Ryan Gaydos's 2012 Cincinnati Reds Preview

By Ryan Gaydos

The Cincinnati Reds won the NL Central in 2010 and had high hopes in 2011 to repeat as champions or at least make the playoffs. That did not happen as the Reds finished in third place behind the division winner Milwaukee Brewers and the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

There are high hopes for the Reds this season, especially with the immense talent they have in the lineup and in the rotation.

Although, the Reds lost Ramon Hernandez, Francisco Cordero and Dontrelle Willis this offseason, they still have guys who can play and they made a few trades to help them with their team this season.

The biggest trade they made was trading Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, and two prospects to the San Diego Padres for one of their best pitchers in Mat Latos.

Latos was 9-14 for San Diego last season in 31 starts. He had an ERA of 3.47 and struck out 185 batters. Latos also averaged 8.6 K/9.

One could argue that the trade was lopsided being that the Reds traded a key starter and two future prospects. However, Volquez’s ERA ballooned to 5.47 in 20 starts. Volquez also has one year remaining on his contract and Latos will be locked up until 2015.

Another big gain was the strengthening of the bullpen.

The Reds acquired Sean Marshall from the Chicago Cubs and signed Ryan Madson over from the Philadelphia Phillies. Marshall was also signed to an extension.

Madson took the closer role from Brad Lidge in Philly and saved 32 games last season. He had an ERA of 2.37 in 62 games. Marshall appeared in 78 games for the Cubs. He ended up with a 2.26 ERA. These guys make the Reds bullpen feared.

Looking at the lineup, the Reds will welcome shorstop Zack Cozart to the lineup full time. Cozart will replace Edgar Renteria. Cozart is ranked as the team’s third best prospect by Baseball America. Cozart played 77 games for Triple-A Louisville but hyper extended his left elbow in July and underwent Tommy John surgery.

If Cozart stays healthy, he could be a potential Rookie of the Year candidate.

The Reds are a dangerous team to watch for. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen are all poised for big seasons, Johnny Cueto, Latos and Bronson Arroyo look to take care of the rotation and Marshall and Madson look to hold down the bullpen.

With all this being said, the Reds could make a potential run to win the NL Central. They will have to compete fiercely with the Brewers and Cardinals again but I think the team can pull off a second place finish.

Prediction: Second NL Central

Breakout Player: Zack Cozart, SS

Key Addition: Ryan Madson, RHP

CA: Devin Mesoraco
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Brandon Phillips
3B: Scott Rolen
SS: Zack Cozart
OF: Jay Bruce
OF: Chris Heisey
OF: Drew Stubbs

Pitching Rotation
SP: Johnny Cueto
SP: Mat Latos
SP: Bronson Arroyo
SP: Mike Leake
SP: Homer Bailey

RP: Sam LeCure
RP: Logan Ondrusek
RP: Jose Arredondo
RP: Bill Bray
RP: Nick Masset
RP: Sean Marshall
CP: Ryan Madson

CA: Ryan Hanigan
3B: Juan Francisco
IF: Miguel Cairo
IF: Wilson Valdez
OF: Ryan Ludwick

Top Prospects
1. Devin Mesoraco, CA
2. Billy Hamilton, SS
3. Zack Cozart, SS
4. Daniel Corcino, LHP
5. Robert Stephenson, RHP

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