Grades for Every Cincinnati Reds Player in July
With the month of July in their rear-view mirror, the Cincinnati Reds sit just 5.5 games back of the NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates and are currently in position to take one of the two NL wild card spots.
The Reds went 14-13 in the month of July and though that is hardly what they expected, there have been some great signs of life from parts of the team. The starting rotation and bullpen were superb in July, as were the performances of Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo among others.
It wasn't all peachy keen for the Reds though, as third baseman Todd Frazier, and shortstop Zack Cozart, continued to slump through immensely disappointing seasons.
In any event, as the Reds gear up for a huge series against the division rival Cardinals, let's take a time out to grade each of the team's players in the month of July.
All stats come courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and are current through play on July 31, 2013.
SP. Bronson Arroyo
Bronson Arroyo continues to defy Father Time this year. Although his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers resulted in a loss, the 36-year-old had a fantastic month of July.
In five starts, Arroyo worked to a 3-2 record with a 2.16 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP and ratios including 5.1 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 3.8 K/BB and 6.8 H/9. Arroyo also stymied opposing hitters to the tune of a .208/.240/.350 slash line against.
If not for some lackluster run support—two combined runs in his two losses—Arroyo could have easily gone undefeated for the month, pushing his 9-8 record to 11-6.
All-in-all, Arroyo was arguably the best pitcher on the Reds staff this past month and his grade reflects that.
SP. Homer Bailey
Homer Bailey picked up right where he left off after the 2012 season. Over 22 starts, Bailey owns a 3.55 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP and ratios of 9.0 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 4.53 K/BB and 8.2 H/9.
In six starts, Bailey worked to a 2.77 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and solid ratios including 9.1 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 6.14 K/BB and 8.5 H/9. There's much more to Bailey's month than just numbers though, and on July 2nd, Bailey tossed the second no-hitter of his career.
Bailey also turned in back-to-back impressive performances against the Braves and Dodgers respectively.
Against the Braves on July 21, Bailey tossed 6.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and a walk. Bailey worked the Braves over and struck out 12 would-be batters, but lost due to a lack of run support.
Bailey again suffered from poor run support when he faced the Dodgers in his final start of the month. Bailey put forth a valiant effort against Clayton Kershaw nearly matching him stride for stride.
Over seven strong innings, Bailey allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk. Unfortunately, the Reds were only able to muster up two runs against Kershaw and Bailey was the hard-luck loser.
In his final start of the month, Bailey nearly threw his second complete-game shutout of the month as he staved off a sweep at the hands of the San Diego Padres.
RF. Jay Bruce
If nothing else, Jay Bruce has been consistent in 2013. Over 108 games Bruce posted a .278/.328/.508 slash line with 22 home runs, 31 doubles, 74 RBI and 63 runs scored.
Bruce has hit .290 or higher in two of the four months this season, and while he didn't reach that mark this month, it was still an overall success. In 27 July games, Bruce slashed a solid .280/.339/.470 with 11 extra-base hits, four home runs, 18 RBI and 19 runs scored.
Bruce has struck out quite frequently this season, 129 times to be exact, and July was no exception. Over the same 27 game period referenced above, Bruce has struck out a whopping 31 times—27.7-percent of his plate appearances.
Bruce may not have had his best month in July, but he was still one of the best run producers on the team.
CP. Aroldis Chapman
When Aroldis Chapman is on, there may not be a more dominant closer in baseball. Chapman pairs a 100-plus mph fastball with a wipeout slider, and it rarely serves him wrong.
In eight appearances this month, the Cuban Missile converted on all five of his six save opportunities and contributed a 4.32 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Chapman's ratios were impressive and included 15.1 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 3.50 K/BB and 6.5 H/9.
Chapman's lone blown save came against the San Diego Padres when he allowed a two-run walk-off home run to Chris Denorfia. Opposing batters, those not named Denorfia at least, stood little chance against Chapman in July and slashed just .188/.278/.375 against him.
Chapman may not have had many opportunities to dominate opposing offenses, but when he got the call to the mound, he was generally able to convert.
CF. Shin-Soo Choo
By all accounts, Shin-Soo Choo has had a fantastic season at the plate. In 102 games played, Choo boasts an impressive .283/.418/.460 slash line with 40 extra-base hits, 14 home runs, 33 RBI, 71 runs scored and 12 stolen bases.
Coming into July, Choo's line wasn't looking so hot, as his triple slash had fallen to .264/.414/.452.
To rebound, Choo strung together a 16 game hitting streak between July 2 and July 22, and in just 25 July games, he slashed .330/.417/.468, bringing his season slash line to its current mark. Choo was on fire in July and added two home runs, seven doubles, seven RBI and 17 runs scored with a solid 15:12 K/BB ratio to his already impressive showing.
Choo was a force at the dish last month and will be an important piece of their postseason push through the months of August and September.
SP. Tony Cingrani
Tony Cingrani may not have been re-called to Cincinnati until yesterday, but he was still a big part of the Reds starting staff in July.
Over five starts, Cingrani worked to a 2.08 ERA with a 0.99 WHIP and per-nine averages of 9.8 K/9, 3.9 K/9, 2.54 K/BB and 5.0 H/9. Cingrani dominated opposing batters over the month allowing them to slash just .163/.252/.250.
Cingrani's strikeout totals were perhaps the most important part of his month as he compiled 33 in just 30.1 innings pitched.
Cingrani and his strikeout potential will need to be at their absolute best as he figures to continue filling in for the Reds' injured ace, Johnny Cueto.
SS. Zack Cozart
Zack Cozart has really struggled in the 2013 season. The 27-year-old shortstop has played in 99 of the team's 109 games and owns a disappointing .241/.271/.370 slash line in that time.
Cozart's poor play has led to calls from fans for his benching and also for a trade to fill the void that move would leave. In July, Cozart did little to ease fans' concern when he slashed .230/.258/.333 with a home run, a triple, four doubles, five RBI and 10 runs scored.
Cozart's month was indicative of a larger problem with his season, and that's his inability to take a walk. This inability to work a count and take a walk, led to a dismal 22.1-percent strikeout rate and an even worse 4.2-percent walk rate in July.
Cozart managed to stay afloat in July, but his play is starting to sour on even the most optimistic of Reds fans. Unless Cozart can push his average and OBP above the .250 and .300 marks, he may play his way out of Cincinnati over the season's final months.
3B. Todd Frazier
Todd Frazier is struggling this year when compared to his near-Rookie of the Year winning season in 2012.
Through 101 games played, Frazier boasts a .240/.330/.395 slash line with 10 home runs, 21 doubles, 49 RBI and 39 runs scored.
At this point last year, Frazier was slashing .276/.332/.531 with 12 home runs, 15 doubles, 37 RBI and 30 runs scored. Major discrepancies exist between Frazier's batting average and slugging percentages between this year and last, but how did he fair in July 2013?
Frazier continued to fall off in July, slashing .247/.316/.393 over 24 games played. Frazier's triple-slash dropped for the second straight month, but he did chip in a homer, eight doubles, 12 RBI and eight runs scored.
The Reds will need Frazier at full string if they're going to make a run at the postseason, let alone the NL Central title.
3B. Jack Hannahan
Jack Hannahan has essentially been a non-factor in the 2013 season. In 60 games played, the 33-year-old back-up third baseman owns an abysmal .214/.316/.276 slash line with four doubles, nine RBI and seven runs scored.
Hannahan was never really expected to do much, but it's safe to say that his year is still disappointing as he can hardly even be used as a pinch-hitter.
In July, Hannahan found success and is slowly working his way back into the fold. Over 15 games and 18 at-bats, he slashed .333/.538/.389 with a double, two RBI, two runs scored and a spectacular 4:6 K/BB ratio.
He'll never be the best option as a spot starter or pinch-hitter, however, if Hannahan continues to hit like he did in July, he'll function just fine in that capacity.
LF. Chris Heisey
Chris Heisey missed nearly two months of playing time between April 27 and June 25 due to a nagging hamstring injury. Although his overall numbers aren't going to bowl you over, what Heisey's done since returning from the DL is significantly better.
In 25 post-DL games, Heisey boasts a .277/.347/.538 slash line with three home runs, six doubles, eight RBI and seven runs scored.
Heisey played just four games in the month of June so his July statistics will look rather familiar. In 19 games, the 28-year-old slashed .281/.344/.544 with three home runs, four doubles, seven RBI and seven runs scored.
Heisey's batting average is bound for regression, as is his strikeout to walk ratio clocked in at a startling 14:3 over the month.
As Ryan Ludwick returns, Heisey will likely be relegated to back-up duty, but for our purposes, his month was a solid one.
RP. J.J. Hoover
In his first seven appearances, J.J. Hoover worked to a startling 6.14 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP while averaging 9.9 K/9, 4.9 BB/9, 2.00 K/BB and 12 H/9. Needless to say, there was worry surrounding Hoover and whether or not his excellent 2012 season were more of a fluke than an indication of things to come.
Since that time, Hoover has appeared in 36 games and owns a 2.65 ERA, 9.6 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 2.67 K/BB and 5.30 H/9.
In July, Hoover was nearly untouchable. Over 10.2 innings, opposing batters slashed just .088/.162/.147 against him while his ERA and WHIP sat at 0.00 and 0.56 respectively.
In addition to already solid numbers, Hoover's per-nine averages were off the charts and included metrics like 9.3 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 3.67 K/BB and 2.5 H/9. If not for three walks and three hits allowed, Hoover would've pitched a perfect month of July.
SS. Cesar Izturis
Cesar Izturis fits in the same mold of the previously discussed Jack Hannahan. Izturis will never wow you with any kind of batting average or power, but he does offer solid defense as a defensive replacement or spot starter.
In 102 chances between shortstop and second base, the 33-year-old has yet to make an error. However, as mentioned, his .192/.250/.231 slash line leaves much to be desired at the dish.
In July, Izturis struggled slashing .207/.233/.241. He did, however, collect five of his eight RBI in the month and logged a double—his fourth of the year.
SP. Mat Latos
Mat Latos has been solid again for the Reds in 2013. Over 22 starts, the 25-year-old owns a 10-3 record with a 3.38 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and ratios including 9.2 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 3.30 K/BB, 8.8 H/9.
Latos quality start percentage is up over last year—64-percent up from 55-percent—and so is his run support per game—5.3 R/G up from 4.5 R/G. Even so, Latos' win total sits at just 10 on the year, thanks in part to five wins blown by the bullpen.
On the surface, Latos' numbers for July are slightly disappointing given his relative consistency over previous months. In five starts Latos posted a 4.71 ERA with 1.61 WHIP over those five starts but his .366 BAbip suggests that a bit of bad luck was involved.
Latos did go 3-1 in that stretch earning a no-decision in his final start of the month. Expect a strong stretch run from the young righty, as he is a notoriously better pitcher in the second half of the year.
SP. Mike Leake
Mike Leake has been the most consistent starter on the Reds staff this season. Over 21 starts, the former first round pick has rebounded from a disappointing 2012 season, to the tune of a 2.59 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.
Leake currently ranks sixth in the National League in ERA and leads the Reds in the same statistic (per ESPN.com).
We can expect Leake's ERA to regress over the course of his final 9-10 starts but not by much. His 3.98 FIP, 3.99 xFIP and career low .268 BAbip indicate a coming regression but we can expect a solid pitcher in the area of 3.30 or better the rest of the way.
In any event, Leake was impressive in July posting a 2.81 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP while averaging 4.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.45 K/BB and 8.7 H/9. The 25-year-old got hit around a little in July but, by all accounts, July was a good month.
RP. Sam LeCure
Sam LeCure broke in with the Reds in 2010 and has shown solid progression in each of the two seasons that followed. Now, in his fourth season, LeCure has become arguably the most dependable reliever in the Reds' bullpen.
LeCure has made 41 appearances thus far and boasts a sparkling 2.20 ERA with other solid ratios including a 1.15 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 2.69 K/BB while allowing just 6.8 H/9.
In July, LeCure allowed just two earned runs en-route to a 1.80 ERA and a 1.1 WHIP. LeCure's per-nine measurables were solid as well and included 11.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 4.33 K/BB and 9.1 H/9.
LeCure was dominant in 2012 and his numbers are evidence of that. As the season progresses and we inch toward October, LeCure's importance to the team will likely increase.
C. Devin Mesoraco
Devin Mesoraco may finally be tapping into the potential that once had him tabbed as a top prospect in the Reds farm system.
In 67 games, Mez has worked to a career best .251/.313/.386 slash line with six home runs, 29 RBI and 20 runs scored. He's yet to flash that 20-plus home run power but his 18.8-percent strikeout rate and 8.8-percent walk rate are indicative of a patient, well disciplined player.
In July, that discipline and patience proved vital as Mesoraco posted one of his best, and most complete months as a professional.
In 20 games, the 25-year-old slashed .294/.329/.441 with two home runs, 10 RBI and two runs scored. More importantly though, Mez was good in the clutch. In July, his aLI graded out at 1.16 suggesting that Mesoraco was placed in situations with above-average pressure.
The catching platoon of Hannigan and Mesoraco struggled early this year. However, with Hanigan now on the DL, the young catcher is getting valuable playing time and showing solid progression.
C. Corky Miller
Corky Miller has been a career back-up/minor leaguer. Miller started his career with the Reds all the way back in 1998 and at one point, showed some promise posting a .309/.428/.535 slash line with 16 home runs, 70 RBI and 55 runs scored as a 25-year-old between Double-A and Triple-A.
Miller has since toiled away in the minors and has functioned mostly as a platoon catcher at Triple-A Louisville in 2013.
The 37-year-old backstop has played in 10 big league games this season—five in July—and owns a dismal .160/.300/.200 slash line. Miller had his best month of the season in July and worked out a .250/.357/.333 slash line with a double—his only extra-base hit of the season— and three RBI.
When Ryan Hanigan returns from the DL, Miller will return to Triple-A where he'll likely work for the rest of what could be his final season of professional baseball.
RP. Logan Ondrusek
After a rocky start to the 2013 season, Logan Ondrusek has done solid work to right the ship. Ondrusek's ERA was as high as 5.56 on July 3rd, but he's brought that figure all the way down to 4.13 now as we enter August.
Ondrusek made 10 appearances in the month of July and stifled opposing offenses, allowing a .225/.279/.250 slash line with a 0.87 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.
Ondrusek had his best month of the season and he'll be depended on for similar months if the Reds' bullpen is going to be effective in their quest for a spot in the postseason.
RP. Manny Parra
Manny Parra almost pitched his way out of Cincinnati early in 2013. Through his first 12 appearances, the veteran lefty worked to an 8.44 ERA and a 2.53 WHIP.
Opposing batters teed off on Parra to that point and slashed .418/.458/.764 against him. Since then though, Parra has been outstanding. In 20 appearances since June 7th, Parra boasts an outstanding 0.57 ERA with a 0.57 WHIP and per-nine ratios of 10.9 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 6.33 K/BB and 3.4 H/9.
Parra's ERA now sits at a respectable 3.76 and his WHIP has dropped to 1.37.
In July, Parra allowed just one earned run in 7.1 innings pitched while working to a 1.23 ERA and a .55 WHIP. Parra was a strikeout machine and averaged 13.6 K/9 without walking a single batter.
Parra's month was outstanding and was really just a continuation of what has been an incredible stretch of pitching.
RP. Curtis Partch
At 6'5" 240 lbs, Curtis Partch possesses a perfect pitcher's build. Despite that build, it took Partch a long time—six-and-a-half years—to get to the big league roster.
Partch broke in with the Reds this past June when injuries depleted the team's bullpen. Since his debut on June 9th, Partch has made 10 appearances, working to a 3.71 ERA.
The 26-year-old made four of his 10 appearances in July and outside of his last appearances—a disappointing loss to the Dodgers—Partch was solid. Over 6.2 innings pitched, the big right-hander recorded a 1.35 ERA with a .60 WHIP and per-nine averages of 8.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 3.00 K/BB and 2.7 H/9.
Partch's sole run allowed came against the Dodgers, and was the only run allowed in a 1-0 loss. Aside from that, Partch had a very solid month and is working through an audition for the bullpen once Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall return.
LF. Xavier Paul
Up through June 11, Xavier Paul's stat line looked like that of a possible full-time starter. Over 49 games played the 28-year-old owned an impressive .288/.382/.475 triple-slash with five home runs, 24 RBI, 17 runs scored and a solid 24:18 K/BB ratio.
Paul was well on his way to retaining the starting left fielder's gig when the wheels began to fall off. In the 28 games since, Paul slashed a dismal .140/.246/.246 with a home run, four RBI, three runs scored and a horrible 22:7 K/BB ratio.
In July, Paul did little to stop the bleeding and, over 17 games, worked to a .160/.323/.320 slash line with a home run, three RBI and a single run scored.
Paul's playing time is dwindling quickly after the return of Chris Heisey. The approaching return of Ryan Ludwick to the Reds' starting lineup means that Paul could be relegated to fifth outfielder status, or even to Triple-A Louisville.
2B. Brandon Phillips
Phillips is the heart and soul of the Cincinnati Reds franchise and has been one of their most consistent producers in his time with the team.
Brandon Phillips has been highly productive for the Reds in 2013. Over 100 games played, BP leads the Reds with 82 RBI and ranks second in the same category.
Phillips was an absolute machine up through the month of May, but since getting drilled in the wrist by a Tony Watson pitch on June first, the 32-year-old has seen his average drop from .296 to .261. Phillips' injury has certainly nagged through July and he's hit just four home runs since that hit-by-pitch.
In July, Phillips continued to slip, slashing .240/.291/.360 with two home runs, 21 RBI and 13 runs scored.
BP's average continues in relative decline, but it's hard to argue with his production in the RBI and runs scored department. He's done an admirable job of filling in at the four hole for Ryan Ludwick, but his days in that position may be numbered given the growing concern surrounding the No. 2 slot in the Reds' lineup.
LF. Derrick Robinson
In 77 games as an injury replacement for both Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick, Derrick Robinson has showed some promise as a speedster with a tremendous feel for the outfield.
The 25-year-old is fighting for a roster spot once the aforementioned Ludwick returns, and in July, he outpaced Xavier Paul in the all-important race for the fifth and final outfielder's spot.
For the month, Robinson made 23 appearances, logging 52 at-bats with a .250/.304/.365 slash line, two triples, two doubles, two RBI and nine runs scored.
He'll never offer much power, as evidenced by his lack of a home run in 2013, but his ability both in the field and on the base paths could push him over the top in his attempts to stay on the 25-man active roster.
RP. Alfredo Simon
Alfredo Simon was picked up off the proverbial scrap heap prior to the 2012 season. Since then, the 32-year-old has been a workhorse for the Reds, appearing in 76 games with a very serviceable 2.88 ERA.
In 2013, Simon struggled early logging a 4.91 ERA in the month of May. However, since then, Simon owns an impressive 2.48 ERA which he pairs with a 1.10 WHIP and per-nine averages of 7.9 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 3.18 K/BB and 7.7 H/9.
July proved to be one of the best months of the season for Simon as he recorded three holds and a 3.38 ERA over nine appearances and 10.2 innings pitched. His per-nine averages dipped slightly and included 5.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 2.33 K/BB and 9.3 H/9.
Simon has been solid for the Reds and has done wonders as a long relief man by consistently keeping the Reds in games that they have little business winning.
1B. Joey Votto
Last but not least, we have the former MVP, Joey Votto.
Votto has rebounded nicely from a knee injury that cost him 49 games in 2012, and while many will point to decreased RBI totals as a sign of weakness, the rest of Votto's measurables surely make up for minor deficiencies.
Over the course of his 109 games played, Votto boasts an unreal .317/.430/.504 triple-slash with 16 home runs, 23 doubles, 49 RBI and 73 runs scored. To this point, the 29-year-old is well on his way to leading the league in walks and OBP for the third and fourth straight time respectively.
Though Votto's July marks would pass as great for most players, they're down slightly from what we've grown accustomed to. In 27 games played, Votto compiled a .287/.402/.457 slash line with just two home runs, eight doubles, 11 RBI and 17 runs scored.
The key to Votto's game this year has been his incredible ability to get on base, and that continued in July as he recorded 20 walks to just 24 strikeouts.