For the first time in a long time, there seems to be some optimism in the Queen City. The Reds actually added some free agents to compliment some solid talent and promising prospects. Will it be enough to push the Reds into contention? Lets find out.
2007 Finish: 72-90, 4th in the NL Central
Key Additions: Francisco Cordero RP, Edison Volquez SP, Josh Fogg SP
Key Losses: Josh Hamilton OF, Eddie Guardado RP
1 - Norris Hopper CF
2 - Brandon Phillips 2b
3 - Ken Griffey Jr. RF
4 - Adam Dunn LF
5 - Edwin Encarnacion 3b
6 - Joey Votto 1b
7 - Alex Gonzalez SS
8 - David Ross - C
Lineup Grade: B. The Reds always seem to score a good number of runs, thanks in part to the small ballpark they play in and the numerous home runs they can hit because of it. If Griffey can stay healthy, him and Dunn should hit near 90 homers combined, but what could really make this lineup click is if the young players really develop. Its quite possible uber-prospect Jay Bruce could take over in center and Joey Votto is another exciting young player. The Reds offense will be solid, but has room for upside as well.
Projected Starting Pitching
1 - Aaron Harang
2 - Bronson Arroyo
3 - Homer Bailey
4 - Matt Belisle
5 - Josh Fogg
Closer - Francisco Cordero
Pitching Grade: C+. Aaron Harang was a great surprise last year for the Reds as he gave them great consistency at the top of their order. Behind that however, the order gets shaky. Bronson Arroyo can be unhittable one start and awful the next, and the three guys behind him are either unproven yet talented (Bailey), or proven to be not so good (Fogg, Belisle). The key to the Reds will be if their improved bullpen can protect leads for their starters. Cordero will provide a big upgrade at closer and there are some other good arms in front of him. While they won't be a top-5 staff in the NL even at their best, if they can fall in the 6-10 range the team should remain competitive.
2008 Outlook: For the first time in years, it seems like the Reds have some positive things going for them. They have a good lineup and some of the most exciting prospects in all of baseball waiting to get an opportunity to produce. They are also fortunate to play in one of the weakest divisions in baseball. There won't be much separating the Reds from the Cubs or the Brewers and it is quite possible that they could make a good push towards a wild card spot. The problem is that its hard to see the pitching staff holding up all year and being able to match up with the top squads in the league. Look for the Reds to have a good year and remain near .500 most of the year while integrating their young players to set up the future of the team.
Prediction finish: 79-83, 3rd or 4th in the NL Central