Triple Play

TDG’s Triple Play: Cincinnati Reds!

Your senior dynasty analysts enter the second season of the Triple Play! The regular feature breaks down an arm, a bat, and a prospect within each organization for your reading pleasure!

Listen to Adam (@TheStatCastEra), Keaton (@TheSpokenKeats), and Patrick (@TheGreenMagnus) on the Dynasty’s Child podcast and read their other analysis here at the site!


Sonny Gray, Age: 29, SP

Analysis by: Keaton O. DeRocher

More Sonny Than Gray

Drafted in the first round as a polished college arm out of Vanderbilt in 2011, Gray was expected to move quickly through the minors, and that’s exactly what he did. Gray broke through to the majors just two years later after tallying 303 innings pitched, a 3.53 earned run average and 250 strikeouts (including a stint through the Pacific Coast League). It was not long ago that Sonny Gray was one of the best pitchers in the American League. So good, he notched a third-place finish in the Cy Young voting in 2015 with a line of 14-7, 2.73 earned run average, 1.08 WHIP and 169 strikeouts. He was the anchor of the Athletics rotation and such, became the target of trade rumors since Oakland doesn’t actually hold on to talented players. It was a shock when after the 2015 season, Oakland held on to their talented young arm and they may have regretted it.

More Gray Than Sonny

Then all of a sudden, Sonny wasn’t good anymore. He followed up the best year of his career with the worst posting a 5.69 [nice] earned run average, 1.50 WHIP, 94 strikeouts and a 5-11 record across 117 innings pitched. 2016 was a season that really kicked off his injury issues. He landed on the DL for a trapezius issue, and ever since Gray has not been able to amass close to 200 innings pitched (after reaching that milestone twice in 2014 and 2015). In 2017 Gray was able to recover some of his value and was traded to the Yankees where continued to have moderate success. In his second year with the Yankees, Gray reverted back to his disastrous ways to the tune of a demotion to the bullpen where he continued to suck and just about all hope of a useful starting pitcher was gone.

The Sonny’ll Come Out Tomorrow?

I say almost because the gold ole Cincinnati Reds took a stab on the now 29-year-old, and gave him a shot to be a starter in what is truly a mess of a rotation. So far, seems like a good call. The small sample size be damned, Sonny is pitching his butt off again. Through three starts and 13.1 innings pitched, Gray is currently touting a 2.03 earned run average, 1.05 WHIP, his best strikeouts per nine (8.78) since 2013, and his best walks per nine (2.70) since 2015. So maybe, just maybe, he’s found his happy place again.

Cloudy Days Ahead

He’s doing really well now, and honestly it makes me happy, I enjoyed watching Gray at his best with Oakland. However, looking deeper into his numbers, it would seem the success is going to be short-lived. His velocity has been down a full mile an hour on his fastball and two miles an hour on his sinker. Looking at the opposing batters swing profile, there’s nothing that’s really changed apart from two major drops. The first is the chase percentage. He currently sits at 17% which is 9% below his career mark, and the second is his swing rate, which is 36%, also 9% below his career mark. So what does that mean? He’s not getting nearly as many batters to chase pitches, which doesn’t bode well for sustained success, and he’s not getting batters to really swing at much in the first place. Maybe that’s because he’s mixed his pitches up enough that hitters are just off balance, but that’s hard to believe given that there’s no distinct change to his pitch mix and he’s throwing softer stuff. Now would be the time to sell high on Sonny Gray.


Jose Peraza, 24, 2B/SS/OF

Analysis by: Adam Lawler

Introduction

The Reds have seemingly always been less than the sum of their parts. On paper, names like Votto, Puig, Suarez, and Gennett have given some glimmer of hope to the Cincinnati faithful. Then,  they get more excited factoring in young blue-ribbon prospects like Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Hunter Greene, Jonathan India, and Taylor Trammell, combined with lottery tickets such as Jose Siri, Aristides Arquino, and Mike Siani.

Yet, the results have always been…meh. That crystallizes my feelings on Jose Peraza and what he’s truly capable of putting out over the next half decade or so.

Joe Pear Tree (2018 in review)

After putting the proverbial nail in the coffin, Peraza rose from the dead and began showing something that shocked the fantasy community:  power.  Not prodigious mind you, but posting 14 home runs in 2018 after going 5 or fewer for the previous 3 straight seasons was notable. Combining that his speed, a category that has been well documented due to its lack of availability, and you had yourself a nice little player worthy of rostering in 12 teamers. So let’s dig into that power a bit and see what we find.

Launch Angle (degrees) Exit Velocity (MPH) Barrel %
Peraza 2016* 10.4 84.2 1.9
Peraza 2018 13.4 83.9 2.5
Ideal 10 – 25 90 7

*Selected as it was his previous career best.

Do I need to say that, despite the better performance in 2018, I am still worried about Peraza? Taking a look at his BaseballSavant profile, you can see Peraza posted numbers in the bottom 3% – 10% of the league in these key points of consideration.  In other words, I’d bet dollars to donuts that Peraza’s sudden power output is unsustainable and likely a career high. The markers indicate a rough 2019 ahead.

Jose No Camina (2019 season expectations)

As of this writing, there are only 3 players with a minimum of 40 PAs who have not walked this year. Jose Peraza is one of them. Of the 3 players, Peraza has the worst strikeout rate by a considerable margin (<10%). Giving me an even more pronounced pause on finding some silver lining is that his batting average could be even worse than the posted .178.

His saving grace has been his elite sprint speed. If he were hitting the ball in the 90 MPH range, Peraza would be an OPS machine legging out doubles and triples like a boss. Sadly though, he is in the top 15 of infield hits and barely running out singles.

Not great.

When does Senzel Come Up? (Dynasty value and closing)

We’ve referenced Gennett, India, and Senzel in the opening. If I am looking into my crystal ball, some amalgamation of those three will become your everyday infield with Votta and Suarez. The outfield is already loaded and has more reinforcements on the way. The Reds won’t need a slappy, soft player to do anything but play utility and give their starters a well-deserved blow.

I wouldn’t be confident in Peraza sustaining value – save for catastrophic injuries – beyond 2019.


Jonathan India, 22, 3B

Analysis by: Patrick Magnus

Jonesin’ For India

Selected fifth overall in the 2018 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, Jonathan India is a college bat who should reach the majors by 2020. He’s a polished hitter with rave reviews for being a well-rounded offensive force and having the necessary defensive skills to stick at third. He could also potentially play shortstop as he saw some time there in high school. India’s play at shortstop didn’t produce much confidence from scouts that he could stick there, but potentially for a team in a pinch. Regardless, India has tangibles that warrant him being on our dynasty rosters. He’s polished, well rounded, and within proximity of the majors.

2018 India Arrives

At Florida State in his Junior year (2018) he smacked 21 homers, stole 15 bases and hit .350/.487/.717. This offensive onslaught saw him win Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. Since being drafted by the Reds, India has flashed parts of the skillset that had him off the draft board in the first round. Thus far he’s hit 8 homers and 8 steals, but has struggled to hit for average. He’s posted strong walk numbers, displaying a keen knowledge of the strike zone, and certainly, he’s hammered the ball when the opportunity has presented itself. Still, I’ll be keeping my eye on his K%, as it’s hovered in the upper twenties and I’d like to see that come down significantly.

2019 India’s Value and Future Expectations

Though he’s been touted as a balanced hitter, he’s yet to truly show that in his limited at-bats in the Reds’ minor league system. While we haven’t seen the polished hitter that’s been promised, he has shown plenty of power and speed so far. Thus India isn’t a prospect without his work cut out for him, but his combination of power and speed and his promising home ballpark are positives. These factors should give him a long leash with owners. Yet if he continues to struggle with strikeouts and contact at lower levels, it could be a good time to send out some feeler offers. My advice is to acquire or hold the Reds third baseman, and gear up for major league production in 2020.


Previously Covered Teams

NL WEST NL CENTRAL NL EAST
ARI CHC ATL
COL CIN MIA
LAD MIL NYM
SDP PIT PHI
SFG STL WAS
AL WEST AL CENTRAL AL EAST
HOU CWS BAL
LAA CLE BOS
OAK DET NYY
SEA KC TB
TEX MIN TOR

The Author

Adam Lawler

Adam Lawler

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