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View Full Version : On Paper Are we better than '05?



Mario-Rijo
04-02-2006, 08:08 AM
Forget the predictions
Believe it or not, last year's club looked better on paper than this year's, so who knows how the 2006 club will do?
You can make a pretty convincing argument that - on paper at least - this year's Cincinnati Reds are not as good as last year's.

Last year's club started with a rotation that had a combined record of 42-36. Three of the four starters were coming off winning seasons.

This year's club starts with a rotation that had a combined record of 53-59. Only one of the five starters is coming off a winning season.


Last year's club had an established closer in Danny Graves, who saved 41 games the year before and had 162 career saves.

This year's club is going with a closer-by-committee. No one on the staff has been a full-time closer, and no one has more than 29 career saves.

Last year's club had former All-Stars at first base and third base.

This year's club has a bargain-basement free agent at first and an unproven 23-year-old at third.

But last year's club proved pretty quickly that what kind of club you have on paper doesn't mean anything as soon as the first pitch is thrown on Opening Day.

Last year's rotation quickly crumbled. Paul Wilson was ineffective and injured. Eric Milton was healthy but just as bad.

Graves was done in by the Fickle Finger of Fate. He was gone before summer officially started.

The club scored a ton of runs - the most in the National League - but the pitching gave up enough to make all the offense meaningless most nights.

I predicted - wrongly, of course - that last year's club would win 85 games.

The other night when the beat writers had dinner with general manager Wayne Krivsky, he asked us to give him our win total for this year.

We all politely chickened out.

Which makes it a good bet no one was going to say 85.

You won't get a number from me here, either.

I'll say what I've been saying since last season ended: The Reds will be as good or as bad as their pitching.

Again, on paper, it's not as good as last year's going in.

But if you want to take the Bob Castellini optimistic look at things, there are reasons for hope:

Aaron Harang and Brandon Claussen are ready to establish themselves as solid major-league starters. It's not unreasonable to think they can each win 14 or 15 games.

Milton has to be better, because he can't be any worse. And the pressure is off. He's down to the fourth starter.

Arroyo won 14 games in each of the last two years in the pressure cooker that is Red Sox Nation. We saw in his last start how good he can be.

The whole closer thing is overrated. As bad as Graves was - and he was abysmal - he converted 10 of 12 saves before he got the boot. That number was right around his career average.

The offense will be as good, or nearly as good. Edwin Encarnacion has a chance to put up better numbers than Joe Randa at third. Scott Hatteberg's home run and RBI totals were on par with Sean Casey's.

It looks like Ken Griffey Jr. is poised to be good from the start. Griffey hit .244 with one home run and nine RBI in April 2005. Over the next four months, he hit .313 with 34 home runs and 83 RBI.

Now, I could give you the reasons to be pessimistic. But Opening Day's a day away. Why rain on the Findlay Market Parade?

We reporters told Krivsky if the Reds finished above .500 - 82-80 - people would be doing back flips down Vine Street.

Is that realistic? Not on paper. But, again, we found out last year that what is on paper doesn't matter so much on the field.


I would have to say that not necc. on paper we are better but overall we are a better team in terms of defense as a whole unit and he didn't touch on the bench is far better both offensively and defensively and the pen should be a little better.

Patrick Bateman
04-02-2006, 09:28 AM
We didn't have a shortstop going into last year. Lopez 2006 is a huge upgrade.

I'd suggest that EE is looking better today than Randa did going into last year.

ochre
04-02-2006, 10:39 AM
1B and 2B look worse on paper. The starting pitching looks to be a wash. I think it will end up better this year, but the "going into the season" look makes it appear very similar to the going into the season look from last year. The bullpen could be ok, or very bad due to the extreme ages involved. On paper looks to be very similar to last year. Position player-wise, other that 1B and 2B look really good, with generally better, or as-good years expected from most positions (I think Lopez will regress a bit this year, but not significantly). The problems with 2B and 1B appear to be more of a management decision than an actual talent gap.

vic715
04-02-2006, 11:28 AM
We didn't have a shortstop going into last year. Lopez 2006 is a huge upgrade.

I'd suggest that EE is looking better today than Randa did going into last year.
We also have Narron managing the team to start out. Don't forget that this team played 500 with him at the helm and might of finished above had Griffey and Casey not gone down in Sept.I think the Starting pitching and the pen is in better shape to start out than last year.The bench is looking good too. I guess in Sept. we'll know for sure what we had.But again I'm always an optimist.

SoTxRedsFan
04-02-2006, 11:57 AM
Most definately. Pitching is better. Hitting should be better.

Falls City Beer
04-02-2006, 01:02 PM
Better pitching. Similar offense: they should score 800 runs again. Yeah, better team.

MartyFan
04-02-2006, 02:04 PM
I know I am crazy and doing nothing but following a feeling...but based on the performance of Milton during ST I think he is going to be a lot better...I can't help but think he had problems with his legs...if that's the case we have the potential of 4 15 game winners...if wilson can return to his performance of 2004 and the bullpen holds...he could be another...sounds like pie in the sky...I agree...but it's the day before the season starts.

captainmorgan07
04-02-2006, 04:18 PM
i'd take womack over d'lo anytime of the day hattebergo or casey isn't really a big deal

KronoRed
04-02-2006, 04:31 PM
D is worse, Pitching is slightly better, the O will take a hit with certain players getting 600 at bats.

alex trevino
04-02-2006, 06:12 PM
The biggest difference in ownership and the front office it will take awhile to see the change on paper...we will ultimately be a better team? maybe couldn't be any worse.

reds44
04-02-2006, 06:16 PM
1B and 2B look worse on paper. The starting pitching looks to be a wash. I think it will end up better this year, but the "going into the season" look makes it appear very similar to the going into the season look from last year. The bullpen could be ok, or very bad due to the extreme ages involved. On paper looks to be very similar to last year. Position player-wise, other that 1B and 2B look really good, with generally better, or as-good years expected from most positions (I think Lopez will regress a bit this year, but not significantly). The problems with 2B and 1B appear to be more of a management decision than an actual talent gap.
2B looks worse on paper to start the season, but it is going to be hard for Womack match the suckiness that was Jimenez last year.

We have a better rotation, same OF, better SS, better 2B (:evil:), probably even 3B until EE can prove he is better, same 2B, and worse 1B.

IMO, we are and will be better then last year.

reds44
04-02-2006, 06:17 PM
i'd take womack over d'lo anytime of the day hattebergo or casey isn't really a big deal
:thumbup:

TeamBoone
04-02-2006, 08:07 PM
I think the OF is better and lest we forget, Adam Dunn hit so low in the order last year that he essentially got gyped out of several ABs. This year he's hitting higher, will hopefully lead off fewer innings, and thus make the Offense even better.

If Milton's leg problem is truly resolved and his ST performance is not an aberration, that alone makes the pitching better. Harang lost 5-6 games that he should have won, so his record is better than it looks on paper. And Arroyo is definitely a step up from whatever is left (less Claussen). That adds up to much better pitching this year, IMHO.

EE will be at 3B all year as long as he keeps producing, and I see no reason to believe he won't. That's an upgrade as Randa was there for only half a season and appeared to be running out of steam a bit at the time he was traded.

2B is anybody's guess.

All in all, I see a team that's quite a bit better; add to that their enthusiasm under the new regime.

I don't give a rat's tail what the media says, this is a MUCH better team and I hope upon hope that they prove it!

ochre
04-02-2006, 09:44 PM
womack is worse than D'Lo. I'm no Aurilia fan, but I'd rather see him out there than Nomack.

OnBaseMachine
04-02-2006, 09:49 PM
i'd take womack over d'lo anytime of the day hattebergo or casey isn't really a big deal

2005

Tony Womack-.249/.276/.280-.556

D'Angelo Jimenez-.229/.319/.295-.614

Once again, Jimenez was better than Womack last year. As much as some of you hate to admit it, he is the worst player in baseball.

vaticanplum
04-02-2006, 10:15 PM
I think on paper we are better, though still a long way from contending. the real questions to me still lie with management. Within a few months I suspect we will have a better idea of exactly what direction this team's going.

But the uncertainty makes me feel more hopeful. It's better than knowing absolutely that your team is awful and very unlikely to improve.

flyer85
04-02-2006, 10:24 PM
Slightly better. I think the keys will be the bullpen which still has to be a concern and the defense. It is staffed entirely of mediocre pitchers. Defensive downgrade at 2nd and 1st and CF defense is still a huge concern

Aronchis
04-02-2006, 10:29 PM
Starting pitching has to project better. Last year Harang and Claussen were still unproven nobodies and Wilson/Ortiz didn't project well along with Dave Miley staring into the rain. Oh course I have not forgotten about Milton, who claims he was injured through last year(every bit of corn has a kernal of truth). That staff was built for implosion which it did.

This year Harang and Claussen look more seasoned and mature after making some good headway last year. Hoping for 400innings from both isn't out of the question. Arroyo gives a viable upgrade to the Wilson/Ortiz junk and he threw his first 200 innings last year as well. If Milton can retain enough heat, he gets out of his black hole filled in with loose clay.

Whether it pans out to the medium, you could argue this is the best staff the Reds have put together since at least 2002, maybe 1999. That just shows you how bad this clubs starting pitching has been.

TeamBoone
04-02-2006, 10:49 PM
Defensive downgrade at 2nd and 1st and CF defense is still a huge concern

I agree that CF is a concern, but I wouldn't label it as huge.

TeamBoone
04-02-2006, 10:51 PM
We have .. same OF...

Actually, the OF is different... no platoon.

flyer85
04-02-2006, 10:53 PM
I agree that CF is a concern, but I wouldn't label it as huge.the stats say that in 2006(2nd worst in 2005) the Reds are going to have the worst CF defense in baseball since the Yanks won't be playing Bernie in CF this year.

TeamBoone
04-03-2006, 09:03 AM
I know what they say, but I don't buy it.

deltachi8
04-03-2006, 12:06 PM
i'd take womack over d'lo anytime of the day hattebergo or casey isn't really a big deal

i dont think I would even do that. Womack is perhapps the worst, or at the very least one of the 5 worst, position players in the game.

Jimenez was awful last year - no hdiding that. He had shown signs however of being a very productive offensive 2b. He was banished from the team to send a message - and he was an easy target because he wasnt playing well and more importantly (IMHO) he wasn't like din the clubhouse.

flyer85
04-03-2006, 12:09 PM
I know what they say, but I don't buy it.anecdotal evidence is nice but it's not like they awarded him a Gold Glove.

WVRedsFan
04-03-2006, 12:41 PM
Just my take FWIW...

1B - slightly worse. I don't think Hattesburg will be the starter come June--just a hunch
2B - About the same. D'Lo was terribly slow and Womack is faster but doesn't have the range. Wash.
3B - Worse, but who knows what EdE will do. Jury's out.
LF - Same
CF - Same
RF - Somewhat better with Kearns there.

SP - Dramatically improved. No Randy Keislers or whoever there. All five starters have been just that.
RP - About the same.

I see this as a better year with .500 or better within our grasp.

Call me a dreamer. I have to believe. It's opening day!

deltachi8
04-03-2006, 12:52 PM
Call me a dreamer. I have to believe. It's opening day!

your a dreamer.


but it is opening day, so its a good thing to dream.