2013 MLB Team Preview: Cincinnati Reds

BAKERIn 2012, the Cincinnati Reds won the NL Central by nine games, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

Walt Jocketty, the general manager of the Reds, doesn’t want to just make the playoffs, he wants to win. He made a trade in the offseason to acquire Shin-Soo Choo, a move shows the Reds are built to win now.

The biggest offseason news was the decision to move Aroldis Chapman into the starting rotation. He was such a dominant relief pitcher, but the transition has been successful with pitchers in the past. Will Chapman succeed as a starter?

Now that Joey Votto is healthy, will have another MVP caliber year?

Here is the 2013 MLB season preview for the Cincinnati Reds.

2012 Win/Loss Record: 97-65

Key Additions: OF Shin-Shoo Choo, 3B Jack Hanahan, P Manny Parra, SS Jason Donald, SS Cesar Izturis, P Armando Galarraga, C Miguel Olivo

Key Losses: OF Drew Stubbs, 3B Scott Rolen, C Dioner Navarro, P Ryan Madson, P Todd Redmond, SS Wilson Valdez, P Bill Bray

Interleague Schedule: AL West + Cleveland Indians

Projected Starters: Ryan Hanigan, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier, Zack Cosart, Ryan Ludwick, Shin-Soo Choo, Jay Bruce

Projected Starting Rotation: Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman

Closer: Jonathan Broxton

Fantasy SleepersSS Zack Cozart/OF Billy Hamilton – Zack Cosart just went through his first full  MLB season and he flashed moments of his potential. He had 15 homers in 561 at-bats. He didn’t get many chances with men on base, so his RBI total is low. His average was only .246, but I see a vast improvement this season. His home run totals should increase just from the fact he plays 81 games at Great American Ballpark. You should be able to get Cosart in the mid-rounds. He’s not an attractive shortstop pick, but he is a starter without any platoon. Billy Hamilton is a guy you need to draft if there’s even a small whiff he’ll make the squad out of Spring Training. He broke the minor league record in stolen bases last season. My gut feeling is he’ll start the season at Triple-A and be brought up later. If you play in a league with a plethora of bench spots, draft and stash him.

Team Analysis: In 2012, the Reds finally put it all together and had a fantastic regular season. The front office didn’t stand pat this offseason, they improved them squad ever more. They made a trade with the Cleveland Indians and picked up Shin-Soo Choo in exchange for Drew Stubbs. Choo is an established player that fills up most areas of the box score. Yes, it was difficult to part with Stubbs, because he hasn’t hit his prime yet, but the Reds want to win now. They are in a nice position to have a nice group of young bats moving up the minors, so Stubbs was expendable. The Reds rotation looks about the same, except for Aroldis Chapman moved from the bullpen to the back of the rotation. It’s a risky move, but they signed Jonathan Broxton to close. If a few injuries occur in the bullpen, a move to put Chapman back there could happen. I forecast the Reds to run away with the NL Central. The Cardinals and Pirates could hang around, but the Reds are a better team from one to nine.

Sportsbook.ag’s 2013 Wins Over/Under Line: 91.5 (Prediction: OVER)

2013 Projected Win/Loss Record: 96-66 (1st in NL Central)

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