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RedsMan3203
03-30-2007, 12:13 AM
Say Hello To: IF-OF Jeff Conine, OFs Bubba Crosby and Josh Hamilton, SS Alex Gonzalez, RHPs Kirk Saarloos, Victor Santos and Dustin Hermansen, LHP Mike Stanton

Say Goodbye To: IFs Rich Aurilia and Brendan Harris, LHPs Brandon Claussen, Kent Mercker, Chris Michalek and Scott Schoeneweiss, RHP Ryan Franklin, SS Royce Clayton, OF Todd Hollandsworth, C Jason LaRue


Projected Starting Lineup:

C - David Ross (3rd among NL catchers with 21 HRs in just 90 games; .316 vs LHP) 1B - Scott Hatteberg (team-high .389 OBP and sixth toughest in NL to strike out) 2B - Brandon Phillips (Indians reject's 17 HR, 75 RBI most by Reds 2Bman this decade) 3B - Edwin Encarnacion (.915 fielding worst among all 3Bman; solid bat; .303 RISP) SS - Alex Gonzalez (played best SS in Red Sox history in '06; finished 10-for-82) LF - Adam Dunn (1 of 3 players with 40 HRs last three years; hit .176 last two months) CF - Ryan Freel (led Reds in SBs for third straight year; started at 5 positions) RF - Ken Griffey (needs 37 HR for 600; hasn't played 145 games since 2000)

Projected Rotation:

RHP - Bronson Arroyo (started 9-3, 2.47 ERA; first Red to lead NL in IP since 1941) RHP - Aaron Harang (led NL with 216 strikeouts and 6 complete games; finished strong) LHP - Eric Milton (bust is 16-23, 5.89 ERA with 69 HR in 339 IP in 2 years with Reds) RHP - Kyle Lohse (10.8 hits/9 IP 3rd worst in MLB last 3 years; 23-36 over that span) RHP - Kirk Saarloos (15.21 baserunners/9 IP second worst in AL in 2006)

Projected Closer:

LHP - Mike Stanton (leads active pitchers with 1,108 games; 2.10 ERA in postseason) RHP - David Weathers (lost job after 5.09 early ERA; 1.64 ERA after All-Star break)

Two Questions the Reds need to answer:

1) Can Adam Dunn and the offense rebound? The Reds went from a league-high 820 runs in 2005 to ninth in runs with 820 last season. In addition, they hit a league-worst .243 with runners in scoring position. Despite slugging 40 homers for the third straight season, Dunn slumped late, batting .176 the last two months and leading the league with 194 strikeouts. He failed to make adjustments, batting just .148 with 91 strikeouts in 162 at-bats when behind in the count.

2) Can the Reds close out games? Cincinnati has a lot of options in the bullpen but not a lot of good ones. Despite a respectable bullpen ERA of 4.43, The club blew 24-of-59 save opportunities last season and converted just 15-of-30 one-run saves and 11-of-20 two-run opportunities worst in the league. Weathers converted 12-of-20 last season and Stanton was 8-for-11 last season with the Giants. Manager Jerry Narron's preferred closer Eddie Guardado will miss most of the first half of the season recovering from elbow surgery. A sleeper could be Hermansen, who saved 34 games for the White Sox but was a forgotten World Series champ in 2005. He's back from back problems and has looked good this spring.

Pivotal Player: Arroyo and Harang became the first pair of Reds righthanders since 1965 to pitch more than 230 innings each. They combined for 30 of the 51 wins posted by club starters and 18 of the 23 starts that resulted in eight innings. With a suspect bullpen, Cincinnati needs at least one more reliable pitcher and it should be Milton, who has been a bust since signing a three-year deal worth $25.5 million after the 2004 season. He yielded 29 homers in 152 innings last season and lasted eight innings just once in 26 starts. In his 60 starts as a Red, Milton has lasted less than six innings 26 times. Two years ago he was 8-15 with a 6.47 ERA and an NL-high 40 homers allowed.

Spring Training Notes: RHP Homer Bailey, one of the top prospects in the minors, had a 19.64 ERA in 3 2/3 innings before being sent out. ... The comeback attempt from a torn rotator cuff has officially ended for Paul Wilson. The first overall pick in the 1994 draft by the Mets was released. ... OF Josh Hamilton, a Rule V pick in December, has been tremendous this spring. Trying to get his career and life untracked after drug abuse problems, Hamilton was the first overall pick in the 1999 draft. ... Despite an impressive spring, LHP Bobby Livingston was sent to Class AAA. RHP Matt Belisle is in a fight with Saarloos for the No. 5 spot. ... OF Chris Denorfia likely will miss the entire season after undergoing elbow surgery.

Projected Finish: Sixth in NL Central


Booo the projected finish.... Everyone knows they are better then last place.... But how much better is the question?

CySeymour
03-30-2007, 11:07 AM
I don't get too caught up in these pre-season predictions anymore. Teams tend to change so much during the course of a season that the team that starts the season ain't the one that finishes the season.

Degenerate39
03-30-2007, 03:00 PM
How many anyone predict the Reds to finish last when the Pirates are in our divison?

durl
03-30-2007, 03:31 PM
Someone needs to compile a list of the major outlets' predictions during the preseason along with the actual results. Virtually all of them missed the Reds last year and I really thought some of them would learn a lesson from 2006. Apparently not.

TheBurn
03-30-2007, 03:41 PM
The Reds went from a league-high 820 runs in 2005 to ninth in runs with 820 last season. :help: