Cincinnati Reds: An Assessment One Month Into the Season – Part III
In Part I and Part II, I looked at the pitching for the Cincinnati Reds following the first month of play in the 2012 season. In Part III and final installation, I will look at the hitting and a little of the fielding for the Reds.
I am going to start with the captain and unquestioned leader of the team, Joey Votto. Votto has had an interesting start of the year. In many areas, he has been MVP and $225 million worthy. In some areas, well, let’s be honest, not so much.
Votto is second on the team in batting average (.289), slugging percentage (.500) and RBI (15). He leads the team in walks (20), doubles (10) and, unfortunately, strikeouts (23). I know Drew Stubbs has 24, however, Stubbs has 5 fewer plate appearances. Votto simply must be more consistent at the plate. He must get that batting average up to around .300 if the Cincinnati Reds are going to have any chance to compete for the division title. He just appears to be pressing too much.
I believe that the pressing part will take care of itself for Votto if Jay Bruce can continue his most recent tear at the plate. Bruce finished the month with four homeruns in the last four games. He leads the team in RBI (17), homeruns (7), batting average (.296) but he too has struck out too many times (21). If he can be more consistent and still hit with power, Votto will get better pitching.
Drew Stubbs did better in the last two weeks cutting down his strikeouts and improved his average to .241. That is an improvement.
Zack Cozart is still a candidate for Rookie of the Year for the Cincinnati Reds with a batting average of .271.
Brandon Phillips, with the new, fat contract, has been hampered by a hamstring but has been solid with a .254 average and 7 RBI.
Ryan Hanigan has been solid behind the plate and in hitting. He has a great stroke and is really driving the ball.
During the first two weeks, the Cincinnati Reds ranked #1 in fielding; unfortunately, they have dropped to 10th. The errors have really picked up.
Prognostications – Rolen will be replaced at 3rd. Ludwick and Heisey will continue to platoon in left. Bruce will be erratic but productive. Votto will get his average up. Cozart is your National League Rookie of the Year. Phillips will heal and be the player the Cincinnati Reds’ fans love.
The rest, well….. who knows? We’ll just have to see. Hey, I’m no Karnak.