2008 Cincinnati Reds Baseball Preview
There’s always one club in the six-team NL Central that’s tough to figure out. This year it’s the Cincinnati Reds (72- 90). Will they finish in second of fifth-place? The answer is—yes.
With an average rotation and better than average bullpen, the Reds have little chance of contending for the top spot. Last season the team was near last in every major pitching category. They tied the Marlins for the worst ERA in the NL—4.94. There’s no arguing that the ace of this squad is the durable Aaron Harang (16-6, 3.73 ERA, 218 SO), who pitched 231.2 innings last season. Bronson Arroyo (9- 15, 4.23 ERA, 156 SO) got little run support but was also hammered by hitters after they saw him a few times. The rest of the rotation looks slim and shallow. Newly signed, first-rate closer Francisco Cordero (0- 4, 2.98 ERA, 44 SV, 86 SO, .218 BAA) is a welcome addition. Setup man David Weathers (2- 6, 3.59 ERA, 33 SV. 48 SO, .233 BA) is solid.
The offense, which has not been improved this year, was also average. 1B Scott Hatteberg (.310 BA, 10 HR, 47 RBI) continues to be a patient, scrappy hitter. 3B Edwin Encarnacion (.289 BA, 16 HR, 76 RBI) smokes fastballs and 2B Brandon Phillips (.288 BA, 30 HR, 94 RBI) and RF Ken Griffy, Jr. (.277 BA, 30 HR, 93 RBI) have power and hitting smarts. SS Alex Gonzalez (.272 BA, 16 HR, 55 RBI) offers some oomph at the bottom of the order.
Once again, fielding was simply average for this club that tied for seventh in double plays and sixth in fielding percentage. The infield is sound except for third base. The outfield is good but not stellar. Catcher David Ross, who will start, is better than average but not a true starter.
GM Wayne Krivsky, who did exemplary work with the Twins, has been hot and miss with the Reds. Owner Bob Castellini wants to create another winning Red Machine in Cincinnati. To this end, he hired high profile manager Dusty Baker to help him reach that goal. If the right deals can be made, Baker may be able to deliver in two to three years.
For more info on Cincinnati check out the MLB website for the Reds.