Reds Sunday Select: Is Dusty Baker the Right Manager in Cincy? And the Premiere of the Billy Hamilton Report
Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer, Reds Expert): Welcome to the premiere of Reds Sunday Select. This is going to be a segment on the Reports in which I post a weekly article on the Reds organization. At the end of each article, you will find an update on the up-and-coming star prospect for the Reds, Billy Hamilton. This week on the Reds Sunday Select is Dusty Baker and the job that he has done so far running this Reds team.
Dusty Baker has been in Cincinnati since ’08 and has yet to win a playoff game. He has made it to the playoffs once, in 2010 on the back of Joey Votto‘s MVP season. In Dusty’s 19 seasons as a manager, he has a 17-22 record in the playoffs, which in my opinion isn’t getting the job done. He has never won a World Series title, falling short back in ’02 with a 7-game series loss to the Angels. Do I believe Dusty Baker is a great manager? Yes I do. He has a strong career winning record as a manager. Which tells me he can win games, but just not get it done in the playoffs- which is where it really matters.
Since Dusty has been in Cincinnati, he has a 364-360 record which isn’t terrible but is a lot better than what was happening before he got to Cincy. With Cincinnati not winning a World Series title since 1990, the city is willing to do anything to win another. Signing Votto long-term is one thing the Reds have done to give them a chance to win a title. Dusty is one of those managers that doesn’t get too upset over a bad call, which really makes me upset. I want a manager that will protect his players no matter what the circumstances are. The manager that comes to mind that will protect his players was Lou Pinella. Remember: Sweet Lou won the World Series with the Reds in 1990.
The Reds as a team are a solid team. Good starting pitching, offense spread throughout the line-up, the bullpen is a shutdown pen that will be needed in the postseason. The starting pitching including Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto, and off-season acquisition Mat Latos. This team literally has two aces, a must in today’s pitching-first MLB. The Reds starting pitching is very young and Dusty is doing a great job of not letting them stay out there longer than needed (I guess he learned his lesson from Chicag0). With the bullpen he has, Baker can do that. This is always a good sign come September and October. Dusty doesn’t overuse the bullpen either. The bullpen is what wins championships in my opinion. If you don’t have a solid bullpen you will not last through September.
The Reds bullpen includes off-season acquisition Sean Marshall and the Cuban Missile Aroldis Chapman. The injury to Ryan Madson really put Dusty in a bind before the season even started. He didn’t hesitate to put Chapman back in the bullpen. The Cuban Missile hasn’t disappointed. He has 9 saves on the season an up until two weeks ago he hadn’t given up an earned run. That takes a lot of pressure off of Dusty. Knowing you can trust your ninth inning man, the easier the job gets.
Dusty runs many different line-ups out on the field each week. The Reds having so many outfielders he can interchange them as he pleases. This could be a good or bad thing. Lets take a look at the good side first. Having so many outfielders to play with can give other guys rest when needed. This can become helpful late in the season when resting guys for the playoffs. The down side of this deal is that you don’t know what to do when a guy gets hot. The other thing is you don’t really give a guy time to get hot if you are always interchanging line-ups.
I don’t agree with Dusty 100% of the time on his decisions, but I do agree with him play Chris Heisey more. Heisey a young kid, is a player that will give you everything he’s got whenever you ask of him. I like him a lot in left with Ludwick coming off the bench, but most of the time it is the other way around which is Dusty’s way of looking at it. The outfield for this Reds team has a lot of talent, with the speed of Drew Stubbs in center, the strong-arm and great bat of Jay Bruce, and either Ryan Ludwick or Chris Heisey in left, who give you great at-bats and drive in runs every now and then.
The infield that Dusty puts out on the field every night is one of the most solid you will see in all of baseball. Joey Votto a gold glover at first, Brandon Phillips, a gold glover and web gem every night at second, the rookie Zack Cozart at short, and gold glover Scott Rolen at third. That is a stellar defensive infield if you ask me. I can watch every night and there will be at least one highlight play from that infield. Dusty can’t complain with the effort in the field, that’s for sure.
To conclude on Dusty Baker and his toothpick, he is one hell of a manager that does things the right way and has a team that follows his lead. He has all the talent he needs to make a run in the playoffs and I believe this is the year it is going to happen. The pitching is there and so is the offense. Dusty can be my manager any day of the week. Yes, I don’t agree with him all the time. But when it comes down to it, Dusty Baker knows what he has to do to win games… and he does it.
The Billy Hamilton Report
If you haven’t heard of Billy Hamilton yet, you must be living under a rock because this kid is making all kinds of noise with his speed. Hamilton (21 years old) is playing in high A ball for the Cincinnati Reds. Hamilton has been in A-ball ever since he got drafted in the 2nd round back in the ’09 Rookie Draft. He hasn’t stopped swiping bags since. Now in only his 4th season, he has 261 stolen bases, with 96 coming this season, in only 75 games! Billy Hamilton is a name to watch for next season as he could be making his way up the ranks. Dusty Baker could use him on his team, that is for sure. Hitting for a better average this season at .330, Hamilton has more chances to steal bases. He once walked to leadoff the game and then stole 2nd, 3rd and home in only 4 pitches! Amazing!
The only downside to Hamilton is his fielding. Already racking up 24 errors is not a good sign for a middle infielder. Hamilton will also be starring in the futures game. He will be able to show off his speed in front of everyone who is watching. Be sure to watch Hamilton fly around the bases as he goes for the steals record this season! The next step this season is likely AA. If he continues his current torrid pace, expect to see Billy Hamilton in Cincy very soon.
Ryan Ritchey is a Baseball Writer & Reds Expert for MLB reports. I am a freshman at Spalding University, play second base and plan on studying sports journalism. I am a huge fan of Barry Larkin and Brandon Phillips. Have been a baseball fan my whole life and have been writing about baseball since my freshman year of High School. You can reach me on Twitter (@baseballaddicts)
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Posted on July 1, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged angels, BIlly Hamilton, blaze, brandon phillips, chris heisey, cincinnati reds, drew stubbs, dusty baker, jay bruce, joey votto, mvp, ryan ludwick, scott rolen, zack cozart. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.