Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ludwick Acquisition Needs To Happen

Many Reds' fans may think our offense is fine because of the 378 runs scored, which is third in all of MLB, but this offense could be improved without using critical trade pieces in the minors. My target has been Ryan Ludwick, and has been for a while - I've been tweeting about him for at least a month saying he would fill the inconsistent gap in LF and be an imposing hitter in the 2 hole/4hole in front of or behind Votto.

One rip on Ludwick is that he is doing awful this year with his .254 AVG and his lowest SLG since '04, but I can almost guarantee this decline is due to Petco Park and the Padres weak lineup. Just take a look at his 2011 splits where Ludwick bats .231 with only a .367 SLG% at Petco Park, but away from Petco his average is all the way up to .280 and a .050 point increase in his SLG to .417.

Ludwick has spent much of his career at SD being sandwiched in between guys like Cameron Maybin and Chase Headley, and as a result of that he's only seen 45% of pitches thrown to him in the strike zone. When Ludwick was in STL sandwiched in-between star hitters like Pujols, Holliday and co. he saw over 50% strikes over the 3.5 yrs he was there. In '08, his best year, he saw over 52% of pitches in the strike zone, which can be attributed to the strengths around him - and Ludwick capitalized on those pitches. Check out Ludwick's stats in the 2 hole and the 4 hole which is where he alternated in the lineup with the Cardinals:
  • 2 hole: 421 Plate Appearances w/ .314 AVG, .390 OBP, .564 SLG, 17hr
  • 4 hole: 970 Plate Appearances w/ .260 AVG, .330 OBP, .466 SLG, 44hr
I think he'd be a great addition to the Reds' lineup in the 2 hole, or anywhere else really - just have to make sure he's in the top 5 of the lineup in between bruce/votto/rolen/phillips/stubbs and not down with catchers/shortstops.

Pitchers are no longer forced to pitch to Ludwick because there aren't any threats around him in the lineup, which can be shown through some stats that I've been looking at from FanGraphs. Ludwick's O- Contact % (Contact made with pitches outside of the zone) is at a career high of 66%, which is great (great, but also shows he is reaching for too many pitches - O-zone % being high also leads to a lot of outs because of bad contact w/ ball), but his Z-Contact % (Contact made with pitches inside the zone) is at 80.3%, which is the same % he had in his rookie year with the Rangers and his lowest since '05. His O-Swing % (Swinging % of pitches that are outside of the zone) is at a career high of 30.8 %, which really shows he isn't getting the pitches inside the zone that he is used to seeing and is being forced to chase bad pitches.

A change of scenery would be huge for Ludwick, and any competing team with a decently sized ballpark will get a steal if they can acquire him from the Padres where his team and ballpark are both detriments to the type of player he is. He could be a huge guy to add to the middle of a lineup and because of his current production he could be acquired cheaply. I have no idea what it'd take to get Ludwick and his 6.7m contract (FA after year), but I'd imagine it wouldn't take as much as a SS that would make a similar impact.

I'm starting to get a little redundant now, so I want to hear what you guys think about a move like this! IMO it's a big enough upgrade to make the move to have a day in and day out starter in LF and a solid addition to the middle of the lineup who will improve with small ballpark, chance to win, and better players around him. Let me know what you think in the comments section or @EricLilly7

Thursday, May 19, 2011

5/19 Pirates @ Reds

Hey all! Sorry about the long absence, but I've been busy working at the Florence Freedom, applying for an incredible Under Armour internship (like them on Facebook it may help me out!), writing this article, school, and I could go on and on....well back to the Reds! The Under Armour internship is an incredible opportunity, but they only select 2 applicants (from the original 1,200+ applicants) as the actual interns. The first cut was made a few days ago down to 100 people remaining, and it is an honor to be in that 100. I'll keep you guys updated on that, but now onto the game! The Pirates and the Reds face off today at 12:35 pm for the finale of a 7 game homestand for the Reds, then they will head up north to face MLB's "best", the Cleveland Indians. So far on this homestand the Reds are 5-1, and if they win this game the tickets for the next Cubs series in the field box level would go all the way down to $10 from $34 because of the $4 off per win this homestand. We have Johnny Cueto (2-0, 0.00) facing off vs James McDonald (2-3, 6.20) in this finale at Great American Ball Park.

We'll start with Johnny Cueto vs the Pirates, who has a pretty successful career vs them.
  • Only two players that have solid success vs Cueto are McCutchen (.273 w. 3 HR in 22 AB) and Ronny Cedeno who is 5-16 (.313) with a home run.
  • Doumit also has a home run, but has a .235 Avg.
  • The team batting average vs Cueto is .218.
  • Cueto is 8-11 with a 3.20 ERA in day games, which is much better than his 4.62 in night games.
  • 17-12 at GABP with a 4.17 ERA.
  • Pirates have a lefty heavy lineup, and Cueto has performed much better vs LHB in his career with a .244 AVG vs. .271 for RHB.
Pick to Click: Ronny Cedeno
Now, onto James McDonald vs the Reds. In his last start on May 13th, he gave up 5 runs on 6 hits in 4 IP. In his last start vs the Reds, on April 16th, he gave up 6 earned runs (7 total) on 9 hits in 4.1IP
  • Ramon Hernandez (3-3) and Jonny Gomes (1-3) both have home runs vs McDonald.
  • Very small sample size, but only Reds with more than one hit vs him are Votto (2-5), Hernandez (3-3), and Phillips (2-3).
  • He is AWFUL on the road with a 5-10 record and a 5.65 ERA, while at home he is 6-4 with a 3.17 ERA.
  • No signs of differences in his day/night splits, but only has 4 day starts.
  • 14 of the 17 home runs he's given up in his career are vs RHB.
  • RHB bat .279, while LHB bat .235.
  • As mentioned in the previous post back in April with James McDonald, he has a very strong curveball and does not give up many home runs.
Pick to Click: Ramon Hernandez

Looks like a win for the Redlegs today, and it would be a big one to go into inter-league play up on the Cardinals. The only way to guarantee the .5 game lead is to win again tomorrow. Sorry again for the lack of posts, I will do them as I have time, but I expect to be busy - so look for Twitter (@EricLilly7) and Facebook updates!

Friday, May 6, 2011

5/6 Reds @ Cubs

Behind some solid starting pitching, the Reds have finally gotten a win streak and it was the first time since April 12th vs the Padres where the Reds won 2 games in a row. Today will also be the third straight day game for the Reds, who will play 5 day games in a row - this has to be some kind of record in the modern era for the Reds? I can't remember anything like that, but I'm only 20. Matt Garza (1-3, 3.96) will be facing off vs Edinson Volquez (2-1, 5.67) at 2:20pm today from Wrigley Field.

We'll start with Garza, who very few Reds have experience vs. because he's from the AL Tampa Bay Rays. His last start was very impressive where he went 8 innings and gave up 3 runs on 6 hits with 10K's in a win vs the D'Backs. Here are his stats vs the 4 Reds who have faced him.
  • Garza has interesting splits, because LHB only bat .239 while RHB are at .268.
  • To make it even more confusing, because of his tendency to walk LHB, they have a higher OBP than RHB. He has a 2.90 K/BB ratio vs RHB, and only a 2.00 vs LHB which leads to a .321 OBP for LHB and a .317 vs RHB. Very weird to see such an average discrepancy being cancelled out by walks.
  • An interesting note on Garza: he has given up 0 home runs this year, and is a fly ball pitcher...last year he gave up 28 home runs.
  • His highest inning ERA is 5.37 in the 3rd inning, so he may have trouble with batters adjusting.
  • 12-15 with a 3.61 ERA - he's better in day games.
  • 0-1 with a 1.89 ERA at Wrigley.
Pick to Click: Drew Stubbs

Now, onto Volquez..who went 5 innings last time out vs the Marlins only giving up 1 run on 2 hits. I'd love for him to go 6-7 IP, but after his early struggles I'll take the 5 innings of 1 run at this point. Here are his stats vs the Cubs.
  • .300 team average, 12-40, only one homer which belongs to Jeff Baker.
  • If you've read this blog before, you know Volquez is just as good vs righties as he is vs lefties.
  • May is Volquez's month, where he is a lifetime 2.44 ERA with a 4-2 record.
  • 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA vs Cubs lifetime.
  • 10-4 during day games in his career with a 4.54 ERA.
  • 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA at Wrigley Field
Pick to Click: Jeff Baker (5 career hrs vs Reds)

Looks to be a fairly even matchup, but the Reds are riding some momentum so let's get another quality start and get Volquez some runs because the wind is blowing out to right field!

-Just one cool thing I found here, how cool is this beat writer for the Royals?


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

5/3 Astros @ Reds

Hopefully it doesn't rain tonight and we can get this game in, or else the schedule will really get messed up. Tonight we have the lefty JA Happ (1-4, 6.35) vs Mike Leake (3-0, 4.40) at 7:10.

In his last start, Happ went 5 innings and gave up 2 runs on 5 hits vs the Cardinals. Here are Happ's #s vs the Reds. Some notables:
  • Brandon Phillips is 4-5 with 2 hrs.
  • Heisey, Hermida and Phillips each have 3 rbi.
  • Hermida is 3-7 and Votto is 2-5.
  • Happ has nearly the exact same K/BB rate vs LHB and RHB, but as you're about to see there are differences in the other statistics.
  • RHB bat .253 vs Happ while LHB bat .215.
  • 33 of his 39 home runs given up in his career have been given up vs RHB.
  • 0-1 with a 15.75 ERA @GABP.
Pick to Click: Brandon Phillips

In Leake's last start he went 7 innings and gave up 2 runs on 7 hits vs the Brewers. His ERA went from 4.94 to 4.40. Here are his career #s vs the Astros. Some other tidbits on Leake:
  • Only Bourne and Pence have multiple hits vs Leake.
  • Chris Johnson and Hunter Pence have home runs.
  • 11-55 as a team, for a .200 avg.
  • LHB are just a little better than RHB vs Leake (.289 to. 277), and the Astros are only starting 2 LHB - Bourn and Wallace.
  • Leake is 8-2 at GABP.
  • 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA vs the Astros in his career.
Pick to Click: Brett Wallace

Sorry it was a pretty short write-up, but I have to get to class. GO REDS! Hopefully the rain goes away, because the Reds have a pretty good career vs Happ, especially Phillips.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

5/1 Marlins @ Reds

May is FINALLY here, hopefully all this rain stops. Last night was a huge win for the Reds to stay above .500, which despite popular belief, isn't too bad considering all the injuries. Today is the rubber match of the 3 game series at 4:10pm with Bronson Arroyo (3-2, 3.64) facing off vs Ricky Nolasco (2-0, 3.24). The reason for the weird 4:10 start time is because of the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati.

We'll start with Arroyo vs the Marlins. Here are his stats vs them, and now for some analysis:
  • Omar Infante has 4 doubles out of his 5 hits vs Arroyo, but is only batting .263.
  • In 54 at bats, none of the Marlins have home runs.
  • LHB do much better vs Arroyo (.285 compared to .240 for RHB), and the Marlins lineup is a little different today and we'll see more LHB. Dobbs is at 3b, Coghlan at CF, Bonafacio is in LF. One thing to note is Bonafacio is starting in place of a LHB LF (Cousins) and is a switch hitter who is actually better as a RHB.
  • Arroyo is 36-28 with a 3.50 ERA at GABP in his career.
Pick to Click: Hanley Ramirez

Now, onto Ricky Nolasco vs the Reds. Some notables:
  • Edgar Renteria is 0-18 vs him, but is not starting, Janish is 0-3.
  • Votto, Stubbs and Hanigan have home runs vs him.
  • Team is 12-67 with a .179 batting average.
  • Taking out the guys who will not start vs Nolasco the team is 11-43 which is a .255 batting average and is much more respectable.
  • LHB bat .270, while RHB bat .256.
  • He's also much more comfortable vs RHB, with a 5.86 K/BB ratio (compared to 2.75) which is a ridiculous rate. Note: He gets a solid amount of K's, but he is very well known for his control and has only 4 walks in 33.1 IP this year.
  • May is his worse month by far, where hitters have a .304 average and he has a 5.59 ERA. If you took out May (10-11 record), Nolasco would have a .500 or better record in every month.
  • He's given up 26 home runs in the first pitch of a count, next highest is 18 in the 1-0 count. Home runs account for 21% of the total hits he's given up in the first pitch of a count.
  • He doesn't appear to be comfortable pitching in any situation, unless there are 2 strikes on the hitter. 0-2, 2-2, and 1-2 are the only counts where batters are hitting below .300 vs him, meanwhile every other count is easily over .300 some even over .400. This will be a fun trend to watch during the game.
  • He's 1-0 with a 4.34 era at GABP in 4 career starts
My Pick to Click: Chris Valaika

Can't really tell who will win this one, but I can't wait to watch this game to follow Nolasco's trends. This would be a huge win for the Reds and it'd be nice to get a little win streak here at home. Follow me on Twitter @EricLilly7 , I may have some analysis on the trend that I mentioned above.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

4/30 Marlins @ Reds

Sadly, I have to skip today's post as well, I just got off work and I don't have time. I've been very busy with work, school, writing the monthly review and some other stuff - I hope to get in a rhythm here again very shortly.

Here are Josh Johnson's stats vs the Reds though.

Go Reds!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

4/29 Marlins @ Reds

There will be no post today, I have to sleep early tonight because I have scheduling early in the AM then I work till 5 then I'm heading out to GABP!! GO REDS!