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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Final(?) Spring Roster Moves

There's a whole slew of roster moves that have happened in the past 24 hours or so. Let's take a look:

1. The Reds claimed 25 yr LHP Jon Coutlangus from the Giants. Stats:
Team Age IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA FIP
2004/SFN-Rk 23 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.250 0.00 3.20
2005/SFN-A+ 24 77.0 9.2 3.4 0.35 0.286 3.04 2.78
He just converted over to pitching from the outfield last year after encountering limited success in '03 and '04 as a hitter. While he was a bit old for high-A ball last year, he did extraordinarily well considering it was his first year pitching in pro ball. He had a very high strikeout rate, average walk rates (K/BB = 2.7), and very low HR rates. Overall he looks like a nice pickup that might eventually make the club in the bullpen. I'd look for him to start in AA this year, as he has nothing to prove in high-A ball.

2. RHB Chris Denorifa was recalled from AAA Louisville. Stats:
Year/Team PA K/BB SB/% OBP SLG OPS GPA EqA VORP
2003/CIN-A+ 530 1.96 20/74% 0.317 0.304 0.621 0.219 0.212 -32.4
2004/CIN-A+ 320 1.38 10/63% 0.416 0.532 0.948 0.320 0.278 17.2
2004/CIN-AA 253 1.40 5/71% 0.340 0.394 0.734 0.252 0.235 -5.2
2005/CIN-AA 207 2.24 4/57% 0.391 0.564 0.955 0.317 0.274 12.4
2005/CIN-AAA 371 1.32 8/73% 0.391 0.505 0.896 0.302 0.280 20.7
2005/CIN 44 1.50 1/100% 0.364 0.421 0.785 0.269 0.278 1.9
It's good to see Chris getting this opportunity to be on the big league club. He seems very likely to be the best option we have offensively, so this move does help us. I am a little wary of the time that will be spent sitting on the bench, even though he projects as our fourth outfielder. But he is 26, so it is time to bring him up to the big leagues rather than worry about further development in AAA.

3. RHP Ryan Wagner was sent down to AAA, leaving Mike Burns as the 12th man in the bullpen. There were actually rumors of him being traded, and I hope this is not a precursor to those rumors. Wagner may have struggled thus far in his career, but I think the guy still has some substantial upside. Further, he's been the victim of being rushed to the big leagues, bad defense, and some really bad luck:
Team IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA FIP PERA VORP GB%
2003/U of Houston 79.1 16.8 2.4 0.11 0.299 1.93 0.42 --- --- ---
2003/CIN-AA 5.0 10.8 3.6 0.00 0.182 0.00 2.00 --- --- ---
2003/CIN-AAA 4.0 9.0 0.0 0.00 0.385 4.50 1.20 --- --- ---
2003/CIN 21.2 10.6 5.1 0.85 0.222 1.66 3.77 3.8 9.5 53%
2004/CIN-AAA 16.2 10.6 5.0 0.00 0.305 2.70 2.52 3.31 5.1 --
2004/CIN 51.2 6.5 4.7 1.23 0.308 4.70 5.11 4.96 0.5 55%
2005/CIN 45.2 7.8 3.4 0.80 0.350 6.11 3.75 4.15 -4.7 64%
Despite his dreadful ERA last year, Wagner showed improvement over his 2004 season in all of his peripheral stats--k/9, bb/9, & hr/9. Both his FIP and PERA, which are determined by these peripherals (PERA also includes h/9), were comparably pretty good. Why the 6.11 ERA? His BABIP was off the charts, which indicates that he was the victim of both bad luck and bad defense. Wagner induces a lot of ground balls, and thus a lot of his success will be determined by the Reds infield defense. And since our defense wasn't very good last year, it seemed like he was pitching more poorly than he actually was. But last year the Reds' pitching staff had a BABIP of 0.322, indicating that Wagner must have also been the victim of some bad luck to have a BABIP that high. I look for him to continue his improvement this year, hopefully crushing folks down in AAA, getting his confidence back up, and then returning to the big league club to post the big numbers we all know he's capable of posting. The guy's still only 24 years old!! He's got a whole lot of pitching to do yet.

4. The Reds signed 34-year old LHP Darrell May to a minor league contract. Stats:
Team IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA FIP
2003/KC 210.0 4.9 2.3 1.33 0.244 3.77 4.78
2004/KC 186.0 5.8 2.7 1.84 0.309 5.61 5.45
2005/NYA-AAA 58.1 6.0 0.8 0.93 0.311 4.17 3.46
2005/NYA 7.0 3.9 3.9 5.14 0.357 16.71 11.06
2005/SD 59.1 4.9 3.0 1.52 0.302 5.61 5.33
Apparently a soft-tossing, control-based left-hander who is prone to home runs. He does have a history as a starting pitcher, but his 2003 success (10-8, 3.77 ERA) was a bit lucky (BABIP=0.244, FIP=4.78). Last year he was mostly used as a reliever/spot starter, though his walk rates went up above 3 for the first time since his '02 campaign--not a good sign. His endurance may be a plus, but I'd place him behind Brian Shackelford on the lefthander depth chart...particularly given his age.

5. Quintin McCracken (injury), Jacob Cruz (ineffectiveness), Frank Menechino (too many 2B's), and Brian Buchanan (happy to be employed), and Dane Sardinha (too many C's; must clear waivers) were all sent down to AAA as well. I'll forgo stats until they get recalled this season, but none have been particularly effective hitters except maybe Menechino (decent OBP). This leaves LHB Andy Abad, 34, as the 25th man and 5th outfielder. Stats:
Year/Team PA K/BB SB/% OBP SLG OPS GPA EqA
2003/BOS-AAA 570 1.22 0/0% 0.372 0.462 0.834 0.283
2003/BOS 19 2.50 0/0% 0.211 0.118 0.329 0.124 0.049
2004/PIT-AAA 348 1.30 4/80% 0.382 0.468 0.850 0.289
2005/CLE-AAA 474 1.36 3/43% 0.361 0.508 0.869 0.289
Abad has been a good AAA hitter, with good OBP and reasonably low K rates. He has some power too, hitting 20 HR in Buffalo last season. But at 34 years old this season, he's clearly nothing more than a stop-gap, and will have a good season if he stays with the Reds all year (he has 18 total MLB at-bats).

I'm going to be launching a new series very soon that will take a reasonably in depth look at each player on the Reds roster, so stay tuned!
-JinAZ