The Reds are back on the winning side of things as they picked up their first win of the spring. Derrick Robinson was the only minor leaguer to rack up a hit as he went 1-2 in the game. On the mound Ismael Guillon threw a hitless inning with 2 walks and a strikeout. Curtis Partch allowed 2 unearned runs in 2 innings with a walk and 3 strikeouts. Mark Serrano struck out 2 in a scoreless inning of work.

Dusty Baker has been impressed with Billy Hamilton’s transition to center field.

I’m pleasantly surprised at the routes he’s taken in the short period of time I’ve seen him. He’s been working hard with [coaches Billy Hatcher] and Eric Davis and Darren Bragg. It helps to be around other good outfielders, to hear them talk. Most of instruction is about listening and communication.

Not that there was anyone who was concerned that he couldn’t make the move to center, but it is nice to hear that he is already showing the right things against live hitting. While there isn’t much reason to think he needs to be ready soon with the outfield set at the big leagues, being ready sooner certainly leaves you with options in case something doesn’t work out as planned.

Fangraphs has up the full ZiPS projections. Some interesting projections for the minor league guys:

  • Billy Hamilton (over a full season) – .267/.330/.345 with 54 steals and 17 caught stealing.
  • Neftali Soto (over a full season) – 23 home runs.
  • Tony Cingrani 107 strikeouts and 43 walks in 107.1 innings.

You can see all of the projects at the Fangraphs link above.

If Hamilton could provide that production, and be a slightly above-average defender in center that is probably a 2.5-3.5 win player depending on the rest of his base running value that he provides outside of the steals. While Hamilton isn’t likely to get the chance to show us what he can do in the Majors this year, especially in the first half of the season, the projections on him are certainly interesting. He and Cingrani are the only guys who have projections that give them solid value for a full season in 2013. The projection systems aren’t always that kind to players without a track record in the Major Leagues and even with Major Leaguers they are often a little conservative in my opinion (except the “Bill James” projections which aren’t actually done by James, but just included in his book by STATS, which are often very optimistic for position players).

33 Responses

  1. wanderinredsfan

    Hamilton over a full season in the lead-off spot (651 PA) with a .331 OBP will lead to a lot more SBs than 54.

    I suspect he would be running on over half of his appearances on the base-paths, and I suspect he would be successful on at least 75% of those attempts. We’re looking at something closer to 100 SB, so long as his legs are healthy.

    • fromcubawithluv

      That is interesting….. if he did say have that stat line but 90 steals, with same caught rate, what does that make his value?

  2. MK

    I too believe Hamilton would be above the 54 stolen bases. However I am not sure he approaches the century mark. I think he will get the stop sign much more in the big leagues than he has in the minors. He is not going to be attempting to steal third as much with Votto hitting after him and you have to steal third a lot to get to 100..

    • The Duke

      Hamilton can still improve his technique some. He has been as successful as he has been on pure quickness and speed, but his coaches has all said he can be even better. Couple that with some teams sacrificing defense at catcher for a better bat, and I could see him taking 2nd base at a very high rate, maybe higher than he did last year whenever he finally hits the bigs.

  3. peppe

    Ludwick 1 hit Phillips 1 hit Mez i hit OLiva 1 hit Heisey i hit Cho 1hit Cozart 1 hit Paul i hit after 4 games you guys are on mesoracos back should the rest of the guys with 1 hit be sent down to triple a i think if you guys were back in the lords day you would have crucified him to

    • MK

      No question Mez is a better talent with a bigger upside than Olivo. Don’t think anybody is picking on Mez but without an injury to Hanigan, he is not going to have the opportunity to start this year. So for his and the teams benefit should he be starting in AAA or sitting in the majors. And is Olivo better suited, from experience and his ability to NOW play better defense, to be a back-up.

      Think it is a discussion the team is having and is very valid.

      • Doug Gray

        Olivo is one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball. He is brutal.

      • Stock

        If you exclude the -0.1 he had in 2011, Olivo has never had a negative defensive WAR in his career. He is slightly above league average for his career. Last year his defensive WAR was +0.4. Not great but surely not brutal.

      • Doug Gray

        WAR doesn’t include catcher defends.It includes parts of catchers defense, but misses out on a whole lot of things that just aren’t measured in there.

      • MK

        Bottom line neither are Gold Glove candidates today and Mez won’t become one sitting on the bench.

      • Doug Gray

        Mesoraco, while not a gold glover, was still above-average with his glove last year when you include blocking pitches, framing pitching and throwing out runners. Olivo…. not so much.

        He isn’t going to improve much sitting on the bench, but he shouldn’t be sitting on the bench. He should be playing 3-4 times a week.

      • MK

        Doug, You honestly believe it is best interests of the Reds in 2013 to start him more times a week than Hanigan? I honestly believe there is an argument to be made that Hanigan was the team MVP last year.

      • Doug Gray

        Yes, I do. Will it lead to more wins in 2013? I honestly don’t know. I think there is a chance though, particularly if he can get his bat going by actually playing him consistently because it can be a difference maker and he is still a good defensive catcher. But, even if he just holds his own at the plate, say .250/.330/.425 and he gets 350 at bats, it will be better for the Reds moving forward if they actually plan on having him as a part of their future. The Reds could literally cut Ryan Hanigan tomorrow and they would still be the easy favorites to win the 2013 NL Central. Hanigan isn’t the guy who is going to make or break the Reds playoff hopes. Votto and a starting pitcher (take your pick) are the only guys that can cause that kind of damage to the Reds playoff chances (on paper at least). I don’t believe sending Mesoraco to Louisville does him any good. Yes, he could get consistent playing time there, but he can get that here without really damaging the Reds chances at all.

      • Stock

        Per Fangraphs I took the 30 players with the most games over the last 5 years (349 games) and a second list of every player who played at least 162 games over the last 5 years. Then I replaced Ryan Doumit with Meso and looked at a couple of defensive stats. Passed Balls while important isn’t as important as SB%. A passed ball allows a runner on base to advance. A caught stealing exchanges a runner for an out and therefore is a much more important stat. Likewise, starting a DP is very important. A player bunts and you turn a sacrifice into a double play. Here is the ranking of Meso, Olivo, Hanigan and Y Molina vs. others in the top 30 in games played.

        Player —- CS Rank — DPS/INN — PB/INN
        Molina ———1—————10 ———- 11
        Hanigan ——-2 ————- 1 ———– 5
        Olivo———– 6 ————- 3 ———– 30
        Meso ——– 29 ———— 30 ———- 18

        Now vs. the top 62 (players who caught at least 162 games in 5 yrs)

        Player —- CS Rank — DPS/INN — PB/INN
        Molina ———2—————21 ———- 20
        Hanigan ——- 4 ————- 3 ———– 8
        Olivo———– 11 ————- 5 ———– 54
        Meso ——– 56 ———— 61 ———- 27

        Olivo has allows about 4-5 more PB per year than average but he throws out but he throws out 4-5 more base runners per year than the league average. He also starts 3 DPper year more than the average catcher. If Olivo had Meso error/inning rate over the last 5 years he would have had 9 fewer errors.

        Olivo is weaker than Meso in both categories where a runner on base gets to advance (errors and PB). He provides runners with an extra base 6-7 time a year more than Meso. In the two categories where you remove a runner Olivo removes 11 more base runners per year when compared to Meso.

        Based upon these four stats Olivo is much more valuable defensively than Meso. I can’t speak to the pitch framing ability of the two.

      • Doug Gray

        I can. Mesoraco is a good framing catcher. Olivo is not a good framing catcher. One study had him at -14 runs one season. Mesoraco was +2 runs last year, and he didn’t exactly play much.

        From 2011-2012, Olivo was worth -170 strike calls versus the average catcher in the same amount of playing time he has received. That is -22.1 run over the last two seasons for him. Basically, he is as bad at it as Ryan Hanigan is good at it.

      • Doug Gray

        2009 and 2010 were a while ago too. Last two years….. not good.

      • wanderinredsfan

        Are you defending a scenario where Olivo is chosen to play over Mesoraco?

        I can’t get behind that scenario at all.

      • Stock

        Yes I am saying that the Reds would be very wise to consider keeping Olivo as Hanigan’s backup. Hanigan is the best catcher we have and it makes no sense limiting his playing time. Having Meso on the ML roster costs Hanigan 1-2 starts per week. Additionally, we would be wasting yet another year of control of Meso by having him as Hanigan’s backup. The Reds would be better served bringing up Meso’s trade value in Louisville and then trading him.

        Olivo’s sudden inability to frame pitches confuses me. I would think that learned traits like that do not suddenly leave you.

      • Foxbud

        Wow. I don’t agree with that sooo much. Mes was brutal framing pitches. He got better as the season went on, but I consider that picking himself up off the floor.

  4. George

    One name from yesterday’s box score that I had to look up was Jackson Stephens. According to baseball-reference, he was drafted out of high school (Oxford, AL) and pitched 20+ innings as an 18-year old in the AZL. He had a good strikeout rate (24.7%) and a good walk rate (3.4%), even if his ERA finished at 4.64.

    Doug, what have you heard about him? The Reds must like if they are giving him an inning in a big league spring training game.

    • MK

      It was RHP Jeff Stevens former Reds farmhand and ex-Cub signed this winter. He was the player traded to Cleveland for Brandon Phillips.

    • The Duke

      He’s a projectable righty we took out of high school last year. Velo was 88-90 last year, but some think he might add 3-4 mph more with a projectable frame. He has a good curve ball and a developing changeup. He came out of the bullpen last year but is expected to be in the rotation this year in Billings (I asked him on twitter and he replied on this). He’s definitely one to watch this year. I’m going to see if he’ll tell me what his velo is at now.

    • Stock

      A comparison between Olivo and Meso should not be based upon 4 meaningless ST games.

      Last year Olivo had a higher Offensive WAR and a higher Defensive WAR than Meso. Clearly Olivo was better last year.

      Meso clearly has more potential than Olivo.

      Both of these are facts that few on this site will debate. The decision on who to keep on the ML roster shouldn’t be based upon who the better player is (I think it is clearly Meso) but rather what is in the best interest of the Reds (both short term and long term).

      Long Term (1014 and beyond): The Reds have control of Meso for 6 years. They wasted one last year. Having him back up Hanigan again would use another year of elgibility if he backed up Hanigan again this year. There is no doubt the Reds best long term interest would be best served by sending Meso to Louisville. There, he could build up his trade value for July or this off-season or retain a year of elgibility and we could trade Hanigan.

      Short Term (2013): Hanigan is so superior defensively that he should be playing 80% of the time. With Olivo on the roster he would, with Meso he wouldn’t. Therefore, short term the Reds are much better with Olivo than with Meso. I really don’t see much difference between Meso and Olivo.

      As far as the importance of Defense from a catcher it is highly underrated. Hanigan was rated the #1 defensive catcher in the majors last year and #4 at throwing out runners (players with at least 250 PA).

      Finally, I compared the ERA and WHIP of catchers when Hanigan was catching as opposed to Hernandez (2011 data only) (I will look at 2012 data next but because they didn’t switch you won’t get the innings necessary to make judgement (I think)).


      Hanigan: 93 IP, 3.19 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
      Hernandez: 39 IP, 7.38 ERA, 1.62 WHIP


      Hanigan: 66.1 IP, 4.48 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
      Hernandez: 39.2 IP, 5.45 ERA, 1.64 WHIP


      Hanigan: 31.0 IP, 5.81 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
      Hernandez: 77.2 IP, 5.68 ERA, 1.67 WHIP


      Hanigan: 89.2 IP, 3.01 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
      Hernandez: 78 IP, 4.85 ERA, 1.31 WHIP


      Hanigan: 280 IP, 3.73 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
      Hernandez: 234.1 IP, 5.65 ERA, 1.54 WHIP

      500 Innings is a large enough sample size for me to be comfortable with the assumption that Hanigan reduces a pitchers ERA.

  5. wALLY

    His velo is the same, keeps batters of balance and hides the ball well

    • MK

      Well said.

      Peppe I am not sure anyone writing here has developed their thinking on Mez or anyone else for that matter on 4 spring training games.

      Well, maybe you.

  6. wanderinredsfan

    Cingrani had a pretty good outing today. Mixed in his slider and change-up for strikes and hit 94mph with his fastball. I’m thinking that he is going to get quite a long look this spring.

    • Doug Gray

      I think he will probably be among the cuts toward the end of the spring. Not the last group, as I figure that will be a few relievers and a few position guys battling for those final few spots, but that he will spend the next 4 weeks with the Major League club unless he starts performing poorly.

  7. peppe

    Why not get off of Mes for a while lets talk about cozart who cant hit a pumpkin if they rolled it in