Reds Fantasy Roundup: Week Two


Apr 3, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (17) is congratulated by second baseman Brandon Phillips (4) after scoring the winning run in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Great American Ball Park. The Reds defeated the Angels 5-4. Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to my weekly fantasy post about the Reds. First of all, I must apologize for being a bit late on this post. I was on vacation for most of the weekend, and writing time has been minimal. Normally, these will be posted on Sundays at Noon.

Last week’s recommendations were a mixed bag for me. I made some smart suggestions, like starting Shin Soo Choo (.375/.516/.850 this week with 3 HRs and 3 RBI), sitting Mike Leake (0-0 with a 6.00 ERA last week with 4 IP) and sitting Zack Cozart (.125/.125/.460 this week with 2 HRs and 5 RBI.) However, I also made some pretty bad recommendations. Sitting Homer Bailey and Mat Latos, both who threw solid games would prove to be a mistake, and Jay Bruce was a black hole in fantasy lineups across the week up until the last  game of the week. He has started the season in one of his patented Jay Bruce cold streaks, hitting .241/.267/.333 this week with no homers and 4 RBI (3 of which game on the last game of the week. )

The Reds had one of the most difficult schedules to start for any team this week, and they made the most of it, going 4-2 in 6 games against two of the best teams in baseball. Todd Frazier and Shin-Soo Choo were the offensive MVPs for the week, while Brandon Phillips was solid too. With that in mind, let’s take a look at who the Reds face off against in this upcoming week:

April 8th: CIN @ STL — Mat Latos vs. Jaime Garcia

April 9th: CIN @ STL — Bronson Arroyo vs. Lance Lynn

April 10th: CIN @ STL — Homer Bailey vs. Jake Westbrook

April 12th: CIN @ PIT — Mike Leake vs. AJ Burnett

April 13th: CIN @ PIT — Johnny Cueto vs. Wandy Rodriguez

April 14th: CIN @ PIT — Mat Latos vs. James McDonald

The Reds face yet another tough opponent in their first series this week. The Cardinals are always a tough team to beat, and this year’s squad appears to be no exception. Their pitching is solid and is backed by an impressive lineup. The Reds also catch a break this week, in a sense, playing their first series of 2013 against a team who is not expected to win their division title.

Position Player Recommendations: 

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

1. Todd Frazier

In case you missed it last week, allow me to sum up Todd Frazier’s week in one word: beast. Frazier hit his way to a whopping .480 average, with 3 homers and 9 RBI. In 2012, Frazier hit lefties at a much higher average than righties, and the Reds only face 2 lefties this week. However, even with those unfavorable splits (.298 vs. .262), with Frazier coming off of the week that he is, it is impossible to sit him. He, along with Shin-Soo Choo, has been the Reds’ offensive horsepower so far this year. And with the Reds only facing 1 or 2 above average pitchers, he is an easy start for this week.

Week 2 Line Prediction: .300 average, 2 HRs,  5 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Start.

2. Shin-Soo Choo

Shin-Soo Choo has been doing exactly what the Reds expected of him when they gave up Drew Stubbs and Didi Gregorius to acquire him- get on base. Last week, he got on base at a whopping .516 clip, striking for 3 homers and 3 RBIs as well. His triple slash of .375/.516/.850 was more than impressive, and his 3 homers were excellent as well. Add this to the fact that the Reds only face 2 lefties this week (his career struggles against LHB appear to be bleeding into this year as well, as he’s only hit .143 against southpaws so far) and the 2 lefties they do face aren’t exactly staff aces. Jaime Garcia is a solid, if not spectacular, pitcher and Wandy Rodriguez is the same. I could even see Choo getting benched against Garcia, as he’s played all of the Reds’ 6 games so far this year. Overall, the matchups are in favor of Choo starting, as well as his scorching hot start, so he should be in your lineup for this week.

Week 2 Line Prediction: .350 average, 1 HR, 2 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Start.

3. Jay Bruce

Ah, Jay Bruce. No player in baseball can rise so high and fall so hard as Bruce can. When Bruce is hot, he can carry a team, but that hasn’t been the case so far this season. Not in the least. I’m afraid we’re looking at one of Bruce’s patented  cold streaks, and playing in the less comfortable confines of Busch Stadium and PNC Park shouldn’t help that. Bruce was a major disappointment  especially in the power department, last week (he didn’t even have one of the 6 homers the Reds hit in the 15-0 romp of the Nationals.) In addition, the Pirates are throwing Wandy Rodriguez at the Reds. Bruce has struggled incredibly versus Rodriguez in his career, hitting .063 in 32 at bats. He also seems to be in a funk several games after facing him, and Dusty may dodge that bullet by sitting Bruce against the crafty lefty. With Bruce demanding such a high draft pick, it’s hard to recommend sitting him, but his lousy triple slash, lack of power, and 10 strikeouts in around 25 at bats aren’t helping fantasy owners, and it could be the start of one of his frigid streaks. Be warned about starting Bruce over one of your bench outfielders.

Week 2 Line Prediction: .200 average, 1 HR, 3 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Sit.

Pitcher Recommendations:

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

1. Johnny Cueto

Cueto pitched a stunner against the Angels this week, going 7 innings while only giving up 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 9. He pitched a quality start against the Nationals as well, going 6 innings and allowing 3 runs on 7 hits. It’s interesting to note that all of Cueto’s runs allowed this season have been on home runs- a one run shot by Chris Iannetta on Opening Day, and a 3 run shot by Kurt Suzuki against the Nationals. Cueto was very effective at limiting the home run ball last season, with a minuscule 0.62 HR/9 in 2012. Two games is an incredibly small sample size, but if Cueto’s having problems with the home run ball, this could spell danger for the Reds’ ace. Nonetheless, fantasy owners catch a big break next week with Cueto, as he goes against the Pirates instead of the tough Cardinals. The Pirates have been the worst hitting team in the majors this season, and it isn’t particularly close. As a team, the Pirates are hitting a paltry .119/.188/.159 with only 1 homer between them, and 8 total runs scored in their first 6 games. As if that wasn’t enough, Cueto has absolutely dominated the Pirates over the past 3 seasons (2010-2012), sporting a 6-2 record and a 1.81 ERA against them. Oh, and there’s more- this game is taking place at the spacious PNC Park. If the Reds can get Cueto some run support, he should be a virtual lock for a win.

Week 2 Line Prediction: 1 win, 0 losses, 7 IP, 10 Ks, 0 ER, 0.00 ERA

Final Recommendation:  Start.

2. Mat Latos

Mat Latos has the advantage of dual-start eligibility this week. He’ll start one game against the Cardinals, and the next against the Pirates. Latos pitched impressively in his 2013 debut against the Angels, going 6.2 innings while allowing 3 runs with a 8:1 K/BB ratio. He would have had a win easily if the bullpen didn’t blow the lead. With that being said, he might not pitch so well against the Cardinals next week. In his career, he has been touched up by the Cardinals, going 2-3 with an 8.10 ERA against the redbirds. The Cardinals, much like the Reds, are coming off of an offensive surge, defeating the World Champion Giants 14-2. While I don’t think Latos will pitch horribly against St. Louis, I don’t think he’ll be outstanding either. Now, Pittsburgh should be another story. We’ve already discussed how rough the Pirates are doing this year, and it doesn’t help that Latos has absolutely dominated the Bucs in his career. In his career, he’s never lost to the Pirates, and has pitched to a solid 2.11 ERA against them, along with a 1.40 ERA against them in 2012. Last season, Latos set a new career high (for then) in strikeouts against the Pirates, when he fanned 10 Pirates hitters. In short, Latos has the ability to dominate the Pirates at an all new level in his next start. Overall, even though I think he’ll be a bit rocky against the Cardinals, his success against the Pirates (as well as their failure this season) should make him a solid start for this season.

Week 2 Line Prediction: 1 win, 0 losses, 14 IP, 9 Ks, 4 ER, 2.57 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Start.

3. Bronson Arroyo

Arroyo pitched alright against the Angels last week. He allowed 3 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings while striking out 5. The 8 hits allowed is a bit disconcerting for a pitcher like Arroyo who sometimes has trouble keeping the ball on the ground. Arroyo hasn’t pitched too well against the Cardinals over the last 3 seasons, going 2-5 with a 4.60 ERA. Arroyo is the type of pitcher that I’m not comfortable starting against a team like St. Louis, with power hitters up and down the lineup. Arroyo is good at limiting walks and doesn’t get himself into trouble very often, but lots of hits allowed could result in lots of runs given up against a team like St. Louis. He walked the tightrope against the Angels, but I wouldn’t expect him to do the same against St. Louis.

Week 2 Line Prediction: 0 wins, 1 loss, 5 IP, 3 Ks, 4 ER, 7.20 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Sit.

4. Homer Bailey

Homer Bailey picked up right where he left off last season and proved the doubters (myself included) wrong, tossing a solid outing against the Angels. Last year, Bailey pitched to an impressive 2.32 road ERA, which was the best in baseball by a large margin. He pitched decently against the Cardinals last season, going 1-2 with a 3.80 ERA against the redbirds. His velocity was good last outing, as he hit 95-96 routinely. If Homer Bailey can live up to his potential and build on last season, the Reds’ rotation could go from simply “good” to “scary.”

Week 2 Line Prediction: 1 win, 0 losses, 7 IP, 6 Ks, 3 ER, 3.86 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Start.

5. Mike Leake

At this point in his career, Mike Leake is not a fantasy relevant pitcher. Leake doesn’t strike many hitters out, doesn’t keep the ball on the ground particularly well, and has a real problem with the home run ball. Speaking of homers, he allowed 2 last time out against the Angels, and was pretty lucky to escape with only giving up 4 runs. While he’s pitched decently against Pittsburgh in his career, going 2-3 with a 3.20 ERA against them, his lack of strikeouts isn’t worth the additional risk you’ll be taking on with Leake.

Week 2 Line Prediction: 0 wins, 0 losses, 6 IP, 2 Ks, 4 ER, 6.00 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Sit.

6. Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman is pitching at the level that he was last season. In 5 innings this season, Chapman has fanned 9 hitters while only walking 2 (and, really, Dale Scott’s strikezone on Chapman was so ridiculous that I’d almost say to disregard one of those walks) and picking up a win and 2 saves over the week. Dusty has said that both him and Broxton will be unavailable Monday, so that could limit his innings. However, there is absolutely no reason he shouldn’t be starting in your fantasy lineup this week. Chapman is a force to be reckoned with. We could go into his numbers against the Cardinals and Pirates last season (which were fantastic- he didn’t allow a single  earned run against the Cards, and only 1- his first- against the Bucs) but that’s not necessary. If you have him, use him.

Week 2 Line Prediction: 0 wins, 0 losses, 4 IP, 8 Ks, 0 ER, 0.00 ERA, 2 saves

Final Recommendation: Start.

Week 2 W/L Predictions:

April 8th (CIN @ STL) — W, 7-3

April 9th (CIN @ STL) L, 6-2

April 10th (CIN @ STL) W, 6-4

April 12th (CIN @ PIT) W, 6-5

April 13th (CIN @ PIT) W, 4-0

April 14th (CIN @ PIT) W, 6-2

Week 1 Predicted Record: 5-1

Thank you for reading! Comments are appreciated!