April 14, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) runs the bases against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Reds Fantasy Roundup: Week Four

Last week was a much more enjoyable experience for Reds’ fans. The Reds pulled off a surprising 3 game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies, as well as took 2 of their first 3 games against the stripped-down Miami Marlins. The Reds did, however, lose a couple more players due to injury. Ryan Hanigan has been nursing an injured hand and Zack Cozart had his fingers hit on a bunt attempt. However, whereas most opinions on Cozart are positive, Ryan Hanigan’s situation is only getting worse, which could be a big factor in his ghastly .079/.182/.079 triple slash and accompanying -0.6 WAR. Hanigan’s situation isn’t necessarily fantasy relevant because Hanigan himself isn’t fantasy relevant, but because of his handling of the pitching staff being superior to that of Devin Mesoraco. This could become a problem, as Hanigan has been placed on the 15 day DL. However, from what we’ve seen so far, it’s not a big enough issue to really worry about. So, without further adieu, let’s get started.

April 22nd: CHC @ CIN — Travis Wood vs. Mike Leake

April 23rd: CHC @ CIN — Carlos Villanueva vs. Tony Cingrani

April 24th: CHC @ CIN — Jeff Samardzija vs. Mat Latos

April 25th: CIN @ WSH — Gio Gonzalez vs. Bronson Arroyo

April 26th: CIN @ WSH — Homer Bailey vs. Jordan Zimmermann

April 27th: CIN @ WSH — Mike Leake vs. Dan Haren

April 28th: CIN @ WSH — Tony Cingrani vs. Ross Detwiler

 

Position Player Recommendations: 

1. Shin-Soo Choo

Choo has been absolutely on fire so far this season. In his 17 games, he’s hitting a blistering .364/.494/.606 with 3 homers and 8 RBI. He didn’t slow down last week either- last week he triple slashed .409/.536/.636 with 5 runs scored. It has been awhile since Choo hit a home run, though, which is about the only remotely negative thing you can say about Choo’s offense so far this season. The Reds do face off against 3 tough lefties this week (Wood, Gonzalez, and Detwiler) and even this season Choo has a big R/L split (.273/.429/.318 vs Lefties, .409/.527/.750 vs Righties) so his hitting might not be quite as good as it was last week, although when he’s hitting like this it’s virtually impossible to sit him. Start him with confidence.

Week Four Line Prediction: .300 avg, 0 HR, 2 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Start.

2. Jay Bruce

Frank Victores | US Presswire

Jay Bruce has been a bit of an oddity so far this season. Usually when Bruce isn’t hitting home runs, he isn’t hitting. He’s currently in the midst of a 76 game homer slump which has happened to him before, in both 2010 and 2012, but those were during one of his patented cold streaks, and were usually associated with an average in the .100s. Bruce is actually hitting quite well this year, triple slashing .289/.349/.368 (although his slugging could be a lot better) just with the oddity of no homers. It’s a pretty perplexing thing, really, and it has to make you wonder if pitchers are changing the way they pitch to Bruce. What’s even more perplexing about Bruce so far is that he’s absolutely crushing left handed pitching and floundering against right handed pitching (.370/.393/.519 vs. .245/.327/.286.) This makes projecting Bruce really difficult. His career stats indicate that he crushes RHP, but so far he’s been crushing LHP. This is obviously an aberration, but where does it end? While Bruce’s power hasn’t really shown itself yet, it’s bound to. The fact that he’s hitting for a decent average and OBP now make it worth having him in your lineup until he gets his power stroke back.

Week Four Line Prediction: .280 avg, 2 HR, 5 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Start.

3. Joey Votto

Is this it? Is this the week that Votto breaks out and turns back into Joey Votto? If his 4 hits yesterday, including a home run, are any indication, yes it is. Saying that Votto has been struggling so far in 2013 is incredibly relative, as a lot of hitters would be thrilled to have a .305/.517/.458 triple slash at this point in the year. However, I think it’s more of the fact that Joey only has 4 extra base hits to his name so far that is worrying people. That and the lack of his usual clutch hitting and RBIs. Despite Shin Soo Choo having an OBP nearing .500, Votto has only managed 6 RBI on the season. It’s interesting to note that in April last season, Joey had similar triple slash numbers with 12 extra base hits. I think it’s obvious that he’s not 100% recovered from his knee injury. As he gets closer and closer to 100%, the extra base hits should return. As for right now, though, he’s still a solid contributor in your fantasy lineup even if he isn’t Joey Votto just yet.

Week Four Line Prediction: .305 avg, 1 HR, 4 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Start.

 

Pitching Recommendations:

1. Mat Latos

With Johnny Cueto currently on the shelf, Mat Latos is slotted in as the ace of this team. Mat Latos has pitched like an ace so far this season too, with an ERA of 2.73 and a K/9 of nearly 10. However, he’s still looking for his first win somehow, having been the victim of  2 blown saves and 1 game of no run support. One could argue that he should be 3-0 instead of 0-0, but that’s through no fault of his own. His performance is especially encouraging considering his career April ERA of nearly 6. This could mean that when he hits his stride later in the year that he could pitch better than even last year. Could this be the year we see Latos as a serious contender for the NL Cy Young award? Only time will tell. As for next week, he squares off against Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija, so the Reds could potentially struggle to score runs again for him. Latos dominated the Cubs last season, posting a 2.25 ERA in his 8 innings against them. For his career, he’s been even better, going 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA. There’s no reason to expect him to not perform well next week, and he should continue to pitch like the Reds’ staff ace.

Week Four Line Prediction: 1 win, 0 losses, 7.1 IP, 9 Ks, 0 ER, 0.00 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Start.

2. Bronson Arroyo

Well, I was a bit wrong about Arroyo last week it looks like. In his 16 innings last week, he posted an impressive 2.25 ERA with an even more impressive .193 batting average against. His WHIP is under 1 for the season, which is excellent. He squares off against the Cubs next week, who he went 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA against last season. Arroyo will never be a huge strikeouts source, so he has limited value in that regard. His propensity to absolutely blow up every once in a while also makes him an extremely risky pickup for a limited reward. However, against a mediocre Cubs team, he’s a good start for this week.

Week Four Line Prediction: 0 wins, 0 losses, 6 IP, 4 Ks, 3 ER, 4.50 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Start, if you have no better options.

3. Homer Bailey

Homer Bailey has had a great 2013 campaign so far. In two of his starts, he’s gone at least 6 innings while giving up no earned runs. He had one terrible start, though, against the Cardinals which has inflated his ERA to a still modest 3.32. While this start obviously can’t be discounted by any means, it is important to note that his career Busch Stadium ERA is up over 10, so him struggling there really isn’t all that concerning. He bounced back from that appearance with 8 shutout innings against the Pirates, racking up 10 Ks in the process. He did well also against the Cubs last season, going 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA against them. Overall, he’s an easy start.

Week Four Line Prediction: 1 win, 0 losses, 7 IP, 7 Ks, 2 ER, 2.57 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Start.

4. Mike Leake

blah.

Week Four Line Prediction: 0 wins, 1 loss, 10 IP, 5 Ks, 4 ER, 7.20 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Sit.

5. Tony Cingrani

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Cingrani wasn’t nearly as sharp as his statline would suggest against the Marlins. He needed 102 pitches to get through 5 innings, and seemed to have trouble locating his fastball within the strikezone. In addition, well over 80 percent of his pitches were fastballs, which has got to change if he’s going to succeed at the big league level. His big league progression is interesting- first he squared off against one of the worst offenses in baseball against the Marlins, then against the slightly better Cubs, then against an above average MLB lineup against the Nationals. I expect Cingrani to pitch well against Chicago and to continue to rack up the Ks, but to falter a bit in his first game against a great offense. So, if you can stand a below average start against Washington, then he is a good guy to start for his start in Chicago.

Week Four Line Prediction: 1 win, 1 loss, 11 IP, 12 Ks, 5 ER, 4.09 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Start.

6. Aroldis Chapman

Chapman gave up an earned run- PANIC. In all seriousness, though, it’s a bit worrying that Chapman is throwing 94 MPH belt high changeups to anybody. I’m willing to say that it was just a mistake pitch and that Chapman will be back on track for next week.

Week Four Line Prediction: 0 wins, 0 losses, 4 IP, 9 Ks, 3 Saves, 0 ER, 0.00 ERA.

 

Week Four W/L Predictions:

April 22nd (CHC @ CIN) — W, 6-5

April 23rd (CHC @ CIN) — W, 5-1

April 24th (CHC @ CIN) — W, 2-0

April 25th (CIN @ WSH) — L, 3-1

April 26th (CIN @ WSH) — W, 6-2

April 27th (CIN @ WSH) — L, 8-7

April 28th (CIN @ WSH) — L, 6-1

Week 4 Projected Record: 4-3

 

Thank you for reading! Comments are appreciated! 

 

 

 

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