Part 2 of Reds Bloggers Roundtable, featuring:
Shawn from Cincinnati Reds Blog, Part 1
Me, from Church of Baseball, Part 2
Doc Scott from Reds and Blues, Part 3
Ashlee from ...and this one belongs to the Reds, Part 4
JD from Red Reporter, Part 5
Jacci from We Heart the Reds, Part 6
JinAZ from On Baseball and the Reds, Part 7
Red Hot Mama, Part 8
Go to their sites to read it all!
Shawn: Hope everyone got the questions beforehand, in the e-mail.
Shawn: We will start with the first one, and give you a minute to think...what is the biggest (pleasant) surprise of the first half?
JinAZ: Starting rotation.
Daedalus: Bronson Arroyo. (if anyone feels the need to buy me a National League Arroyo shirt, feel free. I like the yellow.) :)
Ashlee: I don't need a minute: starting pitching
Jacci: Yeah, starters
JD: The explosive growth of Red Reporter
JD: Or wait, does it have to be about the Reds?
JinAZ: I'd include Elizardo Ramirez and a few decent starts from Milton along with Arroyo's brilliance.
Red Hot Mama: Brandon Phillips. We had nine potential second basemen until he showed up, then all of the sudden we had just one.
Shawn: That the team is above .500 at the All-Star Break is a surprise to me.
JD: Yeah, I second Brandon Phillips, he's probably my new favorite player.
Doc Scott: I'd say Ramirez. Arroyo and Phillips had past indicators that they'd have success, but Ramirez was pretty lightly regarded before the season.
Daedalus: Oh, wait, when did Krivsky get hired? And Castellini - an owner who actually cares about how the team does?
JinAZ: I love Phillips, but the team is where it is because of their starters.
Shawn: Phillips has really taken off, but he had this potential. Arroyo, I never thought could be this good.
Red Hot Mama: Yeah, he looked awesome last night.
Shawn: The Lizard is young. He had breakout potential.
Ashlee: LoL, RHM, give him a break
JinAZ: Positive thoughts RHM. :)
Shawn: Well, I think we can forgive the guy a bad outing.
Red Hot Mama: That tenth win is a toughy, even the fourth time.
Doc Scott: Arroyo said in the Enquirer today that he hasn't felt right the past two starts... could the heavy work from before be catching up with him?
Shawn: I do expect him to "regress to the mean" in the second half.
JD: And some people thought I was irrational about Rich Aurilia ....
Red Hot Mama: lol
JinAZ: I am worried that Arroyo will crash a bit in the second half. He did last year, and his BABIP has been a bit low all year long.
Daedalus: I think it was LaRue - his presence behind the plate caused Arroyo's problems... ;)
Shawn: It's a good excuse.
Red Hot Mama: And Rich Aurilia didn't even leave you sitting up all night
JD: This is true
Ashlee: Arroyo isn't the only one having issues getting #10
Red Hot Mama: I'm impressed with the Lizard. He's so tiny, and yet he's got some skill.
Shawn: I think Phillips is a good bet to stay above .300 all year.
Shawn: But I am even more excited to have as many as three decent starting pitchers.
JinAZ: I love the kid. He's pitched well almost every time out, even if his record doesn't reflect it
JinAZ: Ramirez that is
Red Hot Mama: Yeah, just look how far Milton is from ten...
Daedalus: I'm thinking Harang should be at about 13 wins now. How many of his Ws has the bullpen given away?
Doc Scott: Ross was quite a surprise as well- he'd had power outbursts in the past, like when he first came up with the Dodgers, but when he was acquired people were thinking he'd be sent to the minors
Daedalus: Will Milton even get to ten this year?
Red Hot Mama: home runs? Possibly
Doc Scott: he'd been ditched by three organizations for peanuts
JinAZ: I'm very surprised with Ross. He's always had power, but never has shown this sort of patience
Ashlee: I think he's already there, RHM!
Red Hot Mama: I mean hitting them
Shawn: Ross is having the obligatory journeyman catcher career year.
JinAZ: Probably, but it's fun to watch. :)
JD: I once saw David Ross scissor kick Angela Lansbury. It was beautiful.
Doc Scott: honestly, I wouldn't anoint Ross the next Johnny Bench any more than Bench anointed Chris Gruler the next Tom Seaver
Doc Scott: but who would have thought that ol' rock-solid, best-since-Slaught-and-LaValliere Catching Platoon would be in shambles?
Shawn: I would trade LaRue to keep Ross, if such a thing were possible.
Daedalus: You know what I think the biggest surprise may be? St. Louis being so awful.
Jacci: Yes! I was going to say that too!
Jacci: But then I didn't
Shawn: the catching platoon had a career year last year
Doc Scott: the Cards' pitching staff, especially the starters, has had its own "market correction"
Ashlee: Good Lord, yes. And this far into the season...
Doc Scott: year after year they'd had such incredible luck with health and effectiveness
JinAZ: Valentin's been pretty bad, although I think that LaRue has been insanely unlucky. Hope so anyway.
Shawn: St. Louis being down is helping keep the Reds in the race.
Jacci: And even with the precious Pujols back in action
Daedalus: Yes, so true
Shawn: The Cards are currently Pujols, Rolen, Carpenter, and not much else.
Daedalus: A team one game over .500 shouldn't be in second place.
Doc Scott: The Cards have had a tent-poled lineup for years.
Doc Scott: they've won with it, no problem
JinAZ: A team one game over 0.500 shouldn't win the division, but the Padres were about there last year. :)
Daedalus: What's their farm system like?
Jacci: The Cards or the Padres? Not that I know either way
Daedalus: Yeah, JinAZ, and it looks like they might be there this year, too.
JD: The NL Central is the 2006 version of the 2005 NL West ... or something like that anyway.
Doc Scott: it's their pitching- Ponson's bag of Ding Dongs ran out, Mulder's hurt, and Marquis is throwing meatballs
Daedalus: But the 2006 NL West is about as bad as the 2005.
Doc Scott: Reds' farm system is probably still better than the Cards'
JinAZ: Sickels rates 8 of the the cardinals prospects as a B- or better
Daedalus: Two best prospects in the minors? Yeah!