2014 MLB Preview and Rankings: #13 Cincinnati Reds

Published: Mar 29, 2014 06:09am EDT
By Michael Owen, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 29, 2014 @ 06:09am EDT

 

Spring training games have already begun and Opening Day is still a few weeks away, but the rite of passage that comes every Spring and finally getting to see actual ballgames going on in Florida and Arizona is enough to get any fan going.

There is still a lot of work to be done for some teams, position battles, last minute signings and so on. While one of the best things about Spring Training is that when it starts, anything can happen and every team has a chance.  Unfortunately for many teams those hopes can be shattered and lost by May.

As we begin playing ball, we have a pretty good idea of where each team stands and while each season is unpredictable, things can change at the drop of an Ace lefties torn rotator cuff.  

Over the next few weeks we'll give you a preseason ranking and analysis of each team daily.  feel free to disagree and voice your opinion

So with with all that being said, here we go:

13. Cincinnati Reds

For the third time in four years the Cincinnati Reds won 90 games and made the playoffs but once again lost in the first round of the playoffs costing longtime manager Dusty Baker his job and moving pitching coach Bryan Price to the top step of the dugout as the rookie manager for the Reds in 2014.

Making Price the new Red’s skipper may have been the biggest, if not their only, move the Red’s made all off season.  This past off season seemed to be more about subtractions than additions. This can’t bode well for Cincy’s playoff hopes in 2014.

Offensively, this is a fairly solid lineup. Price has already said that he will bat Joey Votto and Jay Bruce third and fourth in the lineup, something Baker was reluctant to do.  Votto and Bruce can do some serious damage to most pitching staffs and their placement in the lineup back to back should help both of their productions. That being said, losing Shin-Soo Choo and his .400+ OBP in the leadoff spot plus out machine Brandon Phillips batting second, you have to wonder how many RBI opportunities Votto and Bruce will get.

One source of excitement is the addition of speedster Billy Hamilton to the top of the lineup. Not since 1988 has anyone stolen more than 80 bases and provided he can get on base, Hamilton has a real chance to do that.  Therein lies the question.  Can Hamilton get on base enough to set the table for this lineup? With the realistic expectation of a 100 point drop in OBP from Choo last year to Hamilton this year, one has to wonder.

 While the offense has some question marks, the rotation looks to be a major strength for the Reds this year. 

With Johnny Cueto set to return to a hopefully healthy season after making only 11 starts last year and Mat Latos at the top of the rotation, the Reds have two bona fide aces leading this group.  Homer Bailey continues to make strides every year and Mike Leake is solid season after season. Losing an innings eater like Bronson Arroyo normally would be a minus for most staffs but with an up and coming stud like Tony Cingrani waiting to take that spot,, it makes that loss so much easier. Cingrani who dominated in the minors with over 300 K’s in only 228 2/3 innings may be one of the most exciting lefties to hit the show in years and may be in line for a pretty big season.

As for the bullpen: Going into the season it looked to be another strength for the Reds in 2014 however since a gruesome line drive off the skull of Aroldis Chapman and the subsequent surgery to insert a plate and some screws around his left eye, the concerns have arisen.  Jonathan Broxton who was re-signed last year to move into the closer’s role (so Chapman could give the rotation a shot) looks like he too will be starting the season on the DL as will set up man Sean Marshall. Closer candidate J.J. Hoover has failed to impress in his opportunities and neither Nick Christiani nor Pedro Beato have distinguished themselves either. Expect a closer by committee until Chapman returns.

Make no mistake, the Reds did not improve themselves over the winter and an argument could be made that they actually got worse. This team still has a ton of potential but their window of opportunity is closing. The core of their lineup is in their prime and the farm system has some guys in the upper levels ready to make the move to the show, but with some key contracts expiring over the next couple of years, their best opportunity to win is now.

Look for the Reds to compete and put a strong contender on the field, especially once healthy, but I can’t see them being strong enough to overtake the Cardinals in a very competitive NL Central.  A run at the wild card may be in their sights for 2014, but expect them to fade in late September.

Prediction 87-75

 

                                                         ***PREVIOUS RANKINGS***

                                                         (click link to view story)  

14. Los Angeles Angels 86-76

15. San Francisco Giants 85-77

16. Pittsburgh Pirates 84-78

17. Baltimore Orioles 82-80

18. San Diego Padres 81-81

19. Kansas City Royals 81-81

20. Seattle Mariners 80-82

21. Milwaukee Brewers 78-84

22. Philadelphia Phillies 76-86

23. New York Mets 75-87

24 Colorado Rockies 74-88

25. Toronto Blue Jays 71-91

26. Chicago Cubs  70-92

27. Minnesota Twins 67-95

28. Chicago White Sox 66-96

29. Miami Marlins 64-98

30. Houston Astros 62-100


 

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