After failing to surpass 80 wins from 2011 to 2009, the Reds have become one of the league’s powerhouses. The 2013 Reds have a perfect combination of offense and pitching, experienced veterans and young up-and-comers. Aside from Shin-Soo Choo in the outfield and Aroldis Chapman moving from the pen to the rotation, the Reds are standing pat on their 2012 roster – the same one that gave them 97 wins in 2012. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from the reigning NL Central champs this upcoming season.
2012 Team Rankings:
Runs: 21st Overall
Batting Average: 17th Overall
ERA: 4th Overall
WHIP: 3rd Overall
Hanigan is your average .270 hitting eighth-spot-in-the-order catcher with a solid glove behind the plate. Mesoraco only got 165 at-bats last season and batted a mere .212 but he is ranked the 16th top prospect in the country so the Reds are hoping the 24-year-old develops quickly.
You aren’t going to find a better first baseman than Joey Votto. Although he was banged up in 2012, he still managed to lead the league in walks in just 111 games. When healthy, Votto is a .320+ hitter with potential for 25-35 homers, 100+ RBI, and 100+ runs.
Soto has never played in the majors, but after four years of very solid power hitting in the minors, the Reds are ready to give him a look.
In 2012, Phillips batted .281 with 18 HR, 77 RBI, 86 R, and 15 SB. This is right about what he has been doing every season since 2006 so expect it to continue into 2013.
Hannahan is a veteran utility man who will play over the entire infield but doesn’t have much value on offense.
Cozart is a solid defensive shortstop with potential on offense that made him the league’s 75th top prospect going into last season. In 2012 he batted .246 with 15 home runs, 35 RBI, and 72 R and should build on that in 2013.
Third Base: Todd Frazier, Jack Hannahan – Grade: B-
Frazier looked very solid in his first full MLB season and batted .273 with 19 homers and 67 RBI. He struggles a bit with strikeouts but looks like yet another good power bat on this stacked Reds roster.
The Reds may also bring back Scott Rolen, but obviously not in a starting role.
Choo came over from Cleveland in return for Drew Stubbs. The 30-year-old Korean native was solid last season batting .283 with 16 HR, 67 RBI, and 88 R but has the potential to be a .300, 20 HR, 100 RBI guy if he gets it going.
At 25, Bruce has solidified himself as one of the league’s best power hitting outfielders. Over his last two seasons he is averaging .254 AVG, 33 HR, 98 RBI, and 86 R and should continue around those lines into 2013.
Ludwick was a good fit in his first year in Cincy, batting .275 with 26 HR and 80 RBI. The starting outfield combined for 75 homers last season and has the potential to hit even more.
Heisey and Paul are both solid all-around outfielders but definitely not the same level as the starters.
Cueto has been nothing but spectacular over the last two seasons. Since 2011, he is 28-14 with a 2.58 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. If he is healthy expect him to continue as his usual dominant self.
At just 25, Latos has established himself as one of the league’s most reliable starters. Since 2010, Latos is 37-28 with a 3.30 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 560 K. Expect more of that in 2013.
Arroyo is the old man of the group as the Reds’ only starter over 26. After a rough 2011 campaign, he bounced back nicely in 2012 with 202 IP, a 3.74 ERA, and 1.21 WHIP.
Bailey finally showed some of that top prospect potential in 2012 as he went 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Expect him to continue improving into 2013.
After turning heads in 2011, Leake took a step back in 2012 as he went 8-9 with a 4.58 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He has lost his starting job to Aroldis Chapman but will remain a spot starter in 2013.
With an influx of closer-caliber arms, the Reds are moving Aroldis into the starting rotation after a purely dominant season out of the pen. It is hard to tell how he will transition into a starting role but with 38 SV, 1.51 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and 122 K in just 71 IP it is sure going to be fun to watch him do it.
After a brutal season for the Dodgers in 2011, Broxton bounced back very nicely for the Royals and Reds in 2012 with 27 SV, a 2.48 ERA, and 1.26 WHIP. Hopefully he will continue to be the Broxton of old and not the Broxton that was run out of LA.
Marshall is one of the best relievers in the game with a 2.47 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over the last three seasons.
There is not one guy in that bullpen who is not perfectly reliable (not one put up an ERA over 3.46 last season), the Reds have as good a pen as the Giants.
Team Grade: A
Fearless Prediction: 96-66, 1st or 2nd in NL Central