Posted on: October 13, 2009 6:37 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2009 9:48 pm

MLB Team Analysis- The Cincinnati Reds

This is the first part of my team by team analyisis during this offseason. As i explained last week i will analyize every team in major league baseball over the next few months. This will be a detailed analysis and i will make updates as trades and free agent signings are made. So today i will start with the Cincinnati Reds. I will use my PDS system (Positional Depth Scale) to analyize the teams depth by position.

2009 Record- 78-84 (4th NL Central)

Rotation - +++

1. Aaron Harang- $12 mill
2. Bronson Arroyo- $11 mill
3. Johnny Cueto- $418,000
4. Homer Bailey $401,000
5. Justin Lehr (Open) $400,000

This is a pitching staff that could be really good but there are some flaws that hold them back, and it dosnt help that they pitch at Great American Ballpark which is one of the top hitters parks in the majors. When or if they get Edinson Volquez back from tommy john surgery will have a huge impact on their season.

Aaron Harang   was once one of the NL's top pitchers leading the league in strikeouts in 2006. But ever since a relief appearance in 2008 he has not looked the same. He has failed to win more than 6 games and lost a combined 31 games in the past 2 years. His problem isnt walking batters but that he gives up a lot of hits. Last year he yeilded a .289 opponent batting average. This is a trend of this Reds pitching staff, they dont walk a ton of batters but they give up a lot of hits.
Bronson Arroyo    struggled the first half of the season with a 5.38 ERA the first half of the season but he was dominant in the second half with a 2.24 ERA. Arroyo has been the Reds most consistent starter over the past few seasons accumulating a 53-50 record over his Cincinnati career. He may not be a strikeout pitcher but he is a solid middle rotation guy.
Johnny Cueto    improved upon his rookie campaign going 11-11 with a 4.41 ERA and 132 K's. Johnny had the opposite problem of Arroyo, he was very good the first half of the season going 8-6 with a 3.62 ERA but he fell apart down the stretch. But that is to be expected from such a young pitcher. Cueto's main problem is his reliance on his fastball. He has a good fastball but over 80% of his pitches are fastballs and when he makes a mistake he pays for it. Cueto showed he has good stuff if he works on other pitches he will be near the top of the rotation.
Homer Bailey   the once prized prospect had fallen from grace but last season he showed us why he was so covited. He started out rough and many people were starting to really doubt him but he dominated in september and october going 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA and 35 K's. This guy could be the best guy in the rotation eventually and look for him to take another big step next season.
5th Spot - This is a open spot Justin Lehr could get in there but there is a reason he is a journey man pitcher. I dont know if Micah Owings could pitch here, he wasnt that great last time. This is a tough spot.

Bullpen - ++++

CL- F. Cordero $12 mill
MR- N. Massett $418,000 +
MR- A. Rhodes $2 mill
MR- J. Burton $420,000 +
MR- D. Herrera $400,000

This is where the Reds improved the most last year in my opinion. Cordero had a better second season with the Reds accumulating 39 saves. I like Herrera a lot, his screwball is awesome and he pitches great for such a tiny guy. This will be the Reds strength coming into next season.

Infield- +++

C- R. Hanningan $400,000
1B- J. Votto $438,000
2B- B. Phillips $6.75 mill
3B- S. Rolen $11 mill
SS- P. Janish $400,000

My main concerns with the infeild are at catcher and shortstop. Ryan Hannigan migh be okay for a starter but then they need to get a solid veteran back up. Craig Tatum is not the answer. First base is there strongest offensive positon. Votto is about the only guy who will draw a lot of walks on this team. He can hit for a .300 plus batting average and can hit homers. Second base is the Reds next best positon with Gold Golver Brandon Phillips who lead the team in RBI's last season and is a Power, Speed player. He isnt your typical cleanup hitter though. Third is alright with aging Scott Rolen, he is good deffensivly and his contact was good last year but his power is only a fraction of where it once was. Shortstop is an interesting place for the Reds, Paul Janish is the starter but he really cant hit but he is the best deffensive player on the team. The back up Drew Sutton isnt a starter possibility either so they need to figure that position out.

Outfield- ++++

LF- Chris Dickerson $400,000
CF- Drew Stubbs $400,000
RF- Jay Bruce $418,000
4th OF- Jonny Gomes $600,000 +

They may not have any proven starters but they have a plethora of young talents and veteran backups who can provide steady offense. Chris Dickerson is an amazing deffensive player and has decent speed, but really not any power and mediocre average. Nix and Gomes can back him up both power hitters who can hit very well. Drew Stubbs looked very good in CF and had a pretty good auditon this year for a starting gig next year. He has some pop and speed and could project to be a very good player but he is young. Willy Taveras was very disappointing last season as his OBP dipped below .300. He has speed and could be used to pich run. Jay Bruce has replaced Adam Dunn as the Power/Strikeout guy on the Reds. He had a very tough sophmore slump and hit only .223 but still hit over 20 HR, he also suffered from a broken wrist. He will be better next year. He is only 22 years old and has a lot of time ahead of him. His back up Wladimir Balentine is a similar type of player a guy who hits for power but K's a lot. Overall this is a pretty deep position for the Reds.

Overview- +++

The Reds are hoping to contend in 2010 and to me it is really up in the air. They were throttled bu injuries this year and it hurt their good start. If they can stay healthy and there young players can contribute they have a shot. But my main concern is offense, i think the pitching will be above average but the Reds ranked 2nd to last in the NL in offense this year. They will need to improve upon that if they want to have any chance to contend. My suggestion find a power bat and shed an expensive veteran pitcher (Aaron Harang) and hope Edinson Volquez comes back soon. Right now i would say the Reds odds to make the post season is about 50-50. A more likely scenario is an over .500 record and a 3rd to 4th place finish.

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 12, 2009 8:39 pm

Whats next for my blog

Now that the Cubs season is over and post-season baseball is underway. There isnt a lot to talk about for the Cubs. There are not a ton of trade rumors and that's not exactly what i want to talk about. Although i am a Cubs fan i am a true baseball fan and do enjoy watching games in general. I am a stat junkie and love to come up with predictions. So from now until the start of next season i will post my analysis of teams. Which will include where they stand as of now, what they need to improve on, and my suggestions. I will also post trade or free agent signing alalysis on here as well. So if you are already waiting for next years baseball season, you should check in on this blog for info and post comments or questions if you have any.

My next post will be an analysis of the Cincinnati Reds so look out for that.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 7, 2009 3:04 pm

Allstar break is almost upon us

The All star break is nearly here, so i wanted to break down what has happened thus far and grade player performances.

Record as of July 7th-  41-39

Starting rotation-

Carlos Zambrano- 4-3   Im waiting for Big Z to go on a tear, he has pitched okay but the bullpen hasnt helped him out either. Grade C +
Ryan Dempster-  5-5   So far Dempester has showed that last year was a fluke and he just performed for his contract.   Grade C
Ted Lilly-             8-6  Lilly has been the most consistent starter for the Cubs the past 3 years and is their lone all star  Grade  B +
Rich Harden-       5-5  Has been inconsistent and injury prone, he needs a good second half.                                      Grade  D + 
Randy Wells-      4-3  Has been dominant since coming up even with recieving bad run support.                                  Grade  A


CL- Kevin Gregg- 15 sv  He has started to settle down, he was awful at the begining of the season but has had a solid June. Grade C +
SU- Carlos Marmol- He has shown flashes of dominance although not like last year, he is very wild.                                    Grade  C +
SU- Aaron Heilman- Has been really bad most of the season, he is better as a middle reliever.                                           Grade D +

C- Geovany Soto-  He has gone through a sophmore slump but is starting to wake up.                                                Grade C

1B- Derek Lee-  After an awful april has become the best hitter on the team.                                                             Grade B +

- Has been split between a lot of players the best fit being Jake Fox on offense and Andres Blanco on defense            Grade D +

SS- Ryan Theriot- Has increased power but batting average and on base percentage have gone down.                            Grade B

3B- Aramis Ramirez is finaly returning from his injury. While he was gone this was a though position to fill.                     Grade D

LF- Alfonso Soriano- Started out hot but has cooled off really bad. Needs to have a good second half             Grade C

CF- Split between Fukudome, and Reed Johnson has been very average                                                      Grade C +

RF- Milton Bradley- May be the biggest disappointment on this team, and a waste of 30 million dollars                    Grade D

1st half Grade- C

They have underachieved to an extreme, that being said they only 2 1/2 games out of first. If they have a good second half they could win the division. The offense needs to be consistent and the bullpen needs to keep the leads. The Starting pitching needs to continue what its doing, the main reason the starters dont have a ton of wins is bad run support and many blown games by the bullpen.If they can maintain what they have been doing and the other parts of the team can improve they could be in the playoffs. This has been a year of career worst so if they could get in that would be amazing.

Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com