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Cincinnati Reds: Impressions After the First Weekend

After a weekend’s worth of play, here are my first impressions of the 2012 Cincinnati Reds.

Joey Votto is one of the best hitters in either league.  Nothing new there.  (Sunday wasn’t his best day or one he would really want to remember.)   Furthermore, his play in the field, especially on Thursday against the Miami Marlins was stellar.  He saved Scott Rolen from having three errors in the game.  Of course, they don’t pass out Gold Gloves to just anyone.

Rolen’s pinch-hit game winner was a thrilling end to a great game on Sunday.

Jay Bruce can just flat launch the ball, especially in Great American Ball Park.   He came through time after time this weekend.  Heck, even his sacrifice fly in the first inning on opening day was beautiful.

Hey, what do ya’ know, Drew Stubbs CAN lay down a bunt.  Unfortunately, he’s still striking out too much, though.  Cincinnati Reds’ fans will tire quickly of no productivity from Stubbs.  He’s got to cut down on the strike-outs.

Johnny Cueto, the ace of the staff, is as fine a starting pitcher as there is in either league today.  He also showed he has a quality move to first base when he picked off Emilio Bonifacio in the 4th inning on Thursday.  However, having not seen Mat Latos pitch much before he came over to the Cincinnati Reds, my first impression is that he can certainly throw a nice, flat, low-90s, belt-high fastball.  Bronson Arroyo is going to struggle many times this year.  It’s good that he has that bull-doggedness (sic) that pitchers need to be successful.  Again, in full disclosure, he is my favorite Red.

With the exceptions of Sean Marshall, who pitched well Thursday night, and Aroldis Chapman, who was beautiful to watch all weekend, the rest of the bullpen won’t scare anyone the way they threw the ball Saturday and Sunday.

It’s gonna be fun watching Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick battle for playing time in left field.  Both showed their worth in the field and at the plate for the Cincinnati Reds.

Now, Zack Cozart, as I predicted before the weekend, is a player.  The guy is a player!  He was solid in the field and a beast at the plate.  The way he turned on that inside fastball Saturday night was a thing of beauty.  I look for more of the same this year.  If he can stay healthy, Rookie of the Year is certainly possible.

I will focus more on Cozart later this week.

In the end, what we know is that pitching needs to improve, hitting needs to be more consistent and more help needs to come from the bullpen.  But hey, the Cincinnati Reds are 2 and 1 and that’s all that matters.