Cincinnati Reds Spring Training: 5 Players Who Are Sure to Shine
Cincinnati Reds 2014 Spring Training
Valentine's Day 2014 is an important day in every Cincinnati Reds fan's life. No, it's not to look forward to spending a day with your significant other, showering them with wonderful gifts and goodies. It's the day that every baseball fan everywhere looks forward to -- the day in which pitchers and catchers report.
Spring is finally here and baseball is back. This is an exciting year for the Cincinnati Reds, following a disappointing loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card game to close the 2013 season. Nearly everyone is returning and the Reds quite possibly may have the best starting rotation in the National League -- and maybe even all of baseball.
The list of returning position players is quite impressive and gives fans something to look forward to. Joey Votto is coming off a successful 2013 campaign. Brandon Phillips will be back at second base and will contend for the NL Gold Glove Award. Ryan Ludwick and Devin Morasco are familiar faces as well.
And for the rotation? It's intact and likely to be better than ever. Johnny Cueto will anchor the staff at No. 1, though Mat Latos could give him some competition there. Homer Bailey is back and has tremendous upside after going 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 2013.
All of these players will be in Arizona before Feb. 20 ready to begin their 2014 season -- and hopefully end it on a more successful note by comparison to 2013.
While Spring Training is such a difficult barometer to predict success for the season, it still has some merit for certain players. Guys may be working on different things (especially pitchers) while others are trying to get as much work at game conditions as possible. While all of this holds true, there will still be guys who shine in Spring Training, and here's a look at five of them.
Vinny Gala is a writer for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter @VinnyGala.
5. Joey Votto - First Base
2013 Regular Season: .296/.425/.507 and 24 home runs
Votto is coming off of a great all-around year in 2014. He had a brilliant spring in 2013 offensively with a slash of .346/.460/.673 and four homers -- his best spring by far in recent memory. Given the success in 2013 paired with his maturation, expect this to be a breakout spring for the 23-year-old.
4. Mat Latos - Starting Pitcher
2013 Regular Season: 14-7, 3.16 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
It's so difficult to predict pitching performance/success in Spring Training using a statistical model. The pitcher with the best upside would have to be Latos. While his performance in 2013 Spring Training left something to be desired, 2012 saw him post a 3.70 ERA and a WHIP of 1.15 in six appearances.
3. Todd Frazier - Third Base
2013 Regular Season: .234/.314/.407 and 19 home runs
Frazier has led the Reds in Spring Training home runs for the last two seasons. Generally, you can expect to see his batting average range between .260 and .290, but expect this to be a breakout year for the 27-year-old in his second full professional season.
2. Aroldis Chapman - RP/Closer
2013 Regular Season: 4-5, 2.54 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 38 saves
Chapman had a solid 2013 Spring Training, posting a 1.86 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and holding opposing batters to a .188 batting average. This performance transferred into the regular season where Chapman had a 2.54 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and an opponent batting average of .164.
Chapman had a better Spring Training and a better regular season in 2012, so look for him to have a similar spring in 2014.
1. Henry Rodriguez - Second Base
2013 Regular Season: .274/.319/.654 with 4 home runs (AAA)
Given the past performances by Rodriguez ranging back to 2011, he has to be on this list even though he spent the majority of his 2013 season at AAA.
Over the last two Spring Trainings, here are the guy's numbers:
2013 ST: .364/.382/.485 in 33 AB
2012 ST: .350/.391/.478 in 20 AB
Too bad he has some guy named Brandon Phillips starting in front of him at the MLB level.