With Opening Day just four days away, here is a recap of this year’s Reds Spring Training:
- Aroldis Chapman posted a 1.12 WHIP in 17 IP this Spring. He struck out eighteen batters and walked just two. The main question about Chapman, during his career, has been his command. He seemed to make significant strides this Spring. As a result, I believe Chapman has cemented a spot in the rotation.
- Homer Bailey did not pitch particularly well this Spring. Out of options, Bailey will make the roster barring an unforeseen trade. The only questions seems to be whether he will start or pitch out of the bullpen.
- Zack Cozart had a very good Spring, hitting .377. He led the team in hits through Saturday.
- Devin Mesoraco played very solid defense this Spring. He and Ryan Hanigan will split the catching duties.
- It is possible that Mike Leake could be optioned to AAA Louisville to begin the season. Leake didn’t pitch particularly well this Spring. Unlike Bailey, however, Leake has options remaining.
- Ryan Madson never took the mound this Spring. He flew back to Cincinnati on March 23rd to visit with Dr. Timothy Kremchek. According to Kremchek, Madson’s elbow will require season ending surgery. Kremchek believes the injury was a recent one. According to Mark Sheldon, the Reds did not have an injury insurance policy to cover Madson’s salary ($8.5 million). Comments by Walt Jocketty indicate Sean Marshall will begin the season as the Reds’ closer.
- Opposing hitters hit just .239 against Matt Latos this Spring. He posted a WHIP of 1.02. You can make a very strong argument that Latos, not Cueto, is the staff ace.
- Bronson Arroyo did not pitch particularly well this Spring. You can make an argument for Arroyo being the odd-man out of the rotation. As the staff veteran, however, he will be there. Look for Arroyo to be sandwiched between hard throwers Latos and Chapman.
- Jeff Francis pitched reasonably well despite a 6.65 ERA. He posted a WHIP of 1.22 in 23 IP. Through Saturday, he logged more innings than any other Reds starter. He has expressed a willingness to go to AAA or pitch out of the bullpen. A veteran left-hander, Francis will likely be called upon to pitch in the rotation at some point this year. He and Chapman are the only left-handed options for the starting rotation.
- Juan Francisco came to camp out of shape. Dusty Baker was clearly annoyed. To make matters worse, he hit .196 and struck out sixteen times in 51 plate appearances. He didn’t draw a walk and played poor defensively. Out of options, he was traded to the Braves this morning for twenty-five year old relief pitching prospect, J.J. Hoover.
- Todd Frazier had a great Spring, leading the team with five homeruns and fifteen RBI’s. Frazier or Willie Harris will make the roster coming out of spring training. Both players are versatile. Harris hits from the left side. Frazier has more power.
- Jay Bruce came to camp fifteen pounds leaner. He hit .353 and drove in ten runs in 19 games. He posted a pair of outfield assists and looks primed to have a big year. Remember, he’s only 24 years old.
- Drew Stubbs hit .267 and struck out 15 times in 48 plate appearances (31%). He will begin the regular season as the Reds centerfielder. Stubbs will attempt to cut down on his career 29% strikeout rate. In his recent column, Hal McCoy predicted Stubbs will strike out fewer than 150 times this season. Something less than 25% would be a marked improvement.
- So far, there has been no contract extension for Brandon Phillips nor Joey Votto. Phillips will become a free agent at the end of this season. Votto will become a free agent at the end of the 2013 season. The long-term future of the Reds’ club will depend, in large part, to the outcome of these negotiations.
- Scott Rolen is healthy. He hit .349 and posted a .440 OBP in 19 games. If Rolen can play 120-130 games this season, it will make a significant impact on this club’s output.
- Both Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey performed reasonably well this Spring. Barring a trade, they will share leftfield duties. Ludwick is well-liked by his teammates and will be a positive veteran influence in the clubhouse.
- Ryan Masset will start the season on the disabled list. Jose Arredondo and Bill Bray will set up for Marshall.
- Denis Phipps, Billy Hamilton, Neftali Soto, Henry Rodriguez, Daniel Corcino, Donald Lutz, and Didi Gregorius impressed this Spring. The Reds traded three of their top prospects to San Diego in the deal that brought Matt Latos to Cincinnati. Nonetheless, the cupboard is not bare. Most of the aformentioned players will be on the Futures Roster for Wednesday’s Futures Game at GAB.
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Topics: Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Phillips, Daniel Corcino, Denis Phipps, Devin Mesoraco, Didi Gregorius, Henry Rodriguez, Homer Bailey, Jeff Francis, Joey Votto, Juan Francisco, Ryan Hanigan, Ryan Ludwick, Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart