Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Kick back, relax, take a pull off of Shotzie.

Alright, why not. I figured I'd try to tackle one of these team breakdown things that Colin has been doing. If can somehow manage to get it to work, maybe we can end up covering every team. Wouldn't that be a treat to the 3 people out there who read this thing? (4 if Justin got my email.) This is my first attempt at this stuff, so if the numbers are off, I apologize.

The Cincinnati Reds were an interesting team last year. Going into the season they seemed poised to compete in the NL Central. They ended up getting a career year out of Sean Casey, Adam Dunn showed his potential, and Ken Jr. managed to stay healthy for 83 games (the most since 2001) before tearing his griffeystrings again. Yet, they still finished in 4th place behind three tough teams in St. Louis, Houston, and Chicago. They did get hit by injuries pretty hard last year, but another factor to this disappointing finish can probably be attributed to the fact that I had to look who they had pitching for them not named Danny Graves.

2004 Roster
CJason LaRue44521.1
1BSean Casey63366.2
2BD'Angelo Jimenez65235.3
3BJuan Castro3160.8
SSBarry Larkin38626.5
RFAustin Kearns2466.2
CFKen Griffey Jr.34826.4
LFAdam Dunn68164.8
OFWily Mo Pena36423.5

2005 Roster
CJason LaRue32111.9
1BSean Casey55623.5
2BD'Angelo Jimenez55023.6
3BJoe Randa4144.0
SSFelipe Lopez31513.0
RFAustin Kearns37829.8
CFKen Griffey Jr.31021.6
LFAdam Dunn55042.4
OFWily Mo Pena37029.3

Unless you're still playing "Ken Griffey Jr.'s Slugfest", I included Wily Mo Pena for obvious reasons. Given recent history, he's more than likely going to get a good amount of playing time. Regardless, the Reds still project to have an enviable outfield next year. Although I'm curious to see if Adam Dunn's name gets bandied about in mid-season trade talks if the Reds falter again this year (*cough* redsox *cough*). I can't believe I just used the word bandied.

Thirdbase was obviously a hole last season. There was talk of moving Kearns to third, but it looks like that was scratched because of his injuries. You could do worse with Joe Randa, but then again you could also do a whole lot better. I got to give Joe props though for having such stick-to-it-ness. A group of us once went to Fenway with homemade "R-A-N-D-A" shirts on. They also said "F-R-A-N-K" for Frank Castillo on the back too, so now you know what you're dealing with.

One of the more interesting stories of this season will be who takes over for Larkin, and how well they do. I threw Lopez in there because he seems to be the frontrunner, but regardless shortstop will more than likely be filled by a very green player. How they handle taking over for a superstar should play a part in how the Reds do. Sean Casey's projections are down for obvious reasons, but I tend to think that last year was more breakout year than career year. I'd expect him to end the season with a much higher value.

2004 Rotation
Paul Wilson29183.724.6
Aaron Harang28161.013.1
Jose Acevedo27157.7-7.1
Cory Lidle24149.00.4
Brandon Claussen1466.0-7.7
Todd Van Poppel11115.3-6.5

2005 Rotation
Paul Wilson24139.05.4
Eric Milton27164.010.9
Jose Acevedo16104.05.0
Brandon Claussen17101.04.7
Josh Hancock1486.03.9
Luke Hudson1594.011.0

How bad was Jose Acevedo last year? Remember in 2003 when Danny Graves started and the words "unmitigated disaster" were thrown around? Yeah, that's a good comparison. This offseason they let mediocrity's sweetheart Cory Lidle go, resigned number 1 starter by default Paul Wilson, and added Eric Milton to the mix. So yeah, the rotation really isn't that much better. If Claussen gets it going this year, they will probably have two or three young pitchers vying for the 5th spot. Regardless, the rotation should be at least marginally better than last year just due to their young pitcher's progression. Having Todd Van Poppel sit at home wondering why he sucks so bad should help too.

Just like last year, the Reds successes will probably be in the hands of their starters. If they can get some of their promising young guys to click, they could make some noise in the Central, especially with the drop off of competition after the Cardinals. Sounds a bit like 2004 doesn't it?


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