Table of Contents

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hatteberg signed, Ross and Germano return, Mays and Wise out (and other news)

Sorry there's not been a lot of activity this week. Been a bit nuts lately at home. But I've got all kinds of good baseball stuff to talk about. Let's get started.

Hatteberg signs 1-year extension, with club option for 2008

Half of our platoon at first base signed a bargain-price extension for $1.5 million next year, with a club option for 2008. Hatteberg has been a tremendous asset this year from the left side of the plate, and $1.5 million is a small price to pay for having a professional hitter like him in our lineup. His recent stats:
Year/Team PA %K %BB %HR OBP SLG OPS PrOPS GPA EqA VORP
2003/OAK 619 9% 11% 1.9% 0.342 0.383 0.725 --- 0.250 0.258 3.9
2004/OAK 635 8% 11% 2.4% 0.367 0.420 0.787 0.820 0.270 0.279 19.1
2005/OAK 521 10% 10% 1.3% 0.334 0.343 0.677 0.759 0.236 0.251 -3.6
2006/CIN 349 7% 13% 2.6% 0.419 0.509 0.928 0.893 0.316 --- 25.8
Hatteberg had a rough 2005 season. His PrOPS indicates that he was a bit unlucky last year, but even so his performance wasn't up to his standards. Given his age, I, and many other observers anticipated that he was on the decline. I still though he was a great pickup as a reserve, but not as a starter.

The Reds have used him almost entirely in a platoon role, and he's been fabulous, with the second highest offensive VORP of on the team (trailing only Adam Dunn). Even if he regresses back inti the mid/low-0.800's, he will still be a valuable guy, and $1.5 million is a very affordable rate for what he brings to the table. Kudos to Krivsky for both the signing and the extension.



Reds exchange Mays and Wise for Ross and (briefly) Germano

We already know Dave Ross as 'Da Man from the first half, and Justin Germano was here only for a brief appearance on Saturday before being sent right back to Louisville. So let's take one last look at the recently departed.

You have to feel for Joe Mays, who has been "asked" to accept an assignment to AAA by both the Royals and the Reds this season. This time, he accepted. But you have to wonder what his future might be. His numbers this year, last year, er...every year since his hit-lucky 2001 campaign have been dreadful:
Year/Team IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA FIP PERA VORP GB%
1999/MIN 171.0 6.1 3.5 1.26 0.288 4.37 4.89 --- 37.3
---
2000/MIN 160.3 5.7 3.8 1.12 0.325 5.56 4.84 --- 18.0
---
2001/MIN 233.7 4.7 2.5 0.96 0.243 3.16 4.42 --- 71.5
---
2002/MIN 95.3 3.6 2.4 1.32 0.292 5.38 5.16 --- 3.0
---
2003/MIN 130.0 3.5 2.7 1.45 0.299 6.30 5.52 5.50 -3.0 49%
2005/MIN 156.0 3.4 2.4 1.33 0.319 5.65 5.21 5.24 -8.4 46%
2006/KCA
23.7
3.4
5.3
2.66
0.344
10.27
8.05
---
-16.8
---
2006/CIN
27
5.3
4.0
1.33
0.367
7.33
5.27
---
-4.5
---
While his strikeouts may be up a little bit since joining Cincinnati, May's control has deserted him this year...and that was the only then keeping him even remotely effective. With his decision to accept a demotion to AAA-Louisville, I have to think that Mays realizes that his days as a major league starting pitcher are over. But he is only 30 years old, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility that he could reinvent himself as a reliever, much as David Weathers, Kent Mercker, Chris Hammond, and so many others have. My hope is that the Reds place him in the Louisville bullpen and see if he can rediscover something to help him salvage his career.

DeWayne Wise just joined the team earlier in the month after completing a lengthy rehab assignment, and his arrival coincided with the release of Quinton McCracken. Wise had an excellent spring training, but hasn't shown anything more than the occasional flash of competancy, at any level, over the past several years (especially note his '05 and '03 seasons in AAA):
Year/Team PA %K %BB %HR SB/% OBP SLG OPS GPA
2003/TOR-AAA 305 24% 6% 3.3% 11/79% 0.262 0.389 0.651 0.215
2004/ATL-A 17 29% 6% 11.8% 1/100% 0.412 0.733 1.145 0.369
2004/ATL-A+ 16 38% 0% 0.0% 0/0% 0.250 0.375 0.625 0.206
2004/ATL-AAA 123 15% 4% 4.1% 5/100% 0.341 0.576 0.917 0.297
2004/ATL 173 16% 5% 3.5% 5/86% 0.272 0.444 0.716 0.233
2005/DET-AAA 414 18% 6% 1.9% 22/76% 0.285 0.354 0.639 0.217
2006/CIN-AA 55 16% 5% 5.5% 1/100% 0.455 0.740 1.195 0.390
2006/CIN-AAA 52 19% 10% 0.0% 2/50% 0.346 0.409 0.755 0.258
2006/CIN 14 29% 0% 0.0% 0/0% 0.143 0.143 0.286 0.100
Still, I'm a bit surprised to see him go. Again, you have to feel for the guy, as he hadn't even really been given a chance to do anything this year. And his decline leaves the Reds a bit short on outfielders. Right now, the Reds who are capable of patrolling the outfield are Dunn, Griffey, Freel and Denorfia. In the meantime, we're carrying three catchers and six infielders.

Dave Ross is no doubt here to stay, but Justin Germano just popped up for a start before heading back down to AAA. Therefore, a roster move will most definitely be made tomorrow. Who will it be? Well, looking at the Reds' schedule, they don't need a 5th starter until Tuesday, August 8th vs. the Cardinals. Given the rather limited outfield situation right now, I wouldn't be surprised to see Andy Abad (the only remaining outfielder in AAA that I've heard of) come up to replace Wise over that period of time.

But more interesting things could be afoot. Marc Lancaster thinks a trade might be brewing, though offers no ideas as to what might be up. Unless another huge trade occurs (Griffey?), the Reds' only marketable and yet replaceable property would seem to be a catcher. LaRue's recent improvements at the plate (well, at least the first week after the all-star break) might once again make him a valuable commodity, so that'd be my guess. But I've been saying that since spring training. :)



Yuliesky Gourriel Defects from Cuba

The young star of the Cuban National team, Yuliesky Gourriel, defected from the Cuba immediately following the '06 Central American games in Cartagena, Columbia. Accompanying him was veteran shortstop (and captain, as I recall, of the WBC Cuban National team) Eduardo Paret. Gourriel is considered by many to be a superb candidate for a career in the majors as a second baseman, and it looks like MLB teams are taking him very seriously. From Baseball Prospectus today:
With the news that Yuliesky Gourriel has defected (though there's no official confirmation), teams will begin the bidding war. Gourriel was a star in the World Baseball Classic. He'd need to get a lot of paperwork done in a hurry, but two baseball men I spoke to this evening think he's ready now. "I'd take him over Soriano on everything but power," one said. "I'm stunned. All we heard at the Classic is that he wouldn't go with all the family connections," said the other. "He's the biggest Cuban ever."
I have to say, I'd be delighted if Cincinnati took a serious stab at him. I doubt he'd be able to join a major league team this year, but you never know what might happen with those visas. A double-play combination of Phillips (at shortstop) and Gourriel could be a fantastic duo for a lot of years. That said, I'm sure the competition for him will be high.

As for Eduardo Paret...well, I don't know. I believe he's already in his mid-30's, though he hit well in the Classic and might be worth a shot in a backup role. Of course, given Cincinnati's rather shotty situation at shortstop right now, he might actually be an upgrade. But I've got nothing but that tiny sampling of games in the WBC to judge him on, as I haven't found a good source for stats on Cuban baseball players (if there even is one)...much less determined a way to figure major league equivalencies.



Something that I learned from Dave Studeman this week, that he didn't know last week

You gotta go check out BaseballRace.Com. You get to watch pennent races from past teams as if they were horse races. Studes recommends the '64 Phillies' fade and the '51 Giants/Dodgers races, but as a Reds fan I strongly recommend the '90 NL West, the '95 NL Central, the '99 NL Central, and, of course, the '75-76 NL West (goodness that '75 team was amazing). But whatever you do, don't watch the '03 or '04 NL Central races. They hurt.



"He has a nice fastball, but stuggles a bit with his control."

Finally, some amusing (at least to me) baseball history to close tonight's long post. This caught my eye over in the Minor League Ball Diaries. It describes a minor league player from the '50's and '60's named Steve Dalkowski. He may have had the fastest fastball ever. And the guy was just totally awesome. Stats from Wikipedia:
Year Age Club League Class G IP H BB SO W L ERA k/9 bb/9 h/9 whip
1957 18 Kingsport Appalachian D 15 62 22 129 121 1 8 8.13 17.6 18.7 3.2 2.44
1958 19 Knoxville South Atlantic A 11 42 17 95 82 1 4 7.93 17.6 20.4 3.6 2.67

19 Wilson Carolina B 8 14 7 38 29 0 1 12.21 18.6 24.4 4.5 3.21

19 Aberdeen Northern C 11 62 29 112 121 3 5 6.39 17.6 16.3 4.2 2.27
1959 20 Aberdeen Northern C 12 59 30 110 99 4 3 5.64 15.1 16.8 4.6 2.37

20 Pensacola Alabama-Florida D 7 25 11 80 43 0 4 12.96 15.5 28.8 4.0 3.64
1960 21 Stockton California C 32 170 105 262 262 7 15 5.14 13.9 13.9 5.6 2.16
1961 22 Kennewick Northwest B 31 103 75 196 150 3 12 8.39 13.1 17.1 6.6 2.63
1962 23 Elmira Eastern A 31 160 117 114 192 7 10 3.04 10.8 6.4 6.6 1.44
1963 24 Elmira Eastern AA 13 29 20 26 28 2 2 2.79 8.7 8.1 6.2 1.59

24 Rochester International AAA 12 12 7 14 8 0 2 6 6.0 10.5 5.3 1.75
1964 25 Elmira Eastern AA 8 15 17 19 16 0 1 6 9.6 11.4 10.2 2.40

25 Stockton California A 20 108 91 62 141 8 4 2.83 11.8 5.2 7.6 1.42

25 Columbus International AAA 3 12 15 11 9 2 1 8.25 6.8 8.3 11.3 2.17
1965 26 Kennewick Northwest A 16 84 84 52 62 6 5 5.14 6.6 5.6 9.0 1.62

26 San Jose California A 6 38 35 34 33 2 3 4.74 7.8 8.1 8.3 1.82
Total



236 995 682 1354 1396 46 80 5.59 12.6 12.2 6.2 2.05
12.6 k/9 for his career, including around 17 k/9 in his first few seasons. That's crazy-high. But the best part is that despite striking out 1396 hitters in only 995 innings for his career, he also walked 1354--only 42 less than he struck out--and thus had almost exactly a 1:1 k:bb ratio. And look at his hit/9 numbers! He didn't allow more hits than innings pitched until a few brief stints during his 8th year in pro baseball. I can't imagine anyone being comfortable digging in against him. And yet his lifetime WHIP is over 2. Totally freaking awesome.

I would have loved to see that guy pitch. This site indicates that he was the model of Nuke LaLoosh of Bull Durham. I wonder how many team mascots he hit...