Are you annoyed by your favorite baseball team? I am. How much mediocrity are we supposed to put up with? Sometimes, when I get annoyed, I want to understand and I go looking for some kind of answer with data.

The question: What do good teams have that the Cincinnati Reds don’t?

The measure I’m using: bWAR (Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR).

Why bWAR? It’s a solid enough version. Yes, WAR is flawed, but we’re looking with a wider lens, and it allows for the fact that different good teams have different strengths.

What’s a good team? Anybody who won 90 games in 2023 for my purposes. If you win 90, you’re good. I don’t think anyone would really argue that.

There were eight teams that won 90 games in 2023. I looked at their rosters and put the players into three bins: MVP candidates (6+ WAR), All-Stars (4.0-5.9 WAR), and above-average contributors (2-3.9 WAR).

I did not look at playing time. Only the counting stat of WAR. We all understand that injuries happen basically everywhere.

So, on average, teams that won 90 games had:

  • 0.9 MVP candidate (6+ WAR) players
  • 1.8 All-Star Level (4-5.9 WAR) players
  • 7.6 Above average contributors (2-3.9 WAR)

That’s about 10 legitimately good players on each team who are either consistently healthy, or good enough to make a big contribution in relatively limited time.

Now, where do you think the Reds are on this scale? I was a little surprised. Based on current paces, they are on track to have:

  1. MVP Candidate (Hunter Greene, albeit just barely hitting the 6 WAR threshold).
  2. Three All-Star Level Players (Elly De La Cruz, Andrew Abbott, and Nick Lodolo).
  3. Just two (TWO!) above-average contributors (Spencer Steer and Tyler Stephenson).

Category 3 is the problem. The Reds need 10 good players, and they have 6. If you want to fuss about how defense is measured, you can maybe squeeze Candelario in there, but even the most forgiving measure has him as just barely on a two WAR pace right now.

Now, perhaps Noelvi Marte and TJ Friedl will accumulate two WAR by season’s end. That wouldn’t shock me. And we were all counting on a good season from Matt McLain. But remember what I said, injuries happen everywhere, and the Reds vaunted depth hasn’t been very deep. The regular outfields not named Friedl aren’t getting it done (and I hate it, because I like those guys). Jonathan India isn’t getting it done. Christian Encarnacion-Strand wasn’t getting it done when he was healthy (or at least when he was playing – given the diagnosis he may not have been healthy while active this year). The designated hitter has been a mess.

The problem is they were assuming that all the guys who had a ceiling of above-average would hit that ceiling. And that’s not how it works.

The Reds don’t need superstars, but they do need to start acquiring guys who fill the holes they have. And there’s no time like the present. I’m tired of losing.

88 Responses

  1. LDS

    Tired of losing, yep, but we’re sort of getting used to it. I’m still skeptical that Krall gets the players the team needs. And the question of late, is what does he use to get those players? Not a lot of good trade pieces on the active roster and lately the Reds farm team hasn’t been looking great either. I suspect teams would want guys like Lowder and that may not be the Reds best move. So, realistically, who do they move? For the right deal, I could see them moving Marte and/or CES but the right deal probably doesn’t exist.

    • wkuchad

      But Marte and CES is worth substantially less right now. We’d be selling low, in a big way.

      • LDS

        Oh I agree. On Marte, it depends on how “controversial “ the Reds deem Marte to be. CES would be more about what they think his ceiling is now.

  2. Pete

    I would be reluctant to trade anyone that could possibly be part of the “future”. Until David Bell is replaced I think it’s a fools errand to start making a bunch of trades. There is no doubt the organization is hurting from the top on down. Still have some hope that Krall has been picking up good talent but Lord knows they can’t develop it for some reason or they are requiring bad talent and can’t develop it?

    They need to start with David Bell because I don’t think playoff baseball is in their future as long as he is at the helm. He has just not majorly league quality and wouldn’t hold a job if not for family connections. Everyone knows this but some are afraid to admit it.

  3. SultanofSwaff

    Nice post. I’d like to think that by season’s end we won’t have to struggle to find five more 2 win players. Friedl, Marte, and McLain are near shoo-ins even in a half season—maybe only one does. Moll/Cruz/Martinez all seem poised to barely cross the 2 win threshold……imo 2 of them will get there. It would take a strong push from Montas and India to get there as well, but both had terrible starts and seem to have found their stride. So there’s a chance…….

    Injuries happen, Friedl/McLain/Williamson really hurt, but the underperformance of Diaz, Benson, Ashcraft, and CES really kneecapped this team from reaching its full potential this season. That said, even if these factors mean they can’t win 90, it doesn’t mean they can’t play like a 90 win team post All-Star break. That’s my expectation.

    • Jim Walker

      I consider Friedl unlikely at this point to get to 2 bWAR for the year. His 2024 looks to me like India’s 2022. He is almost certainly playing hurt right now and who knows how much is his hamstring, how much one of his wrists and how much a combination of them all.

      Looking at his game logs, he appears not to have been up to speed when he started his season after the spring training injury. However, he played well when he came back on May 29 from his 2nd IL stint, adding .300+ to his seasonal OPS through June 8, his high water OPS mark of the season (.796); but, since then has dropped .0.99 to his current .697 OPS. To me, this suggests he is short on endurance from his injury ordeals and/or playing more hurt than has been publicly stated.

      • Jim Walker

        ” …but, since then has dropped .0.99 to his current .697 OPS”

        .0.99 above was meant to be 0.099

        My AI auto editor apologizes 😉

  4. Scott

    We like our guys because they are our guys, but really there are many that shouldn’t be on the team or in mlb.

  5. MBS

    Lodolo 142 ERA+
    Greene 125 ERA+
    Abbott 124 ERA+

    We might not be a good team. We might not be even an average team, but with our SP’s we’d be dangerous if we acquire players to help us get a wild card spot. I’m in the let’s add now club.

    CF: Robert JR, for Arroyo, Petty, Collier. I’d also like to add another good bat that can help now and be clutch if Stephenson gets banged up.

    C: Jansen, IDK what a better than average C that’s going to be a FA at the end of the year might cost, but it shouldn’t be crazy. BTW I’d love to resign him to an extension for 4 seasons.

    • doofus

      Dillon Dingler, C for Sal Stewart. Good defensive catcher whose offense has come on at AAA. Crazy good at throwing out baserunners.

  6. Doc

    I don’t understand the assumption that Marte will be the cat’s meow when he returns. Through last night his stats make Benson look above average. I don’t know why people think missing 80 games and coming off a PED enhanced performance is just disappear and he just picks up where he left off.

    Ditto Matt McClain. People opine as if when he steps back in the box he will pick right up where he left off despite the fact he is still not even swinging a bat as June comes to a close. Anybody remember a Reds catcher named Stephenson? Seems to me he had major shoulder surgery and is only now starting to show signs of getting back offensively to near where he was. McClain is not likely to be a force until 2025, maybe mid 2025. Same thing for Arroyo, mid 2025 at best, if not 2026, and he will have the advantage of getting it back in the minor leagues.

    Play the hand you’re dealt in 2024, get everybody healthy, see what you have coming up, and target 2025-2026, which were more realistic years anyway. Remember that most of the professional pundit had the Reds winning 75-80 games this year, and that was before the huge injury toll. Odds are the Reds are more likely to suffer additional injury losses in 2024 than they are to regain quality performance from recovering major injury casualties in 2024.

    • VaRedsFan

      I agree with your assessment about returning players. Chances are greater that they will be below average than above average.
      I do believe that they can still add a big bat (Luis Robert-type) to the lineup this year, instead of waiting for the offseason when everybody wants them

    • doofus

      I am not ready to give up on this season before the half-way mark.

    • Harry Stoner

      Actually, Stephenson is coming back from a broken clavicle, not shoulder surgery.

      Marty’s use of a banned substance was following an injury suffered during ‘winter ball’.
      His performance last summer was not “PED enhanced”.

      No one outside of your cynical pov was thinking that he’d be immediately stellar upon his return from suspension. He’s essential in ST, but the AAA pitchers have been pitching for 3 months or more.

      A smarter plan might have been to start him in AA for a few weeks before Louisville.

      Haven’t heard anyone suggest that McLain will ‘pick things up where he left off.’

      It’s okay if you’re confused about these things.

      It’s less okay if you’re just setting up more straw men so you can act like a know-it-all once again.

    • Jason Linden

      I mostly agree here, but I wouldn’t make any judgments on a handful of rehab starts in AAA for anybody. There’s not enough information to tell you anything. It’s not at all unusual for MLB guys to stink in rehab assignments (numbers-wise) and then come back roaring as soon as they’re in the big leagues again.

      But yeah. McLain and Marte are big question marks for this season. The injuries this year have been rough.

    • Votto4life

      Doc I agree with your assessment. There is no indication Noveli Marte will pick up where he left off last year. We don’t know his success last year wasn’t tied to his PED use. At the very least, he has shown poor judgement and at the worse he is a cheater. I would prefer the Reds move on from him in the off-season.

      Matt McLain likely won’t appear in a game this season. But when he does come back, it will likely be a year before he is playing at the level he played last year. Let’s be honest, there is a chance that McLain will never again be the same player.

      As far as Benson goes, it’s clear why Cleveland let him go.

      If any one deserves a pass this season it is Jake Fraley. What he has went through, this past year, is a living nightmare and he deserves patience IMO.

      I think it will be 2026 before this team is ready to challenge for a divisional title. Perhaps it won’t
      ever happen. Ultimately, you are as good as your record. The Reds are a several games under .500.

      • Jason Linden

        I think people need to take a step back with the PED stuff. Yeah, it’s probably a bad decision, but for a lot of these guys who come from nothing, sticking in the majors is everything. It provides for the family for ever. It’s telling that the overwhelming number of players who get suspended aren’t from the US.

        Also, I’ll point out that it’s entirely possible me that lots of guys are still using stuff, but they can afford stuff that tests miss.

        Also, let us please not forget 1. That players used amphetamines for DECADES. And that 2. We were all 20 once and everything seemed like the most important thing we would ever do.

        Players are human beings.

      • Votto4life

        Sure players are human beings and human beings have rules they must live by. Marte is an adult. Prisons are full of people who made one mistake.

        Also, Marte used PEDs to gain an advantage of someone else. By taking PEDs he was taking money out of another player’s pocket, who also likely came from nothing, but was playing by the rules. In addition, Marte letdown his teammates and the Reds organization.

        I suspect if Marte was a lifetime .203 hitter, with no record of success in the minors, people would be far less forgiving.

    • doofus

      I am hard pressed to see where folks are saying that Marte will evoke feline sounds upon his return.

      The dude is known for putting the bat on the ball and fielding what is hit at him. He is 22. Give him some room.

      Where is it written that he could not be involved in baseball workouts prior to him being able to play at L’Ville?

      McLain (one ‘C’) I believe is swinging the bat.

      Doc, are you sure you were not a proctologist, or Cubs fan?

  7. Rob

    Excellent article. The Reds don’t need superstars is the point. But to win 90 games we need about 3-4 more above average players. I am OK counting Friedl and Candy toward that number. McLain if he were playing 2.5 months instead of 1.5 months would also be fair game. But with that stretch, that also says we still need 1-2 guys at or near the 4.0 WAR level. Not all stars but near all stars. Nothing new there in my mind.

    I noted over the weekend that Boston had 4 guys over 820 OPS in their regular lineup, along with a strong bench. We had 0 with a very weak bench. Boston is just a few games over 500. If we had just half of those four guys, with our elite pitching, the data says we would be near the Brewers level of 90 wins. And one of Bostons big OPS guys (ONeill) sat out there all winter awaiting for somebody to pay him. Gee whiz. Just so easy to fix but requires admitting we are not good enough today and need another strong piece or two to make a run.

  8. RedsGettingBetter

    In muy opinion the most attractive Reds prospects maybe seller teams could be pursuing ( despite some not so good numbers a buch of them have this season) are: Lowder, Arroyo, Stewart, Collier, Duno, Cabrera, Aguiar, Jorge, Rodríguez, maybe Serwinowski, Maxwell… Who would be the Reds able to trade for? I guess there are some “untouchables” in that list but if they want to acquire one or two above-average-player contributors it’s likely the sacrifice of Arroyo, Collier, Cabrera, Duno or Stewart since I think Lowder is an “untouchable”…

    • Melvin

      Lowder may be untouchable but he’s not as “untouchable” as I thought.

  9. Jim Walker

    If you are perusing comments Jason, I’m wondering if you attempted to make a consideration for platooning. Not that it matters for the Reds because I don’t think there is any way to stack their platooning which makes a significant difference. I just checked their bWAR and among Fraley (0.0), Benson (-0.6), and Fairchild (+0.6) the net bWAR is 0.00.

    • Jason Linden

      Just looking over things now. I didn’t worry about platooning. Just looking at what guys have/might contribute in a very raw-numbers kind of way.

  10. DW

    Good stuff Jason. Your conclusion matches the eye test for me. And it shows just how much guys like India, Fraley, and Benson are letting this team down. And just how much injuries to Friedl, McLain, and CES are hurting this team. Marte’s suspension too.

    • Myles

      Is it letting down the team or are Benson, India, and Fraley just not that good?

      • LDS

        I think moving India and Fraley last offseason would have been the smart move. Signing India to an extension never made much sense to me. And Fraley has enough ABs in the majors to show that he’s not going to be more than a platoon option.

      • wkuchad

        Benson, India, and Fraley are the 5th through 7th best hitters on the team. Dump them, and we’d really suck offensively.

        Everyone wants to dump them or send them to Louisville. That won’t help if we don’t replace them with someone better.

  11. Ahimsa

    The way I see the Reds FO/owners.

    “Let’s have a team that’s just good enough to draw fans”.

  12. VaRedsFan

    Good article.
    IMO the Reds shouldn’t be sellers at the deadline. I would like them to acquire proven talent now (as if they WERE in the playoff picture). Keep Candy for another year. Acquiring somebody now (Robert or Rooker type) means you don’t have to go shopping in the off season to try to fix the outfield. Your boost next year would also come from players returning from injury, and see if maybe a few of them can bounce back.

    • VaRedsFan

      If you haven’t looked…..The free agent pool is very shallow this upcoming off season

  13. Anthony

    This analysis does not factor on the metric of having the worst overall manager in mlb. Where do the numbers shake out when plugging that human element into the alexa computer

    • TR

      Baseball advise from Alexa could help to move out the depressive cloud that now seems to hang over Reds fandom.

  14. Steven Ross

    Marte is struggling mightly in Louisville. You could say really bad. I wouldn’t count on much from him this year. He only has 114 major league ABs.

    I feel like McLain is key but his return in August is a lot to ask. He’s going to need time.

    Would really like to see a proven winner hired as our Manager but that’s not going happen either. Stuck in medicority into perpetutity.

  15. Jason Linden

    I don’t understand why some of you show up every day just to yell about David Bell. Like, if you want to bother doing any research, you’ll find that managers do not tend to matter a ton. Players play the game. A manager can give you/cost you a win or two over a whole season, but that’s about it.

    Find another hill to die on, guys. This is boring. (Yes, yes, I know. I can sense the replies about how evidence doesn’t matter because you’re part of some secret baseball priesthood that knows all things just from watching TV.)

    • Doc

      Note that I did not say to give up, rather to play the hand you are dealt. That does not preclude helping the club where you can, but not at the expense of narrowing the window for the next few years. Certainly you try to win, you do not mail it in, but you also have to be able to adjust to reality on the fly and keep the next few years in view.

      Realty in 2024 is that this team lost fully 1/3 of their expected starting lineup before the first opening day pitch. No way you can replace three starters with one acquisition, and the price is always steeper when trading partners and players think they have you over a barrel.

      • Justin T

        McLain, CES nor Marte even had a full big league season under their belts and we were expecting what? Them to be penciled in for success this year?

        They were hoping their abbreviated rookie seasons would repeat and alot of us questioned that in the first place.
        Every time I asked those questions someone told me about this depth we have and the floor was raised. Went from having depth to fielding a borderline AAA team without making it out of April. There is a pattern of mediocrity starting at the top all the way to the bottom. Take mine and your David Bell opinions and throw them away, how can a big league organization be Ok with a manager 50 games under .500 after almost 6 years? Showing no improvement along the way besides a 12 game winning streak this one time.

        When Baseball America and these other outlets drop their latest farm system rankings Ill be curious. No way we couldve traded these players for a 20th ranked farm system? Lets hope they see something we dont.
        Some of it is bad luck but you know what they say about bad luck.

        Its become a joke and I hope for the guys like Doug Gray and Jason Linden we get a ring before we die simply for staying dedicated to this team and dealing with guys like me. Supporting this franchise right now probably prolongs it but what are ya gonna do. Im a fan, and as big a fan as anyone in here and I feel the way I feel and still care enough to say it.

    • Harry Stoner

      Man, what a self-righteous bag of wind.

      • wkuchad

        excellent counter argument Harry; I’m sure he realizes the errors of his ways now

      • Tony Cloninger

        As opposed to your dying F in the wind?

    • DW

      A win or two over a whole season? Do you really believe that?

    • RedlegScott

      The obvious lack of player discipline on this team, including the multitude of base running blunders, falls squarely in the lap of the manager. I was OK with Bell last year, but not any more. It’s like watching Keystone Cops out there.

    • LDS

      Maybe an average manager is responsible for 1-2 game outcomes over the course of the season. A bad manager is demonstrably responsible for more as is a good manager. It’s a straw man to posit that managers don’t matter. It ranks right up there with lineups not mattering.

      • Jason Linden

        I didn’t say they don’t matter. I said they don’t matter nearly as much as some on here claim. There is substantial evidence to support my claim. I am unaware of any studies supporting your claim. If you’d like to share, I’d love to see them.

        Btw, you implying that I said managers don’t matter is, in fact, a straw-man fallacy. As someone whose day job is teaching various advanced high school English classes, I am quite familiar with the term and its application.

    • wkuchad

      Thank you Jason. The game posts have become over the top ridiculous. It’s constant Bell, Bell, Bell.

      • Tom Diesman

        RLN game threads are now the equivalent of hanging out in the Tourettes section of the Anger Management group at the St. Pia Zadora Golden Buckeye Retirement Community in Pisgah.

    • Hanawi

      Once again Reds beat writers will jump in front of a bus to defend Bell. We all watch the games.

    • DaveCT

      Correct. That and trading EDLC with, what, five years of control? In part because a 21 year old kid from modest beginnings in the Dominican said he likes LA.

    • Justin T

      The players have changed but he remains and its the same story. For the love of holy things can you or anyone explain why it bothers you that people criticize him yet no explanation why you arent upset that we have been stuck in mediocrity with the same manager the last 5.5 years. The pride this town once had. At this point you dont need to see what he does wrong, just at least accept the results. He has managed almost 800 games are you waiting on him to figure it out?

      They are the sloppiest team in baseball. They led or were 2nd to last in outs made on the bases. Twice in 5 years the pitchers have led the league in walks. Those are basic fundamentals. Poor defense. Bullpen fried by August annually. The team looks defeated in the first inning 3 times a week. What am I missing my friend? How does this not drive you up the wall? Noone thinks it cures everything, but its way past due and its a start.

    • Justin T

      Any metric that reflects fundementals the Reds are near dead last. Outs on the bases, errors, strike outs etc etc. Pitchers have led the league in walks twice in 5 years. Last in the league in turning double plays this year. Mike Ford batting third 7 times. Will Benson continuing to play every day. 50 games under .500.

      What are you defending? Have you seen a Reds manager THIS bad in your lifetime? The numbers and eyeball test back me up while your condescending answer just tells us to not believe our eyes. Please explain what he is good at?

  16. Rednat

    This is why im not a huge fan of war.

    I feel a good position player is a player you trust to have a good game on most days. A player you can trust to get big hits when needed. The only guy i trust right now is Candelario yet he didnt make the war list.

    Players like Candelario are exactly what the reds need. Just solid veterans that know how to hit todays pitching.. i think these veteran guys are much more valuable tgen a guy like EDLC

    • Jason Franklin

      War, war it never changes.

      Also, Candy needs to be DH’ing now, not later. Hopefully once Marte is brought up he moves over to the DH spot. He is not a good defensive player. People also need to realize that EDLC (offensive-wise) is very, very young and was rushed up here by the organization when he may have needed some more seasoning. He is doing his best and is showing flashes of seeing that. Now, he just needs to work on his defense at short or make a move to an outfield spot where his lankiness/speed/arm could be used more correctly.

    • Jason Linden

      Were you counting on Candy when he hit like a backup catcher for 6 weeks, or are you just experiencing recency bias?

      • Rednat

        At the end of the year Candelario will have the highest BA. HR possibly Rbi total on the team. Yet his war will be lower. Just never made sense to me

      • Jason Linden

        You didn’t answer the question.

  17. Jason Franklin

    I think a lot of the problems come down to is what sort of players the organization want to focus on ‘raising in the farm.’ It seems like a lot of these guys lack fundamentals. Yes, a lot of this is just resonant in the player before being drafted/signed, but it is very, very important that fundamentals be fine-tuned via the organization. Seems like they are mostly focusing on hitting instead of defense/baserunning. Plus, the other problem is that the hitters are mostly just focusing on hitting hard/elevation. This leads to strikeouts at a much higher rate than a offensvie approach of chocking up at times/making contact/waiting until the ball is deep into the zone before swinging. Basically, most of the offensive players that are being raised up on the farm are very flawed and don’t easily turn into productive players on a winning team. The pitching seems the best thing the reads raise.

    • Jason Franklin

      The Reds raise, not reads raise. Yipes. Sorry.

  18. JB WV

    I don’t expect any major contributions from CES or McClain this year. In fact, they should be shelved till next season and get fully healthy if possible. Why risk another setback with two players who will be key members going forward? Especially McClain with the shoulder surgery.

    • Mark Moore

      I don’t expect to see either of them in uniform this year. Certainly they won’t be up to snuff. That’s just the recovery process. We’re seeing that with TySteve for the most part.

  19. Mark Moore

    My eyes tell me this is not a good team in 2024. Sure, there are good players and even some good components. But what I see is a lack of consistency. Hang that wherever you want to (I say there’s plenty to go around), but it kind of feels like this Pie-Rats series is a make-or-break moment. If you set the benchmark for runs scored vs. what we did on Pie-Rate Island, it’s a pretty low wall to jump over. And Boston took advantage of some stuff while we did a few more Keystone Kops moves.

    Yes, this is a young team. Yes, I’m still a die-hard Reds fan. No, I’m not directly bashing the manager/coaching staff though I think it has a significant impact over time in how the team approaches the games.

    Get to the AS break at .500 and maybe we’ll talk some more. Don’t sell off the farm, but don’t think you can outbid the actual, hungry competitors. As Doug is fond of saying, we’re “in it” because so many are “in it” under the current playoff scheme. Ultimately, wins vs. losses tell the tale. The advanced metrics are fine, but the nights where I watch to see who Day interviews vs. turning the game off (let alone pulling a Clete) are my benchmark. And I think we all know where things have fallen so far in 2024.

    • Kevin H

      When I came back after a hiatus I did say Bell isn’t the answer for this team. Yes, I get annoyed with the bashing and have said so.

      In saying that I agree Mark, and this to me is a make or break series. To me sweep the pirates, and take 3 of 4 from Cardinals. Too much to ask? Time will tell.

  20. west larry

    I think many of you are undervaluing India’s value to the team this year. Sure he had subpar years in 2022 and 2023 while trying to play through bad legs and feet. But look at him this year. His .250 batting average rates only below the candyman (.253) and Fraley. He’s recovered from a terrible start and his defense, although not great, certainly rates above the last two years when he basically played crippled. Give the man his due!

    • Jason Linden

      Yeah, I might be undervaluing India a touch. I was just going by bWAR for this post, and bWAR doesn’t like him as much as some of the other systems, but either way, he hasn’t been great. His defense is always going to be below average. He’s gotta make up for that with a little more pop. He’s basically been league average as a hitter because he gets on base, but doesn’t provide power (or hasn’t this year).

  21. JB

    When you don’t have enough “good” guys , then you try to get by with great defense and running the bases to pick up the slack. The defense is horrible. Infielders can’t catch the ball and when they do they throw it in the stands. . Outfielders have dropped routine flyballs and most of them have average arms or worse. There has been wild pitches , passed balls, foul balls dropped, forgetting how many outs, terrible throws home and on and on. Base running? Do I need to even get into that? There isn’t enough room to list them all. This team is flawed with bad fundamentals. Teams can over come only having some star players but they can’t over come the amount of tootblans this team has accomplished. I’ve never seen a team this bad at doing the little things. To which those little things become big things.

    • Jason Linden

      I don’t know if there’s anything to this, but I’ve recently seen arguments made that fundamentals have gotten much worse across all levels with theorizing that this has to do with the elimination of a lot of minor league teams. Especially rookie leagues, where a lot of that stuff was taught. Again, I don’t know if it’s real, but it’s interesting, and it made me think.

      • Melvin

        Fundamentals basically don’t change from one level to the next starting at 12 years of age or sooner. It’s up to the manager to reinforce/emphasize them and make the players accountable for what they’ve learned.

      • DaveCT

        That was a very instructive read, at BA. Pitching is down, hitting is down. Everywhere, across all levels.

        In fact, where it’s been something of a matter of pride for our younger minor leaguers to have been successful while below league avgerage age, it may be catching up to us (and everyone). I have actually been thinking some of our youngsters may need to repeat their level in 2025 vs. be aggressively pushed upwards.

        In a second comparison, the last great class of graduating minor leaguers saw guys arrive when they were ready. When Votyo arrived, he was ready. Same for Bruce, Frazier, Cozart, Tucker, etc.

        Last year, Steer was ready. McLain was ready. Marte was possibly ready. CES, Elly, Benson were talented but flawed. Unfinished products.

    • JB

      And as for losing? Yeah I’m sick of losing as well as everybody else. But what bothers me is there are a lot of people on here who have never seen a championship team. I was lucky enough to see the BRM in 75,76 and the 90 team. Even the teams that made it in against the A’s and Orioles were solid. The 90 team might have been the best coached team ever for one season. Pinella pulled the right buttons every single game. They were a team. God bless you Mr. Billy Hatcher where ever you are . This team needs to start winning. From the top down.

  22. Melvin

    “The Reds don’t need superstars, but they do need to start acquiring guys who fill the holes they have. And there’s no time like the present. I’m tired of losing.”

    Couldn’t agree more.

    • Jim Walker

      A start in this direction would be to not platoon indiscriminately based solely on handedness at the plate. Take defense and baserunning skills into account also. What net good is a guy who gives back a huge amount of his positive handedness skew with poor defense and numerous TOOTBLANs??

      Yes, WAR is a counting stat; but, it could be turned into a rate based guide by by dividing it by PAs or innings played.

      • DaveCT

        Jim, response below re: platooning.

  23. Red Thunder

    We might have some Friedl news

      • LDS

        Yep something they could have done days ago

  24. Melvin

    The main reason I believe we should add players through trades using some of our minor league depth is because of our starting pitching. It’s arguably the HARDEST thing to come by in building a winner. We’ve got it and we’re wasting it. As Jim pointed out recently just think of Greene, Lodolo, and Abbott in the playoffs. I wouldn’t count Ashcraft out either. He’s looked like an ACE on more than one occasion. If we get in who knows how far we could go if we get some help.

  25. MK

    If this were April and the Reds had a player coming off a .300 season who has a putrid Spring Training. Comments would be it doesn’t count, he is working on things, look at the back of his baseball card. Well Noelvi I’d finishing his ST. It makes no sense to be thinking of trading him.

    In addition Jordan recalled today.

  26. Tony Cloninger

    The comment earlier about the owners only wanting a team that draws enough fans to just tread water. I get it. Just like Bell. The owners suck. They suck at everything along with Krall. Yet……candelabra and Suter have been good to very good. Martinez has been better than what they got last year out of Lively and Weaver. Ironic that know they are pitching great this year. Montas was going to be a 4-5 starter for this team. That’s it.
    Pagan is the only one that has disappointed or pitched to expectations.

    The injuries hurt obviously but so has the lack of much help in the minors this year.

    Connor Phillips. Richardson not getting better. To help when the rotation will need it due to innings limits. There’s no other reliable reliever to replace Sims or Pagan.

    Dunn is not able to help because he got injured too and became infected with the 1982 Reds hitting bug. Double A is a nightmare of record proportions. Petty pitching better. Aguilar looking good. Besides that the hitting is 1968 White Sox worthy.

    Anything worth much is in A plus.

  27. DaveCT

    One step further, Jim. Players who can perform above a platoon level are required to field regulars. So it’s not a matter of to platoon or not. It’s a matter of having the talent not to platoon.

    Further, and yes, any hope of successful platooning was kneecapped by injuries. We lost our corner infield group without CES and Marte. We lost our middle infield group without McLain. We lost one of our few regulars with Friedl. We lost Steer full time in the OF as well. Benson has failed. Dunn and Hurtubise were injured, not ready, and not more than 4th/5th OF’s anyway.

    As for failing to acquire a big bat in the offseason, the budget is set by ownership. So management is doing what Doc said above, playing the hand they’ve been dealt. Different application but same idea, of course.

    I remind myself all the time, Bell was brought in by ownership to manage in the Cardinals way. Tony LaRussa, Mike Matheny, mix, match and drive fans crazy (they were possibly single handedly responsible for the 3-batter rule). After all, where are we going to go?

  28. Cincy6464

    Jason argues, “the stats say the manager does not matter.” That’s because the great ones are few & far between. And often it’s hard to tell if it’s them or the talent of the players.
    Is Dave Roberts a good manager with 3 former MVPs in his every day line-up? Craig Counsell surely got the best out of the players provided in Milwaukee (& he will in Chicago eventually). Terry Francona showed in Cleveland that he was a very good manager (not near the talent he had in Boston).
    Cleveland & Milwaukee look to have found a very good replacement managers. I couldn’t name a Cleveland regular beyond Ramirez before the series. Milwaukee looks to have the same edge.
    Can DB rise to that top tier – where proper execution is the every day expectation? I just don’t know if that’s his goal.

  29. Justin T

    For the “manager doesnt matter” group… Its simple: If you arent going to spend on your payroll, you need a good manager. We do not have 3 MVPs in the lineup like Dave Roberts, so a manager who has a good consistent strategy is a must. At the very least you must do the little things right. Maybe Bell wins manager of the year in New York, but not here and he has shown it through 800 games.