On Wednesday evening Major League Baseball announced the finalists for the All-MLB Team. There were four Cincinnati Reds players that made the list that fans can vote on over the next week-and-a-half.

At first base, Joey Votto was nominated after hitting .266 with 36 home runs and a .938 OPS. For as good as his season was – he did have the second best OPS among all of the nominees, he’s going to have to get plenty of ballot stuffing to overtake Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Jonathan India was nominated for second base after hitting .269 with 21 home runs, 12 steals, and an .835 OPS. His OPS was 4th best among the group of nominees and he’ll probably have to benefit from some ballot stuffing, too, to chase down Marcus Semien or Brandon Lowe.

In the outfield the Cincinnati Reds had two nominees in Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos. Winker his .305 with 24 home runs and a .949 OPS that ranked 3rd among the group. Castellanos hit .309 with 34 home runs and a .939 OPS, which ranked 4th among the group. Looking at the nominees, it would appear that Castellanos could have a shot here. Juan Soto and Bryce Harper would seem to be locks if the voting were based on the season instead of popularity. Beyond them, though, there’s a chance you could pick Castellanos as the next best outfielder.

If you want to try and stuff the ballot box, here’s the link.

Another step closer to an automated strikezone

Major League Baseball seems like they really want to automate the strikezone in the future. They have tested it out in the Atlantic League. And they’ve tested it out in the Low-A Southeast, except for in Daytona (where the Reds farm team is). It seems that they are going to be expanding where they test it out. Major League Baseball posted jobs looking for Automated Ball and Strike System Tech’s in Florida for spring training, the Low-A Southeast, as well as the Triple-A West.

In the Low-A Southeast the strikezone, as called by the ABS system, was altered after feedback from the players in the first half. The strikezone actually got wider, and shorter than it was initially called in the first half.

What will be interesting to see is what system the Triple-A West will be using. The Low-A Southeast uses Hawkeye, which is the same technology that is now used in Major League Baseball. The teams in that league, except Daytona, all play in big league spring training stadiums and thus the technology was installed there as teams want that for the big leaguers. But when the system was used in the Atlantic League they were using the Trackman system, which was in Major League Baseball from 2015-2019, but was replaced by Hawkeye.

The two technologies are quite different. Hawkeye uses cameras to track everything on the field. Trackman uses radar to track the ball. Every minor league stadium has had Trackman installed for years. But given what we saw last year in the Low-A Southeast and the ABS only being expanded to one other league, will MLB help foot the bill to install Hawkeye at those minor league stadiums, or will they use Trackman to test things out even though it won’t be used in the big leagues.

31 Responses

  1. CFD3000

    Castellanos is gone of course, but essentially what the All MLB team lists tell us is that the Reds had four all stars out of 8 positions, and you’d have to think that Stephenson would be added to that list if he’d played enough as the Reds primary catcher. If Barrero can adapt to major league pitching and eventually produce as he did in the minors, the Reds offense looks to be in good hands. But of course pitching largely dictates success so it’s a wait and see game. Will the Reds sell on Castillo and/or Gray? Will Greene, Lodolo and Ashcroft mature into solid MLB starters? Perhaps Gutierrez and Santillan will improve as they gain experience. There’s definitely a strong rotation in there somewhere. And then of course, there’s that bullpen…. I’m choosing to remain optimistic about the 2022 Reds, but ask me again in March. Go Reds!

    • Jonathan Linn

      Agreed. The sky isn’t completely falling. Still have a lot of good promising young players. If Castellanos stays, that is just icing on the cake. Heck – I would be ok if the team traded Gray if that meant the salary savings allowed them to sign Castellanos to a 3/75 million contact or something like that.

      • Jon

        The sky’s not falling, but it feels exactly the same as last winter and the entire 2021 season. The Reds front office and ownership seem quite content with mediocrity rather than going all-in and making a run for the division and a World Series championship. They gave away Iglesias and Bradley for nothing last year and literally just repeated that mistake with Barnhart and Miley. Instead of looking for a proven winner for GM, they keep Bob’s yes-man. Yes, there’s still over three months to go before Spring Training, but all indications thus far point to more cost-cutting rather than contending. If Castillo gets traded, you can toss 2022 out the window and might as well try to ship off Votto as well.

  2. KDJ

    Interested to see how the automated strike zone plays out. Hawk-Eye has been used in professional tennis for years to settle challenged calls. This year it was used successfully at the US Open in place of linespersons completely.
    Happy Veterans’ Day everyone!

  3. LDS

    No to automated strike zones. I know there was a lot of grumbling here this season about bad/inconsistent umpires. But, IMO, that’s part of the game. The more the human element is eliminated, the more the “analytics” craze continues, the less it’s baseball. It becomes a computer game. And the technology to field a robot team isn’t too far away. Castellini would like it. I’m sure they would be cheaper over time.

    • Luke J

      That’s an absurd leap from eliminating human error from calls to robot players. In fact, eliminating bad calls actually makes it MORE about what the actual human players do on the field.

      I’ll never understand the argument that human error in umpiring is part of the game. It is most assuredly NOT part of the game, nor should it be. Let the play decide games, not unaccountable umpires. It’s only been part of the game because it was the only option. If the technology existed in 1875, you better believe they would have used it. They would have hated bad calls as much as we do.

      • Mark Moore

        I’m completely with you on this one. And it’s more than the errors, it’s the inconsistency.

      • LDS

        After retiring from decades in the technology space , it’s not a big leap and only marginally facetious

      • Alan Horn

        LDS, I retired from the technology field in 2015 after 35 years. I did everything from mainframe programming/system analysis, mainframe system admin. to upper management over the Windows, email and Linux and library IT personnel. I enjoyed my career and miss the mainframe programming the most. Just like I enjoyed playing baseball more than managing.

      • Luke J

        LDS, technology has nothing to do with your logical fallacy. Umpires and players are completely separate things as they relate to the game of baseball. Replacing one has literally no bearing on replacing the other. And as I said, logically, replacing the non-playing one with something more consistent, by definition, increases the significance of the actual performance by the players. Which cuts against your claim it will lead to robotic players.

    • 2020ball

      If something is bad/inconsistent, why are we using it?

      • LDS

        That question is predicated on an assumption that the automated solution wouldn’t be bad or inconsistent. Never bet against the perversity of technology.

      • greenmtred

        Exactly, LDS. I’d be for it if it is shown to be accurate and consistent, but there seem to be questions about that, and it won’t be any more accountable than human umps. Or, if it is, it will involve a review process which will add to already too long games.

      • 2020ball

        True, I’ve said for years that the system needs to be accurate for the implementation process not to be a total mess. Most proponents of the auto-zone seem to forget that theres a good chance the system will miss a call now and again. That said, something having some errors replacing something that we already know has copious amounts of errors isnt a good enough reason for me to defend a flawed system. We already know for a fact that human umpires miss calls constantly so whats the issue if the auto-zone does the same at a lower rate?

        I’ve grown very tired of the “as long as the umpire is consistent in his bad calls, then all is forgiven” since I consistently see that consistent zone break down in the later innings. And why the zone needed to be consistent was it was miscalled in the first place. I just want to calls to be right, so whichever way we can get closer to that I’m all for it.

      • LDS

        Maybe they should simply fire lousy umpires.

      • 2020ball

        Thats something we can for sure agree on. I guess thats why I want them to take more out of their hands.

      • Luke J

        LDS, because there’s no such thing as a non-lousy human umpire. Some are less lousy than others, but the task of seeing things that quickly, with the type of precision required not to be considered “lousy” when calls are missed, is simply something human beings are not capable of.

    • Tom Wright

      Players are always going to complain about balls and strikes. I think it important that fans understand the calls are right. If they have an automated system that makes calls in regards to the plate rather than where the batter stands, I’m all for it. A strike at the knees should be where it crosses the plate and regardless as to where the batter stands. Fans get tired of called strikes outside the zone and/or balls called inside the zone. Three base umpires are enough, backed up by replay. If there’s anything needing exactness in baseball, it’s the calling of balls and strikes. At the very least, rookie pitchers would get the same calls as veterans, something amiss at times as it is now.

  4. DataDumpster

    Until following this blog, I never realized how many awards are dished out at the end of the MLB season. I look forward to the 3 “traditional” awards and perhaps others as they are announced but I have never heard of this “All-MLB Team” competition. Apparently, this is only the 3rd year of its existence so there, but what is its purpose really?
    Fans can vote up to 10 times for their favorite players at each position. But, be careful, not to factor in playoff results! The other 50% of the vote total will be supplied by “sports media experts.” The data is compiled by a data analytics health care company called Cue Health. Any “improper” voting will be handled by MLB. Loyal subscribers to the MLB Network will get to see the results first (in a special program?).
    No thanks.

    • Luke J

      Every sport from high school to college to the pros has an all…team. why not baseball? You ever heard of an all-state high schooler, or an all-conference college player, or an all-NBA team? Selecting an all-MLB team seems normal and expected to me.

    • 2020ball

      I barely even care about these individuals awards anymore, I still remember when errors were how people measured defense.

      • Luke J

        Are you suggesting we should go back to evaluating defense based solely upon errors/fielding%? Because that’s a terrible idea and a very flawed way to look at defense.

  5. Mark Moore

    I’m ready for the consistency a robo-zone will bring, especially since the MLB Umpires have zero accountability to improve. It’s time to advance it and press forward.

    Good for our guys getting nominated. Especially RoY and Joey put on a great show. Casty as well, though we all knew he’d walk away. Hoping we get to see our guys in 2022.

  6. Broseph

    Auto strike zone long overdue. Could you imagine Votto’s stats with something that knows the zone as well as he does?

    Pre sacrificing outs for power in ‘20-21, his OBP would be insane. I watched so many favorable counts and full counts that have been ruined by inconsistent, inaccurate strike zones.

    If MLB did a player and fans poll today, my guess is a landslide for an automated strike zone

  7. Kevin H

    I miss baseball the way it is suppose to be played. This analytical stuff has ruined the game. I see it here with the Farmer, and Barnhart comments. Two solid baseball players, however to hear the analytical people they are terrible.

    Plus, I am all for not having robot’s calling balls and strikes. Just seems to me baseball like was said is becoming more computerized than it needs to be

    • 2020ball

      ugh, I’m as much as a purist as the next guy, but the game is constantly evolving and always has. Its for sure that some people put waaaay too much into stats and pay no attention to what they miss, but writing them off completely is lazy and foolish. The analytics assigned both players you mentioned as positive contributors, but also accounts for their lack of offense which unsurprisingly drags down their value. Neither are terrible, but lets not confuse either as allstars.

  8. CI3J

    As far as the automated strikezone goes, I’ve always wondered why baseball just can’t do what other sports do: Have a sky judge. We can all see the strikezone on TV, and we (and the commentators) love to go ballistic when the ump makes a mistake.

    Given that we at home and in the booth can already see it, why not add a sky judge who can also see it and who will buzz in to the plate umpire ONLY if the plate umpire gets a call wrong? It could happen extremely quickly, and all the plate ump would need to do is raise his hand and make some kind of hand signal to let the crowd and official scorer know to reverse his last call. It would only take a matter of seconds, and that’s usually the “down time” between pitches anyway.

    All it would take is for the plate ump to wear a small device on his wrist or somewhere else on his body which could vibrate and/or light up to let the ump know his last call was wrong. Then the ump raises his hand, steps out from behind the plate, and makes the “change the last call gesture”. This could actually end up SAVING time in the game, as players/managers won’t spend time arguing with the ump if they know both the ump AND sky judge say the call was right. Or if players do want to argue, the ump could shut them down in seconds by saying “Don’t talk to me, talk to the sky judge.”

    Since umps get the vast majority of calls correct anyway, reversing calls should only be happening a few times per game if it happens at all. And if it happens more than that? Well, then maybe it’s time to evaluate if the ump in question has what it takes to do the job properly.

    • doofus

      “Since umps get the vast majority of calls correct anyway, reversing calls should only be happening a few times per game if it happens at all.”

      Unless the HP ump is Joe West or Angel Hernandez.

      • CI3J

        Yep, I specifically had them in mind when I wrote the final sentence. But thankfully, Joe West is now retired.

    • Grand Salami

      I noticed a Bengals game last week or the week before that refs seemed to get a buzz from NYC and called a roughing the passer where the DL let his weight land on Burrow. The only way the call came in was from a ‘sky judge’.

  9. doofus

    MLB is “…looking for Automated Ball and Strike System Tech’s in Florida for spring training,…” I did not know there was such a thing? What the heck do they actually do or need to do?