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Friday, May 31, 2019

Inside the Reds’ historic pitching turnaround

In October, David Bell was hired as the team’s new manager. His first coaching hire was to convince Derek Johnson to jump from the Brewers, where he’d spent the previous three seasons garnering positive reviews for his work as Milwaukee’s pitching coach. They later added Caleb Cotham, who had pitched in 23 games for the ‘16 Reds, as assistant pitching coach with a focus on analytics. Cotham had been teammates with a few current Reds, and he’s been tasked with bringing the Reds up to date on the technical revolution overtaking the game.

“Feel, a lot of times, just isn’t real,” Cotham told in January. “A lot of guys think they’re throwing a 12-6 curveball, but then you look at it and it’s closer to a slider. Without high-speed cameras or really chewing into the Trackman, you could be practicing and working on your curveball for months, and it could have been addressed maybe in one session. It’s dealing more in the reality and what are some absolutes.”

It’s only been a few months, but the way Cincinnati pitchers talk about it, the impact has been immense.

“The stuff they are coming at us with is the best I’ve ever seen in my Major League career,” reliever Jared Hughes told the Cincinnati Enquirer earlier this month. “It’s cutting edge and it’s helping us a ton.”

“I feel like it is light years ahead of where we were last year,” David Hernandez echoed.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 31, 2019 at 06:05 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: reds

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: May 31, 2019 at 07:18 PM (#5847203)
Bell is probably the dumbest manager in baseball (I know, I know) - but if he is the reason they added that pitching coach, then he earns his salary for 2019 anyway.
   2. Meatwad Posted: June 01, 2019 at 12:27 AM (#5847285)
Anything is light years ahead of last year or the last few really.
   3. bfan Posted: June 01, 2019 at 08:01 AM (#5847292)
I am not sure how Bell gets the title of baseball's dumbest managers, but Brian Snitker would like to throw down his hat in the ring, if you can point him to the direction of "down".
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: June 01, 2019 at 08:12 AM (#5847294)
Bell is probably the dumbest manager in baseball

What have I missed that would make you say that?

   5. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: June 01, 2019 at 08:48 AM (#5847301)
I still cannot believe it. 228 hr allowed last year, which was down a little from the 2 record setting years prior to that. And, now, after 57 games, they have given up only 60, which is the fewest in the league.
   6. A triple short of the cycle Posted: June 01, 2019 at 09:32 AM (#5847306)
Holy cow what a turnaround. They are 1st in the NL in fewest runs allowed, 1st in fewest HRs allowed, 2nd in ERA. In a hitters' park. Their Pythagorean record is 33-24.
   7. shout-out to 57i66135; that shit's working now Posted: June 01, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5847307)
Bell is probably the dumbest manager in baseball (I know, I know) - but if he is the reason they added that pitching coach, then he earns his salary for 2019 anyway.
fun fact:
i said the same thing about doug pederson throughout the eagles's super bowl run. pederson is a complete and total meathead, who probably hasn't thought about anything other than football since before he was in middle school.
   8. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: June 01, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5847309)
Most strikeouts and 3rd fewest walks also. And, Alex Wood has not thrown a pitch for them yet. Other than getting rid of Bailey, and adding Roark and Gray, it is all the same pitchers that were so terrible last year
   9. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: June 01, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5847312)
And even though Gray was a good turnaround candidate, he appears not just fixed, but better than ever. Lowest hr rate of his career and look at that K spike.

I was always impressed with how the Brewers seemed to be able to magically turn retreads in reliable staff arms.... and Johnson seems to be making a strong case that he deserves a lot of the credit. I’d be willing to say he might be the best pitching coach in baseball.
   10. Master of the Horse Posted: June 01, 2019 at 01:41 PM (#5847343)
9–chacin mojo has vanished with Johnson gone. Burnes is a legit tire fire But then Davies and Woodruff are killing the league
   11. Walt Davis Posted: June 02, 2019 at 12:09 AM (#5847515)
Rfield doesn't give the defense much credit but they have given up just 7 UER so far this year, fewest in the NL and a massive change from last year's 78. That would still be at least partly the better pitching performance (fewer ER if your pitchers don't give up H, HR and pile up some Ks) They are on pace for about 25-30 fewer errors and a 25-30 improvement in Rfield.

So excellent peripherals, a ERA that matches their FIP, an above-average defense and very few UER is a "recipe" for success.

Now, about that hitting coach ...

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