We are 41 games into the Reds’ 2011 season and it’s time to hand out some grades…
DUSTY BAKER (B+) – It’s hard to criticize Baker too much, but he fails to get an A for his over patience with Jonny Gomes and his failure to force his hand and get Edgar Renteria to budge off playing shortstop.
JOEY VOTTO (A-) – The defending MVP is currently tied for second in the NL with a .345 BA and has reached base it all but one game in which he’s played. His power numbers are a bit down though as he’s only mustered 5 HR and 23 RBI, but his walk rate is up (leads NL with 5 IBB).
BRANDON PHILLIPS (A) – Phillips has dazzled with his glove and his bat and adapted to wherever Baker has slotted him in the order. His team-leading 26 RBI put the Gold Glover on pace for his first 100 RBI season of his career. Add to it an impressive .322 average and he’s on track for a second All-Star game appearance.
SCOTT ROLEN (C+) – Limited to just 21 games due to a right shoulder injury, Rolen has a small sample size to consider. He got out of the gate slowly, but since his return to the lineup last Friday he’s had nine hits over four games and has his average up .273. His glove has been a bigger concern as he’s already has four errors after just committing eight during his Gold Glove 2010 campaign.
PAUL JANISH (C) – His glove and versatility has never been questioned and both attributes have proven to be assets to this point of the season. His bat continues to be another story. Janish has had some good moments throughout the year, but over the opening stretch of the year he’s batting just .250 while getting just two hits over his last 25 at bats.
JONNY GOMES (F) – If we were grading clubhouse and fan popularity or bad haircuts, Gomes would be at the top of the list, but on the field he is below the pack. He has 7 HR, but went over a month without one. He has gone without a hit in 18 of his 37 games and is boasting a 38-to-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Gomes hands down is the worst defender on the team and it’s not even close.
DREW STUBBS (B+) – Stubbs is on pace for career marks across and is currently hitting .281. He covers as much ground as any centerfielder in the National League and has a strong arm to boot. His strikeout rate is still high, but improving and Stubbs appears to becoming more comfortable in the leadoff spot and currently reached base at least twice in nine straight games.
JAY BRUCE (C+) – Fresh off signing a big, long-term contract, Bruce is still trying to get things going at the plate. He has homered three times over the last 10 games, but had some terrible at bats and struggles in April. His defensive prowess is a plus, though he has made a few bad judgments in right field.
RAMON HERNANDEZ/RYAN HANIGAN (A-) – Catcher remains the most underrated and non-talked about position on the team. The Hernandez-Hanigan platoon has been lethal. Both players have handled the staff well and held would-be base runners down. Throw in the dramatic homeruns delivered by each and they are even better. Since the start of last season Reds catchers are ranked second in the majors in RBIs (116), first in batting average (.301), second in OBP (.376) and third in slugging (.446).
BENCH (B+) – Chris Heisey continues to be an under-used weapon, but he’s made the most of his playing time and been invaluable as a pinch hitter and late-inning defensive replacement. Miguel Cairo filled in nicely for Rolen when he was out. Renteria and Fred Lewis appear to be nice veteran free agent additions.
EDINSON VOLQUEZ (F) – Volquez has made just six innings in two of his eight starts this season and has walked an alarming 33 batters in 42 1/3 innings. His 5.74 ERA indicates that his record should be much worse than the 3-1 mark would indicate. With an abundance of pitching depth, Volquez will be on a short leash to work out his issues at the major-league level.
BRONSON ARROYO (B-) – Consistency has always been Arroyo’s staple and to this point of the season 2011 appears to be no different. He hasn’t had many stellar outings, but has yet to get roped either. He has a 36/12 strikeout-to-walk ratio and is 3-3 with a 3.78 ERA through eight starts.
TRAVIS WOOD (C+) – After going 0-3 with an 8.39 ERA in his first five trips to the hill, the Reds’ lone lefty in the rotation has gone 2-0 with a 1.93 mark over his last three outings. He still has some work to do before getting his stats back down, but it appears as if his spot in the rotation is safe for now.
JOHNNY CUETO (Incomplete) – Cueto started the year on the DL, but going off his two starts the marks are high. He has yet to yield an earned run in 12 1/3 innings of work and has finished in the winning column each time out in wins over the Cubs and Cardinals.
HOMER BAILEY (Incomplete) – The right hander has a 1.89 ERA and is 3-0 since returning from the DL. It’s a bit early to get too excited, especially considering two starts came against the lowly Astros, but the team has reason for optimism based off the early returns.
FRANCISCO COREDERO (A-) – Easily the most criticized Red, Cordero has been fantastic through the first quarter of the season. The veteran hasn’t allowed a run over his last five appearances, picking up a three saves and a win during that span while sporting a 1.86 ERA for the year.
BULLPEN (B-) Logan Ondrusek and Bill Bray have been outstanding in middle relief. Nick Masset is starting to find a groove after a rough start. Sam LeCure has transitioned nicely moving from the rotation to the pen. Aroldis Chapman struggles and Matt Maloney’s terrible April drag down the unit’s overall grade though.
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