Key to 2015 Cincinnati Reds: Health


Every team has to deal with injuries. Some teams more than others and last season it appeared as though the Reds had more than their fair share of bangups. Here’s a quick list of those key performers that missed time during the 2014 season. This isn’t all inclusive, but it will drive home a point.

Okay, so I’ll start with Mr. Obvious in Joey Votto. Needless to say, having Votto in the lineup is a huge advantage for the Good Guys. Problem is, he wasn’t there for the better part of last season and the offense suffered. It doesn’t make a difference what you feel his role should be or where he should hit in the order. No Votto usually equates to less offense. More so if he’s not healthy.

Now Jay Bruce didn’t miss a huge portion of the season, but upon his return, it was clear he wasn’t right. Those two dreaded words – torn meniscus – keep popping up. He drew as many walks prior to the procedure as he did after…in almost 300 less at-bats. There’s that whole OBP thing, but don’t underestimate how it could have affected his defense either. Granted, Bruce’s defensive metrics aren’t always the sexiest, but opposing teams know not to try to run on him.

And just when I thought Homer Bailey wouldn’t become a resident of the disabled list, he landed on it twice in 2014. A groin in spring training saw him start the season on the DL. Then (INJURY TYPE) forced him to shut it down for the remainder of the season. Bailey’s detractors surely noted that the big contract Bailey was given as a reason.

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Mat Latos first suffered a torn meniscus just prior to spring training, then arm issues took Latos out of the rotation after he made only 15 (check number) starts. Even during his rehab assignments, there was question if he was truly ready to return. Of course, that isn’t an issue for the Reds in 2015, but for 2014 it created a gap in the starting rotation.

There was one positive that did emerge with Latos and Bailey missing time and that was the performance of Alfredo Simon as a starter. His second half wasn’t pretty, but Simon took a half season and parlayed that into a trade to Detroit and most likely staying in a starters role.

And I will once again mention Sean Marshall. I covered some on Marshall the other day, but I’ll add something here. A healthy Sean Marshall will go an extended distance in making the Reds bullpen one of the best in baseball. Sure, there are others that have to rebound from poor 2014 performances, but Marshall may be the key cog since he could likely see 8th inning action once more.

The only player listed here who will have no impact on 2015 is Latos. To have the other five return to full health and their productivity will provide the Reds reasons to be enthusiastic about 2015. Well, it gives us a reason to be as well. No one likes heading into a season with negative thoughts.

(Yes, I realize I had the post about a fire sale…)

I do have one other interesting name to list here: Johnny Cueto. I hope I’m not jinxing him, but Cueto returned after serving multiple DL trips the season before and pitched himself to a 2nd place Cy Young finish. Last season was only the second time he had made 30+ starts. I’m hoping he can hold his health in 2015.

Maybe that good fortune will spread all over the Reds roster this upcoming season.

So no team will go through the upcoming season and not see a key player hit the DL. It’s bound to happen, but considering all the names on it last season, one can hope the DL is used less frequently for the 2015 Cincinnati Reds. If it is used less, the Reds could contend. If it’s used as much as it was last season, uh oh.