2010 MLB Previews - Cincinnati Reds

Can the Cincinnati Reds be a Force in the National League Central?

3/26/10 in MLB   |   Scott   |   53758 respect

Having suffered there 9th consecutive losing season in 2009, the Cincinnati Reds head into the 2010 year hoping that there nice blend of young talent and veteran leadership can make some noise in the NL Central.  However, the cash-strapped Reds did very little to change the makeup of a team that lost 84 games a year ago.  With a payroll of just over 70 million, the Reds have very little financial room and organizational depth should they lose one of there core players.  It's things like that which make this year a make or break season for manager Dusty Baker.  If the going gets tough, expect Baker and some of the older veterans players to have new homes by the time the trade deadline goes.

KEY ADDITIONS

Perhaps the biggest signing the Reds made this offseason was of Cuban defector, Aroldis Chapman.  Chapman had a very good spring and quickly established himself as one of the organizations best young arms.  However, Chapman broke camp in the Reds minor league system and figures to stay there so he can adjust slowly to the things that go with being a professional player.  The other big addition is Orlando Cabrera, who takes over at shortstop and forms quite the double play duo with Brandon Phillips.

KEY SUBTRACTIONS

Edison Voloquez - lost for the season to Tommy John's surgery
Wily Tavares

PROJECTED LINEUP

CF - Drew Stubbs
SS - Orlando Cabrera
1B - Joey Votto
2B - Brandon Phillips
3B - Scott Rolen
RF - Jay Bruce
C - Ramon Hernandez
LF - Chris Dickerson

PROJECTED BENCH

INF - Aaron Miles
C - Ryan Hanigan
OF - Lance Nix
OF - Johnny Gomes
INF - Paul Janish
OF - Wladimir Balentien

STARTING ROTATION

Aaron Harang
Bronson Arroyo
Johnny Cueto
Homer Bailey
Justin Lehr

Closer - Francisco Cordero


STRENGTHS

Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips - There is no doubt that the Reds have a nice young nucleus to build around.  With Votto, Bruce and Phillips in the middle of the lineup, the Reds will look for there young talent to improve on there 2009 years

Bullpen - Francisco Cordero is as good as it gets as a closer and he anchors a bullpen that is experienced and always throwing alot of innings.  The Reds will need guys like Cueto, Bailey and Lehr to hold there own in starts or the bullpen will risk being overtaxed early and often by Dusty Baker.

Defense - With gold glovers Scott Rolen and Orlando Cabrera anchoring the left side of the field and 2009 gold glover Brandon Phillips at second base, the Reds will have one of the best infields defensively.  If the pitching staff can keep the ball in the park, the defense behind them should help them alot more then in years past.

WEAKNESSES

The rotation - With Edison Voloquez out for the year with Tommy John's, Aaron Harang takes over as the ace of the staff.  Can Harang return to the form where he had back to back 16 win seasons or will he continue to struggle?  Bronson Arroyo is an innings eater but is as inconsistent as they come.  Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey should continue to improve but still are young and vulnerable to struggles.  Jim Lehr is the Reds 5th starter but if he struggles and Aroldis Chapman aces his minor league tests, expect the young Cuban to be in Cincinnati sooner then later

Outfield - Alot of pressure will be on players like Chris Dickerson and Drew Stubbs to contribute.  Should those two players struggle, the Reds dont have alot of depth on there bench or in there farm system to save them.  If any of the starters should get hurt and are forced to be out for a long period of time, the Reds will struggle to keep up with the rest of the NL Central

PREDICTION

If....and that is a huge IF....the Reds can stay healthy, they have the talent to finish the season over .500 and as the 3rd best team in the NL Central.  That said, with the likes of Votto, Bruce, Chapman, Bailey and Cueto emerging as the cornerstones of the future and the flame-throwing Volquez on schedule to return from Tommy John surgery in 2011, the Reds are at least a year away from serious contention in the division
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4/4/10   |   JBrenn   |   44 respect

Aaron Harang as the ace of the staff - doesn't that about say it all?  Without some reliable, non-schizophrenic pitching, the young nucleus can hit until the cows come home, and it's all for naught.  I wish Cincy could trade Harang to some clueless GM (and thus, actually get something for him), but I think his last two seasons have basically shown what an impotent pitcher he's become.  Arroyo's last spring training game was God-awful as well - although his ERA might not've reflected it (due to an error that was his in the third inning).  With veteran pitchers like that, is it any wonder the young, up-and-coming pitchers always seem to look shaky at best?  Just what are they learning?
I think the only way the Reds will threaten any position higher than 3rd in the Central this year will be dependent on:  Speed - run the young guys like crazy when they get on base, small ball - forget the Adam Dunn mentality of the long ball at the expense of TONS of strikeouts, and either beg, borrow, or steal someone like Dave Duncan from St. Louis to develop the young pitchers, who can utilize their full potentials.

4/1/10   |   sufronko_nascar24   |   8 respect

As long as the Reds can stay healthy, I believe they will be contenders in the NL Central. It would be better to have Volquez back but I believe Bailey, Lehr and Champman could fill his spot nicely. GO REDS! 

4/1/10   |   mojo   |   4372 respect

Good analysis.. really going to miss Voloquez, but should improve over last year. We will probably finish 3rd behind the cards and cubs.

3/29/10   |   ary201   |   213 respect

glenjones1926 wrote:
Hello Scott a Big NO! the CUBS baby!

You're picking the Cubs to be 3rd place instead of the Reds? Cause Scotts said the Reds would end up 3rd in the division.

3/28/10   |   WhoDat12   |   2252 respect

They'll be decent but not great, but they'll be better than the Pirates....and that counts for something.

3/28/10   |   crmuir

Good analysis, rotation is definitely the weakness, Baily is still a year or two away and Arroyo will always throw in a couple of terrible starts for every gem. Harang should bounce back this year and Cueto will improve from last year. Just need to find a fifth started who can give 6/7 strong regularly or the 'pen will be done by June.

3/27/10   |   MarkTheShark   |   590 respect

(Edited by MarkTheShark)

This is a team that could easily surprise. 88 ..89 wins is certainly attainable if everything comes together

3/27/10   |   Aceraison   |   183 respect

Not a bad write up for a Cardinals fan!  I think the starting rotation has a lot to prove.  Harang hasn't had a good year in quit a while.  Arroyo is inconsistent and Baily hasn't proven he can hang at the pro level.  Jay Bruce still has to prove he can be an impact player.  He came into the league a ball of fire but he didn't make much of an impact last season.

3/26/10   |   radiowave000   |   145 respect

3rd place behind the Cubs and Cards...which is improvement...

3/26/10   |   glenjones1926   |   2 respect

Hello Scott a Big NO! the CUBS baby!