Division Preview: Cincinnati

Good Morning. Time For Division Preview Part Two: The Cincinnati Reds

Summary:

The Reds are in rebuilding mode, having lost in trades and Free Agency Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Mike Leake and Todd Frazier. They have some nice kids though, esecially on the pitching staff. If they’re patient, they could have a nice foundation for some long term success. They do need to work on finding some more young bats though.

Three Reasons Why They’re Worth Watching.

1) Joey Votto

The man is one of my favorite players in baseball. I love his plate discipline, a thing many fans are mixed on. I wish more players were as disciplined as him. The man has a *career* .423 OBP. That’s ridiculous. When he does swing, he makes it count, to the tune of a .534 career slugging percentage. He shows no sign of slowing down either at age 31, as last year he finished third in the MVP voting, his highest finish since he won the award in 2010.

2) Young Rotation

Anthony DeSclafani, John Lamb, Brandon Finnegan, Jon Moscot and Raisel Iglesias are a nice young crew of starters. Add to that the return of Alfredo Simon as well as the eventual return of Homer Bailey and two good looking prospects in the form of Michael Lorenzen and Robert Stephenson, and this group could surprise. This could be a nasty group with a few more experience under the kids’ belts.

3) Jose Peraza

One of the key guys acquired in trades, He’s a speedster who has hit for average but shown more doubles and triples power than home run power. He’s a baby at 21, so he’s likely to play a key part in the Reds future. Needs to work on his plate discipline (sound familiar Reds fans?)

Three Reasons Why We’ll Beat Them

1) Lineup other than Votto

Brandon Phillips had his highest batting average since 2011 at .294, but his OBP was only .328, and his slugging percentage was below .400 at .395. If this team wants to survive the loss of Todd Frazier, they need Phillips to regain some of his lost power as well as try to find a more disciplined approach at the plate. They also need Jay Bruce (if they keep him) to get his batting average into a more respectable territory. While he hit 28 homers last year, he only hit .226, only slightly better than the .218 he hit the year before. As recently as 2013 he won a Silver Slugger award, so there’s hope. If these two don’t boost their production, and the rest of the lineup struggles like it did last year, the Cards will just pitch around Votto like everyone else and deal with the rest of the lineup.

2) Loss of Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman

I realize, technically they lost Cueto last year, but they’re going to miss having him for a full season. And Chapman, despite his personal drama, performed on the field, to the tune of 33 saves, a 1.63 ERA and 116 K’s in 66.1 Innings(!). That’s almost impossible to replace.

3) Billy Hamilton

If Hamilton doesn’t improve his plate discipline and start bunting more as well to take advantage of his speed, he might be better suited as a defensive replacement/pinch runner. He had a .226/.275/289. Even with 57 stolen bases and solid fielding, those aren’t acceptable numbers for a starter. He’s still only 25, so he has time to turn things around.

Conclusion

As I mentioned, they’re built for the future, which means they’re probably not going to have a very good record this year. Sorry Reds fans.

As as always, thanks for reading.

  • Charles Lackey

    As long as Walt Jocketty oversees things this club has little chance of improving. Most of the good players are gone. Plus it’s proven if you are having a good spring the team sends you down or releases the player, while the light hitting Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart stay, please some one explain this to me. And if any one thinks Homer Bailey can be the leader of the pitching staff is a dreamer, so many holes remain to be plugged and add this to the fact this organization refuses to sign talented Free Agents, I wish the team the best but………..

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