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2012 Cincinnati Reds Predictions

April 06, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 137

A disappointing 79-83 record last year ended the Cincinnati Reds' chances to defend their National League Central championship from 2010. But general manager Walt Jockety didn't make many moves to improve them, resulting in a disappointing 2011. The GM feels like he has added in the right pieces to contend in 2012, however. He has acquired a proven starter in Mat Latos and a shutdown closer in Ryan Madson. With the St. Louis Cardinals losing Albert Pujols, and Prince Fielder not returning to the Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati believes it is the team to beat in the Central. Here are the projected starting lineup, starting rotation and closer situation.

Projected Lineup

Ryan Hanigan (Catcher) - After the Reds decided not to bring back veteran Ramon Hernandez, Hanigan will likely open the 2012 season as the everyday catcher. He isn't a real threat offensively, as he hit just.267 with 6 home runs and 31 RBI in 266 at-bats last year. If things don't work out, we could see a lot of Devin Mesoraco this year.

Joey Votto (First Base) - Now that Pujols and Fielder has both jumped to the AL, Votto is the best first baseman in the NL. Votto didn't live up to his MVP numbers from 2010, but he still hit.309 with 29 home runs and 103 RBI. As good as he has been so far in his career, he still has the potential to be even better in the near future.

Brandon Phillips (Second Base) - Another phenomenal season last year has vaulted Phillips into the class of elite second basemen. His career-high.300 average topped all NL second basemen last year, and he also had 18 home runs and 82 RBI. If you include his exceptional defense, it is no wonder that the three-time Gold Glove winner is considered one of the best at his position.

Zack Cozart (Shortstop) - Before being knocked out by an elbow injury, Cozart showed a little bit of his potential in the 11 games that he was able to play last year. Cozart hit.324 with 2 home runs and an impressive seven-game hitting streak in his first seven games.

Scott Rolen (Third Base) - Injuries derailed the 2011 season for the 37-year-old veteran. After hitting a remarkable.285 with 20 home runs and 83 RBI in 2010, Rolen was limited to just 65 games last year and hit just.242 with 5 homers and 36 RBI.

Chris Heisey (Left Field) - Heisey is expected to get a chance to start every day in left field after a couple of seasons in which he was used primarily as a backup. He has hit just.254 in 480 career at-bats, but he has some power worth keeping an eye on. After hitting just 8 home runs in 201 at-bats in 2010, Heisey belted 18 home runs in just 279 at-bats in 2011.

Drew Stubbs (Center Field) - Stubbs definitely has the potential to be a great player, but he needs to start making more contact. His 40 stolen bases and 15 home runs overshadowed the fact that he struck out a franchise-record 205 times last season.

Jay Bruce (Right Field) - Despite coming off an All-Star season in 2011, he was wildly inconsistent down the stretch. He finished up the year with an impressive 32 home runs and 97 RBI, but 12 of his home runs and 33 of his RBI came in the month of May. He hit just.228 in April and.217 in June, with just 6 homers in those two months combined.

Projected Rotation

Johnny Cueto (RHP) - The 2011 season was arguably the best of his career so far. His 2.31 ERA and 1.09 WHIP were both career bests and in his 9-5 record, five of his no-decisions came from a blown save.

Mat Latos (RHP) - Latos might just give the Reds a potent 1-2 punch at the top of rotation. His 9-14 record with the San Diego Padres is a bit misleading, as he posted solid numbers with a 3.47 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. One more thing to note is that he is moving from pitcher-friendly Petco Park to hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.

Bronson Arroyo (RHP) - Arroyo had a down year last season, thanks to a mono infection that affected his performance. He started 32 games for the Reds, but he finished just 9-12 with a horrible 5.07 ERA for the year. Now that he seems to have regained his health, look for him to bounce back with numbers more similar to his 3.88 ERA and 17 wins of 2010.

Mike Leake (RHP) - In just his second season in the big leagues, the 24-year-old won a team-high 12 games in 2011. Leake lowered his ERA from 4.23 to 3.86 and WHIP from 1.50 to 1.17, too. So long as he matches his numbers from 2011, then he will give the Reds a legit starter at the back of their rotation.

Homer Bailey (RHP) - Bailey has shown flashes in his career, but he needs to start producing on a more consistent basis if he wants to keep his job. He went 9-7 last year with a 4.43 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in a career-high 22 starts. If he doesn't improve soon, he might just lose his position in the rotation, should the team decide to make Aroldis Chapman a starter this season.

Projected Closer

Ryan Madson (RHP) - Francisco Cordero saved 37 games for the Reds last year, but he is certainly on the decline and Cincinnati opted not to retain him. Cincinnati is excited about having Madson close the ninth, as he converted 32 of 34 save opportunities with the Philadelphia Phillies last year. Madson could save upwards of 40 games this year, especially with the new look of their starting staff, but an arm injury may cost him the 2012 season.

Be sure to visit us for help beating the baseball lines this season with expert baseball picks from the top handicappers in the industry.

Source: EzineArticles
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