Mar 17, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols (left) and left fielder Josh Hamilton (center) and center fielder Mike Trout (right) sit in the dugout before a game against the San Diego Padres at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Three Up, Three Down - 4/1/13 (Reds v Angels)


Welcome to the first addition of Three Up, Three Down of the 2013 season! These posts will launch at the beginning of each series, highlighting the three best Reds stories and the three worst Reds stories spanning that series. These will have a direct correlation to the monthly Reds Power Rankings, the first of which can be found here. These articles will also provide a preview of the next series the Reds will play, including who’s hot and who’s not for the new opposing team.

Three Up

J.J. Hoover

 

I am one of the biggest advocates for this young man. Much of my early work here at BRM had to do with the “it” factor. And, while it was ultimately decided that the Reds just don’t have much of “it” just yet, Hoover has the potential to bring it in spades. A potential closer for a very talented Reds bullpen, it was thought that Hoover might be the odd man out for the start of the 2013 season due to manager Dusty Baker‘s tendency to go with older players on his roster. However, Hoover is just too good to pass up at this point. Watch for him to be a very solid middle relief guy over the span of the season, potentially getting some work in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings if an injury should occur, or if the trio of Marshall/Broxton/Champan should need some rest.

Cesar Izturis

March 13, 2013; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds shortstop Cesar Izturis (3) hits in the third inning during a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

This might be the biggest shock coming out of Spring Training. Many thought that the ’13 Reds bench would resemble the ’12 Cleveland Indians bench in the infield department. With the exception of Jack Hannahan, that won’t be the case, at least for the beginning of the ’13 season. Veteran short stop Cesar Izturis was chosen for the 25 man roster over former Tribe SS Jason Donald. While Donald is generally considered to have more upside due to his age, it should be noted that Izturis is a damn good short stop. A gold glove under his belt, Izturis is generally kept around for his glove. However, he had an absolutely torrid, raking a .333/.387/.474 in what could be considered an extended look from Dusty. Izturis had 57 ABs, just one less than Opening Day SS Zack Cozart, and 17 more than Donald. Don’t expect those numbers to translate into the regular season, but it’s nice to know that Izturis still has some pop left in that bat of his.

Joey Votto

After being named as the “Face of the MLB”, Votto went on to quiet all of his haters with a pretty good spring. He showed that his lack of power at the tail end of the ’12 season was merely a fluke, and that his knee is (seemingly) fine. Votto was part of one of the hottest 3-4-5 combinations in the WBC for Candada, and was able to stay away from that large brawl with Mexico. Things are looking up for Votto. Should he stay healthy in 2013, it wouldn’t be far-fetched at all to say he’s got a legitimate shot at obtaining his second MVP award at the end of the season.

 

Three Down

Jose Arredondo

Unfortunately, this will be the last I will write about Arredondo until he makes his way back up to the big leagues. Once thought by myself to be a lock for the bullpen, Arredondo will be starting his season in Louisville. While things could certainly be worse (see: Ondrusek, Logan), Arredondo has to be disappointed in losing his roster spot to newcomer Manny Parra. We here at BRM have written extensively about Arredondo’s left/righty statistics, and how he has posted better numbers against lefties than incoming LOOGY Parra, but seemingly to no avail. I wish him the best of luck in Louisville, and I hope to see him in red again soon.

The Rotation

Feb 16, 2013; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey (34) poses for a photo during photo day at the Reds Spring Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to judge readiness level by spring training stats, but no one in the starting rotation had a very good spring. In general, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and Mike Leakecould be expected to get shellacked nearly every time the took the mound in March. Like I said, this won’t necessarily translate into a slow start to the regular season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we struggled to hover around .500 until we get out of the Angels/Nationals/Cardinals hell that is the beginning of April for the Reds.

Aroldis Chapman

You’ve got to think that if Chapman was ever going to start a game in the majors, he would have had to have been named starter from the gate in ’13. And, as we all know by now, that’s not going to be the case. Chapman will start the year in the closer’s role, to much chagrin to a lot of Reds fans. Some say the split between Chapman: Starter and Chapman: Closer camps is around 50/50, but from my experience the fans really wanted to see him start a couple of games, just to try it out. The more I think about it, however, the more I become okay with the idea of sticking him back in the closer’s role. He should be able to continue his domination, and post even bigger save numbers in his first full year as closer.

 

What to Expect from the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim

What a way to start off the season, right? Ever since schedules were announced, I’ve winced every time I look at the first few series. The series with the Angels should be a fantastic one for many reasons. First and foremost, this series will be the first interleague series to kick off the season in MLB history, another first for our dear Cincinnati organization. But perhaps more importantly to the fans, it’s a chance to see some serious star power out on the diamond.

If you think this series will be an easy sweep, you’ve got another thing coming. The Angels have done a ton to improve over the past few seasons, bringing in Red arch-nemesis Albert Pujols last off-season, bringing in ex-Red Josh Hamilton this off-season, and hitting the rookie lottery in the development of Mike Trout, who might just be the best player in baseball in his sophomore year. Combine that with some very solid pitching and defense, and you’ve got yourself a headache just waiting to happen.

Fortunately the years in which the Reds would just roll over in front of a team like this are long gone. The good guys are out to prove that they are the best team in baseball this season. What lack of star power the Reds have in comparison to the Angels they make up with in chemistry, team work and confidence. This is virtually the same team (some would say a bit better) that went on a 10 game winning streak without Joey Votto in the lineup.

Regardless of the outcome, I’m just happy to be able to watch some baseball again. So tonight sit down with someone you love, force a Jay Bruce jersey over their shoulders, and kick back and watch some Reds baseball. I know I will be!

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