Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cincinnati Reds Preview/Prediction

Now that we got the division predictions done it is time to dig a little bit deeper.  Between now and the opener in Japan each team will get their own prediction/preview.  I am going to go in alphabetical order.

Our next post takes us to Cincinnati, Ohio where a big trade has left the minors empty, and was mat Latos worth the prospects they gave up for him.  

Infield:  Ryan Hanigan at catcher, Joey Votto at first base, Brandon Phillips at second base, Zack Cosart at shortstop, and Scott Rolen at third base.

Ryan Hanigan is a typical catcher, hitting about .260 and providing very little power. However, he doesn't strike out very much and he does take a walk, but he does little else offensively.  Now that Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols are gone, Joey Votto can now take up the mantle as the best first baseman in the National League.  The biggest thing about him is since he is a free agent after this year, can the Reds re-sign him or will they field trade offers for him.  My gut tells me he ends the year where he started, in a Reds uniform. As a baseball fan Brandon Phillips is just a joy to watch.  It seems like he does all the little things right, and he is a perfect lead-off hitter for this team.  Zack Cosart was doing well last year befor ehe was sidelined with an injury, and the job is his to lose.  I don't think he will hit .320 like he was before the injury, but I can see a solid .280 from the 25 year old.  Scott Rolen is a guy who might be getting some hall of fame votes with the way his career has gone.  The best defensive third baseman in this generation, and with over 300 home runs and 1250 RBI's is a very good career.  He isn't at his prime anymore but he can still get the job done.  

Who will have the best season of these guys? Joey Votto will be in the running for the National League MVP and he will have another stellar season for the Reds.  .320 batting average 100 runs scored 120 Runs Batted in and 30+ home runs.  Votto also has one of the sweetest swings in baseball, and I never tire of watching him play. 

Outfield:  Chris Heisey in left field, Drew Stubbs in center field, and Jay Bruce in right field.

Heisey is a 27 year old outfield that has been up with the Reds for two years and has hit .254 both years.  A funny coincidence, but also one worth remembering if you see him available on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues.  Drew Stubbs got enough at bats last year to strike out 205 times, but he also stole 40 bases and hit 15 home runs.  If he hits the ball good things happen, he just doesn't do it very often.  Jay Bruce has hit over 20 home runs the last 4 years, culminating with 32 last year.  He also strikes out a lot, but he hits for more power and has a higher average in comparison with Stubbs, plus he is younger with more upside.

Who will have the best season of these guys? Jay Bruce will continue his upward swing and will hit 35 home runs this year and will .275.  Those numbers alone will put him on the fringe for an all-star team and have the best season of these three.  His projections remind me of Carlos Quentin a few years ago, and that will be good enough for me.

Starting Pitching:  Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake.

This is the strength of the Cincinnati Reds team.  As long as Dusty Baker can not wear out his pitchers (a big if knowing his track record) these guys will keep them in pennant contention all year long.  Johnny Cueto was great last year and has electric stuff.  He has to stay healthy but if he does he can be a #1 starter. The Reds gave up 2 top prospects to get Mat Latos and he better deliver.  Latos went from the cavernous Petco Park to Great American Ball Park, which is much more pitcher friendly.  I think his wins will go up, but his ERA will go up as well as he has more talent around him, but not as friendly of a park.  Bronson Arroyo continues to befuddle me. He is the major league leader in head scratching starts both good and bad.  One start he will go 9 shut out innings and look amazing, and the next outing he won't make it out of the first.  He has the stuff, he just needs to keep his head in every start this year.  Homer Bailey, though still pretty young at 25, is coming to a crossroads in his career.  He was drafted in the first round and the Reds said he will be a top of the rotation starter, but so far he has been underwhelming.  I think he needs to have a good season or they will look elsewhere next year.  Mike Leake is impressive because he didn't pitch one game in the minor leagues.  He was drafted out of Arizona State and made the opening day roster the next year.  Now in his third year with the Reds, the kids gloves are coming off and he needs to utilize his full potential that got him to be the 8th overall pick in the 2009 draft.  

Who will have the best season of these guys? Johnny Cueto.  I think he will stay healthy this year, and continue to have an ERA under 3.  He will strike out over 200 batters, win 17 games and will look just as dominant as ever.  Don't be surprised if he is one of the first pitchers taken in your Fantasy League this year, and it will be for good reason.

Bullpen: Ryan Madson, Sean Marshall, Nick Masset and Aroldis Chapman

Ryan Madson is way better than Johnathon Papelbon and way cheaper too.  The Phillies will regret this decision as Madson has another very good season for the Reds.  Sean Marshall is the main left hander out of the bullpen, but he is not a one out guy, he actually pitches well to right handers too.  Nick Masset has appeared in over 150 games the past two years as Dusty Baker continues to not know how to manage pitchers, and has some arm soreness and fatigue he needs to overcome.  I can see Chapman starting this year in the minors to improve his control, but he will get called up at some point this year.  He has great velocity but has no clue where it is going which makes for high quality entertainment whenever he steps to the mound.

Who will have the best season of these guys? Madson will have the best season, and he will be one of the better free agent signings in 2012.  He will make half the money as Papelbon this year and won't cause nearly as many headaches as the new Philadelphia closer.

Record Prediction: 87-75, 3rd in the National League Central

Next up:  Cleveland Indians


  1. Reds are going for it this year, time to pounce in a weak NL central.

  2. I could definitely see it. I just think they gave up too much for Latos and Bailey and Leake need to step up. I have St. Louis and Milwaukee slightly higher, but it's going to be a fun race to watch this year that is for sure.