Monday, April 1, 2013

The 2013 Cincinnati Reds Preview

Opening Day is here. It's time to preview the 2013 Cincinnati Reds.

1. Pitching. As broadcaster Alan Cutler would say, "Baseball is about pitching, pitching, pitching... PITCHING." And he's right.

a. Starting Pitching. The rotation starts with Johnny Cueto, last year's Cy Young candidate. Following him is power pitcher Mat Latos and Homer Bailey who threw a no hitter last year. That's a pretty good first three. Veteran Bronson Arroyo will give you two hundred innings and keep you in games. The fifth starter will be first round draft pick, Mike Leake. That's not a bad fifth starter since I believe Leake will do much better this year.

b. Relief Pitching. The Reds have decided to make one hundred mile an hour fast baller Aroldis Chapman, the closer. It's probably the right decision since Chapman has expressed his desire to now close. Plus if he was in the rotation, you would probably lose that blazing fastball. That means Jonathan Broxton will set him up. Broxton was a former closer. Sam LeCure is gutsy long man and will keep the Reds in games. Rounding up the bullpen will be left hander Sean Marshall and J.J. Hoover.

The grade for the ptiching staff is B.

2. The Infield.

It all starts with first baseman Joey Votto. He should be fully recovered from knee surgery. Votto hits for average, power and with runners in scoring position. Second baseman Brandon Phillips is one of the best defensive second basemen in the game. He can also hit for average and with runners in scoring position. Shortstop Zack Cozart must improve on his batting average from .246. Third baseman Todd Frazier must continue to hit for average and power. Catcher Ryan Hanigan is solid at his position. Catching prospect Devin Mesoraco had an excellent spring and he should push for more playing time.

The grade is B.

3. The Outfield.

Gone is weak hitting and strikeout leader Drew Stubbs. In his place, is Shin-Soo Choo. Now he's not going to have the range in centerfield as Stubbs. But he has a .373 OBP along with a .283 batting average. He'll lead off and set the table for Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto.

Ryan Ludwick had a renaissance with the Reds. He hit .275 and blasted 26 home runs. And if Jay Bruce can not be fooled by outside low breaking pitches, he'll be more than an All Star. He'll be a MVP candidate.

The grade is B.

4. The Bench.

Outfielder Chris Heisey can hit for power and is an excellent back up for the other outfielders. Infielders Cesar Izturis and Jack Hannahan are veterans. They should give solid support. The grade is b.

5. Management. General Manager Walt Jocketty has an eye for talent. He's put together great teams in St. Louis and a world champion. Manager Dusty Baker gets a lot grief from misinformed fans. He knows how to motivate players and since he's been here, the Reds have made two playoff appearances. The grade is B.

6. Player to watch. Todd Frazier. If he is the real thing, he's the type of player that will put the Reds over the top. Check out the prodigious home run below.

7. Projection.

The Reds are good at all positions. I expect them to win the N.L. Central and make the playoffs. Is there a World Series championship? I can't say. But they certainly have the talent to win it all.

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