason it happens to be, Garcia needs to work on takings the steps to get there. He’s been down this road before. In his first season in the minors he had some big struggles offensively. He improved each month of the season, and while you can’t identify it as much in the numbers, if you were able to watch him throughout the 2018 season you could see him closing in on his “swing zone” and improving his eye at the plate.

In 2019 there were some adjustments to be made, too. He missed most of April, returning on the 25th. From that first game, through the end of June, he had 15 walks and 55 strikeouts in 238 plate appearances. Over the next two months of the season he had 10 walks and 28 strikeouts in 214 plate appearances. The walks were low on both sides of the split (6.3% and 4.7%). But his strikeout rate went from 23.1% down to 13.1%. Garcia has shown an ability to figure it out, to adjust, to improve. Expecting it to happen overnight probably isn’t fair to him, or anyone. It could take some time, and realistically there’s not much remaining in the 2020 season. The struggles have been large early on, but there’s plenty of reason to believe he can make the adjustment.

77 Responses

  1. Bred

    As the season winds down with little optimism that the Reds will make the expanded postseason, they ought to play him everyday. There is nothing to lose and provides him some valuable experience.

  2. Indydoug

    GotBryan Price on your mind huh? Just kidding

    • Hotto4Votto

      Two days in a row we get a Price mention. For Reds fans, unfortunately it does feel we’re in a Groundhogs day type time loop, permanently stuck in rebuild mode.

      • jim walker

        Where is Mr Data when we really need him (recalling the Star Trek Next Gen episode where Data was able carry code through time loop iterations to break them out).

    • Doug Gray

      I’m not writing anything today. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

    • jim m

      To bad the Reds front office cant get rid of Bell, give the job to Larkin and let him mentor Garcia the last 19 games to see if he can help him with adjustments at the plate and in the field. At least see if a chamge can help save the teams chances to get in the playoffs. Staying status quoe shows losing is okay 17 out of 20 years!!! GRRRRRR

  3. Don

    Garcia and others will be on the team in 2021 should play every day and stop playing anyone whom won’t. Aquino, Stephenson should be in the lineup every day as well and Senzel if he is healthy. All of these players need to see more MLB pitching.
    Mahle and Antone should pitch every 5 days. Fill in the other veterans around them.

    8 losses behind 2nd place in the division so being 1st or 2nd in the division is a very low probability (9.7% per fangraphs) and 4 or 5 teams to pass for sneaking in as 7th or 8th (28.1% per fangraphs_

    2020 is another lost year for the Reds and they should play the last 19 games of 2020 as if they are the start of 2021.

    • Rob

      It will come soon enough but Let them play out the string before emptying the bench. Any predictions on what the last 10 games will look like if this ship sinks? Yeah, the prospects will play but who else? There will be no stat building in a partial season. What will be the incentives for this old team? I don’t think the professional bit will apply. Who will really want to play? And then we will have the divide between returning players and non returning players. No fans. I just cant foresee it being anything other than disinterested players. Who would want to pitch? Wouldn’t surprise me that they fire Bell at this point.I

      The off-season could be interesting. Would we go into another semi rebuild mode with Garcia and Stephenson as regulars? If the answer to that is yes, don’t you also have to look at 2022 and whether you need to move expiring contracts like Gray, Garrett, Castillo, etc.? Just can’t see it. I think you have to consider rentals at a few positions while the prospects develop. Just can’t see this team and talent therein supporting 210 batting averages from Stephenson, Garcia, etc. and saying they are going to be competitive.

  4. bug

    Garcia is not the only Reds player swinging at bad pitches and taking pitches in the strike zone. The whole team is bad for that. It’s like they are guessing way too much. They either take a perfect strike right down the middle, or swing for a home run on a ball in the dirt. All or none. That is what has kept this team losing for many years now. The Big Red Machine did not have that batting philosophy,..nor does any good baseball team. The Reds need a batting coach and players who have a goal to try to cut down on Ks,..i.e. try to put the bat on the baseball. Make the opposing team play defense. Who knows? They might make an error if you actually hit the baseball to them. They won’t make an error if you strike out!!!! And take a full swing, instead of these check swings (Votto). This is the worst hitting baseball team I’ve ever seen. Time and time again I see certain players (I won’t name names) take three straight pitches right down the middle and never swing once. 3 pitches. No excuse for that. That’s reason enough to SHAME that player,..and sit his rear end on the bench until he has the courage to actually swing at a pitch. And the Reds players are even worse if there is an ounce of pressure on them,..i.e. in the clutch. They need to address the overall poor team hitting!!!!! This team’s pitching was good enough to be competitive this year. But it was their lack of hitting (especially clutch hitting) that sank them.

    • Doug Gray

      The whole team isn’t bad for that, though, bug. But even if they were, Garcia’s worse at it than everyone else on the team to this point.

      • bug

        I agree that Garcia is the worst on the team for his few number at bats. And that bothers me bad, as it’s my pet peeve (striking out with a man on third and less than two outs). He needs to improve. And since he is only a rookie, hopefully he will. I appreciate you pointing it out. I’m with you on that. But some of the other Reds (that are not rookies) are bad for that also,..with a lot more at bats. For instance,..Suarez had 49 home runs last year. Did you know he led the NL with the most strike outs with 189? He struck out more than any other player in the NL!!! My point is, the Reds as a team strike out too much. I’d prefer a lot less home runs for Suarez, if he would strike out a lot less. When Suarez first came to the Reds, he made great contact and seldom struck out. Votto struck out 123 times last year, btw. Did you also know that the Reds this year are LAST in MLB in team batting average? I repeat,…they are ranked #30 in team batting average,..last in all of MLB!!! So,..I agree that Garcia needs to learn when to swing and when not to swing. But the Reds offensive woes go much deeper than that. They need to unload some of the common denominators for the last few losing seasons. Find some players that get a single now and then. Course they are locked in with too many. Sad,..because our pitching is over all top notch. New manager, new GM, and some players that can make contact with a baseball. That’s just my opinion.

      • Doug Gray

        More contact isn’t a fix all. Teams that score a lot of runs both make a lot of contact and not a lot of contact. It’s more about what you do when you do make contact.

        This offense is an absolute mess right now. A lot of that is simply because they’ve got a historically low BABIP. It’s not because they are 19th in strikeout rate in the Major Leagues – teams making less contact are scoring plenty more runs. They do need more hits, no question. But those hits are missing due to historically bad luck when they do make contact, not because they team isn’t making contact. With a league average BABIP this season, the Reds would have at least 47 more hits than they do (it would be more, though, given that those hits instead of outs would lead to more plate appearances, and to maintain that .292 BABIP some of those PA would result in hits – quick back of the napkin math suggests it’s probably about 60 additional hits when all factors are figured in). That difference is more than 35 points of batting average on the season.

      • seadog

        Doug, I feel your pain. BABIP is not the end all. There is a reason they “MAY” hit an all time low on this. It has nothing to do with luck. Luck does not factor in at this point. The “shifts” way they approach each at bat has more to do with it. It is not “Luck”. I know small sample size/short season etc. But, this team is just “historically” that bad. The #’s you site prove it. We just have to admit—They are that bad at BABIP. Will it get better next 19 games? I sure hope so. As you say—#’s will even out over time. The problem with that is-/This team is just not bad—They are historically BAD. There is a difference.

      • Doug Gray

        That’s the thing, though – it is partially luck. The Reds aren’t that different from other teams. Everyone is facing the shift. The numbers I cite actually do prove that it’s a lot of luck with regards to BABIP. They aren’t in the bottom 10 in any category that would suggest they should be last in BABIP in the league, much less last by insane margins – but they are.

        BABIP doesn’t correct itself over a 60 game sample size, unfortunately. Luck does matter, especially in small sample sizes.

      • bug

        I agree with all you say, Doug,….although the stats I looked at had the Reds as striking out the 13th least (I hope I said that right.). Point being they were a little better than middle of the pack as far as team Ks go. But I also agree with seadog when he says “luck” should generally balance out over even a short 60 game season. No doubt the Reds have hit the ball hard at times. But like he said,’s right into the shift. To the life of me, I’ll never be able to figure out why these players can’t bunt the ball to the left side of the infield when all the defensive players are on the right side. I know it’s hard,…but it should be able to be done at least 1/3 of the time, if they would practice it. Hey,..that’s batting .330 right there. I’m old school,…and years ago most players could lay down a bunt in the right direction. So, were right in that the Reds are not THAT bad this year for Ks! But I think where they are terrible is clutch hits. In the clutch, they don’t seem to be able to buy a hit. In fact, it’s then when they seem to always strike out. Man on third, less than 2 outs,..that’s an almost automatic strike out normally for this team. Especially for certain players. No clutch hitters!!!! That’s the difference between winning and losing. They need more winners on this team. I fully expect for them to start hitting the ball these last few games,..because the pressure is off. Okay,..thanks for listening. Again,..just my opinion. And I do appreciate your perspective and your site. Thanks.

      • Doug Gray

        I looked at strikeout%. Maybe you looked at total strikeouts?

        As for the luck thing and the shift thing – if the Reds were the only team facing a shift, that would add up. But they aren’t. Every team faces the shift. The Reds don’t pull the ball at some extreme rate compared to other teams. They are dead red in the middle of the league in pull% – ranked 15th. The team that pulls the ball more than anyone? The Astros, who have a .289 BABIP. The team that pulls the ball the leadst? The Nationals who have a .308 BABIP. The team that pulls the ball the second most? The Maringers who had a .280 BABIP. There is a very, very small correlation this season with regards to pull% and BABIP. That doesn’t explain what’s happening to the Reds.

      • bug

        But not getting clutch hits would explain it,..would it not? I would think that might be the case, rather than luck. The good Reds hitters (as far as batting average) in the past, have hit to all fields. Pete would be the perfect example. Reds may or may not pull the ball more or less than other teams, but they surely are poor at spraying the ball to all fields. And the same goes for clutch hitting. Poor. Jmo.

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds rank 15th in pull percentage, so they are very much using the entire field – at least to the extent of a comparison to everyone else in the league. Yet it’s the Reds who have the worst team BABIP over the last 21 seasons by a margin that’s almost incomprehensible.

        The Reds have a .237 team BABIP. The 2010 Blue Jays had the worst team BABIP among the 600 teams from 2000-2019 at .269. The difference between the Reds and that team is 32 points. That’s the same gap between the 2010 Blue Jays and the team ranked 386th out of 600 teams from 2000-2019.

      • bug

        There is a pink elephant in the room, and few are addressing it. It’s called “clutch” hitting. Reds are sorely lacking in that department,..which would help explain pretty much every stat that been quoted. And it does go back for several years,..not for 21 though. CLUTCH HITTING,..or a lack of, I suggest. It’s the difference between winners and losers. Is there a stat for clutch hitting? Just wondering. (You would be the man that would know that kind of thing.) If so, I suspect the Reds would be leading in that category. But I could be wrong, I guess.

      • Doug Gray

        Clutch hitting needs to be defined. Everyone has a different idea of what it is. So I can’t exactly answer the question for you.

        But, just about every examination of clutch hitting has concluded that it doesn’t really exist and over the long haul, an overwhelming majority of players perform just like they normally do in “clutch” situations. Basically, good hitters are good clutch hitters and bad ones are bad – because that’s who they are.

      • bug

        I guess we have to agree to disagree on “clutch hitting” then. I’m not sure which examinations or studies you speak of when you say it’s generally agreed upon that it does not exist? So then, what’s your explanation for (let’s just say) the poor performance of this particular Reds team? Just curious. Bad luck?? If it’s not a lack of clutch hitting,..or a lack of home runs,..or a lack of hitting to all fields,..then what do you think it is? Bad hitters? I could agree with that, fwiw. This team has plenty bad hitters. Course in my years or watching and playing the game I’ve seen hitters hit for a good average over all, but seem to always whiff when it really counts. They let the pressure get to them, imho. They choke, where others seem to thrive in clutch situations. Same is true in basketball and so many other sports. Not sure what stats say (as I DO believe in stats),..but I also believe my own eyes. And I’ve been a Reds fan for going on 6 decades. I remember the players you could generally count on in crucial situations to give you a good at bat, if not a hit. Then I remember some of the bums who would put up big numbers in meaningless games and situations, but choke in the clutch. That’s just what I’ve witnessed. Do you have an explanation for why the Reds are so pitiful, when they look good on paper?

      • mudpuppie

        I can’t buy into the “bad luck” theory… Bad luck for 3 years in a row….??? come on… Terrible game plan and plate approach in my opinion…

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds BABIP last year was .288. The year before it was .307. The year before it was .294. They didn’t have “bad luck” any of those years. This year it’s .237. It’s bad luck on a historical level.

    • bug

      >>> Reds may or may not pull the ball more or less than other teams, but they surely are poor at spraying the ball to all fields.

      Not sure that was what I meant to say. 🙂

      • Jimbo44 CN

        To me the most telling (and oldest) stat is the good old batting average, say what you want, but their BAs are horrible, except for Winker, and his is going down now that he is trying to screw himself into the ground when up there. . I am a Reds fan going back to pre BRM days. Back then a 250 hitter would not be a starter.

  5. seadog

    I think your evaluation of Garcia is spot on. I also agree with many other fans. Time to play him/Stephenson/Aquino going forward
    Problem is Org has painted itself into a corner. They feel they are all in until the fat lady sings. That 20% chance of making the 7 or 8 spot is what they are holding onto.
    Because of this (and his contract) Bell is going no where soon. What we are seeing is what we will see the remaining 19 games. My opinion. Probably not worth the time it took to write it. LOL

  6. Jimbo44 CN

    I almost think they are afraid of Castellanos and then Bauer in that order. The guy just looks miserable. Doubt there is anything they can do to keep him from opting out. It all points to a team with no leadership. Did anybody notice that hit the other day by Moustakos? It hit the wall, he thought it was gone so didnt really start to run until he got past first. Would it have made any difference, who knows, but if he would have busted it he would have been on third easy. This team just does not play hard, period.

    • Bred

      I did. Initially, I assumed a triple, but the replay showed him with a slowish start and just trotting into second. The Pirates hustled their way to a win. Often they went first to third, took the extra base given to them by Reds’ players being out of position on cut off throws, and poor decision making to throw to the plate when there was no play to be had. Do the Reds even have a guy who is fast enough to go from first to third on a single to RF? Remember during the all star game when Branden P. yelled, “ First to third. That’s how we do it in Cincinnati!” I don’t recall who did that, but I do remember the audio of it.

    • Vandermint

      I noticed it too. Should have been a triple. Alas, unless maybe Bauer calls him out, no repercussions on this team.

  7. SteveO

    Billy H joins the Cubs right before the series with the Reds. Seems like a late inning pinch runner, possibly stealing some bases will be his role. Hope he doesn’t see the field in the series.

  8. seadog

    I am not trying to make this personal. But, at this point you almost have to.
    The Red’s/Doug with this website are kind of one in the same
    1. Everyone expected OUR Red’s and this site to be Outstanding
    2. Both have had major issues. Neither have lived up to what we expect.
    3. Content in both is good from my pint of view. I will still continue to promote/root for both
    4. Neither has delivered at what they expect. Bob C. And Doug are in the same boat.
    5. Do they throw more$$ at either? Do they ask for help?
    6. That is the position both Doug/Castelini are in. Doug has asked for help. Maybe Castelini should.
    Doug keep pushing. I know it is hard. Your content is 100% better than John Fay. People sent him your analysis of Antone. That says it all right there.
    Unfortunately $$ has a lot to do with all of it.
    Doug Gray should be a writer/beat reporter etc for the Reds. His analysis is way better.

    WE ALL NEED to support him 109%.

    • DataDumpster

      I do like this site after being on it for about 2 weeks. How can we support Doug during this trying time? I like to read Daugherty’s column but otherwise, I agree that the enquirer sports beat is very weak. Now that Marty’s gone, there is nobody really left in print or broadcasting (or ownership in all likelihood) to hold David Bell to account.

    • RedNat

      Seadog. How has this site” not lived up to what we expect?” I think RLN is an amazing site with thought provoking articles and a great place for us reds fans to laugh, cry, and argue withe eachother in a civilized manner. While i rarely agree with Doug’ s analysis of the team and individual players i think he is doing a great job with the site.

      • seadog

        I would agree… Shame on me if I gave you the wrong impression. Again, shame on me. Doug does an awesome job with what he has

        Always follow this site. Doug has way better content on the Reds than anyone.

      • mudpuppie

        RedNat. I agree 100% with your comment above. Doug and I disagree alot…. But I appreciate him and this site greatly.

  9. TR

    I believe when young Jose Garcia was signed out of Cuba his hitting skills were questioned at that time. He obviously needs work offensively so the Reds should hire an outstanding hitting coach, if that’s possible, to work with Garcia, and for that matter the rest of the Reds who need to become hitters first and then homeruns will follow. Garcia has the shortstop skills needed. Play him and keep him off the minor league shuttle.

  10. Old-school

    This offense is 29th in batting average.
    BABIP is helpful for an established player with a track record who isn’t in decline and plays everyday.

    You really need 150 at bats and to play every day as a legitimate big leaguer to look at BABIP and interpret its meaning.

    The Reds manager and FO have created an offense with no continuity,no rhythm and no identity with an overreliance on handedness and theoretical matchups involving role players, young players, and players in decline. Phil Ervin Josh VanMeter Matt Davidson are all AAAA players who have never proven themselves at the MLB level. Shogo is in a new league and never faced anyone so huge learning curve and adjustment period. To then take unproven players and put them in a niche handedness role with no regular playing time and expect performance is simply wrong. Player’s need to play regularly. It’s the rare Lenny Harris who can sit 5 games and get an at bat in the 8th inning and perform. It took veteran experience and thousands of at bats to do get there.

    Joey votto is hitting .235. Tucker Barnhart .186. Galvis .217 They are all in decline and it’s not bad luck. Galvis could be a good back up player still .

    With the Dh the reds need an everyday 7 to restore rhythm, timing, confidence and an offensive identity

    The everyday 4 isn’t working and didn’t work last year either.

    • bug

      Yep. I agree. Lot of truth there. But it also takes players that refuse to lose. Molina is an old fart. But when the Cards need a sac fly or a base hit, they can count on him. He gives them what they need at the right time,….i.e. he’s a clutch player. Reds are sorely lacking in that department. I don’t like him, but he’s also a smart player.

      • Old-school

        Joey votto gave an interview 2-3 years ago to mlb network in spring training and said the best hitters, Mike trout and inferring himself, can basically be billiards players.
        Votto said Trout could hit a 2 iron to right center or if he wanted could short hop the shortstop with a line drive.

        Why isn’t votto hitting line drives to left center field? You take what the defense gives in every sport? Why aren’t the Reds valuing players who can adapt and perform in all situations? Sounds like organizational
        Arrogance. Get a ton of niche players and role player’s and aging players and then use your manager to manipulate the outcome. It’s not working.

        How bout getting a core nucleus of good baseball players.

        Reds are a glorified fantasy football creation.

      • Doug Gray

        If they both (Trout and Votto) can actually do that, then why do the fail at it so much?

    • DataDumpster

      Totally agree. Ever wonder why there has been so few really outstanding pinch hitters in baseball? Players need continuity, clarity and consistency to be good. David Bell must think that rearranging the lineup, batting order and position of each player every few games will improve the analytical odds but that is fallacious for pretty obvious reasons. This team plays with the determination of the dried up bubblegum stick on their participation trophy.

  11. zigbee

    Clutch hitting would be two out hits with RISP, or for that matter hits with RISP. Include both.

    • Doug Gray

      Well, let’s use this definition and Yadier Molina:

      Career .282/.333/.405 hitter.
      Career RISP 2 outs: .283/.368/.393
      Career RIPS: .303/.366/.414

      He’s basically the same guy in all three situations when it comes to the actual hitting. He draws more walks with RISP than without RISP.

      But what about other situations?

      Late and close games: .277/.338/.405 – he’s literally the same guy.
      Tie Games: .278/.332/.412 – he’s literally the same guy.

      Guys are who they are, almost always, regardless of the situation, once we’ve got a sample size that’s actually meaningful because the skillset doesn’t change. We aren’t dealing with children who can’t handle the pressure of the situation – if these guys were those people they wouldn’t have made it as far as they did because they would have buckled in college or the minors long before they ever got to the big leagues.

      • bug

        First of all, I would think one player’s stats are not enough to make a general conclusion about all players. And I know who is the last Card I want at bat against the Reds in a tie game and a man on third with one out in the bottom of the 9th. Course, that’s just me personally. But it’s based on what I’ve seen him do in those situations for the last 15 years or so. Now maybe it averages out, because I don’t see him play that often unless it’s against the Reds. But he’s a Reds killer and always has been. And he’s not the only one. Some players just plain hit better in the clutch than they do in normal situations, and vice versa. That not just my lonely opinion, but it’s the opinion of most of the baseball fans I’ve know for the last 50 years. Never really heard anyone say otherwise, until you. But your take is that it’s all luck? That’s what I hear you saying. It’s all luck,..combined with bad hitting. 20 years of bad luck,..and bad hitters. Like I said,..guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. But I do LOVE stats!!!! I’m a big believer in stats. That’s why I generally agree with what you write when you use stats to back it up. But stats do not measure everything, competitive spirit, and who can and can not handle pressure situations. So, last question then. If pressure does not effect players once they make it to the Big Leagues (they’ve already faced that and conquered it, you say),..then why do some not make it in the Bigs then after they have arrived there? Just curious. Bad luck?

      • Old-school

        Exactly, except what we are seeing are players buckling in the majors for very different reasons

        Buckling due to Father Time – Joey votto, tucker Barnhart, Freddie Galvis

        Buckling due to MLB pitching and outmatched plus irregular playing time that sinks the ship faster – Shogo, Ervin, Davidson, Van Meter, Garcia, Aquino,

        Buckling due to Sample size and injury- Moose and Senzel.

        Buckling due to BABIP- maybe Suárez. Votto EV is way down so Father Time and EV >>> BABIP to explain his .235 avg and WAR 0.1

    • bug

      I can’t disagree with any of that, Old-school. However, it’s not merely bad luck. It’s not any one thing, but rather a combination of things. Because it’s a hitter friendly park, I think the Reds have gone after players who swing for the fences. I have no problem at all with home run hitters. I love them. But I love the Homer hitters who can get a single or sac fly when you really need it (in the clutch, you might say). And I like the home run hitters who don’t strike out 4 times for every one home run they get. Give me a sac fly, if it wins the game. It’s all about winning. These players can’t win. Everyone is down on the bullpen. It’s hard to pitch inning after inning in a tie game or with a one run lead,..knowing you are NOT going to score anymore and that giving up one run will lose it. Have to do that for 5 or 6 innings every game. Your team tries to win a game on a regular basis with 3 total hits!!??!! Like Sam LeCure says,..give the bullpen a couple run lead, or some hope you might actually add to the lead. This bullpen knows they can’t make a single mistake. They’ve got their backs to the wall each and every game, to where they have to pitch perfect relief all the time. They can not make a mistake. No leeway is given them by the offense. Then they have a horrible defense behind them that continuously makes errors and puts them in the hole. I like our pitching,..including the pen. It’s the weak sticks of the offense that make me gnash my teeth. No clutch hitters. Weak sticks.

  12. seadog

    None of this is luck—Just point blank not. The #’s say who you are as a team. Until Doug will admit that this is not just “bad luck” why even argue the point. BABIP is what it is. Yes you can say why are we #1 in 2020. You can’t say it is “Luck” to be “historically” bad in this # for 2020. Come on Doug. Admit. They are that bad. There is a problem.
    They are “historically” bad. No way around it.
    You use #’s Analytics all the time. So use them now.
    JUST SAY—this team is “historically” bad on offense.

    It is what it is.

    On top of that. I still hope they make the playoffs and send a team home.

    • Doug Gray

      Data says that it is bad luck, though. The Reds can be both bad hitters and terribly unlucky.

      From 2000-2019 the worst team BABIP was .269. The Reds are at .237. That’s the same difference between between the worst team and the 386th worst team.

      The Reds team BABIP is barely better than pitchers BABIP over the last 20 years. It’s a lot of bad luck and every ounce of data suggests that.

      If you would like to provide data that shows it’s not, feel free to do so. I’m willing to have the discussion. But I’m not going to just “admit” something with absolutely no data to suggest what you are saying is true.

      • Old-school

        We don’t have meaningful data in a 60 game season and we don’t have meaningful data in a new era of baseball where organizations predict the future with niche limited small sample size role players now adjusting to major league performance based on prior AAA performance or Japanese league performance. That’s a stretch

        Reds offense isn’t working.

        Matt Davidson hit 33 something HR in Pacific AAA league last year. That doesn’t translate to performance against the cardinals playing twice a week at DH against lefties.

      • seadog

        There is no “luck” in baseball. You of all people should know this. The #’ you give every day should satisfy you on this. They are that bad as a team. According to how you feel—We should just say Antone has been “lucky”. The guy just got lucky. That is crap. The guy is now throwing 96-97 and you are the only one who seems to understand or see that. John Fay may be a good guy (never met him). But, man. He had no idea about Antone. Questions him on Twitter??? What do people say—Read Doug Gray at
        You are amazing. Believe in yourself. At the same time call a spade a spade.
        This team is “historically” bad at BABIP. Just admit that—Nobody will hate on you for it. It is actually the opposite. People will love you for saying it is what it is.
        THERE IS NO LUCK in baseball. The #’s you preach will turn out. This team will be lucky to not set a record of BABIP
        Just the facts own it.

      • Hanawi

        While they lead the league in the difference between expected batting average and batting average, they are also one of the 3 lowest in expected batting average to begin with. They hit too many weak fly balls. One of the lowest ground ball rates in baseball.

    • mudpuppie

      I 100% agree, Seadog. Bad luck does not continue year after year after year. You make your luck after awhile.

  13. zigbee

    Reds hit into too many DPs. The don’t advance runners. They don’t start runners to keep out of DP. They really don’t play smart baseball. Goodwin getting picked off the other day is prime example. They also need a new approach and philosophy on finishing games. Using Lorenzen late is totally nonsensical. Iglesias has lost 15 games in last two seasons and using him as closer again is nonsensical. Front office should have recognized this during off season. To continue to do the same thing over and over that doesn’t work? Nonsensical.

  14. zigbee

    Molina hitting over 300 and 21 points above career average with CAREER RISP proves he IS a clutch hitter. Look at those stats…they are higher for most part with RISP. Some slightly higher but they are higher. Throw up some stats on Reds hitters career wise with RISP, team stats with RISP by year, and stats with two outs by hitter with RISP.

    Also, I’d say Reds have fair share of bad luck no doubt. I watch every game and see some bleeders and bloops etc in 9th inning for losses. BUT, to lose every year since 2000 outside of 2010, 2012, and 2013???? It’s more than bad luck over that span. It’s a combination of poor drafts by front office, poor contracts dished out by front office, poor trades by front office, and poor decisions by managers.

    • Doug Gray

      Molina hitting .283 with RISP 2 out, .277 close and late, and .278 in tie games shows that he’s not actually some magic clutch guy given that he’s a .282 hitter for his career in all situations.

      Your second paragraph is rather pointless to the conversation. The Reds from 2000-2020 have lost for a billion different reasons. A lot of it was just that the team sucked. They weren’t unlucky – they just had far too little talent. That’s got nothing at all to do with 2020, though. This team actually has talent. This year it’s a lot of bad luck that’s led to the losing record. The past? It’s just been a lot of bad players.

      • Hanawi

        Do they have talent? Barnhart has been a below average catcher for most of his career, particularly at the plate. Votto is a near HOF, but is basically league average these days. Moustakas has been average to slightly above average for most of the past 5-7 years. No one wanted to give him a multi-year contract until the Reds came along. And he’s playing out of position. Galvis has always been below average and was dumped by a terrible team last year for free. Suarez is good but has become too reliant on HRs.

        Senzel hasn’t proven anything, particularly that he can stay on the field. Akiyama is completely unproven in the States. Winker has been one of the few bright spots and is probably outperforming projections. Castellanos is also outperforming his career OPS, though is down from last year. That leaves a collection of AAAA guys (JVM, Farmer, Davidson, Ervin, Payton, Jankowski, Colon) that the Reds have run out there and a couple of young prospects (Aquino, Garcia). So basically 3 above average hitters (Winker, Suarez, Castellanos) on the team right now.

        And their bullpen was a mess last year and they did nothing to address it. I think the talent of the Reds is way overrated.

  15. zigbee

    Reds have some talent this year. Suarez, Castellanos, Moustakas, Votto, and Winker. Starting pitching is one of best in MLB. But they don’t have ENOUGH to win games when bullpen falters, defense lets them down, and they don’t score aside with a HR. Bad luck isn’t dooming this club, it’s lack of production and lack of good defense, and lack of bullpen closing out games. The team BA says it all with runs scored as well. That isn’t just bad luck. And I’m guessing they are one of the bottom of ladder teams in runs scored. Correct or not? Does bad luck hold down a team BA and runs scored over the season?

  16. Johnnie Sparks

    With the remaining schedule the Reds have playoffs aren’t happening. Hopefully they get top 3 pick. This team has no talent. Should of been sellers at the deadline. Their not going on a streak these last 3 weeks and they won’t win next yr or yr after. Let’s be real about this

  17. seadog

    Bottom line. This team is what it is.
    All the outside “pundits” still see this team making the playoffs
    I think they will. Nobody will want to play them.
    Buckle up this entire season may be “epic”

    • Rob

      I don’t know. Maybe it Is Just the hitting and maybe it will all of sudden turn around. But to win 7 of 8/9, they really need to reverse the trend on a few fronts. They really need a couple come from behind wins where they are down by 3-4 in the 5th or 6th. They also need to win a couple high scoring games. Gosh, have they even had any 12-13 run games? They also need to win every game They are winning after the 6th inning. We all know they have already blown a season’s worth here. All doable but you are not going to win 7 out of 8 unless you go out and earn it and overcome the interim adversity. Blowing games off no longer fits.That will get you to where you are today.

  18. RedNat

    Garcia is a good player but he kind of reminds of the “3 and D” guys in the nba. Good fielder who has some power. I would have taken my chances with Jose Iglesias as my shortstop for the next few years. Just more of a dynamic player in my opinion. Just seems like the reds give up on these players too quickly. Puig was another guy that could beat you in different ways

    • VaRedsFan

      For the 100th time, Iglesias was a free agent, and Galvis was under contract. If they signed Iggy, then you would be redundant at that position.
      I liked Iggy, but it was a contract thing.

      • seadog

        Would they really be redundant at this point?? He would make this team better.

      • Rednat

        again Galvis is another “3 and D” GUY. plays pretty good good defense and will hit you some home runs but other than that, gives you no production. Iglesias hits, runs ,plays elite defense, good team mate. Just another case where the reds made a bad decision personnel wise.

        i think if the reds run into multidimensional players they should do everything in their power to keep them because there are not that many around in the league. they are much more of a hot commodity than even pitching right now

  19. seadog

    This Org. and the thinking is just bizzar. Just crazy
    Hamilton and Strop are now Cubs. On the 40 man.
    We (Reds) have. Jankowski/Payton/Akyama. I would rather have Hamilton.
    Bidder/Jones. I would rather have Strop.
    And yet the Cubs are where they are.
    UGH. Just crazy moves by this FO.

  20. Mark

    Stephenson Garcia and Aquino need at bats the rest of the way.

  21. Jack

    He needs to swing at more strikes and fewer balls….no doubt. He is a sucker right now for that down and in pitch particullary.
    As for the Reds BABIP I get that it is partially luck but only partially. When it goes on this long for the team as a whole I start to think there is more going on than just luck. Despite being slow as molasses Wade Boggs had a career BABIP of .344 so clearly there is some skill involved beyond just dumb luck. And our own Votto has a career BABIP of .346, one of the best of all time but only .237 this year. But how much did that weird choked up crouch approach impact that?

    I don’t know but I think the batting coach will be taking the fall for the results.

    • Jack

      I will note that this year is Votto’s lowest line drive percentage of his career and the highest pull percentage by far which seems counter productive in the season of the shift.

    • VaRedsFan

      The crouch was a major factor. When he pulls it in the air (keeps his weight back), he does damage. The crouch left him with equal weight on both feet, and he would routinely roll over it and ground ball weakly to the right side, or a weak pop to left, if he tried to go oppo.

      • bug

        Votto did the same exact thing last year. He had been squatting at the plate and choking up 1/4 of the way on the bat for a few years. The way little 8 year old kids do in Little League so they can get around on a fastball. He’s been doing that for the last few years, as his home runs and hits were in decline. And I had been bitching about it to everyone I knew. Then last year after they brought up Aquino (who was standing tall in the box literally), Votto finally quit his choking up and squatting and started standing up like a man with a grip down on the bat. He immediately started to hit the ball hard. It made all the difference. I was pointing it out to everyone. “Votto is back”, I’d say. Then for no apparent reason at all,..he went back to the squat and choking up. And when he did, he immediately returned to his doldrums at the plate. Point being,..he is a whole different player when he stands in the box like a man. I can’t figure why he ever changed to the squat and choke up a few years ago. And he’s stubborn, so he has been very reluctant to abandon it. Don’t ask me. But you are exactly right in your post. Jmo.

      • VaRedsFan

        You are not alone my friend, I’ve typed what you just wrote so many times, that I see those words in my sleep. People kept saying his decline was age related. My counter was, it was 10% Age and 90% approach. Results from last year and this year seem to back that up, each time he abandoned the crouch.

    • Jack

      And to move on to Suarez, he is hitting for lots of homeruns per usual but as with Votto this is the lowest line drive percentage and the highest flyball percentage of his career. Both of these suppress BABIP. So his poor BABIP is at least partially due to his selling out for the homerun. The more I look at this team the more I am convinced the poor BABIP is more the result of extreme tendencies (Votto pulling too much, Suarez trying to hit homeruns) than poor luck. I’ll have to look at more of the team but it seems like the hitting coach should be doing his job better.

      • mudpuppie

        The Reds hitting philosophy: I am not changing my approach regardless of the pitcher. If by chance the pitcher makes a mistake, I may hit it. If the pitcher does not make a mistake he will get me out. Not the smartest approach in my opinion. The Reds need to make announce that Archie or Garrett is the closer. Iggy is the long/mop up man, and make Bell stick to it. Upper management has to Bell proof this roster. I was hoping to see that he had been relieved of his duties this morning, but alas, it is not to be.

      • VaRedsFan

        BABIP, for the most part, is an excuse to try to justify poor results. If I bat 10 times, and tap back to the pitcher 10 times, was I unlucky? Or just not very skilled at hitting? If you are a skilled hitter, you can adjust your approach to make solid contact and go the other way. Was Jeter lucky that he got all of those base hits to right field, while still being able to turn on inside pitches?