Friday morning Reds news and notes Doug Gray September 8, 2017 50 Comments Another night in Pensacola and another outstanding starting pitching performance. Jose Lopez allowed a run on three hits and a walk while striking out nine batters. The just turned 24-year-old right hander needed just 96 pitches in the game and he strew 64 strikes along the way. It was just a continuation of the incredible season for Jose Lopez. He began the year in Daytona where he threw 50.2 innings with a 2.84 ERA before being promoted to Pensacola. With the Blue Wahoos. Once in Double-A he threw another 96.1 innings with a 2.43 ERA. Including the playoffs Lopez now has a 2.50 ERA in 155.0 innings this year. That’s also come along with just 50 walks and 152 strikeouts. For the Dayton Dragons it was a similar situation with their starting pitching. After Andrew Jordan allowed just one run in his start on Thursday night, Scott Moss did him one better on Friday. The left hander kept West Michigan off the board in his 6.0 innings of work. He allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out five Whitecaps on the night. Much like Jose Lopez, it was a continuation for Scott Moss. The left hander posted a 3.45 ERA in 135.2 innings for Dayton in the regular season. He walked 48 batters and had a league best 156 strikeouts. He’s seen a big increase in workload in 2017 and has come through with as good of a performance as could possibly be expected. Tony Santillan will take the mound Friday night in the final game of the series between the two clubs. The winner of the game will take on Fort Wayne starting on Saturday. The TinCaps will then travel to the other teams stadium for the remaining two games (if necessary). Billings barely hanging in the playoff race There are only two games left in the regular season remaining for Billings. After falling half-a-game short of qualifying for the playoffs in the first half, the Mustangs may see their playoff chances come down to the final day of the half once again. On Thursday night they won, but Great Falls also beat Missoula. That leaves Missoula and Great Falls tied for first place and Billings one game back. Great Falls and Missoula will play each other in the final two games of the season. Missoula won the first half of the season, so they can win the division again and they don’t directly influence the playoff birth by winning. However, with how the playoff scenarios work out with the various tie-breaking situations, Billings needs to win their remaining two games and Great Falls would need to lose their remaining two games in order for the Mustangs to make the playoffs. 50 Responses KyReds September 8, 2017 Billings is only “barely hanging in the playoff race,” because of the underwhelming performance of Hunter Greene. Very unimpressive 2nd overall pick. Alex September 8, 2017 I don’t understand why youre hating on Hunter Greene?? Greenfield Red September 8, 2017 Got to agree. Some of this stuff falls in the category of personal attack. Not necessary. David Taylor September 8, 2017 I can’t figure out if this guy is serious or is just being a troll. You really won’t find many people defending Hunter Greene’s performance this year because it doesn’t mean anything. Next year with preparation and a full year at hopefully “A” ball we can start to make some judgments about his performance. Taking shots at his character are even less deserved unless you have some kind of inside information. Greenfield Red September 8, 2017 Agree with you David, except for one thing. I’ll be really surprised if he has a full year at Dayton. I’m guessing he’ll be there around June 1st… or maybe they’ll use some other formula to limit his innings. One other thing regarding the OP. I’ve been critical of certain parts of the rebuild, and I stated those with my reasoning here. I don’t do it in a way that is disrespectful of the Reds or the players. In fact, I could state my concerns to Dick Williams or Bob Castillini if I ever had the chance to do so. This thing of coming on Doug’s site and simply flamethrowing is cheap and not something he would say directly to the parties involved. It’s bush league. And then, there’s also a few questions for the OP. What have the Reds or Hunter Greene done incorrectly since the time he was drafted that has you so upset? Did they draft the wrong guy? Is it too much money? Is it the fact they are bringing him along slowly? The Duke September 8, 2017 Obvious troll is obvious. Champ Summers September 8, 2017 you guys have enough comments section experience to not bite on stuff like this. Wes September 8, 2017 I meant to mention it yesterday on the hunter Greene article but didn’t get a chance too- maybe what he means is if Greene would have got 8-10 starts and pitched well they’d be in a better position today? Overall though you have to be somewhat underwhelmed by Greene this season right? From predraft to not signing to not playing- kind of a lost season for him in my opinion. Makes a tough argument that he’s a top 25 prospect after all that or that his stock is up. Also not impressed how reds handled the whole thing. Atleast they got him signed though What do you all think of his first pro season and how it was handled by reds? Greenfield Red September 8, 2017 Hey Wes. The way I see it, it’s going perfectly. With the second pick, the Reds got the guy they want. A guy some think is a once in a generation propsect going back to Griffey Jr. That includes Harper and Trout. They were able to sign him and get him into the system. It’s obvious they have a plan for him to ease into professional baseball, and they are executing it. We won’t be able to pass judgement on the situation for as long as 10 years, and the first couple don’t really matter… especially true for 2017 except for the fact they’ve been successful drafting, signing, and preparing him. wes September 8, 2017 Thanks GFR. The one bad start is irrelevant imo so no issue there, but I guess at beginning of season where they were easing stephenson and reed into majors and it didn’t work- I gave organization benefit of the doubt and liked them trying something new, but seemed to fail and a lot of guys where critical of reds for trying it. Then it seems they are trying same thing with Greene…. I am still prob most satisfied with this pick at 2 but was hoping for a bit more in his debut Brock September 8, 2017 Many many high school players, especially pitchers, don’t pitch in that first year after being drafted. The kid has a thunderbolt of an arm with amazing fastball control for an 18-yr old. Pitching an extra 30 innings in Billings at 18 does NOTHING to change his prospect status or pitching ability. The most important thing for him was to get his arm into pitching shape and get prepared for his first full season next year, which he has been doing with bullpen sessions closely watched by instructors and a few starts at Billings. When he is 22-23 yrs old and banging on the door to the big leagues, or if he turns out to not be that good and is forever stuck in AA, nobody is going to say an extra 30 innings at Billings would have made a difference. Doug Gray September 8, 2017 If you thought he was a Top 25 prospect on draft day, then literally nothing has changed. Simon Cowell September 8, 2017 Even I would have to say is this really necessary? 2 out of 3 performances were fantastic. could it have been better? Well sure. He’s doing just fine. Hal September 8, 2017 Attention grab folks; ignore it and it will go away. Cinvenfan September 8, 2017 Former high school pitcher and SS Hunter Greene just got his 32- and 33 bashing post, all while turning old enough to drink a beer in some states and still throw unimpressives 100 mph fastballs. Go 18 Years-old high School pitcher ! Colorado Red September 8, 2017 All states (that I know of) are now 21. Even bases and forts are now 21. Showing you age bud. (PS, I could by beer in Ohio at 18, so I am also showing my age) LOL Zirkle Blakey September 8, 2017 OT – has anyone posted anywhere the outlook for the pitching rotations at the big club as well as AAA next spring? Barring some trades there appears to be a log jam and I am just curious as to how you guys think it will shake out. Is Deck McGuire a free agent after the end of the season? Would seem like he has earned a promotion to AAA The Duke September 8, 2017 I believe McGuire is a free agent. I’d expect him to latch on somewhere else with the pitching depth he is behind in the Reds organization, but his good year in AA for us likely gets him another chance in AAA for another team. I’ve posted in detail about the rotations elsewhere, but this is my organizational prediction for starting pitching in 2018 (health assumed): MLB: Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey, Anthony Desclafani, Robert Stephenson, Sal Romano AAA: Tyler Mahle, Amir Garrett, Rookie Davis, Cody Reed, Jackson Stephens AA: Vlad Gutierrez, Jose Lopez, Jesus Reyes, Nick Travieso, Wyatt Strahan A+: Tony Santillan, Scott Moss, Andrew Jordan, Ty Boyles, Wennington Romero A-: Tyler Mondile, Mac Sceroler, Matt Blandino, Jhon De Jesus, Alex Webb (Hunter Greene in EST, then in Dayton in June) Rk: Jacob Heatherly, Nick Hanson, Max Wotell, Ricardo Smith, a couple of college draftees I think Finnegan has another set back and ends up in the MLB bullpen. Minor league bullpens are too hard to figure out this far in advance, but I think the MLB bullpen looks like: LR: Tim Adleman MR: Ariel Hernandez MR: Wandy Peralta MR: Zack Weiss MR: Brandon Finnegan SU: Michael Lorenzen CL: Raisel Iglesias terry m September 8, 2017 You said health assumed and then say Finny has another setback and goes to RP. He hurt his right arm and he wants to start and is left handed.. The Duke September 8, 2017 That is far from Finnegan’s first injury. terry m September 8, 2017 Not Finny’s arm thought. I’m more concerned with Disco ! I would not even count on him for 18 and if he is ready then Great.. The Duke September 8, 2017 I think we see Garrett in the rotation again before Finny. Garrett’s regained velo his last few starts is very encouraging. terry m September 8, 2017 Who knows what will happen from now till spring training breaks in 2018. Perhaps they both start. Like I said who knows but these last 2 years have been brutal… RedsinWashSt September 8, 2017 Pretty good Duke, my only disagreement is that Lopez ends up at 3A because of his age. And one of your starters in 3A ends up in the bullpen for Reds. Hopefully taking the place of Adleman. DaveCT September 8, 2017 Follow-up on Lopez. He’s been a real sleeper until this year, given his TJ surgery in college as well as his history as a reliever. But I recall when drafted BA being very high on him. And I also recall Doug IDing him as someone to watch as well. Overall, it’s just damn exciting to see a guy blossom right before your eyes and, especially, at AA. Great season for this young man. Now we just need a St. John’s alumni to track his daily accomplishments. Clergy East and west. Tampa Red September 8, 2017 Man I just have to diaagee with the view on Finnegan. He will only be 25 YO next season and just last year he pitched 170+ innings in the big leagues and was very effective in doing so. Given that the injury that took him down this year wasn’t to his throwing arm, I will be quite surprised if he doesn’t win a rotation spot next season. Now back to hurricane prep…. DaveCT September 8, 2017 Tampa, I believe you are correct with the point on Finnegan’s relative youth. I know I tend to overlook this. Also, in addition to his 170 innings last year, he also developed over the year, especially his use of a changeup. That said, and in complete objectivity, there probably is a solid chance he ends up in the bullpen, but the question for me is when (or how long it takes to get there). Having made this decision pretty efficiently on Raisel and Lorenzen, you’d hope they will be efficient with Finnegan, too. If they have him start, I’d say they made their best assessment that’s where he should be and that he’ll be there until performance or health takes him down. citizen54 September 8, 2017 That’s my Reds rotation for now as well. terry m September 8, 2017 I’m with you Tampa Red with respect to Finny. He was the Reds best pitcher last year. It was his first year starting and he improved as the season moved along ! He should start until proven he can’t, Left hander and still young !! Zblakey September 9, 2017 Thanks for such a comprehensive reply. Much appreciated. I hope Stephenson can finally show some of the early promised that had everyone so excited. I have been impressed of late. MikeD September 8, 2017 Oh my gosh! It’s all about development. While many are critical of Hunter being shut down from pitching during his senior season by his father, I bet the Reds are just fine with it. He has a lot of talent and the Reds are going to do all they can to develop him and keep him healthy. This means, he won’t be pitching as we might like and while we think we know better, I doubt that is accurate. As Greenfield stated, his first season is going just fine and it will be some time before we can evaluate the success of Hunter Greene. People can and will be negative, so be it. However, people show their personal dislikes through comments that do not make any baseball sense. The minor leagues are there to develop major league players and that is a process. Hunter will have bad moments and those moments, will help him with his development. Void of failure, we do not learn. Prayers to Florida! Mike The Duke September 8, 2017 Ha, looks like I should have read the next article before my Scott Moss post in the game review article. Surprised they let him throw this many innings after such light usage in college following his TJS. DaveCT September 8, 2017 I too was surprised. He does seem to be finishing strong after a swoon in mid summer. Maybe the week or so off contributed to this. Brad September 8, 2017 Reds series vs Mets may be most important of season for draft positioning. For that reason, I hope they get swept. All opponents for rest of season are currently, or have bee, part of playoff race. Would much prefer Reds to draft 4-5 than 7-8. Colorado Red September 8, 2017 I get mixed emotions about that. On one hand, yes the highest draft position is good. On the other hand, starting to learn to win, is also important. In thinking about it, I would rather the SP do well at least (regardless of the outcome) DaveCT September 8, 2017 How about losing 1-0 so the young guys pitch well? wes September 8, 2017 We need best pick. Our best 2 prospects from past decade are Green and Senzel by far. Dougs #1 was Kyle Wright last draft and he went 5th. Reds need 1 more top pick for rebuild Greenfield Red September 8, 2017 Completely agree. Billy September 8, 2017 It seems to have rubbed people the wrong way that Greene shut it down and didn’t pitch for his high school team. I don’t get that. He was already understood to be a top pick. He had nothing to gain and everything to lose by pitching. I’m sure he wanted to pitch, but he used his head instead of his heart, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. We’ve definitely moved away from the era where pitchers tough it out and pride themselves on finishing what they started. Why? Because we’ve gotten smarter (or at least think we’ve gotten smarter) about how to manage use to keep these massive investments productive over the long-term. In most corners of the baseball world, we applaud this now and consider it wise. Shouldn’t we be lauding Greene similarly for showing wisdom and being aware of the big picture? OklaRed September 8, 2017 Yep just draft 6’5″ lefty then teach him to pitch less wear on arm. Sorry for sarcasm just not sure limited use has proven effective to prevent injuries. Also I believe was still pitching in sessions for scouts. Should all high prospects set out their pre-draft season? Billy September 8, 2017 “High prospects”? No, because there’s money to be made by being a higher prospect. Greene was seen as the top prospect. There was nowhere to go but down. If he had pitched, he could have gotten hurt. If he had pitched, it would have provided more opportunity for teams to nitpick and lower their evaluation. He was simply being smart in assessing the reality of the situation. How often do we rip the front office for making a short-sighted, bad deal that could hinder the team’s best interest down the line? All the time, right? To then turn around and criticize and 18-year-old kid to made the right decision for his career’s best interest is wrong. Maybe it will keep Greene healthy over the long run and maybe it won’t. It probably has no bearing. But the undeniable fact is that he saw this as an opportunity to get set for life, and he didn’t take any chances that could have resulted in screwing that up. That takes discipline, and he should be commended for that. wes September 8, 2017 I think TJ surgeries are on the rise so not sold on current methods of injury prevention Champ Summers September 8, 2017 guys have been over used and abused well before their ML team takes control of them. MikeinSoCal September 8, 2017 I have no complaint whatsoever on how Greene has been brought along. He had been inactive for several months. Why would anyone expect the Reds to throw him out there and say” go throw 6 innings at 100 mph and lets see how good you are.” We know the tools are there. The foundation is there. Slow as you go. Teach him the nuances of pitching. Why want a dazzling performance in his first month in Billings. The Duke September 8, 2017 Agreed. What I’d like them to work on with Greene on fall instructionals into next years spring training is focusing on getting one offspeed pitch (probably the slider) polished up a bit going into next season and stick with that 3 pitch mix of Fastball/Slider/Changeup. I wouldn’t even worry about working on a 2 seam to go with those 3 until 2019. DaveCT September 8, 2017 Three guys on BA minors all star team(s), Senzel, Mahle and Herget. Prospects and all stars (not AAAA) is a good thing. citizen54 September 8, 2017 You guy ripping Greene for sitting out couple months are crazy if you ask me. Why would a sure #1 or #2 draft pick take a chance of getting injured and losing 6 or 7 million dollars? Seems like any sane person would have made the same choice Greene did. Patrick September 8, 2017 What him sitting out does cause is a delay of 1 year getting to the majors because this year is basically is a lost development/build innings year. So it will cost him one year of pro-ball salary. Doug Gray September 8, 2017 No it doesn’t. At all. It MAYBE cost him 25 innings this year. They would have taken it extremely cautious with his workload this year. He’s in his age 17-year-old season. He would have thrown, maybe 40-ish innings this year if he signed from Day 1, and played a full season in high school. That’s pretty much how the organization handles high school pitchers out of the draft every year. Some guys don’t even get THAT many innings. Redsvol September 9, 2017 Interesting comparator is Matt manning detroits 1st rounder from last year. High schooler with big arm. 31 innings inaugural yr and 51 innings of full season ball this year. Doesn’t seem like Greene has missed much compared to him.