After winning the National League central in 2012, the Cincinnati Reds figured a change at the top of the lineup was necessary as Drew Stubbs was shipped to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Shin-Soo Choo. Stubbs seemed to fit in nicely with the Reds but with Choo’s consistency over nine seasons, it was an easy move.
Anytime an MLB team acquires a new player, there is always a bit of hesitation, especially when the player is asked to lead-off; but, I assure the nervous Reds fans that Choo will help the Reds more than he will hurt them in 2013.
First off, the outfield prowess of Choo is definitely a plus over Stubbs, as the Korean covers an incredible amount of ground and has 30 outfield assists in the last three seasons. The only issue is that Choo has played just 10 games in center-field while hes played 588 games in right field–adjusting to a new park is difficult enough, and to add a new position on top of that has to be tough. Reds fans should be aware of a few growing pains in what will be an interesting transition.
Entering his ninth season in the league, Choo will also provide a left-handed bat atop the lineup that can do a little bit of everything. In 2012 Choo was an ideal lead-off hitter drawing 73 walks, stealing 21 bases and a .373 on-base-percentage. However, Choo will have to monitor his strikeouts as he eclipsed 150 for just the second time in his career last year.
Choo hit a career-high 48 doubles last season, and it’s not crazy to think that some of those could’ve easily flown right out of the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. If he can knock 30 home runs out, he will join Joey Votto and Jay Bruce as the Reds most potent offensive players.