Going a little bit back to the other “style” for today’s 5 at 5. Here’s a handful of Reds with the “most” for the 2013 season.
1. Most likely to breakout: Zack Cozart
While I stated yesterday there is an unknown attached to Cozart for 2013, I do believe if one Reds player is on the verge of having that breakout season, it is Cozart. If some of the lineup projections we have seen bear truth and Cozart is in the 7th spot, I think we are in store a good offensive season from him.
Cozart won’t have the pressure of batting in the top of the order and he should feel less pressure. That could loosen him up at the plate.
2. Most overlooked: Sam LeCure
As John Fay put it the other day…
If the Reds go with 12 pitchers, that leaves three spots. One will almost certainly go to Sam LeCure.
If you want to nitpick LeCure’s 2012 numbers, it would be the increase in walk rate (3.6 BB/9). Other than that, you would be hard pressed to find any other area where he didn’t improve. In 2012 Dusty used him in more high leveraged situations. Last season, LeCure arguably improved more than any other pitcher on the Reds staff when compared to 2011.
His performance in Game 1 of last year’s NLDS opened a few more eyes and rightfully so.
And in case you are wondering, yes, I am a LeCure fan so there may be a little bias here.
3. Most invaluable: Brandon Phillips
Notice: invaluable. Didn’t say most valuable. Could add most popular, too. But that isn’t the reason I feel BP is the most invaluable player on the Reds roster.
Bring up his age, the supposed regression, the GIDP’s all you want, but BP is the Reds motor. From some odd reason, I have always felt that this team feeds off his energy. Doesn’t matter if he has an 0-fer. Must be that magnetic personality, but it’s something that I cannot explain.
Lineup flexibility only adds to this. No Votto put BP third. No clear cleanup hitter, it was BP. Despite struggles at the beginning of last season, he started the season at the top of the lineup. He will help this team any way he can.
4. Most to prove: Devin Mesoraco
Sometimes we’re all guilty of expecting a player to at least match his numbers from the minors. Mes might be proof of that. After having a stellar 2011 in Louisville, Mesoraco made the team coming out of Goodyear…and a majority of us expected 2011 to kick in. It never did happen and Mes was even left off the postseason roster in favor of Dioner Navarro.
5. Most likely “odd man out”: J.J. Hoover
Again, the bullpen spots. Fay states there is most likely only one spot up for grabs in the bullpen, and Hoover and Logan Ondrusek in the battle for that final spot. Ondrusek now owns a multi-year deal and those tend to carry a little more clout.
Should Hoover not make the 25-man, he will go to Louisville and dominate as their closer like he did last season (30 G, 37 IP, 4-0, 1.22 ERA, 0.730 WHIP, 13 SV, 12 BB, 50 SO). And Hoover only allowed 1 HR in those 37 innings.
And Hoover’s MLB numbers from last year? Almost as impressive: 1-0, 2.05 ERA, 0.978 WHIP, 17 H, 2 HR, 13 BB, 31 SO in 30.2 IP.