More starts for Barnhart

If you’ve noticed that catcher Tucker Barnhart has been starting more games than usual in the past couple of weeks, your mind isn’t playing tricks on you.

Barnhart started Sunday vs. the Brewers as he usually does for Mike Leake but he’s not been just a once a week backup. In the last 12 games, including Sunday, Barnhart has started six of them — and two of the last three. When the season started, of course, Devin Mesoraco had hoped to catch 140 games with Brayan Pena getting the rest of the chances. That plan went out the window when Mesoraco hurt his hip and is now out for the season.

Pena had gotten most of the starts since April, but manager Bryan Price is doing a more hybrid platoon these days.

“In part, he’s swung the bat well but Brayan has swung the bat well also,” Price said on Sunday morning. “I think he’s earned the right to play and to kind of split time with Brayan. I think you’ll see every five days, it will be three-and-two. That three one time might be three starts for Pena and two for Tucker and then flip it around. It will probably look that way for the rest year – go back and forth for three out of every five.”

Barnhart entered the day batting .276/.326/.414. He’s 12-for-29 (.414) over his last eight games and had a career-high four hits on Monday vs. the Twins.

***In other lineup news, Jason Bourgeois got the start in center field in place of Billy Hamilton and Ivan De Jesus Jr. started at shortstop in place of Eugenio Suarez as the Reds try to salvage one game of the series vs. the Brewers.

“I don’t think Billy needs a blow. I just think Jason needs to play,” Price said. “He should get more than an at-bat to keep him sharp. He went down for a full rehab in Arizona and Triple-A. If I let too much time go by where he doesn’t get multiple at-bats in a game, he might lose the feel for his swing.”

Price on De Jesus:

“He had a nice ballgame yesterday,” he said. “He’s the kind of guy that can kind of play all over. But with Marlon [Byrd] back. There won’t be as much opportunity to play left field. I’ve got to get [Skip Schumaker] in there every now and again to keep him fresh. Really, the spot is shortstop and maybe every now and again, give Frazier or Brandon a day off. He had a nice game yesterday. Maybe, it’s try to run with the hot hand a little bit. He’s given us good at-bats ever since he got here.”

17 Comments

I like that barnhart is getting more than once a week starts. what I don’t like his price saying he needs to get skippy in the lineup, no you don’t! we already know he and his .218 average suck and do not need to waste any more playing time on this scrub. just because he played for walt’s precious cardinals does not mean he deserves a roster spot on the reds. there is a reason the cards got rid of him and the dodgers could not wait to say goodbye to him after only a year and that is he SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Agree about SKIPPY. Not a good outfielder and very mediocre at 2nd. Pretty good pinch hitter. Leave it at that.

when do the Reds get busy trying to improvprove for next year—–sorry Jocketty still asleep —–well is not that just peachy?

Unfortunately for the Reds and us, the fans, running players in and out of the lineup, both by position and batting order, will not make us more contentious…”fresh”? yes, contentious?…no. These ‘buzz statements’ by Price sound good on the surface but only further produce inconsistency and unfamiliarity. On another note, what is worse than keeping an inexperienced and over-his-head manager on your team when you have some talent?… you keep the over-his-head manager while attempting to rebuild a team moving forward. If the entire transition isn’t handled with great care, it could further put the Reds in a tail spin for a number of seasons.

Excerpt from one of Mark’s MLB.com articles…
“Rookie Josh Smith has only three Major League starts on his resume, but managed to tie a 108-year old Reds record vs. the Brewers on Saturday night.”
“During a 7-3 loss to Milwaukee, Smith hit four batters with pitches and evened the club record set by Jake Weimer all the way back on July 28, 1907, vs. the New York Giants.”

Thank goodness here in eastern North Carolina we have a real team to cheer for…the Washington nationals….as long as the Reds keep people like price and jock around—it’s a real sign
they don’t give a s….t about putting a quality product on the field….don’t give me that crap about injuries—how do the cards do it….again go nats…

Interesting, a few years back there were so many ex-Reds who were cast off by us on the Nationals that a Reds group I was on we referred to the Nationals as Cincinnati East. It has taken a while but glad to see your team has climbed out of the darkness.

The only set of headlights in our rearview mirror is closing in fast. Seems like only yesterday they were so far away you could hardly see them. Hope we can hold them off.

Doc: Why Billy Hamilton does more with less than anyone
Paul Daugherty, pdaugherty@enquirer.com 3:27 p.m. EDT July 2, 2015
Billy Hamilton is one weird dude. We say this with all due respect and appreciation for Baseball’s most fascinating talent. No one else in the game – no-o-o-o one – combines defensive magic and baserunning dynamics with a bat so quiet, you couldn’t hear it in a library full of dead people.
Hamilton embodies the same philosophy we applied to the lower rungs of Knothole:
Walk’s as good as a triple.
Don’t believe me. Read the words of Jeff Sullivan, who scribes for the website FanGraphs, which is to baseball numbers what 30-weight is to automobiles:
“Maybe you simply can’t buy that a hitter as bad as Hamilton can still be valuable. But we can agree on this: if any player this bad at hitting can still be valuable, it’s this player. This is one solitary freak.”
Put differently, by Reds senior director of baseball analytics Sam Grossman, “(Hamilton) has made himself at least an average player, maybe even slightly above, with almost zero offense.”
Grossman likens Hamilton to a defensive specialist in basketball. A Dennis Rodman, say, minus the creep factor.
On my blog The Morning Line a few days ago, I tried to make the case that fans who dwell on Hamilton’s tiny on-base percentage are missing at least some of the point. Because of his unmatched speed, Hamilton does more with less than any player in the game. His bad on-base ain’t your bad on-base.
After Wednesday’s game, Hamilton and his .279 on-base average had reached base 79 times and scored 39 runs. In comparison, Joey Votto’s on-base is a big-time .396. He has reached 135 times, and scored 40 runs. Todd Frazier has been on 117 times and come home 54 times.
What does all this feint-by-numbers mean, Doc?
That the offensively challenged Billy Hamilton scores more than 49 percent of the time he reaches base, compared with Votto’s 30 percent and Frazier’s 46 percent. That Hamilton has one fewer run scored than Votto, who is an on-base machine. That he is more efficient once he gets on base than even Frazier, without the benefit of the power to drive himself in. That runs win games, not stats.
It’d be crazy to suggest Hamilton is in his two mates’ league when it comes to hitting. Statistics are the Gumby of sports. Hamilton benefits from having the entire top of the Reds lineup hitting behind him, especially when he bats ninth. But Is it crazy to believe this weirdest of talents requires a different set of stats to quantify his contribution?
Grossman says the Reds do account for Hamilton’s varied skills when discussing his quiet bat. They use the same formulas FanGraphs uses, and have reached the same conclusions: What Hamilton lacks at bat, he makes up for on the bases and in center field.
FanGraphs has him at minus-13.8 as a hitter, but plus-9.5 as a baserunner and 12.4 as a defender. The latter number makes him the second-best outfielder in baseball, a notion you don’t need a slide rule to verify. To end the game Wednesday, Hamilton took a gap shot away from Minnesota’s Torii Hunter.
Hamilton chased down the hard, sinking line drive with such speed, his lunging catch seemed almost effortless. “He’s turning a double or triple into an out,” Grossman says.
Hamilton also has improved his baserunning and stealing habits to the point that catching him stealing is almost impossible, and taking extra bases is all but a given. “Almost any time he wants,” as Grossman says.
I ask Grossman what might be Hamilton’s magic on-base number, a figure that would make him a star. The average on-base for a leadoff hitter now is about .350. Grossman said if Hamilton could reach .320, he’d be an All-Star. Basically, that would be one more bunt single a week. That’s all.
And. . . that’s before you ponder the unmeasurable, the amount of space Hamilton’s on-base antics occupy in a pitcher’s head. He scored the winning run Wednesday by walking, being wild-pitched to second and coming around when the Twins catcher winged a ball into leftfield, trying to throw out Hamilton stealing third.
And. . . in close games, if he’s on base, whoever is batting will see more fastballs.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a worse regular hitter in baseball than Billy Hamilton,” writes Jeff Sullivan. Or one more valuable.
……………………….
Hamilton must hit lead-off; maximizing his plate appearances. His OBP is ‘work in
progress’; that’s where Price, Coaches and private tutors come into play. His base stealing abilities reminds me a great deal of Maury Wills, yet he hasn’t plateaued as
of yet (1 1/2 seasons). However, instead of a consistent game plan for this guy, I have a feeling we’ll move his ‘deck chair’ around for the entire season, or until there is a change in philosophy and management.

BTW…if there are two players that the Reds would ‘not’ be allowed to trade, I would covet Frazier and Hamilton. Their contributions to the team are nearly immeasurably,
amidst the inconsistency of the team and immaturity of management.

“There are times when I think we have to do the small things better,” Price said. “We need to do a better job of little detail things. That’s what you say after you get swept”.
Wow! Such a depth of understanding and leadership.

The Reds were just swept at home by the last-place Brewers, a series in which Milwaukee outscored Cincinnati 25-5. The Brewers are 11-2 over their last 13 G. The Brewers played 7-18 ball (.280) under Roenicke, and they have played 29-30 ball (.491) under their new manager, Counsell. The Reds are 112-130 under Price for the last 1 1/2 seasons (.463) . So far this year the Reds are 36-44 (.450), 16 1/2 G back of the Cards, 8 G back of the WC teams. There’s no joy in Mudville…

Votto is 5 for last 42 (.119).

Recent quote from Walt the wizard….

Whatever course the team takes, Jocketty left the impression that he does not intend to full gut the roster. “Even if we do make some deals, or if we don’t, we will try to keep this club as competitive as possible for the remainder of the year,” he said.

One question from me……..WHY?!?!?!?!

Predicting the NL Reserves…
By Phil Rogers / MLB.com | @philgrogers | 11:01 AM ET
An All-Star Game without Clayton Kershaw? Without Madison Bumgarner? Without Craig Kimbrel? Without Yadier Molina?
OK, it probably won’t be so. When the National League’s pitchers and reserves are named on the Esurance All-Star Selection Show tonight at 7 ET on ESPN, one — and maybe two — of those default options will probably be selected to make the trip to Cincinnati. But getting all four of them onto manager Bruce Bochy’s team may depend on how strongly players vote the names, as this hasn’t yet been the season anyone expected from Molina, Kershaw and Bumgarner. They’re all in the argument, sure, but it won’t be a shocker if they’re omitted to open the door to newcomers or late bloomers. The competition for spots is fierce, especially among pitchers. Just check Kimbrel, who could easily be squeezed out.
Here’s one man’s attempt to handicap the NL reserves.
PITCHERS
Let’s hear it for A.J. Burnett. The guy with the full sleeve and the faraway eyes has won 162 games, thrown 2,672 2/3 innings and earned about $140 million, but he’s never been an All-Star. That distinction ends now, as Burnett, who sports a 2.05 ERA, is poised to join Pirates teammate Gerrit Cole, the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke and Washington’s Max Scherzer as one of four starting pitchers certain to be picked.
It gets tricky after that. For argument’s sake, let’s say the NL winds up with a 13-man pitching staff, with eight starters and five relievers. The other starters should be Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Jacob deGrom and Cole Hamels.
Bumgarner, Kershaw, Johnny Cueto and Carlos Martinez are in serious danger of being squeezed out, in part because Miller and Hamels line up as the only reps from the Braves and Phillies. If closer Jason Grilli gets Atlanta’s spot, that would open a place for one of the bubble guys, but Miller (5-4, 2.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) is fourth among NL starters in WAR. It’s possible that we see a similar situation with the Mets; Jeurys Familia (1.16 ERA, 22 saves) could get one of the relief spots, and deGrom could stay home in such a scenario. Not only is Hamels (5-6, 3.22, 1.15) fifth in WAR, but with the exception of Kershaw (5-6, 3.08, 1.04) and Bumgarner (8-5, 3.34, 1.08), all the other top starters are right-handers. Picking a lefty or two makes sense.
It’s not Aroldis Chapman’s fault he hasn’t been busy at the back end of games. The Reds’ closer has been as dominant as ever and joins Trevor Rosenthal and NL saves leader Mark Melancon among the three closers most deserving to be elected by players. If two other relievers are picked, one should be Francisco Rodriguez, as the Brewers’ sole rep, and that leaves one spot between Kimbrel and lefty specialist Javier Lopez, who has been Bochy’s October security blanket. You couldn’t go wrong with either guy, but let’s go against conventional wisdom and take Lopez to honor setup men everywhere.
INFIELD
The infield corners are the deepest spots in the NL — so deep that the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter probably won’t be going to Cincinnati after Todd Frazier passed him at the wire in fan voting. After players and coaches elect a backup at each position, Bochy and the NL staff should use their discretionary picks to add a third first baseman and shortstop, as the DH spot will make it easy to get extra bats into the game.
The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, the Reds’ Joey Votto, and the Cubs’ Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo deserve to be on the initial NL roster. They’ve played like All-Stars. You can easily say the same about the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez and the Brewers’ Adam Lind, but there’s not room for every good candidate.
Up the middle, the Giants’ combination of Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik deserves to go to Great American Ball Park and finish the game after starters Dee Gordon and Jhonny Peralta exit. They were great last October and have carried that momentum into 2015.
OUTFIELD
We get an extra spot here, maybe two. Giancarlo Stanton, the Major League leader in homers, with 27, will have to be replaced because of his broken hamate bone. Matt Holliday, another elected starter, is on the disabled list with a strained quad but near the end of his recovery. He hopes to return later this week.
Fan-elected starters who are unable to play due to injury are replaced in the starting lineup by the guy on the players’ ballot with the next-most votes at that position. The manager is then tasked with filling the roster spot.
Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson, 2013 MVP Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates and the D-backs’ A.J. Pollock are most deserving of the backup spots. I’ll guess that the Padres’ Justin Upton edges Starling Marte and Ryan Braun to take the spot opened up by Stanton.
DH/CATCHER
Were you wondering about Justin Turner? The Dodgers’ primary third baseman at the moment, Turner should be on the squad. He has got the versatility to play wherever you need him, so let’s use the hypothetical DH spot to add his bat (11 homers, .944 OPS, 3.2 WAR) in a super-utility role.
Two extra catchers are going to be selected. The Padres’ Derek Norris has hit well enough to grab the top reserve spot, and we’ll take Molina over the Rockies’ Nick Hundley and the Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal as a reward for helping the Cardinals manage the absence of Adam Wainwright. St. Louis still has the best pitching staff in baseball, and Molina has a lot to do with it. It’s fitting that he’ll be around when World Series home-field advantage is decided.
Tonight at 7 ET, the All-Star reserves, pitchers and Final Vote candidates will be announced on the Esurance All-Star Selection Show on ESPN. Immediately following the show, fans can return to MLB.com to begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until 4 p.m. ET on Friday, July 10.
And the voting doesn’t end there. During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, the fans’ collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX’s participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (7 p.m. ET air time, 8:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Blog by J.P. Morosi
Tuesday, fans in Washington will be treated to an All-Star pitching matchup: Reds ace Johnny Cueto vs. Nationals ace Max Scherzer.

The encounter could impact how the actual All-Star Game unfolds.

By pitching on Tuesday, Cueto and Scherzer are lined up to start again on regular rest Sunday — the final day of the first half. (Scherzer’s schedule could be influenced by an open date for the Nationals this week.)

Major League Baseball no longer automatically replaces pitchers on All-Star rosters if they start on the final Sunday of the first half. But it can hurt those pitchers’ chances to start the July 14 Midsummer Classic, with only one full day to rest. (All-Star managers often like their starters to throw two innings.)

If Cueto and Scherzer stay on schedule and pitch Sunday, MLB rules allow them to decide among several options: agree to be removed from the roster but still attend the festivities; pitch a maximum of one inning; or pitch under a predetermined pitch count, not to exceed one inning.

Scherzer and the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke are among the top candidates to start for the National League. Greinke is perfectly lined up for that assignment; he is scheduled to pitch Thursday and would therefore start the All-Star Game on regular rest.

Cueto is intriguing for a different reason: He pitches for the Reds, who are hosting the All-Star Game at Great American Ballpark. He has a history of elbow issues and is a prime trade candidate ahead of the July 31 non-waiver deadline. Will he push to appear in the game after pitching only two days before? Or will the Reds advise against that — even though the hometown crowd undoubtedly will want to see him — because they’re primarily concerned about protecting a precious trade asset?

I would really like to see the Reds make a decision on this season and stick with it. I mean I think it is time to start rebuilding quickly with as many of are AAA and AA players, now.

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