With free-agency winding down this year, the Reds are seemingly done acquiring new players and trading current players. It can be said that the Reds have all but put together their 2014 roster. With that being said, it is not out of the question that the Reds could still trade some players receiving some attention (Homer Bailey), but at this point the window is closing. So without further adieu, here is my rendition of what the pitching staff will look like.
1. Johnny Cueto – Unless Johnny continues to get hurt, he should still remain the ace of the pitching staff. While I believe Mat Latos gives the Reds their best shot to win every time out, Cueto has earned the roll of team ace, and barring injury, he should remain in that roll.
2. Matt Latos – Is there any doubt in the world that this man is an absolute stud on the mound? In two year with the Reds, Latos has posted a 3.32 ERA and averages 210 IP per season. Also, how about the winning percentage? He has only lost 11 games since joining the Reds while winning 28. I don’t know about you, but anytime a pitcher goes 14-5, 210IP, and a 3.32 ERA, I think he is pretty solid.
3. Homer Bailey – The years of inconsistency on the mound with Homer Bailey are all but over. The last two season Homer has done well for the Reds. He posted an ERA of 3.68 in 2012, and 3.49 in 2013. By the way in each of those seasons, the man has thrown a No-hitter. With two successful seasons in a row, Bailey has really tuned his career around.
4. Mike Leake – Mike Leake has probably taken over the role of Homer Bailey as Mr. Inconsistent. At times when he locates his pitches he looks unhittable, then at times, the only part of the plate his pitches seem to find, are the heart of the plate. The key to be patient with Leake. He has pitched fours years at the pros now with a career ERA of 3.99, but remember, he never started in the minor leagues; he was a pro from day one. With that being said, he did put together a very good season going 14-7 with a 3.37 ERA and nearly 200 innings pitched.
5. Tony Cingrani – This really could be a gamble because I am not 100% sure he is ready yet. In his time at the Major League level he has pitched well. He went 7-4 with a 2.92 ERA through 104.2 innings pitched. The other factor Cingrani has going for him is that he is a strike-out machine. Through the 104.2 innings he struck out 120 batters. The problem I see with Cingrani is that when he loses confidence and gets rattled he seems to let up on the pitch and loses a lot of velocity; however, the future is very bright for this young pitcher.
Bullpen (Back End)
Closer – Aroldis Chapman – At this point we all know the story of Aroldis Chapman. He has a dominate fastball, and a slider that when it works, is one of the best sliders in baseball. The issues with Chapman are that he experiences arm fatigue frequently and he is nearly unpredictable when it comes to his control. He can be as accurate as they come for 5 straight appearances, then act like he has never thrown as baseball.
Set-Up (LHP) - Sean Marshall – After missing most of the season last year due to an arm injury, Marshall looks to rebound back to his dominate form that the Reds saw in 2012. That year he had an ERA of 2.51 with 74 strike-outs to 16 walks through 61 innings.
Set-Up (RHP) Jonathan Broxton – Like Sean Marshall, Broxton missed most of the 2013 season with an arm injury. Also like Marshall, the reds would like to get him back to his 2012 form. He had a 2.82 ERA with 22.1 innings pitched only walking 3 and striking out 20. Remember, he came over from Kansas City mid-season.
Bullpen (Front End)
RHP – Sam LeCure – First things first; LeCure is a middle reliever, nothing more…nothing less. He had a respectable season last year with a 2.66 ERA and holding opponents to a .221 batting average.
RHP – Alfredo Simon – Simon has become one of the more dependable middle bullpen guys the Reds have. Since joining the club in 2012 he has posted a 2.78 ERA though 148.2 innings pitched.
LHP – Manny Parra – After starting off the season rough, Parra quickly got on a roll. Being a control pitcher, he pitched 46 innings and only walked 15 batters posting a 3.33 ERA.
RHP – J.J. Hoover – At 26 years old, the only Major League experience that he has is with the Reds. Since his time here has a 2.61 ERA, 96.2 Innings pitched and 67 strikeouts.