…a lot of people were complaining about how the Reds had needs in specific areas? And remember when many were pinpointing the positions of shortstop and left field? And remember when some of us felt a like nothing major was done in the off-season to fill those perceived holes?
I do (very clearly as a matter of fact) because I was among those stating that.
You know something. Maybe we all over analyzed it. I know we’ve been accused of that a time or two here. And maybe this is another instance. I know it sounds like I’m backtracking. I’m not completely.
Most of the Reds faithful have received the announcement that Paul Janish will be the shortstop. It hasn’t quite been the same reception concerning Jonny Gomes in left. But what did 2010 show us? The was offense was superb. Beware: a history lesson is coming up…
Lesson begins now. Here you see a chart of how the Reds ranked in NL in the different major offensive categories…
OK, now bear with me…
The only move that was made was Janish taking over for Orlando Cabrera at short. And there’s no question that despite those numbers above, OC had one of his worst offensive seasons in his career. Yet, the Reds till managed to win the NL Central.
What will change…
1. The amount of playing time that Scott Rolen will see. This is no secret. It’s public knowledge. It should have it’s own Facebook page and Twitter account because everyone knows this. He played 133 games last year. We’re hearing and reading they would most likely try to reduce that to around 125 or even less if situations are in the Reds favor. With the extra rest, it might not be that big a stretch for Rolen to come close to his 2010 numbers. I saids come close, not surpass.
2. Joey Votto. Don’t be completely surprised if his 2011 numbers don’t approach 2010. Not that his production will decline due to him. It will be off because of the opponent. It’s not going to make any difference who’s hitting behind him in the order. He will see an increase in IBB from last season’s 8. Huh? Only 8? Make that a big increase.
3. Drew Stubbs is the best option to hit leadoff regardless who’s playing. Work with me here. I know over the last half of last season Stubbs was becoming more comfortable at the plate. His numbers for that period clearly reflect that. Take a quick look again at those numbers above. Those numbers were achieved with the Reds receiving virtually very little production from the leadoff spot.
4. Now, you may ask about the 7 hole where Stubbs was positioned after being moved in the order. That spot could most likely fall on the shoulders of Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan. Not a bad trade off there, is it? Or could there be others that are better suited?
5. Jay Bruce. We should see an increase in his power numbers (HR and RBI), but do not be shocked if his batting average suffers a bit. He’s likely to hit 5th (and maybe cleanup on occasion) instead of 6th. Gomes falls to 6th most likely.
6. Brandon Phillips. BP is a bit of a wild card here. Some have “suggested” that BP be moved down in the order. But upon re-reviewing his stats for his career and 2010, he is better suited to hit second. One thing we must all remember, he is not nor will ever be a high OBP guy, but he does possess decent bat control. He produced well hitting there last year and for his career. Obviously, we remember when he was hitting cleanup and that he was successful until last season. The Reds now have other guys that can be utilized there. His next best slot…#7. Hmm…
7. Janish and the bat. This could be the real wild card for the Reds offense. While Janish posted career offensive bests almost across the board, there’s still a bit of unknown. He’s never really shown a penchant for hitting with a high average or with some pop in his minor league career. He does have good plate discipline and is the team’s best bunter. The glove was what got him to Cincy. The bat has very slowly started to come around. Is 2011 his offensive breakout season? Wouldn’t that be awesome!
There are other situations that could emerge over the last week of spring training that could further alter the Reds lineup. Fred Lewis could find his bat. Dave Sappelt may make the 25 man (I can hope, right? He’s earned it!). Jeremy Hermida could also make the 25 man and be proclaimed a starter. Am I getting too carried away?
Seriously, when we look at what we have versus what he had, it’s not much different. In a way, what we had was pretty freakin’ good. It’s not all as terrible as we were thinking.
Speaking of remembering…I caught this on YouTube the other day.