Game 145, Reds at Mariners – How Do You Do, Fellow Kids

marc w · September 10, 2019 at 3:01 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Justus Sheffield vs. Trevor Bauer, 7:10pm

I’m really not sure if any player’s seen their stock drop quite as fast as Bauer’s has. After tossing the ball over the outfield wall when his manager tried to take him out, he was traded to Cincinnati, giving him a couple of months to rebuild value and help out the Reds pitcher reclamation project (eg. Sonny Gray). It uh…it hasn’t worked out. In seven appearances for the Reds, he’s gone 1-4 with an ERA of 8.23 and a FIP of 5.27. The gains he’s made in his strikeout rate and K:BB ratio are still there, which is why his FIP’s better than his ERA. But it’s not, you know, GOOD, because he’s giving up HRs at a remarkable rate and because he’s not stranding runners.

With another hurler you might say that he hasn’t clicked with his pitching coach, or that the team sucks at helping even acquired pitchers succeed (Baltimore’s the historic example of this). But 1) the Reds are a top-10 staff this year and 2) this is Bauer, who is self-made and has no need for plebeian pitching coaches. He’ll rapsodo himself, thank you. Obviously, he’s dealing with some bad luck, but there does seem to be a lack of adjustment to the new ball and a disturbing trend in his ability to get out lefties.

To his credit, he’s tried some stuff. He spent the offseason working on a changeup, and I thought it looked deadly in April. But it hasn’t quite been there for him consistently, and while big offseason pitch design overhauls are great, you need to have the ability to make minor tweaks mid-season. All in all, he seems to have lost many if not all of the gains he made last year, where he was a legitimate Cy Young candidate. The overall track record is much murkier, and that’s even before you get to personality/twitter stuff that will absolutely hold down his value.

Justus Sheffield’s heading in the opposite direction a bit, with solid results in his last few outings taking the sting out of what had been about a year of downward trends in his results and prospect sheen. Like anyone, though, it’s about consolidating those gains and displaying them consistently that matters. Taken as a whole, I don’t think his 2019 has fully demonstrated that he can be a rotation cog in 2020, but a hell of a good September probably would.

And of course, Sheffield’s joined now by a bunch of other prospects that the M’s have brought up after the minor league season concluded. Today, the M’s called up a number of players who’d been at AA Arkansas, including Kyle Lewis, SP Justin Dunn, RP Art Warren and IF/UTIL Donnie Walton. Lewis, the M’s #1 draft pick a few weeks back, gets the start tonight in RF.

It’s too short of a stint to meaningfully change our view of these prospects, but I’d love it if a couple of the hitters showed some real improvement in what had been a weakness – maybe Lewis’ K rate or Walton’s ISO. The M’s are closer than ever to having their actual 2021 team assembled and playing together than ever. Some of the players tonight really need to be in that group, and the M’s need to identify them and keep them on a path that leads to MLB success. Tonight’s pretty exciting, or about as exciting as a late season game featuring a go-nowhere team that’s had almost no success in the second half goes. Sadly, I’m going to miss it, as I’m away and visiting another go-nowhere team that’s had almost no success in the second half.

1: Gordon, 2B
2: Nola, 1B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Murphy, C
5: Vogelbach, DH
6: Lewis, RF
7: Lopes, LF
8: Smith, CF
9: Moore, SS
SP: Sheffield


2 Responses to “Game 145, Reds at Mariners – How Do You Do, Fellow Kids”

  1. 11records on September 10th, 2019 5:07 pm

    I have a question! Would you expect to see Nola catch more in Sept so they can evaluate if he’s good enough back there to be more than an emergency catcher? He’s only started 3 games at catcher since being called up. Could easily DH Murphy, put Vogey at 1B and have Nola catch.

    (Although, I can see with Sheffield starting wanting to put him with the best defensive backstop, and he and Murphy worked together Sheff’s last 2 times out.)

    Enjoy Colorado.

  2. heyoka on September 12th, 2019 8:17 am

    Welcome Kyle Lewis

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