Trying to bring a little common sense to the game of baseball. But considering many of the people who read baseball blogs, I'm probably just pissing into the wind.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Cincinnati Reds preview

The defending champ, and a team that could develop into a perennial power in the division. They’re young, they’re good, and they should only get better. A good blend of veterans and young players, they pitching staff could be better, but is still pretty good. They got exposed in the playoffs, so they still have some things to work on. Somehow I have a feeling they’ll get more chances.


Ramon Hernandez. A good one, although he doesn’t get enough playing time. At 34, it’s probably best to give him some time off, but a few more games would be good. Not much power anymore, and no speed. But he does hit for average and gets on base at a decent clip. He’s good defensively, and that will definitely help the team, and the staff. Effective at throwing out runners.

Upside:  has a good back up

Downside:  turning into a defense first player

Score:  + 1

First base:

Joey Votto. The reigning MVP, and he’s getting better. He does everything on offense. Hits for power and doubles. High average, excellent on base percentage, and he doesn’t strike out too much. He even chipped in 16 steals. The only drawback I see is his defense, but that can be lived with. Depending on Pujols situation next year, he’s might become the premier first basemen in the league.

Upside:  gets better

Downside:  people focus on his defense

Score:  + 2

Second base:

Brandon Phillips. An adequate player for this team, he’s basically average as a hitter. Some power, and extra base hits, but his stolen bases and percentage are down. He doesn’t hit for average and he doesn’t walk nearly enough. His defense isn’t good, although he did have his best year last year. He does play every day, and isn’t in danger of losing his job. But he has to have a typical year.

Upside:  gets his power and speed back

Downside:  has already peaked

Score:  0

Third base:

Scott Rolen. Bidding time until his Hall of Fame selection, he’s still one of the better third basemen in the league. Got some power back, and hit a lot of doubles. Hit for his career average and gets on base well. His games played are down, but that might help his effectiveness. Still one of the best defenders in the game, and a veteran providing leadership, which this team desperately needs.

Upside:  not done yet

Downside:  injuries keep taking him out of the game

Score:  + 1

Short stop:

Paul Janish. Going to get the chance to start, although I’m not sure why. His numbers were better last year, but not really good. He’s old to start developing. His on base percentage was okay, but he has to sustain it. He has no power and doesn’t run at all. His defense should be good, but it took a nosedive on defense. He’s probably a better option than Renteria, but a prolonged slump will lose him the job.

Upside:  Renteria can do the same thing

Downside:  Janish doesn’t hit and the team doesn’t really have a shortstop

Score:  - 1

Left field:

Jonny Gomes. Starting over Fred Lewis, which I would disagree with. Gomes would be better off as super sub, as he does have experience in the infield. He had a decent year, but not great. Way too many strikeouts and no walks. The power is adequate, but he doesn’t run at all. The defense isn’t good, and he’s old to start becoming a full time player.

Upside:  Lewis is waiting

Downside:  he gets his teammates beaned

Score:   0


Drew Stubbs. A good first full year, and he should get better. The big downside is he strikes out way too much. His walks are okay, and could get better. Lots of speed and power, which will probably get better. He’s a good defender, and he’ll help out in the outfield defense. As long as he avoids a sophomore slump, everything will be fine. He’s still young, and will be one of the three core players for a long time.

Upside:  gets better

Downside:  doesn’t adjust this year

Score:  + 1

Right field:

Jay Bruce. A young player coming into stardom, and much needed left handed hitter on the team. Putting it all together, he should be even better. No speed, but he has the power, and should start hitting even more homeruns and doubles. The strikeout rates dropped, and he’s learned to take a walk. He’s getting better defensively, and will help this team stay at the top for a few years.

Upside:  starts putting up the big numbers

Downside:  doesn’t improve his numbers, which isn’t terrible

Score: + 1

Pinch hitter/general utility:

Edgar Renteria. He’s listed as the backup short stop, but they have to hope Janish is good for 140 games, and Renteria doesn’t get that much time there. This way he can fill in at second and short also. He’s only played one other game at a position than short stop, but that will change this year. He’s not a great hitter, but is experienced, and will be a help to the team.

Upside:  fits into the role and picks up the hitting some

Downside:  he’s still young, but it’s been too many years

Score:   - 1

Backup catcher:

Ryan Hanigan. A good one, who will get a lot of playing time, and would probably be a full time starter on another team. Walks a lot for his plate appearance, and has adequate power the time he gets. No speed, but that’s okay, and he does hit for average. Excellent defensively, he’s a good partner for Hernandez. Still young, and not too many games on his knees.

Upside:  could easily be the starter

Downside:  wants to get more playing time and wants to leave

Score:  + 1

Backup first baseman:

Jonny Gomes. Which is good, as it would get him out of the outfield and Lewis in. He doesn’t figure to get much time here, as Votto will go for 150 games. He would be a match defensively, but not at the plate. He would hit homeruns, but not much else. If he’s here for an extended time, the team is in trouble, but because of the loss of Votto, and not Gomes’ production.

Upside: doesn’t have to play at all

Downside:  extended time means the team is going nowhere

Score:  - 1

Back-up infielder:

Miguel Cairo. A good one to have, he’ll get time everywhere, but shortstop. How much he plays depends on how healthy Rolen is. He had a good year last year, and was able to get on base through walks and hits. Doesn’t run anymore, but his power numbers were okay, and at his career level. Still plays well defensively. He’ll also pinch-hit on occasion, but shouldn’t see too much playing time.

Upside:  doesn’t start too much as the rest of the infield is healthy

Downside:  doesn’t hit well enough to go full time

Score:  + 1

Back-up outfielder:

Fred Lewis. Not the starter, but he will see a lot of playing time. Gets on base better than league average, but doesn’t have any power. Has some extra base ability, and runs well. This could end up a platoon if Gomes doesn’t get it done. Okay defensively, and can play all of three positions. He’ll get some pinch-hitting duties also, and will spell Stubbs against some right handers.

Upside:  can start if needed

Downside:  starting because the wrong player is out

Score:  0

Rotation (front 3):

Edison Volquez, Bronson Arroyo, and Homer Bailey. Not as good as you would think, but not terrible. All average, or slightly above average. Arroyo is the old guy, but the others are young. Volquez and Bailey strike out a lot of batters, but don’t go a lot of innings. That will have to get better. The offense should score a lot, so they have a margin for error, but need to at least as good as last year if the team is to repeat.

Upside:  full years shows how good they are

Downside:  they’re not ready for the front three yet

Score:  0

Rotation (back end):

Travis Wood and Mike Leake. Wood was the best starter on the team last year, and should only get better. I thought Leake would be better, but he wasn’t bad. They did limit his innings and he was ineffective at times, but should only get better. They also have Cueto waiting in the mix, so there is hope here. The future is bright with the young pitchers to go with the young hitters.

Upside:  full years shows how good they are

Downside:  they’re not ready for the front three yet

Score:  0


Aroldis Chapman, Nick Masset, Logan Ondrusek, Jose Arredondo and Bill Bray. All above average ERA+’s, and a lot of strike outs. A whole bunch of strikeouts. This will help a lot, as these guys don’t go a lot of innings. They need to be as effective as possible. The only problem is how much they have to pitch, as the starters don’t go deep. The more innings the better as long as it doesn’t reduce effectiveness.

Upside: won’t allow a lot of runners

Downside:  have to pitch too many innings and throw too many pitches

Score:  + 1


Francisco Cordero. A good closer, but on the downside. His strikeout rate is dropping every year, and he was only average last season. The walks are also increasing. The years might be catching up to him. He’s still getting a lot of saves, but isn’t quite what he used to be. He pitched more innings last year than he was used to, and that might be an issue. Less might be more.

Upside:  bigger leads mean fewer innings

Downside:  becomes average

Score:  + 1

Team speed (which includes base running):

Not as good as you would think, but that might be better this year. Stolen bases are okay, and there could be more with Lewis getting some time. Lots of doubles, and some triples, so the get around the bases. Good range in the middle, but not so much around the corners. This team doesn’t rely on its speed, however, and will bash the ball. Anything they do is a bonus.

Upside:  gets better with Lewis and Renteria

Downside:  have to use it because no one hits

Score:  + 1

Team defense:

Good, but backwards. Good up the middle at catcher and center field, but not the infield. Rolen is one of the best of all time, and the bench is good. Maybe stronger than some of the starters. Good at third and right, and not so good at the opposite corners. It’s better than bad, and will help the team. Not a lot of free runners and the pitching staff will benefit.

Upside:  an added bonus

Downside:  important, but won’t matter as long as everyone hits and the pitchers pitch

Score:  + 1

Team batting:

Great. The best in the league. They hit for average, they hit for power, and they get on base. They get around the bases, and do everything that needs to be done. They could be even better this year. They will score a lot of runs and make the pitching staff better. The only team that will give them a run is the Brewers, but they don’t have the other weapons.

Upside:  the could lose one player and still be the best offense

Downside:  everyone had a career year

Score:  + 2

Team pitching:

Good, but not great. Could be better, but isn’t bad. The starters might be good, but need to go more innings. The bullpen is okay, but needs to go more innings. The closer is good, but should pitch fewer innings. They can’t sustain long injuries and ineffectiveness. Lots of strikeouts, so fewer guys moving around, which helps the defense. The offense will take a lot of pressure off of the staff.

Upside:  full years from the starters and lots of innings

Downside:  the young guys aren’t ready yet

Score:  + 1

Total score:    + 13

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