Speaking of Cincy, they have been a source of disappointment for years in this area (I live in the Gem City, Dayton).Â I can recall one good year, 1999, I think it was, when they lost a one-game playoff to the New York Mets.Â Other than that, all losing seasons.Â Several times the Reds would leap into first place early.Â Sometimes theyâ€™d hold such a lead until August.
Zero playoff appearances.
In Adam's opinion, Volquez walks too many batters to be considered an ace.
But this year, there is hope.Â Jay Bruce has 35 homers a year potential, and for so-called â€˜stat freaksâ€™ like me, Joey Votto is a good .385 OBP option.Â Brandon Phillips is a good second baseman -- but not a great one. No amount of defense or power can overcome his perennially atrocious OBP.Â Edwin Encarnacion can hit 25 homers a year, but sadly he provides nothing else.Â Willy Tavares, assuming he gets on-base 35% of the time, is a quality center fielder.Â
But the real hope for the Reds is in the pitching.Â Aaron Harang is an unheralded workhorse with strikeouts to boot.Â Although he is not an ace -- no Reds fans, he is not, not a title winning staff -- he is a quality #2.Â But Iâ€™ll be honest: this is all numbers, because his stuff is totally unimpressive.
But Edinson Volquez, oh, he is impressive.Â Quick, biting fastball that is commonly around 94.Â A nasty change-up that is a swing-and-miss pitch.Â Good slider.Â He has ace stuff, perhaps top 20 stuff.
But, sports fans, what did Adam say are the three most important facets of pitching?Â Command.Â Movement.Â Velocity.Â Volquez hits the latter two, but he does not have good command.Â
No ace of mine will walk over 3.5 per 9.Â I canâ€™t accept that.Â Lincecum is dangerously close, but he allows few home runs and his K rate is way higher than basically everyone else, so it is okay.Â Volquez isnâ€™t striking out 12 a night; Tim is.
A great stat to look at to determine dominance is strike out to walk ratio.Â A good pitcher is at 2.75 or higher; a great one at 3.25; an elite pitcher is above.Â
Volquezâ€™ career rate is a terrible 1.87.Â His wonderful 2007 -- which is not happening again, since mysteriously and randomly his home run rate fell off the table, which is odd since he went from one band box to another -- only registered 2.22.
That is not ace quality.Â I like Volquez; I think he is a fine 2 or 3 starter.Â But if he is your best pitcher, that means you are relying on a pitcher that simply allows too many base runners too often.Â Given his penchant for walks (and hits, although his hit rate this year is way too low and will come up even higher, further driving up his 4.44 ERA) plus the rebounding home run rate, Volquez is not a safe bet to ERA under 3.75.Â Only because he gets to face the Pirates, Astros, Brewers and Cardinals (who cannot hit aside from #5) am I writing that.Â Put him in the AL East and heâ€™s hardly a 4.75 ERA guy.
I want to thank Mark Schlemmer of Sports Talk 980 for having me on to talk Reds and At Home Plate.Â It was a blast.