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Inbox: How will 4-man outfield rotation play out?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers Reds fans' questions
MLB.com @m_sheldon

Do you feel the four-man outfield platoon is causing more harm than good? Scott Schebler looks like the only one with confidence right now in the batter's box. Adam Duvall has 64 HRs and 202 RBIs over the past two seasons, and now he's essentially a part-time player in his prime.
-- Jeremy C.

First, Duvall isn't essentially a part-time player, nor is he being treated like one. I think it's hard to draw any conclusions about this rotation after four games, but it's definitely interesting to see how it will play out. The Reds have been saying all offseason that this rotation would happen if someone from the outfield (presumably Billy Hamilton or Duvall) wasn't traded and now it's here putting that into practice.

Do you feel the four-man outfield platoon is causing more harm than good? Scott Schebler looks like the only one with confidence right now in the batter's box. Adam Duvall has 64 HRs and 202 RBIs over the past two seasons, and now he's essentially a part-time player in his prime.
-- Jeremy C.

First, Duvall isn't essentially a part-time player, nor is he being treated like one. I think it's hard to draw any conclusions about this rotation after four games, but it's definitely interesting to see how it will play out. The Reds have been saying all offseason that this rotation would happen if someone from the outfield (presumably Billy Hamilton or Duvall) wasn't traded and now it's here putting that into practice.

The Reds feel that Jesse Winker is a Major League player right now. They also think that all four players could be kept fresher by playing a little less overall and they might stay strong to the end of the season. Duvall, in particular, endured big second-half fades in the last two seasons.

Ultimately, I suspect the four-man rotation will eventually evolve into a regular three playing the outfield because of performance or if (hopefully not) someone gets hurt.

Submit a question to the Reds inbox

How long will the Reds let Jose Peraza struggle before turning to Nick Senzel?
-- Aaron H.

Peraza is definitely off to a slow start, but top prospect Senzel has yet to even play a game this season because Triple-A Louisville doesn't open until Friday. Senzel was very impressive in Spring Training, however, and will get a chance to play second base for Louisville.

As for Peraza, he doesn't turn 24 until April 30. He's 0-for-12 in three games this season. It's way too premature to pull the plug, and Bryan Price has already expressed confidence that Peraza would eventually hit. Price also likes the way he has played defensively.

Should the Reds try to sign one of the top free agents left? Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera
-- Austin K.

No, and no. The Reds' outfield is already crowded with four regulars (see above)' and those guys would cost more money without being a true upgrade at any spot.

Aren't the Reds stunting Phillip Ervin's growth by having him up as a fifth outfielder?
-- @gehlert3, on Twitter

It's a fair question. If the Reds feel Ervin is a future everyday outfielder, then probably. If they think he's a career fourth or fifth outfielder, probably not. To this point, they have not defined that other than knowing right now that Ervin is not one of the top four. The Reds like his speed and versatility in the outfield, but if the at-bats and playing time dry up completely, I could envision him getting sent down to Louisville for a while to get more regular at-bats.

Tweet from @BlueJackets_OSU: Has anyone in the organization ever worked with @BillyHamilton on bunting? Seems like they have wasted his speed and ability to get on base. #Redsinbox

Yes, more than a couple of people have worked with Hamilton on hitting, including bunting. Besides the hitting coaches, coaches like Billy Hatcher have worked or counseled Hamilton -- and so have others like Lou Piniella and Barry Larkin. Hamilton not bunting well, or hitting consistently, isn't from a lack of trying to help him. In the end, he's the one who has to put it together on the field.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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