John Moscot is getting ready to take the bump against the Cleveland Indians here in a couple hours, and thus begins the 2016 Redlegs quest for a perfect 162 win season. OK, maybe that’s not in the cards this year. In fact, it’s a lot more likely that the Reds will have triple digit losses this season, but the more and more I’ve been thinking about it, I actually don’t think the 2016 Reds are going to be as bad as everyone thinks. As much shit as the Redlegs are getting headed into summer, there’s actually quite a bit to look forward to this year.
What To Watch For:
Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Sweet Lou At Camp In Goodyear
Big reason right here why I don’t think the Reds are going to be as bad we think. I realize that sweet Lou won’t be hurling bags around the diamond arguing with umpires and Barry Larkin and the 44 Magnum can’t go out and actually play the game, but having them in and around the organization this spring is a shot in the arm for this team. The Reds say they’re committed to the rebuilding process and what better way to develop young talent than by bringing in both managers and players that won championships and performed at a hall of fame level in a Reds uniform? I’m not saying those guys will directly translate into more wins for the Reds this season, but having former Reds greats schooling the young guys shows that the Reds have a plan to invest in the future heavily.
Joey’s Quest For History
Now you wouldn’t know this by listening to any local radio stations around here, but Joey V has been putting up NUMBERS these last few seasons. Like, historically good numbers. Walking and getting on base at a clip that would make even guys like Ted Williams and Pete Rose raise an eyebrow or two. To really appreciate the impact JV has on the game, you gotta dive headlong into the world of statisticians and sabermetrics, which unfortunately makes him as polarizing of a player amongst fans as there is in sports. I’ve never seen anything like it quite frankly. Anyway, I’m not sure why I included Joey Votto in the ‘What To Watch For’ category. That’s self-explanitory and I’m already going to write too many words anyway. Bottom line is if Joey Votto is on the baseball field you should be watching.
Who Plays LF?
Part of the
#rebooting rebuilding process means you need to find someone to patch the holes in your roster, one of which being left field this season for the Reds. Adam Duvall is getting the start today and figures to probably be the guy penciled in opening day as well. But, and this is no offense to Mr. Duvall, he’s about as far away from being a sure thing in left for the Reds as I am, and I haven’t thrown a baseball in a solid year and half. That means young guns like Kyle Waldrop, Jesse Winker, and Yorman Rodriguez (all highly rated prospects) will probably have a chance to showcase what they can do out in left at some point this spring or summer. Ideally, one of these guys will prove talented enough to have some staying power in the bigs, key word being ideally. When’s the last time something has gone ideally for this team?
I touched on this briefly last week I believe. Cozart says he’s coming along just fine and Eugenio Suarez was arguably the most pleasant surprise for the Reds last season. The two main questions for this 3B/SS combo headed into the season are:
1.) Will Zack Cozart’s surgically repaired knee allow him to play at the same level as he did during last year’s offensive resurgence?
2.) Will Eugenio Suarez be able to make the defensive adjustment to the third base position?
Zack Cozart has yet to show he can produce offensively over the course of an entire season and last year Suarez struggled mightily at times in the field, but if the answer to both questions is yes then we could be looking at our left side of the infield for years to come.
How’s the Bullpen Hold Up?
Remember this collection of strangers?
Well, a lot of them will be the men in charge of protecting and holding a late inning lead.
No doubt Elhajj Muhammad is an outstanding father, but I was only like 30% kidding when I made that joke. The bullpen is probably the biggest question mark for the Reds going into this season. JJ Hoover will likely be the closer, a role in which I think he’ll have a good amount of success and Jumbo Diaz will likely assume his usual role as a late inning setup guy, but outside of that, it’s more or less a crapshoot. Young guys like Amir Garrett, Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson are in Goodyear to get experience more so than ink a spot in the rotation, but Bryan Price said he’d consider giving them looks in the bullpen sometime during the season if they prove they got what it takes. Also look for the young guns that don’t crack the rotation to get a spot in the bullpen as well much like Tony Cingrani did last year.
The Reds rebuilding process looks like it’s relying heavily on young arms as opposed to young hitters and those young guys gotta get a chance to develop somewhere, why not out in the pen? God knows we’ll need them.
Bryan Price says he has a pretty good idea of the Reds starting rotation for 2016, but I’m calling bullshit ’cause right now there’s more arms on this roster than hipster college students at a Bernie Sanders rally. Obviously guys like Lorenzen, Bailey, Descalfani, Iglesias, and Finnegan will all probably get their fair share of starts, but look for John Lamb to get in the mix as well. I actually wasn’t too impressed with him last year. I know he’s supposed to be one of our best prospects, but his stuff didn’t appear all that dominant and he got tattooed a little in his brief stint here last season. Plus he looks like a heroin addict. I don’t trust guys that look like heroin addicts.
I hate that old saying, “offense sells tickets, defense wins championships,” but more often than not good pitching beats good hitting and if the Reds are going to not lose 100 games these guys are going to have to hold their own on the bump.