It’s that time of the year again, where hope springs eternal and optimism about the upcoming season is high. The Reds have lots of reasons to be hopeful entering the season. They have the makings of a good pitching staff, a core of talented bats, and several prospects worth keeping an eye on. The big question is, did the Reds do enough over the winter to address their needs to put a winning team, or dare to dream, a pennant contender, on the field?

Below is a position by position breakdown of the Reds to help us to preview their prospects for having a winning season.


RK Pos   GP   AB   R    H  2B 3B  HR   TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
12 Reds 161 5435 700 1346 268 24 185 2217 673 .248 .321 .408 .729 
   NL   161 5505 730 1435 294 30 162 2275 697 .261 .331 .413 .744 

Our offense ranked 12 out of 16 in the NL and we dumped our best hitter two thirds of the way into the season. Did the Reds add the offense they needed to be successful this season?


RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
11 C    162 538 56 126 23  2 12 189  57 .234 .330 .351 .681 
   NL   162 579 63 148 31  1 15 224  76 .254 .327 .385 .712 

Name         AB  OPS
Bako        299 .626
Ross        134 .747
Valentin    129 .737

Reds catchers were 11th out of 16 offensively last season. Bako and Valentin were both let go via free agency. This was a big area of need in the off season and the Reds addressed it by acquiring Ramon Hernandez for Ryan Freel.

Hernandez sports a big contract that ends after this season with a club option for next year. Hernandez’ last season of being an offensive plus was in 2006. His defense has also been in decline over the last two seasons. Hoping for an offensive and defensive rebound from a 33 year old catcher is not often a good bet. I expect a bit of an offensive gain for the Reds for this upcoming season as Hernandez will most likely be an average to slightly above average offensive catcher. Any gains defensively will most likely also be minimal. Hanigan will be a fine backup. Unless the Reds have designs of starting either Hanigan or Tatum next season, they will again be in the market for catching next winter.

First Base

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
 5 1B   162 606 75 177 41  3 25 299  91 .292 .366 .493 .859 
   NL   162 614 88 170 37  2 28 294 103 .276 .358 .479 .837 

Name         AB  OPS
Votto       526 .874

Votto is a very good player. Expect him to produce a .850+ OPS and become a Reds fan favorite. The Reds will again be above average offensively at 1B. The big question at 1B is what are the Reds to do in the near future if Yonder Alonso tears it up at both the AA and AAA levels this year. Alonso can play 1B only, and Votto appears to be serviceable in LF. Will the Reds consider moving Votto to LF to make room for Alonso’s bat?

Second Base

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
10 2B   162 645 89 165 26  7 21 268  84 .256 .305 .416 .720 
   NL   162 633 90 171 35  4 15 259  74 .271 .338 .409 .747 

Name         AB  OPS
Phillips    559 .754

I’ve always thought Phillips bat was overrated and last season he was just above average for an NL 2B. He’ll be grossly overpaid in 2011 at $11M. I’ve always wanted him moved back to SS but that is obviously not happening. Great defense and average bat, just keep him out of the four hole and away from the top of the lineup.

Third Base

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
 6 3B   162 591 80 148 34  1 28 268  78 .250 .339 .453 .792 
   NL   162 618 83 164 35  2 23 272  86 .264 .334 .440 .774 

Name         AB  OPS
Encarnacion 506 .807

Everyone keeps saying he is going to break out. I always thought of him as a solid .800 to .825 OPS kind of guy. Solid bat and rough on defense. With his recent raise in arbitration and our depth at 3B in the minors with Frazier/Francisco/Soto you have to wonder if his days with the Reds are numbered.


RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
11 SS   162 657 76 179 39  3  6 242  60 .272 .321 .368 .689 
   NL   162 641 85 177 35  6 12 259  61 .275 .333 .401 .734 

Name         AB  OPS
Keppinger   459 .657
Hairston    261 .871

I like Keppinger, but I don’t like him as the everyday SS though. He’s a better hitter than he showed last season though. Hairston had a career season at 32 years old last season and can’t be counted on producing like that this year. I’ll believe Gonzalez will be able to spend a significant amount of time in the lineup when I see it. Shortstop was a position the Reds needed to upgrade last winter. They chose to roll the dice on Gonzalez’ health and a repeat career year performance from Hairston, both are bad bets. Hope for another big season from Chris Valaika in the minors to put him into position to be the Reds SS next year. Otherwise the Reds will be shopping for a SS again next winter. I’m not expecting any offensive improvement at SS next season.

Left Field

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
 6 LF   162 582 94 144 29  2 38 291  95 .247 .361 .500 .861 
   NL   162 623 91 169 35  4 23 282  85 .271 .350 .452 .802 

Name         AB   OPS
Dunn        373  .901
Cabrera     115  .710
Dickerson   102 1.021

Dunn was dealt and we didn’t get a bat back, just a couple of pitchers and a utility catcher. Dickerson will not hit this much going forward, but could be part of the answer in the form of a LF platoon. This was the biggest position of need for the Reds over the winter. They made a good signing in Jonny Gomes, who will most likely provide a solid RH platoon partner for Dickerson and RH power off the bench. Look for below average to average production for a LF from the pair. Let’s keep an eye on Dickerson and hope that he can maintain his solid OBP skills and be at least a league average bat with above average defense. This could make him a future CF candidate should Votto be switched to LF in the next season or two.

Center Field

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
13 CF   162 659 92 164 34  3 20 264  74 .249 .299 .401 .700 
   NL   162 641 93 171 34  5 19 273  78 .267 .333 .426 .760 

Name         AB  OPS
Patterson   366 .582
Freel       131 .699

The Reds recognized this position as being one of dire need over the winter. So much so that they pretty much tripped all over themselves to ensure that they would be the first ones in line when Denver released Willy Taveras. They promptly opened up their check book and signed him for two years despite the fact that they had Chris Dickerson and Norris Hopper in house and Drew Stubbs on the horizon, all who can and will provide the same if not better offensive output. Expect Taveras to be an average defensive CF and below average lead off man for the next two seasons. The Reds will not even improve offensively in CF with the Taveras signing and could actually be worse. The Reds managed a .700 OPS in CF last season despite Corey Patterson’s horrid year thanks to Hairston’s career numbers and Bruce seeing time out there as well. Taveras’ lifetime OPS is .668.

Right Field

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
11 RF   162 621 85 151 30  2 28 269  84 .243 .331 .433 .764 
   NL   162 624 88 169 37  4 21 277  84 .270 .343 .443 .786 

Name         AB  OPS
Bruce       413 .767
Griffey     359 .787

Jay Bruce did well for his debut at such a young age. Expect him to start to blossom this year and give us years of above average production in RF. He’s going to be fun to watch this season.


RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
11 PH   145 251 25  58  7  1  5  82  39 .231 .305 .327 .631 
   NL   140 234 25  54 10  1  5  81  32 .229 .317 .346 .663 

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
 7 DH     9  35  5   7  0  0  3  16   5 .200 .282 .457 .739 
   NL     8  30  4   7  1  0  1  12   4 .239 .307 .399 .706 

RK Pos   GP  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR  TB RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
14 P    153 280 15  32  6  0  1  41  10 .114 .139 .146 .285 
   NL   154 297 16  42  7  0  1  53  16 .139 .177 .175 .352

The Reds brought in the likes of Daryle Ward and Jacque Jones to audition for bench depth and LH PH roles. Look for Laynce Nix and Adam Rosales to possibly be in the running for bench spots also. It will be interesting to see how Owings improves the pitchers hitting numbers this season.


RK Pos   GP  W  L  ERA Sv CG SHO     IP    H  ER   R  BB   SO  BAA WHIP
13 Reds 162 74 88 4.55 34  2   6 1442.1 1542 729 800 557 1227 .275 1.46
   NL   162 79 82 4.29 38  4   9 1446   1457 689 749 554 1122 .263 1.39 

It’s strange that our pitching staff ranked 13th out of 16 in the NL and we are still so high on it going into this season. There is good reason for that also, let’s examine it by breaking down the starters and relievers.


RK Pos   GP  W  L  ERA Sv CG SHO     IP    H  ER   R  BB   SO  BAA WHIP
14 SP   162 51 68 4.97  0  2   0  917.1  996 507 550 343  762 .278 1.46
   NL   162 54 56 4.43  0  4   0  932    959 457 493 335  690 .267 1.39
Name     GS   ERA
Arroyo   34  4.77
Volquez  32  3.21
Cueto    31  4.81
Harang   29  4.78
Fogg     14  7.58

Starters were 14th out of 16 in the NL. There is a reason why the staff ranked so low overall. Volquez was awesome; he needs to show he can repeat next season, although I don’t expect him to do quite as well. All the other starters were below average. It’s like we had a #1 starter, three #4 starters, and an armless guy in the five spot.

Lots of reason for hope here though. Harang came on strong and looked like himself late in the season. His ERA was a full run higher than usual; look for him to bounce back strong this season. Arroyo fell of the cliff for a few starts, and he was his average self the rest of the season.

Cueto hung tough and pretty much did like what you’d expect from a young guy in his first year in the bigs. Cueto has the best stuff on the staff, and I expect him to be better this season as he continues to mature.

Fogg, Bailey, Thompson, and Belisle combined for 31 starts with an ERA of over 7. We can expect big improvement in that spot next season from Micah Owings who is throwing great this spring with no signs of the arm woes that plagued him last season. Bailey is showing great maturity and stuff this spring and appears to be placing himself in the position of being the first man called if another starter is needed. I can’t remember a year where I’ve been so excited about a Reds starting pitching staff.

RK Pos   GP  W  L  ERA Sv CG SHO     IP    H  ER   R  BB   SO  BAA WHIP
 3 RP   159 23 20 3.80 34  0   0  519.0  540 219 247 213  456 .269 1.45
   NL   157 26 26 4.06 38  0   0  511    495 231 254 217  429 .255 1.39

Name        IP  ERA
Affeldt   78.1 3.33
Cordero   70.1 3.33
Lincoln   70.1 4.48
Weathers  69.1 3.25
Burton    58.2 3.22
Bray      47.0 2.87
Majewski  40.0 6.53

I was happy to see that the Reds 3.80 ERA ranked them 3rd out of 16 NL clubs. But I find it worrisome that their 1.45 WHIP belies their 3.80 ERA. Cordero did all right; his wildness and 1.41 WHIP drove me crazy at times though and he is way overpaid for a reliever on this team. Weathers was resigned and will be solid in the setup role again.

Arthur Rhodes was inked to replace Jeremy Affeldt as the lefty setup man in the pen. Rhodes is coming off a good year but appears to be more of a guy who comes in to face a single lefty than a late inning setup man. Expect Bill Bray to handle the longer stints when a lefty is needed. Burton appears ready to step up into a setup role should Weathers be traded or falter. Lincoln was resigned and he will be back as a middle man this season.

Look for Masset or Bailey to be the long man coming out of spring training. Keep an eye on Josh Roenicke in the minors as a potential contributer later in the season.


RK TEAM  GP   E FPCT    A   PO   TC 
14 Cin  162 114 .981 1567 4327 6008 
   NL   162  99 .984 1642 4338 6079 

Last season the Reds were once again pitiful with the gloves as they rank 14th out of 16th in fielding in the NL. Did they do anything for us to expect that to get better? I don’t see Hernandez and his recent defensive decline as much of an upgrade behind the plate. Taveras is average to slightly above average defensively which is actually a defensive drop off from Corey Patterson. SS will be the big question mark. Will Gonzalez be able to play enough to improve the Reds defense at SS? If not we are back to the same Hairston/Keppinger options we had last year which we know are sub par defensively. Encarnacion will still put fear into the fans behind the 1B dugout. We will gain defensively in the OF with Bruce and Dickerson playing 3/4 of time that we had Dunn/Griffey last season. I expect the Reds to be slightly better on defense this year overall, but still below league average.

I see the pitching, starters especially, being improved a lot this year and the defense slightly improved. I think the offense, however, is going to be a bit worse than last year. There are just too many long shots that will have to go right for the offense to improve.

I see this years Reds club knocking on the door of a .500 record with about 77 wins. This will be another development year for the likes of Votto, Bruce, Volquez, and Cueto with prospects like Alonso, Frazier, Valaika, Bailey, and Roenicke working to position themselves to contribute the following year. Should be a fun year to see the young guys developing again. We can only hope they do a better job of filling in the holes next off season to give us a lot better odds for a winning club.