Why is Albert Pujols moving to the American League such a big deal to a Cincinnati Reds fan? He was one of the most dangerous hitters to ever face the team that is why.
Over his career playing for St. Louis Cardinals he hit 20 home runs in 266 at bats in Great American Ball Park. He has a .316 BA, .404 OBP and a .598 SLG in GABP. Of course he hit 20 or more home runs in other Central Division teams ball parks too but it took 20 or more games to do it. In Great American Ball Park he hit 20 in 68 games. Against Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field he hit 26 HR in 85 games. Against Houston Astros in Minute Maid Park he hit 24 in 91 games. Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park saw him hit 29 home runs in 89 games. The only park he did not hit 20 in was against Milwaukee Brewers in Miller Park where he got 19 HR in 81 games. In his career against the Reds, Albert has hit 46 home runs in 172 games.
Now that the Machine is gone to the Angels there is another player that is on my radar this offseason and that is Prince Fielder. Of course Prince has not been around as long as Albert Pujols but having him out of the Central Division in 2012 will really help the Reds out big time.
Prince has also seen the ball very well in Great American Ball Park. In 52 games, 186 at bats he has hit 11 home runs getting a .323 BA, .422 OBP and .581 SLG. Against the Reds in his career Fielder has gotten 22 home runs in 102 games.
This of course shows just a part of the reason why I would like them both out of the National League Central but another big part is what these men do for their teams lineups on those days they are playing. Many players on their teams see a lot more pitches because of them in the game. I think Ryan Braun will not have such a great season in 2012 because of Fielder not batting in the same lineup. And of course the guys on the Cardinals will not be seeing as many good pitches as they used to when Albert was with them. These players will go on to hit well no matter what but they just won’t see the same pitches they once did when these two big boys were batting before or after them in the batting order. The Reds pitchers will have a chance to pitch a little better knowing that they don’t have to face these big bats every time they face that team.
No matter what the Reds front office does or doesn’t do this offseason having Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols go to different teams outside of the Central Division will be a huge factor in how well these teams do in the standings in 2012. Many people still believe St. Louis Cardinals will take the division and I have to disagree. There are way to many factors involved here that make their team completely different from the 2011 team. Their manager and first basemen are just two of those major factors. Will the Brewers really be able to take first without Prince? I highly doubt they will even with the guys they have they still will need that big bat to help out the rest of the lineup. Right now with what deals have been made this offseason, I give Pittsburgh Pirates a better chance of winning than St. Louis or Milwaukee. The Reds of course really need to have an injury free season for their main players in order to make a push for the division and Houston is gearing up for their move to the American League,
There is still a lot left in the offseason and some big moves can still be made to better each team but with Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson off to the Angels and of course Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle going to Miami the teams in the National League Central Division are running low on options.
Walt Jocketty has stated in many reports that this offseason the Cincinnati Reds are looking for a top of the rotation starter to help them in 2012. At the start of the offseason he also said they would not be looking at signing many free agents this time around. Which only means one thing, they are going to trade for this top of the rotation starter. If they can not make a deal will they change their minds and go fishing in the free agent pool? If so, who would work best in Great American Ballpark? I have listed five of the top free agent starters just to get an idea of how well they have done in GABP. Jocketty also mentioned a closer (if they can not re-sign Francisco Cordero) and more offense. Now I know better then anyone out there that there is no way the Reds will go for any of these top pitchers this offseason but I thought it would be nice to see the results.
Mark Buehrle has a 1 – 0 career record in Great American Ballpark with a 0.00 ERA in 1 game started with 7 innings pitched and of course allowing 0 home runs.
Split W L ERA GS IP H HR SO WHIP Career Totals 161 119 3.83 365 2476.2 2610 274 1396 1.282
Roy Oswalt has a 7 – 1 career record in GABP with a 3.57 ERA and 11 games started (70.2 IP) with only allowing 9 HRs.
Split W L ERA GS IP H HR SO WHIP Career Totals 159 93 3.21 326 2154.0 2071 183 1759 1.194
Javier Vazquez has a 3 – 1 record with 4 games started, (28 IP) with a 3.21 ERA and has only given up 4 HRs in GABP.
Split W L ERA GS IP H HR SO WHIP Career Totals 165 160 4.22 443 2840.0 2784 373 2536 1.249
Freddy Garcia has recorded a 3 – 0 record in Great American Ballpark with 3 games started (20 IP) with a 2.70 ERA and allowing 2 HRs.
Split W L ERA GS IP H HR SO WHIP Career Totals 145 95 4.09 327 2076.1 2048 249 1486 1.302
Brandon Webb has a 2 – 1 record with 5 games started, recording 33.1 IP and getting a 2.97 ERA while only allowing 1 HR in GABP.
Split W L ERA GS IP H HR SO WHIP Career Totals 87 62 3.27 198 1319.2 1200 92 1065 1.239
I only hope when the Reds do make a deal they don’t sell the farm doing it. In my mind giving away 4 – 5 top prospects for one pitcher is not a deal they can afford to make. I personally would rather watch their young pitchers give it their best shot then see some 30+ year old try and fail then leave after two seasons giving the team no pitcher and no future. And I really hope “top of the rotation” means for teams like Philadelphia Phillies or San Francisco Giants not Houston Astros or Minnesota Twins. But I guess only time will tell what they will do and I really wish they would hurry up so then I can plan what I will be doing next season. (Watching baseball or finding a new hobby.)
As I looked through his stats I learned that he was drafted by Montreal Expos in the 2000 amateur draft. At 17 years old he played 55 games for GCL Expos in the Gulf Coast League. He got 60 hits off of 205 at bats giving him a .293 batting average. in 2001 he played 123 games for Clinton Lumber Kings in the Midwest League where he got 121 hits in 451 at bats, .268 BA. In 2002 he played 75 games for Brevard County Manatees in the Florida State League and 47 games for Kinston Indians in the Carolina League with a total of 125 hits in 428 at bats giving him a .292 batting average. 2003 he played AA ball for Akron Aeros in the Eastern League where he played 128 games getting 151 hits in 496 at bats, .304 BA. He then went on to play AAA ball with Buffalo Bisons in the International league in 2004 playing in 101 games getting a .287 batting average.
His Major League Baseball debut was on Wednesday, July 21, 2004, at Jacobs Field in front of 21,922 fans. Where the Indians took on Chicago White Sox. At that time the Indians were 46 – 48 while the White Sox were 49 – 42. It was the bottom of the 9th and the Indians were down 14 – 0 with two out when Grady Sizemore stepped up to bat against White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle. (Another free agent this offseason) His first pitch was fouled off. The second pitch was a popfly to second base and the game was over. Not the kind of debut most young players dream about but he has done pretty good for himself ever since.
Sizemore has eight seasons with the Indians with 892 games played, he used to be a very dependable player with two straight seasons (2006 and 2007) getting 162 games played. He has a career batting average of .269 with a .357 OBP and a .473 SLG. He has scored 601 runs and got 948 hits with 190 being his season high which he got in 2006. Grady won the American League MVP from 2005 to 2008. He was in the All-Star Games from 2006 to 2008. He won Gold Gloves in 2007 and 2008 and a Silver Sluggers Award in 2008. The question many are asking this offseason is; will he ever be that good again?
In 2011 he played 71 games and got 60 hits giving him a .224 batting average. He also did some time in the minors playing for AA Akron Aeros and AAA Columbus Clippers getting a total of 8 games for both teams and a .357 batting average. Will 2012 be a better year for Sizemore if he re-signs with the Indians? No one knows but it sure will be interesting to find out.
It is a safe bet for the Indians to re-sign him for a one year contract to see if maybe he will bounce back and get the numbers he once did. I also think it is a good deal for Sizemore cause he will have another year to pick up his game so then he might be able to impress more teams before next offseason so he can get a bigger and better contract for the future. I think it is a win / win situation for both involved and hopefully he does well.