Reds Power Rankings Roundup: Week 21

By The Guru
Monday, August 22, 2016

Season Trend

Below is a graph of where the Reds have ranked over the course of the season.

And here is what Power Rankers are saying about the Reds this week:

ESPN

Reds ranked 28th - "Break up the Reds! Cincinnati is 21-13 since the All-Star break and had won five in a row before Sunday. The Reds now have a winning record at home this season. In addition, Joey Votto has been the best hitter on the planet, with a .451/.552/.699 line in the second half. "

Sports Illustrated

Reds ranked 23rd - "Baseball America’s scouting report on Billy Hamilton entering his 2014 rookie season wasn’t subtle, particularly when it came to his bat:

The questions about Hamilton revolve around his hitting. He will never have more than 30-grade power. Hamilton’s game centers on slapping line drives and dropping bunts, though Triple-A pitchers were able to overpower him at times last year, especially when he hit lefthanded.

Three years later, that analysis looks spot on. In 1,492 career plate appearances, Hamilton has batted .248/.297/.338. Of the 282 hitters with 1,000 or more PA over that span, only nine have fared worse. Two pitchers (Madison Bumgarner and Zack Greinke) have actually outslugged him during that stretch. Hamilton’s flaccid bat doesn’t begin to describe his value to the Reds, however. Here’s what the rest of that BA report had to say:

Hamilton’s speed is the stuff of legend. Multiple scouts describe him as the fastest player they’ve ever seen, with one noting that he and others have timed Hamilton at just under three seconds from first to second base on steals, faster than Rickey Henderson was in his prime. Hamilton made a quick transition from shortstop to centerfield. While his jumps and routes can continue to improve, he has the speed to outrun mistakes.

Nailed it, again. Even with that weak bat, Hamilton has been the ninth-most valuable centerfielder in the majors since Opening Day 2014. Over that period of nearly full seasons, Hamilton has saved 33 more runs than the average centerfielder—fifth-best in baseball, per Baseball Info Solutions. His highlight reel is full of spectacular catches, plays made not by extraordinary routes or a polished approach, but by sheer, unbelievable closing speed.

But it’s Hamilton’s exploits on the base paths that have made him so much fun to watch. In a nine-game span stretching from Aug. 3 through Aug. 12, he stole 15 bases—more than the Orioles as a team had the entire season to that point. In an era in which stats-savvy teams recognize how much making outs on the bases can hurt them and thus discourage a run-happy approach, Hamilton has topped 50 steals in each of his first three seasons (despite missing 48 games last year) and is on pace to steal an even 70 this year. That would make him just the fourth player to bag 70 bags in a season in the 21st century.

Here’s the kicker: Hamilton’s perpetual inability to hit the ball hard would seem like a major handicap to just about any hitter. But as Fangraphs writer August Fagerstrom recently showed, in Hamilton’s case, weak contact is often a feature, not a bug. As Fagerstrom noted, the league as a whole is hitting just above .120 on ground balls with an exit velocity of 80 mph or slower this year; Hamilton is batting nearly .300 on those same weak choppers. He’s one of baseball’s most prolific infield-hit machines, a threat to reach first—and then quickly scoot to second—every time he merely makes contact.

The Reds would surely like to see Hamilton learn to hit the ball with more authority at some point. But by merely living up to his warning sign-filled scouting report, he’s become a borderline All-Star contributor anyway. Blink, and you’ll miss him."

USA Today

Reds ranked 23rd - "Just 11 wins from matching 2015 victory total."

Bleacher Report

Reds ranked 21st - "At 21-13, the Cincinnati Reds have the second-best record in the NL since the All-Star break, and they've put up an impressive plus-47 run differential during that span.

They stayed hot last week with a series win over the Miami Marlins, and they'll look to close out their four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, currently leading 2-1.

The late surge won't be enough to push them into postseason contention, but it's something to build off of looking ahead to the 2017 season.

While the starting rotation ranks 24th with a 4.91 ERA on the year, returns to health from Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey along with the continued above-average production of Brandon Finnegan and Dan Straily have left the staff as a legitimate strength.

With Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, John Lamb and eventually Amir Garrett also eyeing rotation spots for 2017, the Reds will have some decisions to make, and how their pitchers perform the rest of the way could go a long way in determining next year's rotation."

Reddit

Reds ranked 27th - "We tied the Brewers! I was hoping for that first or second overall pick, but I guess I'll take a winning baseball team instead."

Average ranking is 24.4 --> See where that puts the Reds in our weekly Power Rankings!

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