Previously in Part I (April 1), I discussed three key players in the Cincinnati Reds‘ starting line-up that, I think, will have break out or outstanding years – Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart. In addition to those players, the Cincinnati Reds also feature two powerful and productive hitters in Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce.
The name Jay Bruce may not strike fear in anyone’s heart; however, his bat certainly does, especially in Great American Ballpark. Jay is an imposing figure from the left side of the plate standing 6’3 and weighing in at 225 lbs. In his four short years with the Cincinnati Reds, Jay boasts a .276 batting average with a .474 slugging percentage. He has increased his home-run output each year for a total of an even 100 coming into the season. The 2011 season was a career high for him in home-runs, RBI, base on balls and strike-outs. The Reds will need for him to be more disciplined at the plate and be more selective. The strike-out numbers must decrease.
The aging wily veteran Scott Rolen had an injury shortened season last year. The Reds will need the 3rd baseman to return to his 2010 form in order to return to the post-season in 2012. In 2010, Rolen played in 133 games, had 20 home-runs and 83 RBI – his best in all categories since 2006. Returning to his ’10 form may be a tall order for a 36 year-old, who started his career way back in 1996 and who only played in 65 games last season. However, given the ball park in which he plays and the hitters around him, he could be a major contributor at the plate if his health cooperates. His age is a plus for Manager Dusty Baker. He tends to like having solid veterens around the young guys for guidance.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment when I look at the pitching rotation in Part III of my prediction for the Cincinnati Reds. We are only three days away from opening day in the Queen City.