Monday, March 22, 2010

Third Base breakdown

Sorry this wasn't posted Friday. I drank and watched basketball for 10 hours. It was a glorious day right up until Louisville crapped on the floor.

Scott Rolen (.305/.368/.455/.823/.117, 11HR, 67 RBI)

The key phrase always used with Rolen is "when healthy." When healthy, he is a solid, everyday player. When healthy, he can hit for power, hit for average, and take a walk if needed. When healthy, he is the cornerstone of the infield making plays few others in the game can make and winning gold-gloves. Unfortunately, it keeps coming back to health.

The past 5 years he has played 56, 142, 112, 115, 128 games for an average of 111 games, or 2/3 of a season. If that average were closer to 150, he would be considered a top 25 player. Last season, almost immediately after he was acquired he was hit in the head and suffered a concussion causing him to miss 16 days. There is nothing he could have done about it, other then duck sooner, but nonetheless these things seem to follow him. He is like a third base version of Ken Griffey Jr.

The Reds extended his contract for 2 additional years in exchange for him taking a pay cut this year. That money was used to sign some Cuban, which looks to be good, but Rolen's chance of being a healthy contributor when the deal ends in 2013 is unlikely. At least the Reds seem to be trying to win now.

The other thing Rolen supposedly brings is clubhouse leadership. He is a 13-year veteran with 32 games of postseason experience including a world series win in 2006 with some team a few hours west. He is a big, commanding presence and could really help some of our young superstars like Bruce and Votto.

If he stays healthy, he can bat behind Votto, giving him some protection, and give the Reds a right hand power bat they have been lacking for years. If he gets hurt again, he will be an expensive DL player. One of the Reds best prospects is Juan Francisco, a young third basemen who can crush the ball. He also happens to strike out a lot and doesn't walk, not a good combination. In his cup of coffee last September, he did pretty well but it was only a few dozen at bats. He could make the team as a backup third basemen/left fielder or he could also be sent to Louisville to learn plate discipline and wait on a Rolen injury. The likely everyday backup is Aaron Miles, who can play basically any position but none very well.

No matter what happens, this position is an upgrade over Edwin Encarnacion and his "potential" that was never realized.

Will have another post this week about the crazy weekend of college basketball and maybe one after watching Chapman pitch tonight on FSN Ohio. He should start pitching in the 6th or about 5:30

1 comment:

Blotz said...

"No matter what happens, this position is an upgrade over Edwin Encarnacion and his "potential" that was never realized."

I think the case of Encarnacion is a prime example of the recent versions of the Reds doing a very bad job of developing talent. Check out Edwin's Baseball Prospectus notes from the past few years... Here's his Pecota card, if you have a BP premium membership.(

Edwin didn't just have potential... he was considered one of the best prospects in the game, and upon reaching the majors with the Reds he certainly looked like the second coming of Tony Perez to me. Now he's fighting for a job in Toronto after 3 frustrating seasons in Cincy where he just stalled. At this point I'm worried about Jay Bruce repeating this cycle.
Before Eddie, we had the Brandon Larson flop, and the Austin Kearns debacle. Adam Dunn managed to succeed despite what appears to be a toxic environment for you players. Heck, this started way before Dusty Baker!