Tag: Cincinnati Reds

Drew Storen to Reds: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

The Cincinnati Reds reached an agreement Tuesday with veteran relief pitcher Drew Storen on a contract for 2017. 

The Reds officially announced Storen signed a one-year deal on Twitter. Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported the deal is worth $3 million with a $1.5 million performance bonus and a $500,000 bonus if he’s traded.

Storen struggled with the Toronto Blue Jays, posting a 6.21 ERA and 1.59 WHIP across 38 appearances, after getting shipped north of the border by the Washington Nationals last offseason. A second trade in seven months, this time to the Seattle Mariners in July, helped him get back on track.

The 29-year-old reliever finished with a 3.44 ERA and 0.87 WHIP while striking out 16 batters in 18.1 innings down the stretch for the Mariners. Those numbers were more in line with what the former Nats closer accomplished during his time in the nation’s capital.

Bob Dutton of the News Tribune passed along comments from Storen about working his way back into high-leverage situations in Seattle after sliding down the bullpen pecking order in Toronto:

I enjoy those situations because you’re just rolling off adrenaline. I’ve been in those situations before—usually because of my fault. It’s a good spot. That’s a really important part of the game, and it allows me to be the bridge to the flames we have coming out at the back. Those guys are just coming out and attacking people.

In addition, showing he could be trusted in the late innings helped bolster his stock heading into the offseason after it took a downward turn for a while.

Storen has become more comfortable with his changeup over the past few years, but he still relies predominately on his sinker and slider. When he’s commanding those two pitches effectively, he can provide a lot of valuable innings out of the pen.

In the end, the Reds decided he was worth the investment as they worked to upgrade the bullpen during the offseason. It’s a signing that probably won’t garner much attention given the crowded reliever market, but it’s still a solid addition.

The Reds are in the process of rebuilding, which is why they aren’t looking to make many long-term investments. Bullpen depth is essential for the team in 2017 after its starting pitchers threw 859 innings last season, fewest in MLB

It’s also a wise move for Storen to start next season with a team like the Reds. He will likely be used in high-leverage situations early in the year, and if he is successful, there’s always a market from contending teams for relievers at the trade deadline. 

His exact role in the pen probably won’t be known until close to Opening Day. He could work himself into the seventh or eighth inning with a strong spring training. And it’s a bonus that he has closing experience should the need arise during the year.

The deal does come with some risk when you factor in his struggles with the Blue Jays. But the upside outweighs the downside when taking his whole track record into account and where the Reds are at starting next season.



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Billy Hamilton Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Reds OF

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton is an intriguing potential trade chip for the team this offseason.

Continue for updates.

Hamilton Among the Reds Reportedly on the Trade Block

Tuesday, Nov. 29

According to ESPN Insider Buster Olney, the Reds are “listening to offers on all of their players, including—sources say—center fielder Billy Hamilton.” 

Olney added: “By the time the Reds are good again, Hamilton—who has three-plus years of service time—will be on the verge of free agency, so it makes sense for Cincinnati to explore and execute a deal, because Hamilton’s trade value may never be higher than it is right now.”

Hamilton, 26, went from simply being known as a fantastic baserunner during his career to putting together a solid all-around season in 2016, hitting .260 with three home runs, 17 RBI, 69 runs scored and 58 stolen bases in 119 games played. 

He also is an excellent fielder. As Olney noted, “Hamilton ranked seventh among all outfielders in Defensive Runs Saved” and “led all major leaguers—by far—in FanGraphs’ baserunning efficiency metric.”

Those numbers would have been even better, but Hamilton’s season was over on Sept. 4 due to injury. But it’s clear Hamilton took a step forward in 2016.

“This year has been a little taste of what I want to become,” he told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 3. “I don’t want to have this few weeks of going good and then go back to normal. I’m just looking forward to what’s going to come.”

One change for Hamilton was a new mentality at the plate.

“I’m thinking more this year about being a line-drive hitter, trying to hit the ball in the gap, not focusing on hitting ground balls,” he said. “A lot of these guys can hit home runs, hit the ball deep in the gap. My job is to hit it as low as I can, on a line. That’s what I figured out.”

Certainly, if Hamilton continues to improve his batting average and on-base percentage, he’ll be one of the most dangerous weapons at the leadoff spot in baseball. That should make him an attractive trade target for contending teams looking to bolster the top of their lineup. 


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Joey Votto Injury: Updates on Reds Star’s Face and Return

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was forced to come out of Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals with a facial laceration. 

Continue for updates.

Votto Hit in Face by Throw

Thursday, Sept. 29

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s C. Trent Rosecrans, Votto appeared to get hit by a throw from Cardinals left fielder Tommy Pham that opened up a cut on his chin. 

“He has a big cut and a gash and I think took seven stitches to close on his chin,” Reds manager Bryan Price said after the game, per Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

Votto has been one of the best hitters in baseball this season, overcoming a slow start to be among the league leaders in a variety of offensive categories. His .433 on-base percentage leads the National League.

His performance is especially impressive, given he was flirting with a .200 batting average in late May.

When he is playing well, the four-time All-Star and one-time NL MVP remains one of the best hitters in baseball.

Lance McAlister of ESPN Radio 1530 summed it up well:

He has also generally avoided injury, missing only a handful of games this season, most recently due to a neck issue that forced him to miss one game at the start of September.

This latest injury could potentially cause him to miss more time, although it won’t have much of an impact on the Reds. The NL Central squad has been one of the worst teams in the majors this season and was virtually out of the playoff race by the start of June.

Considering Votto is signed through 2024, the important thing for everyone is keeping him healthy for the long term.

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Reds Bullpen Sets Single-Season Record with 93 Home Runs Allowed

The Cincinnati Reds set an unwanted MLB record in Friday’s 9-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, becoming the first team to surrender 93 or more home runs by relief pitchers in a single season, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The record-setting long ball came in the seventh inning of Friday’s game, with Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang hitting a two-run shot off Reds relief pitcher Blake Wood, who has actually been one of the team’s more effective bullpen options this season, sporting a 3.78 ERA over 69 innings.

Kang‘s blast tied the game at 6-6, setting the table for Pittsburgh to eventually pull off a two-run victory in 10 innings, with five of the team’s nine runs coming against Cincinnati relievers.

The bullpen struggles explain why the Reds enter Saturday with an ugly 62-84 record even though the team has a decent lineup and some promising young starting pitchers.

Cincinnati’s bullpen ERA of 4.99 ranks third-worst in the major leagues, better than only the Colorado Rockies (5.09) and Arizona Diamondbacks (5.10).

Given that Colorado’s relievers have to pitch approximately half their innings at Coors Field, it’s safe to say the Reds have one of the two worst bullpens in the major leagues.

If there’s one bright spot, it’s freshly minted closer Raisel Iglesias, who owns a 1.26 ERA in 43 innings of relief work this season.

However, the 26-year-old Cuban may ultimately end up as a part of the starting rotation, leaving the Reds with more questions than answers as they begin early preparations for 2017.

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Billy Hamilton Injury: Updates on Reds Star’s Oblique and Return

The Cincinnati Reds announced that center fielder Billy Hamilton exited Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals with a strained left oblique following a checked swing. It is uncertain when he will be ready to return to the lineup.

Continue for updates.

Latest on Hamilton’s Timeline for Return

Monday, Sept. 5

Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters Hamilton’s injury “may not be a season-ender” and that the center fielder will be re-evaluated in five to seven days.

Latest on Hamilton’s Testing 

Monday, Sept. 5

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reported that Hamilton will undergo an ultrasound to determine the severity of the injury.

Hamilton Out vs. Mets

Monday, Sept. 5

Hamilton will not be in Monday’s lineup against the New York Mets, per the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s C. Trent Rosecrans:

Holt Replaces Hamilton in Center

Sunday, Sept. 4

The injury came as Hamilton was up to bat in the third inning. He immediately reached for his left side following a checked swing. After the team’s trainer attended to Hamilton, Price brought in Tyler Holt to finish the at-bat and play in center.

Hamilton Struggling to Stay Healthy

Durability has been a concern for Hamilton the past couple of years. He played in 114 games in 2015 and has already suffered a knee injury, thumb injury and concussion this season.

When healthy, Hamilton has demonstrated marked improvement at the plate in 2016 for the Reds. He slashed .226/.274/.289 with four home runs last season but has three homers, 17 RBI and a .261/.321/.344 slash line in 118 games this year.

Despite the better offensive stats, the Reds will miss him most on the basepaths if he is forced to sit out for an extensive period. Hamilton stole 56 bases in 2014 and 57 bases in 2015, and he leads the league with 58 stolen bases in 2016.

He is arguably the fastest player in baseball and a threat to steal and turn a walk or single into the equivalent of a triple every time he gets on base. Hamilton also forces opposing pitchers to focus more on him than hitters, which allows sluggers such as Joey Votto to inflict additional damage off mistakes.

The Reds will likely turn to Holt until Hamilton is ready to return. He has played a career-high 91 games this year, although he is far from a proven commodity after hitting a combined .097 for the Reds and Cleveland Indians in 2015.

While it is a lesser club with Hamilton out, this is a lost season for Cincinnati. There is no need to rush him back from this latest ailment, as it is far more important that he is healthy and ready to go at the start of the 2017 campaign.

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Reds P Anthony DeSclafani Throws His 1st Career Complete-Game Shutout

Fact: Cincinnati Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani pitched a complete-game shutout against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, the first of his career.

Bleacher Report will be bringing sports fans the most interesting and engaging Cold Hard Fact of the day, presented by Coors Light.

Source: B/R Insights

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Bruce Ties Reds Record with Home Run in 5th Straight Game

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce tied a franchise record during the seventh inning of Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants, hitting a home run in a fifth consecutive game, per Sportsnet Stats.

Stepping up to the plate with no outs and nobody on base, Bruce got a first-pitch fastball from Giants ace Madison Bumgarner and lined it over the right field fence at At&T Park.

Bumgarner then retired the final six batters he faced, but his eight-inning, two-run effort wasn’t quite enough, as Reds starter Dan Straily limited the Giants to just one run over 7.2 innings.

Giants outfielder Angel Pagan singled off Reds closer Tony Cingrani to open the bottom of the ninth, but the 27-year-old lefty then retired San Francisco’s 3-4-5 hitters in order to close out the game.

In addition to tying a team record shared by a slew of players, Bruce joined Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis as the only MLB players with five-game homer streaks this season, per MLB Stat of the Day.

The 29-year-old could likely return a top prospect if he’s traded before Sunday’s deadline, as he carries a reasonable $12.5 million salary for 2016, along with a $13 million team option for 2017, per Spotrac.

Already enjoying a strong season before his recent outburst, Bruce is now on pace for 40 home runs, 127 RBI and 95 runs—each of which would represent career-high marks.

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Billy Hamilton Injury: Updates on Reds Star’s Status and Return

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton exited Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning after being hit with a deflected fly ball. However, he is ready to return, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer

Continue for updates.

Hamilton Active vs. Nationals

Thursday, June 30

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com noted Phillips is in the lineup against Washington and is batting seventh.

Hamilton Is Slowly Improving at the Plate

When he was coming up through the Reds’ system, Hamilton earned a reputation for his prodigious baserunning and impressive defense. While those abilities have carried over to the majors, the 25-year-old also brought his lack of pop at the plate to Cincinnati.

According to FanGraphs, Hamilton had the third-lowest slugging percentage (.289), the fourth-lowest isolated power (.063) and was tied for the third-worst in weighted runs created plus (52) among batters with at least 400 plate appearances.

In 2016, however, Hamilton is making positive strides. He has a .255/.296/.385 slash line with three home runs and 12 runs batted in in 200 plate appearances.

Ground balls have been part of Hamilton’s success this year. A little under half (48.3) of his batted balls are ground balls, per FanGraphs, which allows him to fully utilize his greatest asset—his speed. In addition, he’s hitting more line drives, which further increases his chances of getting on base.

Hamilton previously missed time earlier in the year while recovering from a concussion. Almost immediately after making his return to the field, he made one of the catches of the year in Cincinnati’s 5-4 defeat to the Houston Astros on June 18:

Durability has been an issue with Hamilton the last two years. He only played in 114 games in 2015 and had shoulder surgery last September. Before the concussion, a nagging thumb injury also briefly kept Hamilton out of action in 2016.

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Cincinnati Reds’ Adam Duvall Is the Surprise MLB Slugger of 2016

According to the best measure we have, the top power hitter in Major League Baseball in 2016 is David Ortiz. That’s not too surprising. Although he’s 40 years old, he’s still David Ortiz.

But the best power hitter in baseball after him? Adam Duvall. Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

It’s true, though. The Cincinnati Reds‘ left fielder was as anonymous as any major league player coming into the year, but that is indeed him behind Big Papi at the top of the isolated power (slugging percentage that ignores singles) leaderboard:

  1. David Ortiz: .368
  2. Adam Duvall: .330

Duvall’s 18 home runs also make him one of the top five home run hitters in the sport. He maintained his position in that club by helping the Reds to a 9-8 win over the Atlanta Braves Monday night with a long two-run blast in the first inning. Here, look upon the clobberage with your own eyes:

Non-Reds fans may have only three questions right now. One is “Who?” The next is “Seriously, who?” And the last is “How?”

The first two are easy enough to answer. The 27-year-old Duvall is a Kentucky native who went to Louisville and was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. He debuted in the majors in June 2014 and came to the Reds in the Mike Leake trade last July. He entered this year with 55 major league games under his belt, in which he’d hit .204 with eight home runs.

That last part is obviously where the other question comes into play, but Duvall’s rise to (literal and figurative) power is less impossible and more just improbable.

With just a .259 average and a .288 OBP to his name, Duvall hasn’t managed much consistency to go with his power. That’s not a fluke. He has an aggressive approach that’s led to a whole lot of strikeouts and not many walks, which is consistent with how he’s performed for the bulk of his pro career.

But as the Baseball America book on him following the 2014 season stated, “Duvall’s calling card is his plus power.” He flirted with 30 homers in the minors in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Each time, those dingers were the saving grace of good-not-great slash lines.

So, what we’re seeing now isn’t a completely new version of Duvall. It’s more like the ideal version of Duvall.

When something like this happens, things tend to trace back to a tangible root cause, such as a different setup (Daniel Murphy) or an entirely new swing (J.D. Martinez). But nothing like that stands out for Duvall, whose adjustments have happened exclusively between his ears.

Duvall recently spoke of a “mental adjustment” in talking to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Before that, he offered specific clues to Manny Randhawa of Sports on Earth. After coming out of the gate this season “trying to inside-out a lot of stuff,” he got back to being a little more of himself.

“But then I started to try to really drive the ball into the center of the field, and it helped,” he said. “I was able to get the contact point a little bit further out.”

The right-handed swinger’s batted ball profile doesn’t read like one from a guy who’s trying to inside-out pitches. In fact, it reads like one from a guy who has never cared less about doing that:

Duvall’s opposite-field rate is comfortably at a new low, allowing for more balls to center and the left of center. The traditional term for a hitter like this is “dead-pull hitter.”

This is an approach that can backfire if a hitter tries to pull literally everything thrown his way. Generally, pitches on the inner half of the plate are good for pulling. Anything beyond that is dicey, so it’s good for dead-pull hitters to pick their battles.

Duvall is doing that. Courtesy of Brooks Baseball, here are his pre-2016 swing rates:

Compared to his 2016 swing rates:

There’s probably an equal amount of red in both pictures, but it’s noticeably shifted more to the inside in the second picture. Duvall has been hacking at exactly the kind of pitches that a hitter like him should be hacking at.

This approach has produced not just a steady stream of balls to center and left, but also a fly-ball rate north of 40 percent and, entering Monday, a career-best 47.6 hard-hit rate on fly balls. Add all that up, and you get a regular dose of loud sounds like this one:

Of course, any skepticism about Duvall’s power outburst remaining this impressive is warranted.

It’s hard to imagine him staying on his 40-homer pace no matter what happens. But if pitchers start throwing to Duvall the way they should, it’s even harder to imagine. They should be attacking him away, away and away. And according to Baseball Savant, that means reversing what’s so far been a career-low rate of away pitches against him.

But regardless of what pitchers do against Duvall, his power outburst should have some degree of durability. His raw pop isn’t going anywhere. In all likelihood, neither are his regular at-bats at dinger-friendly Great American Ball Park. And though pitchers can avoid his danger zones, that doesn’t mean the man himself has to change them.

Because while he might not yet be established as one of the best, Duvall is now certainly a professional slugger.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Billy Hamilton Injury: Updates on Reds CF’s Concussion and Return

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton will miss time due to a concussion. It is unclear when he’ll return to the field. 

Continue for updates.

Hamilton Placed on 7-Day DL

Friday, June 10

The Reds announced Hamilton was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list after leaving Wednesday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the injury occurred when Hamilton hit his head on a slide into third base. 

Hamilton is a uniquely skilled player whom Cincinnati will be hard-pressed to replace. The 25-year-old is a switch-hitter and one of the fastest players in baseball, which makes him an asset on the basepaths as well as in the outfield.

In addition to having stupendous defensive range and a strong arm, Hamilton racked up 113 stolen bases over the previous two seasons. He played in only 114 games in 2015 and had 57 steals on 65 attempts despite missing the end of the year after undergoing right shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Unfortunately, a nagging thumb injury plagued Hamilton toward the beginning of the 2016 campaign, limiting his ability to contribute as the club sought to get off to a strong start following last year’s woeful 64-98 campaign.

The Reds’ official depth chart lists Tyler Holt as the next man up to fill in for Hamilton in center field. Holt, a right-handed hitter, lacks speed and hasn’t proved to be a dependable hitter in his career with a .249/.311/.283 slash line to date.

The Reds are in a rebuilding phase and own the second-worst record in the National League, so they don’t need to rush Hamilton back to try making a postseason push. 

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