A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE REDS
A championship-caliber team. Cincinnati and Washington are the favorites in the NL.... Shin-Soo Choo is a great addition. There are a lot of concerns that he'll struggle in centerfield, but he's been flashing his big arm, and he's a better option than Jay Bruce. Choo is perfect for their lineup, the leadoff guy they always needed. He's a doubles hitter, but in that park a lot of those doubles are going to be home runs.... With Choo they don't have to rush prospect Billy Hamilton to the majors. He's one of the most exciting players in the game, but he's not ready.... They have Joey Votto, Bruce is ready to become a star, and Ryan Ludwick is a monster in that ballpark—his fly balls just sail out of there. But there's so much other talent. Zack Cozart catches the ball as well as anyone at short. Ryan Hanigan is an excellent catcher who will hit—they should start him over Devin Mesoraco.... I'm glad they didn't move Aroldis Chapman, that wasn't a good idea. He's so dominant as a reliever.... If Chapman breaks down, they'll still be good enough with Jonathan Broxton closing. Plus they have insurance with Sean Marshall behind him.... I think Mat Latos grew up last year. He has the stuff to be a No. 1 starter.... Homer Bailey is finally what everyone thought he'd be years ago: a front-of-the-rotation pitcher.... There aren't weaknesses here. They'll be back in position again in October, with an even more dangerous team.
2013 Projected Statistics
MANAGER DUSTY BAKER
Sixth season with the Reds
LINEUPS AND STAT PROJECTIONS BY ROTOWIRE.COM
The K Meter
Percentage of 2012 plate appearances that ended with a strikeout, and major league rank
BY HITTERS | 20.7% | 22ND
BY PITCHERS | 20.6% | 9TH
Choo flourishes in the NL, Votto is the league's MVP and the Reds win their first world championship since 1990.
The Chapman-less rotation isn't quite deep enough, and the Reds miss the playoffs in a hyper-tight race.
Albert Chen has more on the Reds at SI.com/mlb
With the Reds electing to keep Aroldis Chapman in the bullpen, they now have a $21 million commitment over the next three seasons to Jonathan Broxton to be a setup man. Despite Broxton's hefty paycheck, though, the team should be cautious with the hefty righthander. One-inning relievers are expected to strike out 25% of the batters they face. In 2012, a year after elbow and shoulder pain blew up his '11 season, Broxton struck out 19% (though his rate was 23% in 25 appearances with Cincinnati after a July trade from the Royals). Broxton's fastball has lost two to three mph in recent years, and though he is inducing more ground balls (more than half the balls put in play off him last year), he doesn't seem cut out for the highest-leverage spots. The Reds have better bullpen options in Sean Marshall, Sam LeCure and J.J. Hoover. Broxton's salary and career saves total won't help the Reds win the division if he can't miss bats in 2013, so Dusty Baker should be ready to downgrade Broxton's role even further.
BRAD MANGIN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (CHOO)
PAUL SANCYA/AP (BROXTON)
JOE ROBBINS/GETTY IMAGES (VOTTO)
Party Like It's 1990 It's been 23 years since the Reds' last World Series. Votto and one of the NL's most talented rosters could end the drought.