Monday afternoon news and notes Doug Gray March 10, 2014 13 Comments Trevor Bell had a dominant 2013 season in the minor leagues, spent mostly with the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. That you may have known. What most of you probably didn’t know is who his grandfather was. C. Trent Rosecrans has an article up on it right now and it is a pretty good read, not just about his grandfather, but also about Bell himself. Here is what Bell had to say about when he signed with the Reds: From Day 1, it just seemed like the good idea with this organization,” Bell said. “The way they came after me, the way they communicated with me. They didn’t lie to me. They didn’t say we’re going to send you to Double-A and you’ll be in Triple-A in a week. They said, ‘go there, we want you to help the team out, younger guys, show them how to be in the clubhouse, how to be outside the field.’ I took that responsibility with open arms because I knew that’s what they wanted me to do. On Friday afternoon Paul Daugherty wrote about Billy Hamilton possibly revolutionizing the game with his speed. There is a whole bunch of what-ifs and talk about Hamilton causing mental errors all over the field that seem awfully exaggerated considering what happened (or didn’t in this case) last season with Triple-A players on defense against him. For example, Albert Pujols played in 99 games last season and ran about as fast as I can crabwalk. He reached base on an error as many times as Billy Hamilton did in Triple-A. It just seems that people have this idea that he is so much faster than anyone else that Major Leaguers are simply going to freak out. They aren’t. Hamilton isn’t faster on 90 feet than the other really fast guys for your naked eye to really notice it. Michael Bourn reached base on one error last season. One. Where Hamilton will see his speed play is on infield hits when the ball just doesn’t get there in time, not when guys throw it away. Not counting bunt hits, Hamilton had 24 infield hits in Triple-A. That is a very significant amount that doesn’t include another 20+ bunt hits. Tom Nichols looks at the possible Dayton Dragons rotation for the 2014 season in Part 1 of his yearly spring series. His potential starters include: RHP Nick Travieso, RHP Ben Lively, RHP Sal Romano, RHP Jackson Stephens, LHP Amir Garrett and LHP Wandy Peralta.There are profiles on each of the guys listed, so be sure to go check it out. Jason Parks is in Arizona and the Baseball Prospectus lead prospect guru took in a Reds game and has notes on both Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen. What he had to say about Lorenzen stood out the most: neither secondary offering impressed; loved the fastball and the arm strength/speed; reliever all the way for me; potential for impact in that role (setup/closer). There are full paragraph write ups on each guy, so head over there to give them a read. Ben Badler has a look at the Cincinnati Reds 2013 International signing year. You will need to be a Baseball America subscriber to read the article though. The two key players from that year were Jacob Constante and Reydel Medina, both of whom are in Arizona and preparing for 2014. They are two of only three players that I saw listed in camp who are international signings that haven’t been in the US before and the other player was signed back in the 2010 signing period. The article does list seven other 6-figure signing bonus players, with the next top bonus being to outfielder Sucre Duval who will play the 2014 season at age 17. 13 Responses MK March 10, 2014 ~ Wonder what would make Stephenson a #1 in Parks’ eyes? He has the body type the power arm and potential for 3 outstanding pitches. ~ I also think it cold be a little early to pigeon hole Lorenzen. His lack of experience really make him a starting project but he has come a long way so far. ~ Nice article on Bell. How many times do you think he has been told to stop clowning around? Doug Gray March 10, 2014 With Stephenson, Parks doesn’t toss around the #1 label. He is of the belief that there are 5-10 in the Majors at any given time. Reading his report, I imagine he wants to see fastball command. With Lorenzen, I think the writing is on the wall that he is a reliever unless he works in a hybrid mode for several years. He simply has so far to go in order to build up his innings workload because of how he was used in college that on that alone that he is about 4 years from being able to toss you 180 innings with normal innings increases. I can’t see the Reds waiting that long for a guy with his arm. Kevin March 11, 2014 How does that compare to the trajectory that Cingrani followed? Doug Gray March 11, 2014 It isn’t close. Cingrani started for 3 years in college and had a larger workload to build on. Lorenzen threw 61 innings from February through November in 2013. Cingrani threw more than that as a freshman in college. Cingrani threw 108 innings the year he was drafted. That puts him more than a year ahead of a normal bump in innings from where Cingrani was and the Reds had a lot more reason to believe that he could handle such a workload as well given his past. They are going to need to be much more careful with Lorenzen. In his first full year Cingrani was allowed to throw 6 and 7 innings in April. They can’t do that with Lorenzen. It is just an entirely different plan that they are going to have to take. The Duke March 10, 2014 What about Pedro Diaz or Dan Langfield for the Dayton rotation? I think Romano gets bumped up to Bakersfield. Doug Gray March 10, 2014 I don’t believe that Langfield is going to be ready to start the year. I think Diaz is much like Peralta…. he is kind of waiting in the wings if one of the other guys does wind up in Bakersfield. Stock March 10, 2014 Billy the kid is at it again. Gets at least his 3rd bunt hit of the spring. Based upon his AB he is bunting once a game. That means 160 bunts over the course of the season. If he maintains his 60% success ratio his has thus far this spring that means 96 bunt hits. Assuming he strikes out 20% of the time (and it has been far less this spring) and walks 7.5% of the time (and it has been far more this spring) and has a .300 BABIP that gives him an average of .309 and an OBP of .361. With the exception of the 160 bunt attempts these are all very conservative. Doug Gray March 10, 2014 I would set the over under on bunt attempts at 80. I think the chances he attempts 100 bunts is slim and none. Since 2002 (the furthest back fangraphs goes with PBP data), there have been 4 players to even get 30 bunt hits in a season and no one has had more than 32. Is Billy Hamilton faster than all of those guys? Yes. Is he more than half of a step faster than all of them? No. Hamilton bunted 52 times last year and had 24 bunt hits (he had several sac bunts – which is hilarious that they credited him with those). wanderinredsfan March 10, 2014 If he maintains health, he’ll get over 600 plate appearances from the lead off spot easily. Choo got over 700. I suspect Billy will attempt a bunt at least once every 6 appearances. So, I’ll take the over on your 80 attempts, so long as he’s healthy. Stock March 10, 2014 160 is aggressive. However, I don’t know this for a fact but there is a good chance that today’s bunt hit, like the one vs. the Dodgers, went off without even a throw to 1B. Willie Taveras had 38 bunt hits for the Rockies in 2007. Taveras was right handed and most AB for Hamilton will be left handed. That is an extra 2 steps right there. Plus the half step based upon pure speed plus another step if Billy is drag bunting and approaching full speed earlier. In 2007 Taveras was successful on 64.4% of his bunt attempts. If Hamilton is as hard of a worker as you have implied I have no doubt he is a better bunter than Taveras was in 2007. You add in the fact that he bats left handed and is faster and I have to believe there is no one to compare him with historically. Additionally if your job is to get on base (which it is in Hamilton’s case) and you were successful 25% of the time when you swung at a pitch and 60% of the time when you bunted, doesn’t it make sense to bunt regularly? Unless they are really going to over play the bunt he should be bunting. If they are playing inside the bag his BA when he swings away should go up and his triples should skyrocket. Doug Gray March 10, 2014 It isn’t an extra two steps because right handed you are squared toward the bag already at contact. You don’t have to turn your hips to run. The difference from left side to right side is roughly a tenth of a second. If you bunt too much, you are going to see the rate at which you are successful with it decline. The problem with all of this what if stuff is that we saw what happened when everyone already did those things in Triple-A last year. The what ifs didn’t work like people think they will. Stock March 10, 2014 On a bunt I would think that the foot out in front for a right handed hitter would be facing the SS and for a left hander it would face the 2B so the advantage would be to the left hander here. But say the difference is only a tenth of a second as you stated. Assuming it takes 4 seconds to get down the line and you take 20 steps, then a tenth of a second is one half of a step. He is without a doubt faster than Taveras. Again say only one tenth of a second in a 90 ft dash. That is another half step. How many plays are decided by less than one step? Quite a few. You can’t compare this year to last year. He spent months working on his bunting this winter. Hour after hour of work on bunting. He has to be a better bunter this year than last. In fact much better. It seems to have also sunk in that his legs are his future. I have no doubt that he will blow away last year bunt attempts and his success rate will be better because of the practice. I think the 60% success rate in my example is conservative because of this. However, a lot of the things you say make sense. I don’t know if more errors will be made on batted balls. I do think catchers will make more errors in their throw down to second because they realize they have to be perfect. I do think that he will score from first on a single more often than others. I do think he will have more infield hits than others. That said I think you agree with most if not all of this. His speed will change the game and I have to say I will take the over on the 80 bunt hits. I say the over under is at 0.75 bunt attempts per game. Doug Gray March 10, 2014 On a bunt we are talking about the 3.4-3.6 range for elite speed guys. Michael Bourn is a 3.45-3.55 guy on bunts. Billy Hamilton is a 3.4-3.5 guy (left side for both). Hamilton nearly doubled the number of bunts he attempted in 2012 during 2013. I just don’t see him doing that again. There is a limit on bunting and I just can’t see Hamilton doubling the number of bunts attempted by other guys in the same range of speed he has (and there have been guys in the same range from home to first – there are even some playing today).