Reds first baseman Joey Votto finished third in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America National League Most Valuable Player Award race Thursday. Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper took home the award, while D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt came in second.
Harper, 23, was the unanimous winner by the BBWAA, finishing first on all 30 ballots.
The 2010 NL MVP, Votto batted .314/.459/.541 with 29 home runs and 80 RBIs in 158 games last season. His 1.000 OPS was third in the Majors behind Harper and Goldschmidt. Votto was also ranked fifth in the Majors with a value of 7.4 wins-above-replacement (WAR).
Votto discussed the outcome and a story will be posting soon on MLB.com/reds.com.
The Reds announced on Tuesday that pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training on Feb. 18.
The first workout will happen the same day. Position players are slated to report to camp in Goodyear, Ariz., on Feb. 23, with the first full-squad workout coming that afternoon.
Also announced was a 33-game 2016 Cactus League schedule that begins with three-straight games vs. the Indians from March 1-3 at Goodyear Ballpark.
Among the highlights of the home schedule in Goodyear:
The Reds will host the World Series champion Royals on March 15, the Giants on March 4, the D-backs on March 20 and the Cubs on March 22.
Cincinnati and Cleveland will play one more game to conclude the Cactus League slate on March 31. A final Reds exhibition game will be played vs. the Pirates on April 2, at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
Group ticket sales for Reds games at Goodyear Ballpark begins on Nov. 23. Individual game sales start on Dec. 12.
For more information, go to reds.com/spring.
Friday on Reds.com, I wrote a story about new Reds pitching coach Mark Riggins. A career man on the development side of baseball, Riggins spent the past four seasons as the organization’s Minor League pitching coordinator.
You can read about Riggins here.
Here are some additional quotes…
Riggins on his philosophy:
“The philosophy is pretty much what I’ve gathered over the years – what I’ve seen work and doesn’t work – and you try to make it very simple for the guys. Pitching is not that tough. It is tough, but we make it tougher than it really is sometimes. It’s more of a mental game at the Major League level and Triple-A. It’s the preparation and the mental work and the confidence that these guys have that helps make them successful.”
On the confidence of some pitchers who were roughed up in 2015:
“Everyone is going to struggle. They have to go through that wall. As long as they’re competing, and not giving up, they’ll find a way to make it work. That’s the biggest thing. Make sure when they’re taking their lumps, that they’re competing, making adjustments and not losing confidence. It’s always one pitch away from getting it back again. That spell that they have, you hope it doesn’t last long and if they hit another one, at least they have an avenue to get out of it quicker the next time.”
On his familiarity with the pitchers already here:
“I’ve seen everybody in big league camp and guys that have come through the minor league system. I got to see Finnegan and Lamb when they were traded, Cody Reed also. I got to see Mella and Johnson from San Francisco. I’ve worked with Lorenzen, Moscot and Sampson, Villarreal, Contreras… my familiarity hopefully makes the transition between those guys and myself pretty easy. The guys that have come through the system kind of understand already what I’m all about so that helps out a lot.”
Reds first baseman Joey Votto was named Tuesday by the BBWAA as one of three finalists for the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award.
Also listed as finalists were Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks.
The winner will be announced on MLB Network on Nov. 19.
Votto was the 2010 NL MVP.
More will be written about this on MLB.com/Reds.com.
Another Reds prospect has been recognized with Player of the Week honors by the Arizona Fall League. This time, it’s outfielder Phillip Ervin, who is with the Peoria Javelinas.
More from the AFL press release:
Ervin hit .333 (6-for-18) with 1 double, 1 home run, 8 RBI, 1 walk and 2 stolen bases last week.
On November 3 vs. Mesa, the Mobile, AL native enjoyed a three-hit day that included 1 homer (grand slam), 6 RBI, 2 runs and 1 stolen base.
Cincinnati’s 2013 first-round (27th overall) draft choice out of Samford University, Ervin completed the fourth week of Fall League play ranked second in the league with eight stolen bases.
The 5-10, 205-pound outfielder split the 2015 regular season between Single-A Daytona and Double-A Pensacola.
In three minor-league seasons, the 23-year-old Ervin is a .253 career hitter with 30 homers, 174 RBI, and 78 stolen bases in 302 professional games.
Ervin, ranked by MLB.com as the Reds’ No. 11 prospect, struggled in 2014 and for some of 2015. Perhaps he is showing signs of turning the corner, which would be good news for an organization trying to develop more offense through its system.
Reds prospect and RHP Nick Travieso was named the Arizona Fall League’s Pitcher of the Week.
Here is some info, courtesy of the AFL:
Travieso — MLB.com’s No. 6 Cincinnati prospect
struck out nine with no walks in nine innings pitched
over two starts without a decision.
In three solid Fall League starts to date, the 6-2,
225-pound Pembroke Pines, FL product was 1-0
with a 1.50 ERA. Over 12 innings pitched, he has
fanned 14 hitters without walking a batter.
Through three weeks, the Reds’ 2012 first-round
(14th overall) draft choice went 6-6 with a 2.70
ERA in 19 games at Single-A Daytona in 2015.
In his four-year professional career, Travieso is
27-17 with a 3.43 ERA in 70 outings.
From the Reds on Monday:
Reinstated from the 60-day disabled list: RHP Homer Bailey, C Devin Mesoraco, SS Zack Cozart and RHP Jon Moscot.
Outrighted to Louisville: RHP Sam LeCure.
Declined the 2016 contract options on RHP Burke Badenhop and IF/OF Skip Schumaker.
Schumaker had a $2.5 million club option for 2016 with a $500,000 buyout while Badenhop had $4 million mutual option for 2016 with a $1.5 million buyout.
LHP Sean Marshall, LHP Manny Parra and C Brayan Pena became free agents.
The Reds removed seven players from their 40-man roster on Friday when they were sent outright to the Minor Leagues.
Right-handed pitchers Nate Adcock, Collin Balester and Josh Smith, left-handed pitcher David Holmberg, outfielders Jason Bourgeois and Brennan Boesch and utility player Kristopher Negron were all part of the day’s transactions.
Rawlings announced Thursday that three Reds — 2B Brandon Phillips, 3B Todd Frazier and CF Billy Hamilton — were National League Gold Glove finalists. The winners will be announced on Nov. 10.
Phillips is a four-time Gold Glove winner (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013). The other finalists at second base this year are Dee Gordon from the Marlins and DJ LeMahieu of the Rockies. LeMahieu won the award in 2014, when Phillips was also a finalist.
Hamilton was a finalist in 2014. This year — he’s up against the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Pollock of the D-backs.
Frazier, a first-time finalist, is joined by Nolan Arenado of the Rockies and Matt Duffy of the Giants.
Voting was completed near the end of the regular season by Major League managers and coaches. That and calculations from the SABR Defensive Index are used to determine the winners.
I’m freshly back from covering the Cubs and Cardinals in the NLDS. As you know, the Cubs put on quite a display to overrun the Cardinals in four games. While I was generally focused on helping with Cardinals coverage, one thought frequently surfaced.
Winners of 97 games in the regular season, Chicago is simply stacked with young hitters that will be around for a long time — Bryant, Schwarber, Rizzo, Soler, Russell, Baez all factored in the series. The Cubs went all in on offense and were willing to sacrifice some defense to do it Schwarber, a catcher, wasn’t always smooth in left field but manager Joe Maddon wasn’t afraid to use him to keep his bat in the lineup while Miguel Montero caught. The starting pitching could be improved (besides Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester) and the bullpen has some gaps, but the Cubs have money to spend to improve both.
Meanwhile, the 100-win Cardinals were beat up by injuries but aren’t long in the tooth. Stephen Piscotty had a great series with three two-run homers but fellow rookies like Randal Grichuk and Tommy Pham and younger players like Kolten Wong also contributed. Jason Heyward will be a free agent, but he’s only 26. If St. Louis can re-sign him, they could have a potent outfield for up to a decade.
The Pirates won 98 games but went out in the Wild Card round to the Cubs. Polanco, McCutchen, Cole and more will be back.
Just before the end of the season, Reds first baseman Joey Votto acknowledged the strength of the NL Central.
“We have really, really stiff competition in our division,” Votto said. “That’s what we have to recognize. We can’t go in with a half effort because of how good those three teams are. Three of probably the best five teams in all of baseball are in our division. These teams are really well put together, well rounded, really dangerous. They’re good it seems at every aspect of the game. We have to exceed them.”
The Reds have some promising young pitching and Votto certainly is back to producing at around 2010 levels, but the club needs offensive help and doesn’t have much money to spend. It will have to find a way to accumulate young hitters much like they’ve piled up with young power pitchers the past few years.
To exceed Chicago, St. Louis and Pittsburgh — well, that could take a while. It certainly won’t happen overnight.