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MLB Previews: Expectations For Cincinnati Reds in 2013

For the second time in three seasons the Cincinnati Reds were NL Central champions in 2012. I don’t think 2013 will be any different as the team only got better this offseason acquiring productive outfielder Shin-Soo Choo who was impressive in seven seasons with the Cleveland Indians.

Playing in one of the smaller parks in the MLB the Reds are definitely the most potent offensive team in the National League with players top to bottom who can hit home runs. Not to mention, the Reds will now be leading off with Choo who has clubbed 20 or more HR’s in two different seasons. Perhaps Choo’s biggest weapon is his versatility as he has stolen 20 or more bases in three of the last four seasons and is a career .289 hitter as well.

Another big move the Reds made this offseason involves their pitching staff as they moved 25-year-old Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation after a 38-save season in 2012.

I’m not a fan of this move whatsoever as Chapman is a flame-throwing closer that every winning teams needs and the Reds staff doesn’t need another arm in the rotation. It would be a different story if the Reds starters struggling, however they were fourth in the MLB last year with an impressive 3.34 team ERA. This transition won’t end well as Chapman hasn’t show the ability to stay healthy and start every fifth day–the Reds have all the pieces to win a title this year, but moves like this may hold them back.

With 14/1 odds to win the championship this year the Reds have lofty expectations and I think they will make a lot of people proud winning 97 games and taking home the NL Central crown again.