The Little Red Army

Fourteen months ago, the Florida Marlins’ collection of natives from atop beanstalks inspired Eric Seidman to write about the tallest rotations in the Retrosheet era. The Cincinnati Reds’ rotation might just be the antithesis of the Marlins. Right now, the Reds are running Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, and Travis Wood to the mound. Here are the listed heights for each:

Cueto 5’10”
Leake 6’1”
Arroyo 6’4”
Volquez 6’0”
Wood 5’11”

With the exception of Arroyo, you will note that the rest of the pitchers stand well below the league average height of 6’3” – a number provided by Mike Fast last week. In a world where the archetypal pitching body stands at least 6’4” with the ability to add muscle, it is rather unusual to see a collection of guys tall enough to be considered for Nicolas Sarkozy’s bodyguard positions rather than admission into the Imperial Guard.

The most captivating question is whether the Reds actively target shorter pitchers to acquire. Probably not. This is the same team that chose 6’2” Bradley Boxberger in the supplemental phase of the 2009 draft’s first round, as well as Donnie Joseph (6’3”) and Zach Stewart (6’2”) within the first three rounds the last few years. The one shred of proof that maybe Walt Jocketty has an affinity for little pitchers is the fifth round of the Reds’ drafts under his control. They’ve yielded three right-handed pitchers with a max height of 6’1”, although who knows how much say Jocketty even has.

Most of the modern day rotation was assembled by the previous regime anyways. For comedic purposes, though, it’s only fitting that the Reds also have two of the tallest pitchers in baseball, 6’8” Logan Ondrusek and 6’7” Aaron Harang, along with the shortest person to throw a pitch in the bigs this season, 5’6” Danny Herrera.

Of course, one can throw all the trivia and jokes aside if a rotation isn’t worth its weight. It certainly feels like the Reds’ rotation gets its fair share of credit for their impressive season, but if you go by FIP, their rotation is middle of the pack, only a slightly in front of the Milwaukee Brewers. Only one of those squads will be pitching in the playoffs, and for now, it seems like the Reds are just tall enough to board the ride.

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