No announcement yet.


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Reds

    The Reds spring into camp with a new manager and a feeling they can compete in a division that's wide open. With veteran skipper Dusty Baker on board, the Reds are excited about digging-in against their National League Central opponents, a branch where Baker has experience. Cincinnati has only one real positional battle, in center field. The pitching staff is in flux -- just as it's been for the last half decade. The Reds scored 783 runs in 2007, while the pitching staff allowed an unacceptable 853. The performance of the starting rotation, and the bullpen, will likely decide the team's fate this year. If one or two arms can step up and execute career campaigns, the Reds could be playing for a postseason spot in September.

    Cincinnati hitters finished third in the league in total home runs, behind only Milwaukee and Philadelphia. They registered the fourth best slugging percentage (.438) in the National League. Only Detroit, Florida and Atlanta were non-playoff teams that had a higher OPS (.774), and they finished in the top half of every offensive category in the league, absent doubles and triples. Offensively the lineup, top to bottom, is exciting and they all have the potential to go deep. Chicks aren't the only gender that love the long ball, so if loving the free-swinging Cincinnati bats is sabermetrically wrong, I don't want to be right.

    Baker will preach patience at the plate, taking the extra base - but in the same breath scold players that run the team out of an inning. The Reds amassed 1,061 strikeouts while collecting only 515 walks; of which 10 percent (52) were intentional. There's some give and take when watching Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey and Brandon Phillips swing for the fences. The 2007 version of the Reds sported an Earl Weaver philosophy, but the team lacks the personnel at the top of the order to execute this two and three-run long-ball concept. They have no legitimate leadoff hitter, and while Phillips is qualified for the role, the staff would rather slot him in the meat of the order. Ryan Freel is the best fit at the top of the lineup, but he may be used in a utility role if the clubs thinks Jay Bruce is ready to handle the center-field duties or if someone is brought in from outside the organization.

    The Cincinnati pitching staff will on most occasions deter, extinguish and even impede the team's overall success, but it's spring; a time for renewal and optimism, so expecting better numbers this summer from a staff that was flat-out-bad last year is reasonable. Baker is old school, which means his 20-year-old prospect, (Bruce, 21 in April) will have to be over-the-top good during camp or the locals could hear the echoes of their team's public address announcer bellowing:

    "Now leading off for your Cincinnati Reds, center fielder... Keeeennnnnny Lofton."

    In 2008, Dunn will hit 60 home runs, Phillips will be the first player in history to join the 50/50 club, Bruce captures the NL Rookie of the Year award and World Series MVP, Griffey Jr. plays in all 162 games -- and with a shortage of hotdog venders at Great America due to the teams perfect record after 100 games (100-0), the front office will trade the signage rights of Pete Rose for Japan's version of Babe Ruth -- Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi....

    Yes. You've been Punked...

    Key Additions: Francisco Cordero (RP, free agent from Brewers), Jeremy Affeldt (P, free agent from Rockies), Edinson Volquez (SP, trade with Rangers).

    Key Losses: Josh Hamilton (OF, traded to Rangers), Eric Milton (SP, free agent), Eddie Guardado (RP, free agent signed with Rangers), Phil Dumatrait (RP, claimed off waivers by Pirates), Mike Gosling (RP, claimed off waivers by Blue Jays), Buck Coats (OF, traded to Blue Jays), Jason Ellison (OF, free agent signed with Rangers), Jorge Cantu (IF, released signed with Marlins), Pedro Lopez (IF, claimed off waivers by Blue Jays).
    Injury Concerns

    Lefty Bobby Livingston, who underwent left shoulder surgery in September 2007, is expected to be available sometime in May or June. His 3-3 record in 10 starts over 56.1 innings and 5.27 ERA -- should improve. But without a true "out pitch" he will continue to give up more hits than innings pitched (77 hits in 56 innings) in the team's bandbox. Utilityman Ryan Freel had right knee surgery in August 2007, but he's in camp swinging and running without limitation. Infielder Juan Castro underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2007, but even when healthy he offers fantasy owners little. Castro had but five extra base hits in 89 at-bats last year.

    Position Battles

    The only true battle resides in center field where rookie Bruce, veteran Freel and Norris Hopper are expected to compete. Bruce is the favorite, and he is already spending time this spring posturing his roster spot to the Reds skipper by verbalizing his willingness to leadoff if needed. But, as mentioned above, this could all change if the team decides to bring in Kenny Lofton. The ninth-inning option, Francisco Cordero, is set, but behind him David Weathers and Jared Burton will hold court to see who gets most of the eighth inning work. Baker was criticized for his handling of the pitching staff in Chicago. He and Larry Rothschild were in charge when Mark Prior and Kerry Wood experienced more than one breakdown, and Carlos Zambrano could be found exceeding 130 pitches when the game was close. This won't happen with a Reds staff that doesn't have the mound-talent the Cubs did. Baker will need efficient and effective work from his pen if this club is to play .500 ball or better this year.

    Breakout Candidates

    Jay Bruce (21 on April 3rd), who rated as the 2007 top prospect in minor league baseball, should excel as a hitter in Great American Ball Park. If he sticks through opening day, his minor league numbers (.319 with 26 home runs) could convert over a full season. Another youngster that could breakout is rookie first baseman Joey Votto. The youngster received valuable playing time late in 2007, and a full-time gig could allow him to hit near .290 and record 80-90 RBI. The problem is that Scott Hatteberg is still around to steal significant playing time at first base. Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion enters his third full Major League season, typically the campaign where young players finally "get it."
    منتديات - برامج - وصلات

  • #2
    This is the thing that's giving me a little hope for this year:

    Key Losses: Josh Hamilton (OF, traded to Rangers), Eric Milton (SP, free agent), Eddie Guardado (RP, free agent signed with Rangers), Phil Dumatrait (RP, claimed off waivers by Pirates), Mike Gosling (RP, claimed off waivers by Blue Jays), Buck Coats (OF, traded to Blue Jays), Jason Ellison (OF, free agent signed with Rangers), Jorge Cantu (IF, released signed with Marlins), Pedro Lopez (IF, claimed off waivers by Blue Jays).

    I hesitate to even call any of these "losses"! They are more like chucking completely dead weight, something the Reds haven't been great at the last few years. Milton stunk, Hamilton is a liability, Ellison was terrible, Guardado the ace closer blew (saves).

    The only ones I don't like to see go is Cantu (good utility guy, possibly) and Dumatrait (lots of SP upside). Overall, though, I really think the Reds did a great job improving the rotation and lineup from top to bottom.

    Check out this rotation; doesn't look too bad, huh?


    I'm very skeptical about Dusty Baker (boo) and spending so much $$ on Cordero, but at least the Reds' front office has given us some hope this year. I can't say as much for the last few.

    I'm excited about the season. I'm pissed that I don't live in Cincy any more and can't go to 50 games a year!
    Last edited by NineWorldSeries; 02-24-2008, 08:30 AM.
    :radio Please check out my collection of vintage baseball recordings:


    • #3
      The Reds are my sleeper team this year. I think they will win 87 games. The reason last year no team in MLB had a wider runs allowed to runs scored in the last 2 innings. Cordero should make that number smaller.


      Ad Widget