Cincinnati

How Do The Reds Get Back to Winning Ways?

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The last time the Cincinnati Reds were world champions, George H.W. Bush was still in office, and the NL MVP in the 1990 season was Barry Bonds for the Pittsburgh Pirates. What needs to happen to see one of the most historic franchises comeback to dominance?

Well to get things started most of this roster is aging, as it seems some of the contracts will never end. The Reds were a regular season powerhouse from 2010-2013 but last year injuries and a depleted bullpen put the team in behind the eight ball early, and was out of the division and wildcard race early in August.

Let us go position by position with the starters…

Right field: Jay Bruce, 2014 numbers were career low, batting .217, career low in hitting 18 homeruns, and 66 RBI’s. In the 2013 season he batted .262, career high in 30 homeruns, and career high 109 RBI’s. Bruce signed his contract in 2010 for a six year fifty-one million dollar contract. Looked great his first year couple of years but then last year, Bruce hit rock bottom. Jay Bruce will be getting paid a whopping twelve millions dollars for this season. With all of this negativity being said, Bruce is only 27-years-old which is prime for most athletes.

Center field: Billy Hamilton is one of the bright futures not only of the Reds but also of the MLB. He is worth the pay of admission with his electric speed. If this guy gets on base, WATCH OUT! Hamilton had 56 stolen bases, and was caught 23 times. If Hamilton can lower his get his stolen base percentage up from last year and get himself into scoring positions with all of the great hitters behind him in the lineup this team could do wonders. In addition, his defense is very good. Hamilton only committed two errors last season while having 10 assists.

Left field: Marlon Byrd, the Cincinnati Reds needed a left fielder to replace Ryan Ludwick who has played the past three seasons for Cincinnati. The Reds wanted another veteran if possible to replace Ludwick, and they got the best guy possible. Byrd might be 37-years-old and aging but the guy is a pure hitter and a leader in the clubhouse. His career batting average is .278, and had 25 homeruns last season. Just need him to get guys on before him and let him hit them around.

First base: Joey Votto, the main question is with being 31-years-old and aging, can Votto stay healthy and put up the numbers he did in his MVP 2010 season. Ever since Votto signed a 10-year $220 million contract, his numbers have plummeted. Last year Votto only played 62 games, one hundred games less than the 2012 season. When healthy, Votto can be one of the most dangerous hitters in the game. Expect Votto to be a Red the whole season if the Reds can stay in the playoff picture come the All-Star break. If not, look for the Reds to trade many of their big name players to make cap room for the next season.

Second Base: Brandon Phillips is coming up on his 10th year with the Cincinnati Reds will answer a lot of speculating questions. Can aging Phillips keep his batting numbers and fielding numbers up with injuries seeming to be effecting his range and sometimes ability to make his top 10 plays everyone is used to seeing on TV. Phillips committed career low two errors last season, but did not win which could have been his fifth career Gold Glove. Phillips batting numbers however were significantly down last year because he played 30 games less than the 2013 season. Expect the Reds to do the same with Phillips as Votto if they are out of contention early.

Shortstop: Zack Cozart is by far the weakest batter the Reds have in their starting lineup. On the other hand, he is one of the most reliable fielders in the league. Cozart’s batting average dropped to a career low .221 one of the lowest in the MLB last year. Reds manager Bryan Price said earlier this spring training, “Hamilton will lead off. Zack Cozart will bat eight and the pitcher ninth”. Expect this to be the last season for Cozart with the Reds if he does not improve his batting.

Third Base: Todd Frazier the young talented phenome earned his two-year extension this offseason by batting career high .273, hitting 29 homeruns, driving in 80 RBI’s, while having 20 stolen bases. Frazier earned his first All-Star game and finished second in the Homerun Derby last year. With all the accolades Frazier earned last season the hype cannot be higher coming into the 2015 season. Expect to see Frazier try to win the Homerun Derby this All-Star break in 2015 when the city of Cincinnati Reds hosts the mid-season classic.

Catcher: Devin Mesoraco will look to produce the same numbers as he did last year. Mesoraco improved all is batting numbers and earned his first All-Star game. Mesoraco hit 25 homeruns and driving in 80 RBI’s while only playing 114 games. Mesoraco had a career high .997 fielding percentage. Mesoraco looks to lead the team offensively with Frazier and to get help from the veterans in Votto, Bruce, and Phillips.

Lineup (opinion)

  1. Hamilton
  2. Phillips
  3. Votto
  4. Mesoraco
  5. Byrd
  6. Frazier
  7. Bruce
  8. Cozart
  9. (Starting pitcher)

Stay tuned for the starting pitchers and bullpen next week.

 

(photo credit: National Museum)

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