Unfortunately for the Cincinnati Reds they will not be going to the playoffs this year. Their late-season downfall combined with a historic run from the St. Louis Cardinals took care of that earlier this week. With just one series left, a 3-game series that begins on Friday, there are still some things that you can look for to round out the 2021 season.

Jonathan India

The frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award, things may be a little bit closer in a race with Trevor Rogers than some Reds fans may want to admit, Jonathan India is closing in on 100 runs scored. He currently has scored 96 runs on the season. Scoring four runs in three games isn’t an outrageous ask, but it’s not exactly something that should be expected, either.

Joey Votto

It’s been a rebound of all time kind of rebounds for Joey Votto in 2021. A future Hall of Famer, what Votto had done in his career was very impressive. But he had been a shell of his former self for the previous three seasons. This year he’s gone out and clubbed 35 home runs in just 126 games.

There are two “goals” that are in sight for Votto in the final three games of the season. First would be driving in four runs, which would get him to a round 100 RBI on the season. That would seem to be the easier of the two. The other would be hitting three home runs, which would top his previous career high in home runs that came back in 2010 when he was the National League MVP.

Nick Castellanos

Like Joey Votto, there are two categories where Nick Castellanos could reach some “round numbers”. The doubles machine needs three of them in order to get to 40 of them on the year. Also like Votto, Castellanos needs a few runs batted in to get to 100. He’s currently sitting on 97 for the season.

Mychal Givens

The reliever acquired at the trade deadline is currently tied for the team lead with eight saves. The Cincinnati Reds have never had a (full) season since the save became an official stat in which someone did not record at least 10 saves. Givens will need to pick up two saves to keep that streak going.

Luis Castillo

This one is going to take a career type of start for Luis Castillo to reach, but he needs 13 strikeouts to reach 200 for the season. Perhaps a more attainable stat to reach would be to get his ERA under 4.00 on the season. There are more than a few ways Castillo can get there. With a start that goes at least 2.1 innings and no earned runs he would get there. If he allows one earned run he would need to throw at least 4.2 innings. If he allows two earned runs he would need to throw at least 7.0 innings. In a scenario where he would allow three earned runs he would have to pitch into extra innings.

Kyle Farmer

2021 has been far and away the best year of Kyle Farmer’s career. There’s been a ton of discussion about Farmer this year and exactly what it all means. He doesn’t have any specific “stat targets” that are within reach. But there’s something that would be awesome to see that would require plenty of help from manager David Bell. Back in May we saw the blueprint for it from Jason Linden right here on the digital pages of Redleg Nation: Let Kyle Farmer play every position in a single game.

As we noted above, unfortunately the Reds aren’t playing for anything more than pride at this point. No matter what they do it’s not changing the standings. They are going to finish in 3rd place and the Pirates are going to finish in last. Why not go out with a little bit of fun and a great story? Make it happen, Reds.

78 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Of course Votto and Casty have to actually play in order to reach those goals. lol I hope so. This has probably been the funnest year to watch Votto. Would especially hate to see him lose out on the chance. You know Casty definitely wants to play too. They would have had a better chance had they been playing in four of the last games instead of three. We’ll see.

  2. CI3J

    Why not go out with a little bit of fun and a great story? Make it happen, Reds.

    Ah, yes, because when I think of David Bell, “fun” is definitely one of the first words that comes to mind.

  3. west larry

    come on Bob C. Pony up a 105, five year offer to Nick C. If someone beats it, let him go.

      • Bred

        I bet even if the Reds would shock the world and make the highest offer, he would pass and take a bit less for a chance to win. Until the Reds can free up the $ in Moose’s, Geno’s, Shogo’s and Votto’s contract they are bottom feeders off the waiver wire.

    • William Martin

      Yes. Start the “Keep Nick” band wagon!!

  4. AMDG

    What to watch for in the Reds final series in 2021…

    Plenty of playing time for guys who won’t be on the roster next season (a la DeShields & Cabrera), and minimal playing time for young players who should be on the roster next year.

    • Roger garrett

      Yep it’s what the Reds are all about.Sad isn’t it?

      • David

        Well, it’s all about the Veteran Presence. Everyone knows that’s what wins ballgames.
        Remember George Grande? Really a very nice guy and good interviewer of players, but wrong about a lot of things about baseball, and he was around a LOT of baseball. Master of baseball cliches.

    • Bred

      I hope you’re correct that those two won’t be on the roster next year. I think you are correct on Cabrera, but DeShields looks like a candidate for the 4th or 5th OFer. Casey will be gone that leaves a Aquino, Winker, Senzel, NyQuin, and Shogo. They aren’t going to spend $ and will point to the this season’s low attendance as to why they can’t sign a FA anything. Oh, unless the keep Jose B. in CF and keep Farmer at SS. Schlock is supposed to be an infielder.

      • Chris Holbert

        Casey retired a long time ago, and played first base

      • Redsvol

        Reds committed to $164 million in free agents before 2020 season. Obviously we couldn’t go to games in 2020. Just curious but how many games did you make it to in 2021 after ownership committed to spending that type of $.

    • greenmtred

      I have a question for anybody who has an answer: I don’t follow teams other than the Reds anymore, and never did very closely. We have numerous comments about the Reds not playing young guys, about the Reds’ medical/training staff being incompetent, management/ownership being terrible, and so on. So I wonder: Are these same complaints–or similar–commonly made by fans of other teams? Do other teams play young players over veterans as a rule?

  5. Luke J

    I’m not so sure the NL ROY race is “closer than Reds fans may want to admit”. Current odds are -1200 for India to +750 for Rogers. That is not a close margin. Further, Rogers hasn’t pitched more than 5.1 innings since the first of July, and didn’t pitch at all in the entire month of August. I think the odds are spot on. India is the favorite, and by a VERY wide margin. It’s not close.

  6. Optimist

    TBH I’d like to see Blandino called up to start the final game.

    • stuckonthenorthshore

      I’m glad I wasn’t taking a drink. It would have just sprayed all over my phone from that humor!!!

  7. LDS

    Play the guys that might be there next year. Castellanos unlikely. Letting him pad his stats is irrelevant. JV? Start him against RH’ers and bench Suarez. Move Schrock to 3rd. And for the world of me I can’t figure out why Barrero, allegedly the SS of the future, is playing 2nd fiddle to a career utility guy, that while he’s performed well this year (for him), is performing under average. Summed up – play for next year. Make AA put up or shut up, Friedl, Barrero, et. al. as well. Otherwise, it’s trade/FA time and I don’t see the Reds stepping up to that.

    • Droslovinia

      Just curious, but what has Barrero done to prove that he’s not the Brandon Larson of the future? Maybe he should do something at the MLB level before everyone starts working his HOF plaque.

      • Chris Holbert

        None of the young has proven anything, but they need the chance, they need to play to show that.

  8. Old Big Ed

    For those interested, ESPN.com this morning posted a very good article on life for minor leaguers, which for the rank and file is pretty grim.

  9. Kevin H

    Farmer to me getting a chance to play showed he can play put up offensive numbers. He’s just a ball player in my mind. Barrerro has so far shown nothing to warrant being the ss of the future.

    • Old Big Ed

      Kevin, everybody is entitled to their opinion, but barring off-season tragedy, Jose Barrero is going to be the Reds’ shortstop or centerfielder next year. At age 23, he had an OPS of .919 in AA and AAA, with 19 homers and and 16 SBs in 330 ABs. He has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. He is the best athlete in the Reds organization over 20 years old.

      In his age 23 year, Kyle Farmer topped out in High A ball. He was in AA/AAA at age 26, and had an OPS of .850. His career MLB OPS+ is 80, meaning that offensively, he has been 20% worse than the average MLB player for his career.

      Barrero is younger, faster and better defensively (glove and arm) than Farmer, and his offensive ceiling is much, much, much, much higher than Farmer’s. Every single person in the Reds organization — including Farmer — knows this. Farmer is a decent piece, and he had a couple of nice streaks this year.

      Barrero has 4 games in which he had 4 or more PAs, and in those 4 games, he is 6-for-14 with 3 doubles and 1 SB. In 17 PAs in those games, he has reached base 9 times. I’ll take that production.

      You might as well start to like Barrero and root for him now, because you are going to see a lot of him the next six years.

      • Droslovinia

        Can we please save this post to review at this point next year? That way, we’ll have a better idea about Barrero and we won’t have to remind everyone about Brandon Larson, or what a “great” player Billy Hamilton was also viewed as at this point in his career.

      • greenmtred

        I generally agree with this post, but to my eye, Farmer has an extremely accurate and strong arm, and is a very sure-handed fielder. He doesn’t have Barrero’s range, to be sure. I very much hope that Barrero lives up to his promise, but there are–down through the ages–many players who hit really well in AAA and AA who couldn’t translate that to MLB, so I will be cautiously optimistic.

    • Redsvol

      Barrero is a future star in my humble opinion. The guy moves with the grace of a young Derek Jeter and he put up monster numbers in both double A and Triple A this year. He will be the starting shortstop in 2022 barring injury.

      Bell is loyal to the guys that played hard all year for him and Farmer is certainly one of them. Farmer will be a key contributor at other positions but Barerro will get the majority time at shortstop.

      I don’t think its a bad thing at all to see if Barerro can play center. We are very weak at center field, and in general the whole outfield – Winker, Naquin and then who else? I would love to see us go after Starling Marte. Right handed bat who can handle all 3 outfield positions. Friedl might be a nice bench piece but its clear we need more outfield talent – especially someone who can hit left handed pitching. Laureano out of Oakland should also be on our radar for trade.

      • Alan Horn

        I like signing Marte( if the cost is resaonable) better than anything I have heard so far. We wouldn’t have to trade a pitcher or other minor league players and he numbers would be in the ball park of Castellanos. The new big bat needs to be a right handed hitter. If his money would be close to an even swap of Castellanos’s money, it should be doable. It is a pipe dream but if we could get someone to take Moose for a DH, we would be in far better shape to move forward. Pad the trade with money and prospects.

    • MBS

      To be completely honest, Farmer and Schrock should be good utility players in 22. That’s it, neither are starters, but nice pieces of a team.

    • burtgummer01

      You’re exactly right Kevin.Barrero has shown nothing at the major league level and his minor league numbers mean exactly nothing but yet people here act like he’s Barry Larkin jr.He’s only had just over 100 ab’s but to crown him Larkin jr is complete ignorance

      • Luke J

        What’s ignorant is to ignore everything he’s done up to this point as well as his projections by scouts who know way more than you, in favor of a player who has proven he is below average major leaguer.

      • JayTheRed

        Luke J
        What’s important to know is that he has produced very little at the major league level worth almost a full season’s worth of time.

        I do think he should be given another chance but if it doesn’t look good it would be probably too late to make a quality addition by then.

      • Redsvol

        whoa there @jaythered, Barerro has 105 at bats as a major leaguer – with 67 of them coming last year before he had even played in double A or triple A. He’s going to be fine. He’ll struggle a little bit in his first full year – just like India did until June of this year. But he’ll be just fine as long as they stay with him.

      • Luke J

        @JayTheRed You are patently incorrect. He has nowhere near a season of at bats. As was pointed out above, this year he has exactly 14 AB where he started and got to play the whole game. The rest are partial games and pinch hitting at bats (which in and of itself proves just how poorly he’s been jerked around by Bell). No one would be expected to have any consistency in that scenario. That said, he is 6 for 14 in those ABs with 2 doubles, the majority of which were hit at over 100 mph off the bat. You can claim that he has done nothing in the majors. But in the short time he’s had, those who understand baseball know that is false.

  10. Bet on Red

    The Barrero test is a next year question not a next series question. Play him out here in Pitts, and next year give him 150 AB in a row to start off the season ( my math puts that at a month and a chunk of change), if he produces, great, if not, I am done with the experiment. I would sell high on farmer in the offseason, still has some control, had good numbers for him, could net a relief pitcher in return.

    • Luke J

      What experiment? The 23 year old elite athlete who has barely gotten a sniff of the majors? Hardly been an experiment yet, nor is it even close to the end of it if you want any validity to it.

  11. CI3J

    Here’s a little food for thought that I don’t know if it has been pointed out on this site yet: The Reds were 48-43 after losing to the Brewers in the very first game of the second half. The Reds are currently 82-77. That means they have played perfect .500 ball for the entire second half of the year.

    If they can win this series against the Pirates, at least they can finish with a (barely) winning record in the second half, which I guess is something. Still baffling how you could reward Bell with another 2 years after that kind of performance, though.

    Here’s ESPN’s take on it:
    14. Cincinnati Reds
    Record: 82-77
    Previous ranking: 15

    Cincinnati should be where the Cardinals are sitting. Relatively healthy most of the season, and in the hunt, the Reds faded just as St. Louis took off. After three straight winning months, the Reds were 11-14 in September entering play on Wednesday. They’re still hitting home runs — they hit 14 over the past seven days — but that’s about all that stands out. Manager David Bell received a contract extension earlier this month despite the team falling out of the race. — Rogers

    • Luke J

      Did ESPN actually say the Reds were relatively healthy all season? That’s rich.

      • TJ

        I agree. Another writer who probably hasn’t seen them play 5 games this year.

      • Redsvol

        man, that is some crack research by the ESPN juggernaut. Reds relatively healthy……bwaaaahaaahaaaa

  12. Ron

    If the Reds sweep this weekend, that will give them 85 wins. To Bob and the front office, I’m sure they will look at this year as a successful season. They will look at this “winning” season and decide that no major moves are needed this winter.
    Winning more games than you lose is NOT a successful year IMO unless it involves advancing in the post season. They have tried to brainwash fans into thinking a winning record is good enough. And they’re going to give you bobbleheads and fireworks on top of that!
    I will wait and see what they’re approach is this off-season and then I’ll decide if I want to remain a fan.

  13. Indy Red Man

    The Twins are rebuilding so I think Byron Buxton might be available if the Twins got a nice return. He’ll be 28 in December and would solve alot of the Reds problems IF he could stay on the field. He’s about as close to Eric Davis as you’re going to find in todays game except with potentially higher batting average (.944 ops vs lefties .948 vs rhp). It would definitely take Hunter Greene and a package or something big like that. They’re going to need something big to replace Nick if he goes.

    • Old-school

      @indy

      Ive said this more than once

      Buxton is fastest player in mlb
      Gold glove CF
      All star

      Just a 1 year option and would cost a lot . But- im a big proponent of getting a legit CF

    • Luke J

      How often do I see this board rag on players in the Reds system who can’t stay on the field because of injuries? Senzel has been written off as worthless because he is injured so often. Yet now we want Buxton, who has a much longer career than Senzel and it injured even more often? No thanks. I have zero confidence Buxton can stay on the field. I’d rather take more chances on Senzel than give up the high cost it would take to get Buxton. At least it costs us nothing to try with Senzel.

      • Old Big Ed

        Buxton is 18 months older than Senzel, and has 1744 PAs in MLB. Senzel has 616. Buxton is tons better, too. His OPS+ this year is 165; Senzel’s for his career is 80. Buxton is a legitimate 5-tool player. He was the best player in the American League the first 6 weeks of the season.

        Buxton missed 9+ weeks this season with a broken knuckle (by a pitch from Tyler Mahle). Unless you think Buxton’s knuckle has some odd ability to attract fastballs, then that injury doesn’t reflect a susceptibility to injuries, any more than a similar thumb fracture this to Joey Votto indicates that Votto is injury-prone.

        You are correct that it would cost the Reds some prospect capital to have Buxton for a year. If Buxton had an excellent 2022, he would never sign back with the Reds. Your point that the Reds shouldn’t pay that price is well-taken, but I don’t think Buxton’s injury history would factor into that equation. (Giving up Hunter Greene for a year of Buxton would be the Gibraltar of Bad Ideas.)

        Personally, I believe that Senzel needs a new start in another organization, and that both Senzel and the Reds think so as well. The Reds could package him with one of the starting pitchers to get a young, RH-hitting outfielder. Maybe a Senzel-for-Buxton trade could work out, but the Reds would need to add some boot.

        And, hey, if Senzel gets 550 ABs in CF for the Reds next season and has an OPS of .900, I am all for it. I hope he is the MVP.

      • old-school

        In a perfect world, Senzel would be healthy and I would move him back to the infield as the starting 3b. In a perfect world, Suarez recovered enough trade value to send him to a big market team who can afford his reasonable contract, isnt yet ready to win but needs players to market(Colorado Rockies). In a perfect world, The Reds commit to finding an elite CF for 2022( Buxton) or the next 5 years( Brandon Marsh) and spend money and prospect capital and SP depth( Sonny Gray) to accomplish that.

        In a perfect world, the money saved from barnhart and Suarez and perhaps Miley allows you to sign Castellanos.

        Buxton/Marsh CF
        India 2b
        WInker LF
        Castellanos RF
        Votto 1b
        Stephenson C
        Senzel 3b
        Moose DH( only because he is untradeable and going nowhere)
        Barrero SS

        Farmer is the swiss army knife of the infield
        Naquin is the 4th OF
        Tucker signs a team friendly deal as the back up C

      • Luke J

        Old Big Ed, I think you missed my point. I only used Senzel as an example of another injury prone player that people don’t seem to want around here.

        Yes, Buxton has many more ABs than Senzel. He’s been in the league much longer, despite being only a couple years older. But he also has a LONG history of injuries.

        Ignore my comment about Senzel if it is tripping you up.

        Let’s just look at Buxton. He is an elite player when he is on the field. However, he has only a single season where he’s played over 100 games, and he’s been in the majors since 2015.

        2015: 46 games
        2016: 92 games
        2017: 140 games
        2018: 28 games
        2019: 87 games
        2020: 39 games
        2021: 58 games

        He didn’t get hit on the knuckle every year. He just gets injured a lot.

        While I’d love to have a player of his caliber, I have no confidence he will play a full season without injury.

        So again, ignore my Senzel comparison, and just take my comment to mean I have no interest in trading for a player who is constantly injured.

  14. Indy Red Man

    Reds 10th in WAR. I don’t know about that stat? The Reds are not anywhere near the 10th best team in baseball. They have Toronto 3rd in War and the Brewers 7th. If they played in a 7 game series its Milw all day. The Cards aren’t top 10 at all? Idk? Almost as worthless at babip imo. Why is your babip low? Because you have a flawed swing and hit into shifts alot. Its not rocket science. If you hit 17 in blackjack and don’t double down 11 against a dealer 5 then I’ll be a better blackjack player then you. Its not bad luck? Luck might factor into 80 at-bats but not 400-500-600 at-bats

    • Indy Red Man

      11. Braves
      12. A’s
      13. Cards
      14. Pads

      Give me a break? Thats ridiculous

    • Luke J

      One of the most significant stats regarding team wins is run differential. It has proven year in and year out to be the best indicator of team wins. Sometimes there are anomalies. This year, the cardinals had a negative run differential up until this 17 game streak (so for nearly the whole season). Even after a 17 game winning streak, they are still only 3 runs ahead of the reds. That is very telling. The blue jays have a +164 run differential. Those are two teams, that you used as an example, that the numbers say are outliers. The blue jays should have many more wins, and the cardinals should have many less. So it’s not like WAR is giving results that other stats aren’t. Sometimes teams put it together and win more than they should. And sometimes it’s the other way.

  15. Sharon

    Don’t let Nick C. go He is worth the money to keep.

  16. Doc

    One consistent trait on this site is people who don’t let data/facts get in the way of a theory.

  17. Michael B. Green

    If CIN traded 4 years of Senzel to MIN for 1 year of Buxton, I wonder what more MIN would include in a trade?

    Alternatively, if CIN traded 4 years of Senzel to WAS for 3 years of Robles, I wonder what more MIN would include in a trade?

  18. Jim t

    The best move the reds front office made was extending Bell. I know this won’t sit well with all the want to be second guessing managers but it’s true. They saddled him with Shogo and Moose contracts. Then turned around and shed payroll prior to the start of the season leaving a group of batting practice pitchers in the bullpen. They made no effort to help him field a competitive team. This was a throw away year for ownership and all he did was keep them in the race the entire season. Anyone want to guess what that was worth to ownership in attendance. Can you imagine what the hit financially would have been if the team would have performed like many posting here predicted. Bell overcame the FO, lack of a bullpen and injuries to make this a reasonably good season. All with little to no help from ownership. It’s time people realize that this team overachieved. Much of which was due to Bell and his staff. I for one am glad he is coming back and from what his team has said so are they.

    If fans of the reds want change it’s starts at ownership. Bell did his job and then some. Get off his A**. See you next year.

    • Luke J

      My problem with Bell has nothing to do with anything you mentioned. It has nothing to do with overall performance. I fully understand that roster makeup is not his job. He can only play the hand he’s dealt. My problem with Bell is how poorly he played that bad hand. It’s about repeated in-game management blunders that are a direct result of a game management philosophy that is flawed. He doesn’t manage a bullpen well (even with a bad pen). And his reliance on mid-game lefty/righty matchups of position players is absurd. You let your best players play. You don’t take them out in the 5th inning just because the first reliever that night happens to be a righty or lefty. Teams took advantage of this over and again with Bell. You also don’t keep rolling out veterans who are performing terribly and keep sitting younger guys who aren’t. You can talk about how hamstrung he was all year, but none of that excuses his poor managing. The Reds have overachieved IN SPITE of Bell, not because of him.

      • Jim t

        Couldn’t not disagree more. Again your looking at things after the fact without having a fraction of the info Bell has. He beat everyone’s expectations under very difficult circumstances.

      • Luke J

        I’ve made those judgments as they happened. It is absolutely NOT based on hindsight.

        In fact, YOU are the one utilizing hindsight rather than judging the managerial moves themselves. You are looking at preseason projections and and just looking at the end of season result, all while ignoring what actually happened during the season.

        You are free to disagree, but many of his in-game decisions are downright indefensible.

    • JRZ

      Glad to see someone with objective perspective.

  19. doofus

    Phillies also cut ties with Kyle Boddy and Driveline. A 9.30.21 Matt Geib article in the Athletic echoes the dissension and lack of common purpose within the Phillies player development system.

    “…the Driveline culture did not embody the kind the Phillies wanted in their farm system. Feedback was handed down and rarely traveled up. Perspectives that challenged Driveline precepts were not considered valid and, worse, not respected.”

    “I believe in a balance of traditional methods with bringing as much contemporary information as you possibly can,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said last month.”

    “There was no consensus buy-in to what the Phillies were doing. They were pushing swing changes and modern pitching philosophies forward, but no one knew what direction was the right one.”

    “The Phillies will continue to make data-driven decisions in the minors, but the goal is to better blend them with on-field intuition. That is something every team says it wants, but few can execute it. Coaches should have the freedom to make certain adjustments without having to send a text message and wait four or five days for approval. It isn’t about old school or new school. The Phillies have to be smarter, period.”

    Curious parallel to the Reds? I read this forums discussion on Boddy’s departure from mid-September.

    • Old Big Ed

      I am reading between the lines, but I sense that Derek Johnson and Boddy didn’t see eye-to-eye on some development issues. If you will recall, Johnson was hired to overall pitching coordinator for the organization, and had a hand in hiring pitching coaches in the organization.

      Boddy uses technology and advanced training techniques to get pitchers to throw harder and get more spin on their pitches. Detractor say that (1) Boddy’s approach leads to injuries, with Tejay Antone as a possible example, and that (2) the extra velocity carries the cost of lack of command and control. Johnson is not opposed to analytics, and he and then-assistant Caleb Cotham used analytics extensively in pitch selection and sequencing, most notably in getting Sonny Gray back to form in 2019.

      Johnson, though, also emphasizes the art of pitching than Boddy, who is more a of scientist. Johnson likely believes that Boddy’s approach has its functions, but it underestimates the importance of command, deception and pitch sequencing. And for the most part, Johnson’s rotations have not had injury issues. Note that the Phillies’ pitching coach is Derek Johnson disciple Caleb Cotham, and the Phillies are also turning away from Driveline.

      • Jim Walker

        +100 I am also wondering if the inglorious season endings of Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo were the last straw or played into the Reds decision.

        Greene’s “healthy” shutdown could reasonably be attributed to a guy in his age 21 season hitting the wall at just over 100 innings. However, Lodolo’s situation began with a blister which required several weeks on the IL and subsequently ended with “shoulder fatigue” after a very short return tenure. The dots could be connected that the blister was a result of looking for the last bit of additional spin; and, Lodolo would not be the first guy to overload his shoulder as an adjustment to a grip issues.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        Kyle Boddy does not work with the big league pitchers so anyone who tries to tie him to Tejay Antone being injured is not someone that should be listened to because they don’t know what they are talking about.

        The idea that Kyle Boddy is the only guy out there talking about spin rate and trying to get guys to have more spin is absolutely crazy. Every team in baseball is and has been trying to do that for years.

        As for the Phillies and Reds “moving on”, one thing seems very clear from both the Reds situation and the Phillies situation from what was in The Athletic: There was a clear struggle between the old school and new school in the organization which lead to no clear direction. The Reds and Phillies are not exactly known as developmental forward teams.

        Doug wrote about it this morning at Reds minor leagues that the organization had the first winning season in the minors as a whole since 2011. The response to that was that the Reds fired/let go/forced out their hitting coordinator and director of pitching in the minors.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        You know who Tejay Antone communicates with quite a bit more? Derek Johnson. David Bell. Lee Tunnell. His wife.

        The Cincinnati Reds farm system seems to have lost one Top 25 prospect to arm surgery this season and it happened at the very end of the year with Lyon Richardson. People are simply looking to place blame on someone and Boddy seems to be an easy target.

        Antone has already had a Tommy John surgery. He had it long before Kyle Boddy was anywhere near the organization. Every year there are dozens of professional pitchers that have the same injury that Antone has had.

      • Luke J

        Sounds to me it’s less about seeing eye to eye, and more about the attitude of Boddy. He is inflexible and unwilling to consider the positions of those higher up in the organization. And while sticking to your guns is important, it sounds like he was downright insubordinate and refused to work with or give information to superiors. And that can’t work in an organization. And since he did it to two organizations, I sense a pattern.

    • Jim Walker

      Yes, an interesting turn of events isn’t it. Maybe the difference between science driven and science controlled??

      The world can change in 40-50 years, but I tend to recall what the late Tom Seaver used to preach. He thought the three crucial elements of pitching were (in descending order of importance) 1)Location; 2)Movement; 3)Velocity.

      Science can tell us how to get the best velocity and movement, it cannot manage location.

      • David

        From the link that “old-school” kindly provided, I gather that Tejay thought of his preparation as more of a science, but actual game-day pitching as art. I can kind of get that, and I don’t think that Tom Seaver would disagree. Tom was very methodical in his preparation and very disciplined in his mechanics of “drop and drive”. He knew he was pitching well when his right knee was dirty. A mechanical clue, as Tejay might say.
        I hate to blame coaching from Kyle Boddy, Eric Jaegers or Derek Johnson for Tejay’s ultimate fate this season…damaged elbow and ligament replacement surgery. Likely as not, his career is over, which to me is very sad for a great guy like Tejay Antone.
        But I do think that Bell either over used him, Tejay came back too soon, or Bell got bad advice from Johnson, or ignored good advice from Johnson.
        Because first-hand sports reporting is frankly so shoddy now, because the beat writers are afraid to ask tough questions and get shut out by the team management, we will likely never know.

      • Jim Walker

        @David, I agree Antone’s thoughts seem to line up with Seaver’s overall approach to science vs art. However, although I don’t recall ever hearing Seaver use the exact words of Chris Welch’s oft repeated “the best pitch is a well located fastball”, I have no doubt that was part of Tom’s philosophy. I think some Boddy proponents get away from that.

        At least during his prime years, Tom would vary locations, speeds and movement on his fastball in the zone but rarely throw a breaking ball that cut the heart of the zone even when he was looking for a called strike with it.

  20. Jim Walker

    Here is an interesting tweet that fits with some of the discussion above posted yesterday by Kyle Boddy:


    “This sounds rudimentary but in dysfunctional orgs, Analytics blames Scouting for selecting irrelevant traits, Scouting blames Player Development for ruining players, and Player Development blames Scouting for drafting terrible players.”

    https://twitter.com/drivelinebases/status/1443808666017140739

    Chew away!

  21. old-school

    “Kyle Boddy does not work with major league pitchers”

    TJ Antone ” I communicate with Kyle Boddy quite a bit”
    TJ Antone ” I got my Driveline certification”
    Boddy is the founder and owner of Driveline.
    TJ Antone “I would not be where I am if it weren’t for Kyle Boddy.”

    Antone is a Boddy disciple and trying to separate Boddy’s impact over years ( past and present) on Antone’s pitching mechanics, velocity, spin, pitch design, off-season workouts, etc just isn’t true.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ll chime in here: Kyle Boddy does not work with the Cincinnati Reds big league pitchers. Well, that’s obvious now because he’s no longer in the organization. He did not work with them while he was employed by the Reds. That was the job of Derek Johnson, Eric Jagers, and Lee Tunnell.

      I’m with Frankie on this one….. it seems absolutely crazy to try and connect Tejay Antone’s injury to Kyle Boddy, who is not on the big league staff and has not worked with Tejay Antone as a coach ever in his life. Being “Driveline Certified” is something that’s related to Antone’s offseason stuff where he teaches pitching at his Baseball Academy that he opened last year. Boddy is merely a part, an aspect, of Driveline. Yeah, he’s the founder and all that. But until three weeks ago, he wasn’t nearly as involved as so many in the public seem to think, with Driveline over the last few years because of his employment status with the Reds. He had to step back on many of the areas he once was involved in because of that.

      Much of what people in the public try to “shame” Boddy and Driveline for is stuff that literally every organization in baseball is and has been preaching for several years now. Throw as hard as you can. Find guys who have high-spin fastballs and breaking balls. Heck, I’ve even seen idiots out there trying to claim that Boddy and Driveline are/were only successful because of “sticky stuff”, as if we didn’t see the entire league’s group of pitchers all watch their spin rate drop immediately once the league started checking for it. There’s not some huge secret here.

      Boddy is an easy target for people who don’t know much. The Reds were trying to get their minor league pitching coaches to understand that high spin rate was good before they brought Boddy into the organization. Every organization around was using some sort of grip enhancement (not every player, but as we clearly saw this year, almost every one of them).

      • old-school

        Not linking Boddy to Antone’s injury

        Am linking Boddy to TJ Antone as it applies to all things pitching and not sure how you say Boddy has not worked with Antone ever in his life when Antone says he communicates regularly with him and wouldn’t be where he is pitching wise without him?
        Antone is a Boddy Disciple and stated he communicates regularly with him. I guess they could be sharing recipes and facetiming about the latest Survivor episode.

      • Old Big Ed

        Well, I suppose I started this little side-bar, but my statement was that Boddy “detractors say that Boddy’s approach leads to injuries, with Tejay Antone as a possible example.” That is in fact what the detractors say, and I’m not even a detractor. In Antone’s case, he has made his drive for 100 mph a priority, and it is not unreasonable to wonder if Antone’s desire to hit 100 mph put over-stressed his arm. That is what Antone himself tried to do, so it doesn’t matter if he listened more to Boddy or Johnson or Emmylou Harris — Antone himself owns the results.

        Tommy John surgeries are rampant throughout baseball, and they are rampant because the human body is not really designed to throw a baseball with at full effort. I have heard it said that a pitcher who tops out at 90 (say Jon Lester, now) will get hurt trying to throw harder than 90, just like a guy like Hunter Greene could get hurt trying to throw 104 every pitch. That is certainly true of sprinters.

        I think Boddy and the others in his business can work with pitchers and often make them much more efficient and can safely add a few MPHs to their maximum velocity. But I point to Justin Verlander, who was fully capable of hitting 100 on the gun, but pretty much saved it for a handful of times a game, and was content to rest at closer to 94 with excellent command. Even Verlander eventually succumbed to TJ surgery, but he put up Hall of Fame numbers before it happened.

        I don’t consider Derek Johnson “old-school,” nor do I think the old/new school is the way to look at this. Johnson, after all, is all about swing-and-miss. The idea is to get guys out, and there are a lot of ways to do it. I am sure that by the same token, Boddy enjoyed working with Reiver Sanmartin.

        Johnson ultimately is the boss on the Reds’ pitching. The Reds pay him more, and he has devoted all his working hours to the Reds and the organization. Boddy –by design — didn’t devote full time to the Reds; he or Driveline apparently was doing similar work for the Phillies; and he kept his interest in Driveline. Johnson’s vision and Boddy’s vision apparently didn’t align. I just don’t see any evidence that Boddy’s vision is inherently better or even more sophisticated than Johnson’s.

      • Old-school

        I was fortunate to meet Tejay Antone family at a game and absolutely super people as is Tejay so I hope he recovers. Im confident Derek Johnson is the complete pitching coach and Reds pitchers are in are competent hands

  22. RedBB

    Good list Doug but you forgot Eugenio hitting .200 which seemed impossible a mere month ago

    • Doug Gray

      What can I say? I’m a monster!

      Also, my memory is not at all what it used to be. Don’t get old, kids.

    • Old Big Ed

      He needs to go 6-for-11 to get there (or 5-for-6). Not impossible, but . . .