Results tagged ‘ Zack Cozart ’
Ryan Ludwick was a one-time All-Star, in 2008 for St. Louis, before his career started a downward trend in 2009, where Ludwick hit just .251/.321/.409 over the 2009 to 2011 seasons while being shipped out of St. Louis and playing for the Padres and Pirates. His career looked nearly finished before the start of 2012, when Reds GM Walt Jocketty gave him a one-year, $2 million deal to play left for Cincinnati, a job he had to earn over Chris Heisey.
Ludwick proved his worth, hitting .275/.346/.531 with 26 home runs and 80 RBI in 2012 in just 125 games and 472 plate appearances. His offensive outburst started when Joey Votto went on the disabled list on July 16, as he helped the Reds go 29-15 while Votto was out, posting a .346/.412/.654 line with 11 doubles, 12 home runs, and 36 RBI over 153 at-bats. Overall, Ludwick’s second half was much more impressive than the first:
Clearly, Ludwick wasn’t likely to maintain a .333 BABIP in the 2012 season, which he had in the second half of 2012, when you consider that his career BABIP is .304, but crazier things have happened…such as the rebound that he had in 2012 after a pretty miserable 2011 for Pittsburgh and San Diego (.237/.310/.363).
While losing a 34-year-old outfielder wouldn’t seem awful for most clubs in an era where players decline naturally without being able to used performance-enhancing drugs, Ludwick was a leader in 2012 and he brought stability to the middle of the order. His right-handed bat seems irreplaceable now, as he was the No.4 hitter between Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. His replacements just don’t measure up to his career track record, especially when compared to his recent success.
Chris Heisey seems like the most likely, full-time replacement for Ludwick. He is a career .258/.314/.436 hitter in 913 career plate appearances. The issue with using Heisey full-time becomes the loss of his bat off of the bench. As a substitute or pinch-hitter in his career, Heisey has a .288/.344/.507 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 164 plate appearances. Beyond his value off of the bench, Heisey’s inability to make consistent contact, a career 23.9 percent strikeout rate, is a concern, just like his reverse platoon statistics, as Heisey is much better as a right-handed hitter against right-handed pitching, than he is against left-handed pitching:
|vs RHP as RHB||269||658||596||164||25||5||25||72||12||39||155||.275||.331||.460||.791||274|
|vs LHP as RHB||122||255||234||50||10||2||8||30||1||14||63||.214||.272||.376||.648||88|
Heisey is likely to share some at-bats with Xavier Paul, a 28-year-old, left-handed hitting outfielder. Paul can play all three outfield positions fairly well, which seems like a useless fact when the Reds are playing one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball in center field this season in Shin-Soo Choo. Paul was once an interesting prospect for the Los Angeles Dodgers, displaying solid gap power and speed, but he has managed just 508 plate appearances over parts of four seasons in the majors, posting a .258/.305/.363 line. Paul’s inconsistent at-bats and consistent job as a No.5 outfielder could play a role in his inability to post solid numbers at the major league level, but considering that Heisey is better against right-handed pitching and Paul holds a .140/.197/.158 line in just 61 plate appearances against left-handed pitching.
Derrick Robinson replaced Ludwick on the Reds’ 40-man roster, as his contract was purchased when Ludwick was placed on the disabled list. Robinson has never appeared in the majors before, posting a career .255/.321/.324 hitter in seven minor league seasons. At 25, the switch-hitting outfielder, who was a minor league free agent signing after spending his whole career with the Kansas City Royals’ organization, doesn’t seem to offer the Reds much more than position flexibility, as he, too, can handle all three outfield positions.
Luckily, the Reds just have to replace Ludwick’s spot in left field and not as the cleanup hitter. Brandon Phillips can move from the No.2 spot to the No.4 spot as another solid, right-handed hitting option in the order. Dusty Baker will likely slide Zack Cozart up to the No.2 spot, breaking up Choo, the leadoff hitter, and Votto, as left-handed hitters at the top of the order. Phillips is likely to produce very good numbers in the middle of the order, but the bottom half of the Reds lineup is now very suspect, as Ryan Hanigan or Devin Mesoraco will likely bat behind whoever fills the left field void, followed by the starting pitcher in the No.9 spot.
While Ryan Ludwick’s injury may seem like an issue that could be overlooked, it really isn’t for the Cincinnati Reds. Certainly, with a power-packed lineup of Shin-Soo Choo, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Joey Votto, you’d think that they could overcome this injury pretty easily; however, Ludwick’s ability with the bat is not replaceable with the on-hand talent that the Reds have on the bench. Chris Heisey could do well in spurts, but the club has to find creative ways to keep the lineup strong from the top to bottom for the next several months, as Ludwick is out due to surgery on his labrum in his right shoulder.
Looking ahead to next season, though the Reds are currently in first place in the NL Central, the Reds have some interesting roster issues to address. Not only do they have arbitration eligible players who can increase payroll significantly, but they’ll have key players with extensions kicking in. Take a look at guaranteed contracts for 2013:
Joey Votto: $17 M
Brandon Phillips: $10 M
Jay Bruce: $7.5 M
Johnny Cueto: $7.4 M
Aroldis Chapman: $2 M
Bronson Arroyo: $11.5 M
Sean Marshall: $4.5 M
Ryan Madson: $2.5 M buyout OR $11 M
Nick Masset: $3.1 M
Ryan Hanigan: $2.05 M
Ryan Ludwick: $500K buyout OR $5 M
Jose Arredondo: $1.2 M
If the Reds buyout Ludwick and Madson, they have $69.25 M locked into 12 players, with only 10 of them returning. If they take on the contracts of both Ludwick and Madson, it goes up to $82.25 M for 12 players. However, it doesn’t end there. The following players are eligible for arbitration after the 2012 season:
Pre-arbitration – players who can have their contracts renewed at the league minimum:
Arbitration-eligible – players who can be non-tendered or signed through arbitration and receive a raise, with 2012 salaries listed in parenthesis:
Homer Bailey ($2.4 M)
Mat Latos ($550K)
Bill Bray ($1.42 M)
Wilson Valdez ($930K)
Paul Janish ($850K)
Drew Stubbs ($527,500)
Mike Leake ($507,500)
Chris Heisey ($495K)
Alfredo Simon ($487K)
The Reds would be wise to let Homer Bailey walk by being non-tendered, as he shouldn’t be getting a raise considering the inconsistencies that he has shown. He would earn between $3.5-4 M in arbitration. Valdez and Janish are veteran utility players who can be replaced with others who can play defense and not hit…just like them! Stubbs, Leake, and Heisey should all still be affordable in their first year of arbitration, but Latos could be an issue. He will get expensive quickly due to his early success, though it wasn’t with the Reds.
So, buyout Ludwick and Madson and keep Heisey in left and Chapman at closer and go from there.
Catchers: Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Brandon Phillips
3B: Todd Frazier
SS: Zack Cozart
LF: Chris Heisey
CF: Drew Stubbs
RF: Jay Bruce
Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake, and OPEN
Jose Arredondo, Bill Bray, Nick Masset, Sam LeCure, Alfredo Simon, Logan Ondrusek, Sean Marshall, and Aroldis Chapman
Clearly, the Reds would need to fill the bench with about three players: a utility infielder, a super-utility player (infield and outfield), and a good fourth outfielder. They will need to look to free agency to fill those roles. The following players will be free agents and would be worth a look for the Reds:
Jose Lopez – Lopez can play first and third comfortably and second if or when needed. He has done so for the Cleveland Indians in 2012. He is making $800K in 2012 and will be 29 in 2013
Scott Hairston – Hairston may end up on the expensive side of bench players, as his power and versatility will be very valuable on the open market. He currently has an .840 OPS with 10 HR and 31 RBI in just 157 at bats for the New York Mets. Hairston is making $1.1 M in 2012 and has played all three outfield spots this season and some second base in his career.
Grady Sizemore – Injuries MIGHT be gone when he hits free agency after the 2012 season. Sizemore hasn’t had a healthy season since 2008. He is making $5 M in 2012 but hasn’t played in a single game. An incentive-laden contract is a necessity for Sizemore to prove his worth and as a former gold glove caliber center fielder, he can handle all three outfield positions…if healthy.
Ryan Theriot – Theriot is making $1.25 M for the San Francisco Giants while playing primarily shortstop. He played left field late in a game and has played second, short, third, and outfield in recent years.
The open rotation spot should be left to Tony Cingrani, the young left-hander out of Rice, who has dominated the minors this season to the tune of a 7-2 record, 1.47 ERA, 86 IP, 109:21 K:BB, .196 BAA, 0.95 WHIP, including a 15 strikeout, eight shutout inning outing on Wednesday night. It’s worth seeing what you have there. Alfredo Simon or Sam LeCure could fill the number five spot if the Reds don’t sign another veteran arm like: Aaron Cook, Kevin Correia, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Marquis, Joel Piniero, or Chris Young, who could all be cheap options.
It’s never too early to wonder what your team will look like in the future. Maybe Billy Hamilton moves to center and Drew Stubbs or Chris Heisey becomes the team’s fourth outfielder? As the season goes on, trades could be made involving Cingrani or Hamilton to upgrade for 2012, as well. Regardless, the Reds look like an excellent team for this season and could get better by cutting some of the dead weight, namely their entire bench and Scott Rolen.
Joey Votto has been one of the top players in MLB in 2012, posting an absurd .362/.485/.657 slash with 27 doubles, 12 home runs, 44 RBI, and a 49:52 K:BB in 213 at bats. Brandon Phillips is finally hitting, posting a .441/.472/.735 over his last eight games, with one double, three home runs, and nine RBI. In doing so, Phillips has increased his triple-slash from .259/.314/.392 on May 24 to its current .292/.338/.454 level. With Votto still mashing and getting on base and Phillips finally hitting, are the Reds capable of being the best team in baseball over the rest of the season?
Some will argue that the Detroit Tigers have the lineup to beat due to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Others say that the Yankees lineup with Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera, Robinson Cano, and Alex Rodriguez is the greatest of them all. Others will argue that it is Ike Davis and Jason Bay, and we will mock them ferociously; however, the Reds seem to have what it takes to win. The rotation can be thin at times with the inconsistencies at the back-end, but look at the front-end of that group…
Johnny Cueto has established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball, compiling a 16-8 record, a 2.36 ERA, and a 1.12 WHIP over his last 37 starts. Mat Latos may not have great stats in 2012 (5-2, 4.64 ERA, 1.37 WHIP), but the Reds are 8-2 in his last ten starts. Latos is also in the middle of the season, especially from May to July, where he is now 21-6 with a 2.90 ERA over his career during the early summer months.
What does all of this mean? The Reds were as many as five games back and they were up as many as 3.5 games. Now, they are three games up on both the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds have gone 25-16 since April 15. It’s too bad they aren’t the Chicago Cubs because they are 17-8 in day games after Thursday’s 12-5 stomping of the Cleveland Indians.
The Reds have a solid rotation and enough offense to matter. The American League is filled with punishing offenses, but the National League has…good pitching? With the dramatic decline of the Philadelphia Phillies lineup, the Cincinnati Reds are in an elite class in the National League.
The Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants are the only other teams in the National League with the rotation and lineups that can match the Reds. Bryce Harper is the real deal and the Nats will, at least, ride Strasburg to the limits of his innings, not his talent. The Dodgers have had issues with injuries in the rotation and to Matt Kemp, but they’ve managed to hold on thanks to Andre Ethier’s redemption season and Chris Capuano’s best Clayton Kershaw impersonation. The Giants have had some success from their rotation and offense, definitely not from Tim Lincecum, though, and with the return of Pablo Sandoval from injury, they will be that much better.
However, if Votto and Phillips are clicking like they are right now and the Reds have the 1-2 punch of Cueto and Latos going, then they can sit back and hope that the likes of Zack Cozart, Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake take the steps necessary to keep the team in contention while infusing youth in the every day lineup. With smart baseball, like Mesoraco plowing into Lou Marson for defensive interference and a free run (see here), and mediocre production from the spare parts, the Reds are a team to be reckoned with.
Jeff Kent made a living hitting in front of Barry Bonds, averaging a .297/.368/.535, 29 HR, and 114 RBI line over six seasons. Joey Votto is having the same effect this season for Cincinnati, as the player hitting directly in front of him have gone .356/.406/.576 line, as teams continue to pitch around Votto, who is tied for the Major League lead in walks with 13.
Zack Cozart is now leading off for the Reds after raking .350/.409/.575 in 40 at bats in front of Votto. He isn’t doing well at leadoff yet, walking once but going hitless in his first 8 at bats. Drew Stubbs moved up in the order to 2nd when Dusty Baker moved Cozart to leadoff. He is only hitting .538/.571/.846, going 7 for his first 13 there.
Take a look at production by batting order for the Red thus far:
Obviously, having performed well since the recent moves, the lineup may stick for a while. If Brandon Phillips is hitting 4th between Votto and Jay Bruce, this lineup would remain one that fans can’t complain much about. However, if Baker continues putting Ryan Ludwick or Scott Rolen in the 4-spot, when they’ve gone a combined 4 for 42 with 1 RBI (.095), this doesn’t make sense. The Reds need Phillips healthy and he has been hampered by a hamstring injury most of the season. He has a .333/.333/.667 line in just 9 at bats at #4.
If Phillips isn’t playing and the Reds want production, they need to bat Votto in front of Jay Bruce at 3 and 4. Bruce has struggled to a .229/.250/.458 line in the 5-spot without protection behind him, striking out 13 times in 48 at bats. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were both left handed hitters and seemed to hit well batting back to back in the Yankees order in the late 1920′s. I wonder if Miller Huggins and his three championships and six pennants had a book on how to put lineups together like managers today?
The Cincinnati Reds have made big news for the last few months between their big trade for Mat Latos and the huge contracts to both Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. One thing they are not in the news for, to this point, is their incredible hitting. The Reds are currently 28th in the Majors in hitting, with a team average of .191 through 9 games. Take a look at their hit totals for the year:
10, 6, 8, 3, 4, 14, 5, 5, 2.
Keep in mind that the 14 hits they had against the Cardinals on Wednesday, they left 13 on base, and the 10 hits from Opening Day had 9 left on base. The Reds just aren’t scoring enough runs because they can’t get any hits. They haven’t had the easiest schedule in the world with the new-look Miami Marlins, the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, and the improving Washington Nationals, but a 3-6 record wasn’t what fans and ownership was looking for as the team heads into win now mode.
You can’t blame Zack Cozart (.313), Joey Votto (.290), or Brandon Phillips (just 16 at bats due to injury to hamstring, .250), but just about everyone else could be labeled an issue. Jay Bruce has 3 HR and 6 RBI with an .802 OPS, but he has 8 K’s in 34 at bats and a .235 average. Drew Stubbs is at .147 with 12 K’s in 34 at bats, certainly not improving on his atrocious contact rate that worried the club last year. Ryan Ludwick (.150), Ryan Hanigan (.118), and Scott Rolen (.111) round out the apparent regulars, while Devin Mesoraco (.167 in 12 at bats) and Chris Heisey (.188 in 16 at bats) continue to be youngsters losing out to the veteran loving, toothpick toting Dusty Baker.
Regardless of who is playing, it doesn’t seem to be working. As the Reds looked to capitalize on the departure of NL Central foes Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the long-term commitments and trades developed expectations that, to this point, they have fallen well short of. With such dynamic talent in Votto, Phillips, and Bruce, the lineup is capable of more. The issue could be Phillips’ absence, the fact that Dusty HAS TO split up Votto and Bruce (and has done so with Scott Rolen and Ryan Ludwick in the clean-up spot), or it could be a challenging schedule. Expectations are high and if they keep flopping like they are, fans aren’t going to show up in Cincinnati, and if fans don’t show up, they already need to start wondering about how they are going to be paying Phillips and Votto in the coming seasons.
One week has gone by since baseball returned to bring joy to the world. After about six games for each team, there are some interesting stats to get excited about or become worried about, which ever reaction you deem necessary for your team.
* Zack Cozart is 2nd in MLB in Total Bases.
Cozart’s current .455/.520/.864 is very impressive and he was already a Rookie of the Year candidate before opening eyes this week. He should continue to hit with a solid lineup and a nice home park…the fact that he is hitting 2nd in the Reds lineup already is an excellent sign for his production, with some guy named Votto behind him.
Overall rankings will consist of the player’s value in a points format, earning points for each H, R, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, basically a formula of Total Bases + RBI + Runs = Total Value. Here are the rankings for 2B, projections are italicized:
Shortstop is getting to be extremely shallow in fantasy. It is filled with injury risks and aging veterans. Gone are the days of several superstars, which has been gone since ARod moved to third and Nomar was traded to the Cubs.
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
.302/.372/.544, 36 2B, 2 3B, 30 HR, 105 RBI, 9 SB in 537 AB
.313/.394/.559, 38 2B, 3 3B, 34 HR, 112 RBI, 4 SB in 589 AB
There is one elite player at this position and Tulowitzki is it. For all of the hype that has gone to Jose Reyes and his mega-Free Agency this offseason, he isn’t the difference maker that Tulo is. He is a power-hitting SS and he will be the only SS with 100 RBI in 2012. If you don’t get him, you’re going to settle for the rest.
2. Starlin Castro, Cubs
.307/.341/.432, 36 2B, 9 3B, 10 HR, 66 RBI, 22 SB in 674 AB
.298/.347/.461, 38 2B, 7 3B, 16 HR, 71 RBI, 18 SB in 647 AB
Castro only had 207 hits in his first full season. He is probably not going to be a long-term hit machine, as he is going to fill into a player with more power, possibly even moving to third base. He is more of a certainty than others who come after him, like…
3. Jose Reyes, Marlins
.337/.384/.493, 31 2B, 16 3B, 7 HR, 44 RBI, 39 SB in 537 AB
.301/.365/.449, 29 2B, 8 3B, 4 HR, 36 RBI, 21 SB in 467 AB
Reyes is an excellent player and a game-changing talent, but he isn’t on the field enough to be taken seriously. While he’s been on the field more than someone like Rickie Weeks in his career, you have to wonder how his speed game is going to hold up as he ages, as it hasn’t held up in his youth. The constant nagging injuries will take away from his value, as will the spacious ballpark that he is going to be playing in from his already non-Tulo power stats. With that being said, he could prove me wrong and repeat what he did in 2011 for several years and be elite…but why would you count on that?
4. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
.273/.332/.460, 32 2B, 3 3B, 25 HR, 92 RBI, 17 SB in 604 AB
.281/.341/.459, 36 2B, 2 3B, 18 HR, 81 RBI, 13 SB in 587 AB
Well…that came out of nowhere. You have to wonder if this power-hitting, team carrying type of player is here to stay. He was injured for the previous couple of seasons. Can he make adjustments, though? He hit just .244/.310/.419 in the 2nd half of 2011. He’s still well-above average with a decline, but it won’t be as drastic as some believe.
5. J.J. Hardy, Orioles
.269/.310/.491, 27 2B, 30 HR, 80 RBI in 527 AB
.259/.314/.486, 24 2B, 29 HR, 76 RBi in 564 AB
Remember the scoring. He isn’t a top five SS in most leagues due to the average and lack of running ability; however, his power is very, very valuable at his position. Hardy is playing in a bandbox still and he will continue to hit homeruns, post low averages, and strikeout with Mark Reynolds.
6. Jhonny Peralta, Tigers
.299/.345/.478, 25 2B, 3 3B, 21 HR, 86 RBI in 525 AB
.287/.338/.479, 28 2B, 2 3B, 22 HR, 86 RBI in 563 AB
Peralta isn’t a SS…but the Tigers gave up on defense for the offensive power. They may have the worst left side of the infield in the history of baseball in 2012, but fantasy baseball doesn’t count range factor and errors. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs and should build on his successful 2011 season.
7. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
.268/.338/.399, 22 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 63 RBI, 30 SB in 567 AB
.280/.340/.411, 26 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 68 RBI, 24 SB in 584 AB
J-Roll still has another good year in him, but he is of the same pedigree as Jose Reyes – speed + injuries = worthlessness. Buyer beware, but the Phillies are counting on him to build off of 2011 as the age of their offensive core increases quicker than the National debt.
8. Yunel Escobar, Blue Jays
.290/.369/.413, 24 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 48 RBI, 3 SB in 513 AB
.284/.376/.422, 27 2B, 4 3B, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 5 SB in 562 AB
Escobar is a real pain in the ass. He got traded from Atlanta due to attitude issues and seems to not care at times. If he bothered putting out maximum effort, he could rank as high as 3rd on this list. He has quite a lineup around him, so if he puts it all together, don’t be shocked.
9. Derek Jeter, Yankees
.297/.355/.388, 24 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 61 RBI, 16 sB in 546 AB
.307/.364/.408, 29 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR, 65 RBI, 13 SB in 573 AB
The Captain isn’t as bad as people think. He still posted a decent AVG and OBP last season, though the SLG got ugly quick. He isn’t getting any younger, but he still has the lineup around him and the ability to play every day. He should rebound a bit.
10. Elvis Andrus, Rangers
.279/.347/.361, 27 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 60 RBI, 37 SB in 587 AB
.287/.356/.394, 32 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 64 RBI, 42 SB in 593 AB
Andrus is still very young and is in a fantastic lineup and ballpark. He has a solid eye and should improve upon his 75.5% SB rate. The power is lacking, but he does enough small things to get you points.
11. Erick Aybar, Angels
.279/.322/.421, 33 2B, 8 3B, 10 HR, 59 RBI, 30 SB in 556 AB
.268/.313/.406, 29 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 48 RBI, 24 SB in 498 AB
If Trumbo is going to play third and Mike Scoscia is still in charge, Maicer Izturis is going to steal Aybar’s playing time from time to time. Slight drop-off due to that decrease.
12. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
.269/.328/.399, 31 2B, 2 3B, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 7 SB in 614 AB
.264/.325/.403, 30 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 67 RBI, 5 SB in 598 AB
13. Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks
.252/.317/.396, 21 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 4 SB in 321 AB
.269/.328/.403, 24 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 3 SB in 461 AB
Those Drew boys never stay healthy. If he comes back healthy, he could post solid numbers, but he may have issues staying in the lineup due to his last name.
14. Zack Cozart, Reds
.324/.324/.486, 2 HR, 3 RBI in 37 AB
.259/.327/.403, 21 2B, 4 3B, 14 HR, 49 RBI, 6 SB in 498 AB
Sleeper like crazy here. He isn’t going to post an incredible average, but Cozart has some pop and plays in a great offense and ballpark. He could do even more than the numbers listed above…or…Dusty Baker’s veteran-loving-ass could play Paul Janish over him…ugh.
15. Sean Rodriguez, Rays
.223/.323/.357, 20 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 11 SB in 373 AB
.241/.336/.374, 26 2B, 5 3B, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 19 SB in 471 AB
The Rest: Ian Desmond, Nationals; Alex Gonzalez, Brewers; Alcides Escobar, Royals; Jed Lowrie, Astros; Dee Gordon, Dodgers; Jason Bartlett, Padres; Ryan Theriot, Giants; Rafael Furcal, Cardinals; Cliff Pennington, A’s; Mike Aviles, Red Sox;