You’ve got to love this. Apparently Bronson Arroyo and Aroldis Chapman spent a few free hours at the MLB Cave in New York City last week. He starts, Chapman closes in Reds games. So you’ve got an opening and closing act all in one.
It would appear that Chapman forgot his cue at one point. But this is just another example of how valuable a teammate Arroyo is. He’s the oldest pitcher on the staff, enjoying a resurgence this season and is mentoring a lot of the younger pitchers. A player like Chapman, very young and somewhat immature, needs what Arroyo offers, a lot.
Saw a very alarming stat on Mat Latos today. He’s allowed 16 home runs so far this season. But in the past two seasons, Latos allowed 16 home runs in the ENTIRE season. That’s not good. I’m not a pitching coach. But it seems to me he gets into trouble when his fastball is poorly located (up in the zone a lot last night) or if the pitch comes in ‘flat’. Every pitching coach in baseball, at any level, will tell you that all big league hitters can hit a fastball, particularly if the location and movement aren’t very good. Neither was good for Latos last night.
But please, refrain from rushing to judgement on the trade that brought Latos here. I never thought he’d be a ‘number one’ starter. But I also don’t think what the Reds gave up for him was a rich as some others think. If Latos is smart and mature enough to take the proper coaching he’ll be offered, he’ll progress nicely and will be a very effective Major League pitcher, even in GABP.
I took a lot of calls (and some heat) for suggesting that the Reds needed to play Scott Rolen as soon as he came off the disabled list. If for no other reason, the Reds have to find out if Rolen is truly healthy and can contribute in some meaningful way the rest of this season. Here’s why.
If Rolen can somehow return to what he was as a player in the first half of the 2010 season, than the Reds have a Gold Glove caliber third baseman again. They also don’t have to begin trolling the rest of baseball to find a bat off the bench or a left fielder who can hit. They’ll have that with Rolen at third base and Todd Frazier in left field, or Rolen off the bench when Frazier will spot start for him. Rolen shouldn’t play everyday. He’s not built for that anymore. But Frazier should, and with his ability to play multiple positions, it should not be a problem for Dusty Baker to find him a spot in the line up.
The real issue is what happens when Drew Stubbs is healthy again. Honestly, what the Reds should do is send Stubbs to remedial hitting school. They should find the best hitting coach in their organization and have Stubbs work with him intensely. Long term, Stubbs is of little value to this team UNLESS he can fix his plate discipline. He seems to guess a lot, and not approach his plate appearances with a plan. Stubbs has a few things going for him. He’s young, inexpensive and has tremendous speed. He’s a bit better in the field than Chris Heisey. But Heisey is better at the plate. If Stubbs has to go away for awhile to finally fix his hitting, the Reds will be just fine with Heisey in centerfield and Ryan Ludwick as a fourth outfielder. Sometimes, you have to take a big picture approach, even in the middle of a season. Think of what the Reds pitching rotation would have been like, had they done that with Aroldis Chapman last season.