Not too often does a team win 97 games and a division title and then make a drastic change at top of the order the next season. The Cincinnati Reds will enter 2013 with a brand-new lead-off man in Shin-Soo Choo who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians this Winter in a deal that sent former Red Drew Stubbs to Cleveland.
Choo is undoubtedly a better player than Stubbs, but the Reds will be asking Choo to man a position he has played sparingly at and bat lead-off in a league he hasn’t seen much of at all. With all that being said Choo will be a great addition for the Reds in 2013 and may propel them to the best record in all of the MLB.
In eight years with the Tribe Choo was stellar averaging 19 home runs and is a career .289 hitter which is perfect for the lead-off role at field at Great American Ballpark which features some of the smallest dimensions in the league.
In my mind the career-high 88 runs that Choo scored in 2012 with the Indians is only a shell of the runs that he will score in his first season with the Reds.
The offense in Cincy is jam-packed with Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips who can all club over 25 home runs and threaten anyone in the National League. Giving these guys another runner on base will only increase their production this Summer.
Choo may encounter some growing pains while in Center field but before long he will have us all wondering why the Indians didn’t put him at Center years ago. He has 49 outfield assists to his name and has committed just three errors in the last two seasons combined–his athleticism at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds will transfer well to Center Field.