I am just a blogger and don’t complain to be an expert on managing and assembling a major league ball club, but I’d like to make a few observations about the Reds 20 games into the season.
The starting pitching literally could not be worse. They rank last in the NL with a 6.11 ERA with the second place team having a 5.40 ERA. That is a lot worse than even second to worse! So far the Reds best starting pitcher has been Mike Leake as he has the only win that a Reds starter has this season. Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are making 20+ million this season, and a Reds club without those two would have some $$$$ to spend on what Jocketty sees fit. Since Arroyo and Harang have not been great anyway I dont think the Reds would lose ANYTHING if they were traded and young pitchers were brought up.
I think a lot of Walt Jocketty and I think with $20 million he can do a lot. If Harang and Arroyo departed, the Reds rotation would look something like the following:
1. Johnny Cueto
2. Mike Leake (pictured)
3. Aroldis Chapman
4. Homer Bailey
5. Travis Wood
Cueto and Bailey havent been great thus far but I do not worry about them because they are still improving and have electric stuff as long as their focus and concentration is high. You cannot coach the type of talent that they were born with. Mike Leake looks like he is in the majors to stay barring a turn for the worst. Aroldis Chapman….well we know about him. My opinion is that he is ready. Finally Travis Wood showed in Spring Training that he was ready for the bigs. He almost won the 5th starters spot but just lost out to Mike Leake.
This is different from Reds fire selling as they have done occasionally in the past. ALL of these players that would be coming up are READY for the big leagues. The Reds also have Matt Maloney who is major league ready when he gets an opportunity.
Walt Jocketty can take a lesson from teams like the Marlins. The Marlins have opted to stick with young pitching for years. Guys like Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, and Ricky Nolasco have been given the vote of confidence by their managers and their organization and though at times they have struggled, they comprise a pretty good staff down in Miami. Youngster Josh Johnson is the ace of the staff and the Marlins brought him up early but he learned from struggles and is now a dominant pitcher.
Cueto needs to keep improving. He seems to ride an emotional rollercoaster while he is on the mound. He will occasionally lose confidence and concentration and will begin to overthrow. For Johnny, CONSISTENCY is the name of the game
Homer Bailey…unfortunately he was way too overhyped 2 years ago. Still though he has added a cut fastball and looked to be figuring things out last year when he finished 6-1 and was the national league pitcher of the month for september. When he walks guys and cannot throw strikes, he gets into trouble and works a high pitch count. Early this year, he has been plagued by leaving ball over the plate where hitters can drive the ball. When he can locate his pitches, he if awfully tough so for him the key if LOCATION.
I would really like to see Walt Jocketty have $20 million to improve the club. And a rotation of Cuetto, Leake, Chapman, Bailey, and Wood would be awfully exciting. Up and down but really intriguing. Not to mention Chapman would sell some serious tickets. We’ll see. For the foreseeable future Arroyo and Harang are here. Hopefully they will be effective and the Reds will be able to win!
The 2010 season is upon us as there are 4 days remaining until pitchers and catchers report. I already previewed the NL Central where I predicted:
The Cardinals have Pujols and Holliday, and Carpenter and Wainwright as both top tier pitching and hitting duos, and they are too talented not to win the central. Here’s how everything else will shake out I believe.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
Halladay and Hamels will combine to win around 35 games by themselves and the Phils also feature one of the best lineups in baseball from top to bottom. They will overpower the rest of this otherwise average division.
2. New York Mets-Wild Card
At least this season, the Mets won’t collapse down the stretch and come in second. They simply won’t be able to keep up from the Phils. I think David Wright’s power numbers will rebound and Jason Bay and Johan Santana give the Mets a shot at the wild card. I think they get it.
3. Florida Marlins
Josh Johnson is quietly developing into one of the best unknown pitchers in baseball. Hanley Ramirez, Jorge Cantu, and Chris Coghlan will give them a solid lineup, but I think inconsitency will plague them, and too many holes will be exposed for them to win the division.
4. Atlanta Braves
The Braves and Frank Wren baffled me this offseason with some of their moves. Trading Javier Vazquez for an average outfielder who will only block Jason Heyward’s path to the majors makes no sense to me, even taking money into account. Troy Glaus is not the answer to their hole at first base. However the Braves still have some solid starters with Hudson, Hanson, and the often overlooked Jair Jurrjens.
5. Washington Nationals
There is only one reason to care about the Nats this season: Steven Strasburg. How will he do?
1. San Francisco Giants
I think this will be a suprisingly really good team this year. Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum are both all-stars. A quick glance at the Giants lineup will raise the question can they hit enough but I believe that as a group Sandoval, Freddy Sanchez, Aubrey Huff, and Mark DeRosa etc will combine to create an offense which will score enough runs to support their pitchers
2. Colorado Rockies
The NL West is really a toss up between the Giants and Rockies I think. The Rockies have a lot of good young players. Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge de la Rosa have learned how to pitch in Colorado and pitch very well.Watch out for Ian Stewart this season. Hit BA is less than spectacular but dont be suprised to see 32-35 homers from him this season.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
Not as good as people may think. Billingsley, Kuroda, Kershaw, Padilla is a very average top 4 pitchers in the rotation.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
Talent at some positions but too many holes from top to bottom. Webb is even a question mark this year after a lost 2009 campaign.
5. San Diego Padres
Hey, they’ll beat the Nationals. But a lineup with Nick Hundley, Chase Headley, Will Venable, and David Eckstein is hard to believe in!