The Cincinnati Reds finished up the 2012 season in disappointing fashion after taking a two game to nothing lead over the San Francisco Giants before being swept three games in a row in Cincinnati to lose in the first round of the playoffs. As they look forward to the 2013 season, most of the team will be returning with only one new face projected in the starting lineup. A three-team trade with the Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks landed Shin-Soo Choo in Cincinnati where he should help with the Reds biggest offensive issue, likely adding stability to the leadoff position that has plagued them since the departure of Ryan Freel.
ROTATION – The Reds rotation has been much talked about since the announcement was made that Aroldis Chapman would be looked at as a starting pitcher for the 2013 season. That leaves the Reds with six pitchers vying for five spots in spring training. Or maybe it doesn’t. General Manager Walt Jocketty has been quoted as saying that one potential outcome would be for Chapman to be on a plan similar to the one that the Atlanta Braves used in 2012 with Kris Medlen where he would begin the season in the bullpen and eventually later in the season make the transition to the rotation. The idea with a plan like that is to limit his innings pitched while still being able to use him for the playoffs.
During the 2012 campaign the Reds had arguably the best staff in all of baseball from top to bottom. Their number one through four starters all threw over 200 innings with ERA’s under 3.75 despite pitching in a very hitter friendly Great American Ballpark. Mike Leake was solid as the fifth starter, throwing 179 innings with an ERA of 4.58. Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey will all look to duplicate or even better their performances in 2013. Bronson Arroyo is the veteran of the staff and the only member who will be over the age of 27. He completed what was his best season in years by cutting down dramatically on his walks while maintaining his other peripherals well. The wild card will be just how effective newcomer Aroldis Chapman will be when he is given the chance to start. He has some of the best pure stuff in all of baseball, but he will struggle with control at times and has been overly reliant on his fastball out of the bullpen.
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