The Cincinnati Reds have reportedly signed Ryan Raburn to a minor league deal according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

If you follow me on twitter, you have probably seen the extreme every-other-year guy that he’s been. If not, let’s take a look at how he has performed over the last six seasons:

2016: 77 OPS+

2015: 148 OPS+

2014: 53 OPS+

2013: 151 OPS+

2012: 29 OPS+

2011: 96 OPS+

He’s been absolutely TERRIBLE in three of the last five seasons. The 29 and 53 OPS+ are pitcher worthy kind of offensive outputs. The 77 OPS+ is also very bad, but not quite on the “pitcher hitting” level. However, in both 2013 and 2015, in 201 and 277 plate appearances, Ryan Raburn obliterated the baseball.

Things get interesting if you dive in a little bit. As mentioned, in both 2013 and 2015, Ryan Rabunr crushed the ball. But in 2014 he hit like a pitcher and in 2016 he was just a really poor hitter. It’s tough to explain what happened in 2014. However, in 2016 we can get a good idea. The Rockies decided to give him more playing time against right handed pitching than against left handed pitching. That was a big mistake. And it showed.

Against lefties, Ryan Raburn OPS’d .835 in 2016. Against righties he OPS’d .615. He didn’t hit for average against either (.213 and .229), but he had 18 walks and 30 strikeouts against lefties. Righties? 10 walks and 50 strikeouts in 138 plate appearances. In 2015, the splits were even more dramatic. He OPS’d over 1.000 against lefties and just .467 against righties (just 25 plate appearances). In 2014, he stunk up the joint against both, but had a .130 point OPS advantage against lefties. In 2013 he OPS’d over 1.000 against lefties. He was successful against righties though, with an .806 mark.

All told, Ryan Raburn does real damage against left handed pitching. It’s been that way for years and years, with the lone exception of 2014. He’s also historically stunk against right handed pitching. Raburn is your typical platoon player. He’s going to be 36-years-old in April, so perhaps he just doesn’t quite have it anymore. Despite playing in Coors, he didn’t exactly tear lefties apart in 2016. On a minor league deal, it’s certainly worth seeing if he’s still able to beat up on left handers.

That could be important for the Reds, too. The organization probably wants to keep Jesse Winker in the minor leagues for a little bit for various reasons. That means it’s likely that we see Scott Schebler in one corner, along with Adam Duvall in the other. Schebler is a left handed hitter. He had limited action against lefties in the big leagues in 2016, but when he did face them, he struggled. In 45 plate appearances he managed just a .195/.267/.341 line against them. In Triple-A he performed much better against them in just over 100 plate appearances, but his OPS was .200 points higher against right handers. He was significantly better against right handed pitching in 2015 as well. While Desmond Jennings is likely more of a favorite for an extra outfielder spot on the 25-man roster as things sit right now, Ryan Raburn certainly could provide some value with the big league club as a platoon guy to couple up with Schebler against tough lefties or being a pinch hitting option.

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29 Responses

  1. Kap

    For a minors deal, it’s never a bad idea to have when you face Jon Lester a couple times a year…

  2. jbonireland

    Well if Rayburn has anything left in the tank, suddenly the bench is looking better. Jennings and Rayburn in the outfield. If they really are working Herrera out in a utility role this year, as they did with Peraza last year the bench is looking better. Does it seem that the things Williams is doing makes more since then what Jocketty has been doing over the past several years. If not Herrera I think I’d give Iberrean time at 3B. He can already handle second. Seems to be a lot of flexibility on this years team. Suarez can handle short or second, Peraza all over the field, Duvall could probably handle 3B-1B in a pinch for a while.

  3. donny

    doug, chill a bit bud. Things are going to get better.

    Rayburn is a bench guy against lefty;s. its a pr stunt to let the fans know they are doing and willing to build team momentum and fan momentum.

  4. Krozley

    I like the pick up. The NL Central, however, is pretty devoid of left handed starting pitching so I’m not sure how much he’d play. Until Winker and Ervin are ready, the Reds are thin in outfield experience so I’m guessing he is mostly insurance in case of an injury. Could play 2B in an emergency as well.

  5. Steve

    Interesting to know how much he will make if he makes the 25 man roster. It’s probably more than league minimum. If that’s the case, I prefer Iribarren. He is more versatile. Again, good to have competition. To keep the pitching that we recently obtained, I think only one NRI should be given a spot on the 25 man roster. I like Barnhart, Alcantara, Herrera, 2 of Turner, Iribarren, Kivlehan, Jennings, Rayburn, Renda or Dixon. Ogando or Bonilla would have to sneak through waivers.

    • Doug Gray

      Zach Buchanan of the Enquirer had it as $900,000 if he makes the roster.

      • Steve

        Wow, that would be 1 and 3/4 of minimum or near minimum salary that we could pay to cover Herrera and Turner, Iribarren, Dixon or Renda. If Jennings makes the roster, the cost is even more. $1.5M plus a possible $1.0 M in incentives. Neither is part of the future and would be bad business decisions in 2017. The Cards won 86 games last year and missed the playoffs. That would mean a nearly 20 game swing to be a wildcard team. I don’t think having Jennings or Rayburn on the team will make the Reds +20 in the win column. Save the money for Robert or Hernandez. Like the bench to be Barnhart, Alcantara, Herrera, Iribarren and Turner/Kivlehan/Renda/Dixon.

      • Doug Gray

        Given his experience level, he’s going to automatically get more than true league minimum for what a rookie would get. I’m not sure of the way the scale works, but someone with his experience won’t get the $520,000 that a rookie would.

      • Steve

        Yeah, for the reasons of Rayburn and Jennings not going to be part of the future of the Reds and their salaries if they make the team, I’d rather see some of the others mentioned earlier to make the 25 man roster. Plus, taking valuable PT away from others.

      • Steve

        Doug, FYI league minimum is $535K, $545K and $555K for 2017,18,19

      • Doug Gray

        I knew they raised it, I just couldn’t remember what to and wasn’t going to look it up. Hopefully I’ll remember next time.

      • Ryan

        It’s almost negligible the amount he would make over a rookie. If he can be a weapon against lefties, he’ll be well worth it. Even though they aren’t ready to compete, they should show that they are trying to win games now. Having a terrible bench and bullpen again would show they really don’t care about winning games, and a reason to not go watch them at GABP. There’s a difference between winning 69 games and winning 79. Having a guy that crushes lefties helps get you there, especially if Schebler continues to struggle against them.

      • Steve

        I’d rather win 69 and possibly get a 1 or 2 pick in the 2018 draft than win 79, be out of the playoffs and picking around 20. Plus, he’s not part of the future with the Reds. I’d rather give Renda or Dixon the spot to get them experience. Iribarren is also a more flexible player.

    • Ryan

      Would it be better for the Reds in the long haul if the guys that makeup the current core excel enough to be close to or at .500 or for them to fail enough to get a top 3 pick? There are some areas the Reds might be really bad at this season, but they won’t have a historically bad bullpen to drag them down. The back of the rotation could be pretty bad this year but it should be better than last years’. Between the two, I believe the Reds improve at the very least 5 games. That alone take them out of the top 5 in the draft. I think Suarez, Schebler, Disco and Finnegan improve. I think Cozart provides more value and brings back some value at the deadline.

      Where is the regression that takes them back to 99 loss territory. Votto not dominating? Cody Reed continuing to suck at the ML level? Lorensen and Iglesias not locking down the back-end of the bullpen? Disco and/or Finnegan regressing? Those are really bad scenarios. They should be better, by quite a bit. They have some guys ready from minors and brought in a few nice signings.

  6. Steve

    Great line for McKay of the Louisville Cards today 6 IP, 9K, 0BB, 4HA 2-3 , HR, 2 RBI, R, HBP. Only first game, but might be a lock for the Olerud award for a 3rd straight year.

  7. Hingle McCringleberry

    Brought to you by THE WORST FRONT OFFICE IN BASEBALL WHO CANT MAKE UP THEIR MIND IF THEY WANT TO REBUILD OR TRY TO STAY RELEVANT.

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS GUY? ALL YOU HOMERS COMMENTING THAT THIS IS A GREAT PICK UP ARE EXACTLY WHATS WRONG WITH THIS MANAGEMENT. YOU ALL SOUND LIKE YES MEN. WILLIAMS NEEDS TO HAVE SOMEBODY SAY” NO THIS IS A BAD SIGNING”.

    FREAKING AWFUL SIGNING. JUST LIKE THE RULE 5 PICK UP WITH THE CATCHER WHEN YOU COULD HAVE KEPT CABRERA. SMH!!!!!!!!!!!

    SHOULD HAVE KEPT SELSKY.

    • Andrew

      Cabrera is arguably the worst pitch framing catcher is baseball.

      I don’t even know how else to reply to your all caps statement. Rayburn, Feldman, Storen and Jennings cost a max of maybe $10 million all of them hit all incentives and make the roster. That’s not your money so what do you care? It costs money to acquire talent and my obey says at least one of those above or a combo could net a top 20 prospect at the trade deadline.

      Not to mention the savings in years of control and arbitration costs of putting Winker, Garret, Romano, etc on the roster from day one. Arb savings could be in the tens of millions of the life of the contracts and escalations. come may 15, the club will look a lot differently in my estimation than it will on opening day.

      • Hingle McCringleberry

        Stop acting like a big baby and just read the statement. People act like caps are chinese or something.

        As far as pitch framing, are freaking kidding me? Pitch framing?Reds pitchers had one of the worst ERA’s in mlb when he was catching and you’re worried about cabrera and pitch framing?????? Yet we’ll let a guy basically right out of AA to stick around from rule 5 ?

        You’re getting one last warning. Do not use that kind of language. Do not drop in GT_O. Do it again and you’re going to get banned from commenting. You can make your point without those things.

      • Hingle McCringleberry

        Correction: When tucker was catching. Not Cabrera.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s a minor league signing. If you’re going to hit the caps lock and type 100 words in anger, shouldn’t it at least be about a deal that’s guaranteed? You may be overreacting here. Just a little bit. Or a lot.

      • Ryan

        The guarantee they gave Schumacher was perhaps worthy of that response, but not this one, not by a long shot. Raburn was lethal against lefties two years ago, and has shown that ability in the past as well. He’s not Patterson, Alfredo Simon, or Kevin Gregg, please calm it down.

      • Hingle McCringleberry

        Once again, whats the big deal about caps? Its not chinese.

      • Doug Gray

        The big deal is two fold. First, it honestly makes it tougher to read. Two, it comes off as screaming at someone. There’s no need for it. It creates hostility.

  8. MK

    A lot of excited talk for a guy who is probably minor league depth for Jennings when he gets one of his annual leg injuries. Was disappointed, after hearing of his alleged attitude problems that Jennings was late reporting due to “family matters”.

    • Doug Gray

      Family > Job.

      I’d also be shocked if Raburn accepted a minor league assignment. He’s going to be 36. Not many 36-year-olds deciding to play in Triple-A.

      • MK

        Then maybe he is Spring Training depth for Jennings then. If Jennings is hurt during ST o is still injured from 2016.

  9. Patrick

    It is just depth for injuries. The Reds have virtually no positional depth or pitching depth