Wednesday, March 7, 2012

30 Teams in 30 Days:Cincinatti Reds

By: Derek Pritchett

2011 Record: 79-83

Key Additions: Mat Latos (SP - trade), Ryan Madson (CL – 1yr $8M), Ryan Ludwick (OF – 1yr $2M), Sean
Marshall (SP),

Fransico Cordero (CL), Yonder Alonso (1B), Edinson Volquez (SP), Ramon Hernandez (C),
Dontrelle Willis (SP), Travis Wood (RP),

2012 Outlook – Cincinnati surprised the baseball world by making the playoffs in 2010. In 2011, they had to painfully sit back and watch the Cardinals and Brewers dog it out for the division and wild card, as their pitching just wasn’t enough to move their team ahead. There are three opponents’ records against the Reds in 2011 that are surprising. During 18 interleague games, the Reds managed only 6 wins. The Reds were also 2-5 against the lowly Mets. Out of 15 games against the Pirates, the Reds only won 5. That is at least a dozen games they could have won, which would have given them the wild card.

There were some positions that were question marks all season for the Reds in 2011. Three different catchers suited up for the Reds, five different thirdbaseman and four left fielders. Ryan Hanigan looks to show catching prospect Devin Mesoraco the ropes. Who starts in left field once again, Chris Heisey or Ryan Ludwick? They need Scott Rolen to perform like he did in 2010 hitting 20 HR and 80+ RBI’s (he's got Juan Fransico there if need be). No Reds Starting pitcher had more than 118 K’s and 12 wins. If you take away Mike Leake’s numbers, the remaining 4 starting pitchers had an ERA of 4.50.

Offseason Moves: The Reds made two big offseason moves, one involving their big time 1B prospect Yonder Alonso to the Padres for Mat Latos, and the second was signing Ryan Madson. The trade came out of nowhere and should work out good for both teams. The 2012 Reds really need Mat Latos to get 15 wins an ERA below 3.00 and 190 K’s – which he is capable of doing. The other move was letting a closer who has averaged 37 saves over 4 season walk in favor of signing a guy who has closed once in Ryan Madson and only got 32 saves himself just to save 5 years in age. That’s a bold move if you ask me.

The Reds got better buy subtraction as well over the offseason. The NL Central lost both Albert Pujols(Angels) and Prince Fielder (Tigers). Joey Votto is now not only the best 1B in his division but also in the NL.

2011 Highlights: Jay Bruce (84-32-97), Joey Votto once again over 100 runs and RBI’s, (would like a higher HR total but is now top 1B in NL) had another solid year from Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs stealing 40 bases (thought I’d like him to raise his .243 batting average).

Projected Lineup –Here’s how I would construct the Reds batting order;

1. Brandon Phillips (2B)

2. Zack Cozart (SS)

3. Joey Votto (1B)

4. Jay Bruce (RF)

5. Scott Rolen (3B)

6. Drew Stubbs (CF)

7. Devin Mesoraco (C)

8.Chris Heisey (LF)

Question Marks: Can Dusty Baker take the 2012 Reds into the playoffs after a slide in 2011? In order to do so, they need more than one starting pitcher win more than 10 games. Ryan Madson needs to close in the 40 game mark. Is Johnny Cueto really an ace? They need good health from Scott Rolen. They need to know what they have in Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco. Where does Aroldis Chapman fit in? Does he overtake Bailey for 5th starter?

I am secretly picking the Cincinnati Reds as my surprise team of 2012. They could use another starter (Roy Oswalt anyone), and that is their only question mark. They will go as far as their high power offense and make shift pitching staff will take them. We here at BlueJaysPlus, see a tight race for the NL Central and see the Reds fighting (along with 4 other teams) for one of the wild card spots.

The Final Count: 86-76 2nd in NL West.

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