Reds 5 at 5: The Great Unknowns


In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve taken a bit of a departure from my usual smattering of 5 at 5 material (gathering links and voicing some opinion) and aimed more toward subjects that cover 5 Cincinnati Reds players.

There are some unknowns facing the Reds in 2013. What team isn’t? Here;s my five Reds unknowns (for various reasons) today.

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. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

1. Homer Bailey

So Bailey’s been around a while, but it wasn’t until last season when we started to see the Homer Bailey we thought the Reds had drafted. It’s almost a decade later (Bailey was drafted in ’04) and Bailey made a turn in the right direction at the end of last season. He tossed his no-no and stymied the Giants in the NLDS.

Will we see Bailey build off that late season success and continue his positive progression?

2. Aroldis Chapman

This is obvious. Almost too obvious. And a lot of questions regarding the unknown simply glide of these fingers as I type.

Will Chapman be a success as a starter? If he doesn’t and he’s placed back into the closer’s role, can he rediscover what made him one of baseball’s best closers? And if he succeeds in either role, will he take a roll?

3. Jonathan Broxton

I touched on this a little in yesterday’s 5 at 5. Remember when Brox was the best closer in baseball? Wasn’t all that long ago. One thing that will influence the wiggle room Cliff talked about yesterday could be the success of Broxton at the back end of the ‘pen.

Can Broxton reclaim those days of the past provided he will be the Reds closer for the entirety of the 2013 season?

Feb 16, 2013; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart (2) poses for a photo during photo day at the Reds Spring Training Facility. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

4. Zack Cozart

Might not have seen this one coming, but there’s more than one question/thought I have regarding for Cozart. I think his defense surprised some people. Consider those that he was against in the Gold Glove voting, no question the Reds “other rookie” should have taken home the prize. It’s the bat that will garner the most questions.

Which Zack will we see: the brief stint one which showed some offensive promise from ’11 or the below .300 OBP Cozart of ’12? His minor league numbers would indicate (along with a little MLB “adjustment”) that we should see an OBP of around the .310 to .320 range. While that might be ideal or stellar in your eyes, it’s better than the OBP of .288 he posted last season.

5. Manny Parra

We know he can start. We know he can pitch in relief. We also know that despite being a lefty, Parra hasn’t been extremely effective against lefty hitter, a role he will most likely see in the Reds ‘pen. In his career Parra has a BAA of .267 when facing left-handed batters. But look at last season. A much better looking .229. Can he continue that positive trend? And can he avoid walking those guys?

After all, you bring in a LOOGY to retire that one guy he faces, right?