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View Full Version : Reasons for Reds fans to be excited about the future



OnBaseMachine
04-02-2007, 02:05 AM
I got to thinking this weekend about how excited I am about the future of Cincinnati Reds baseball. With the addition of Josh Hamilton to the organization, and the emergence of Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto in the minors last year, the Reds are inching closer and closer to fielding a team capable of winning a lot of ballgames IMO.

So, out of boredom and excitement to get the season started, I decided to put together a little depth chart with my opinions on who will be starting for the Reds in a few years.

First, let's take a look at the future of the outfield:

LF - Adam Dunn IMO will be a Cincinnati Red for a longtime. I believe Wayne Krivsky understands what a special player Dunn is or else he wouldn't have signed him to that contract extension last spring. Dunn is a guy the Reds should - and will IMO - build around. You can always count on Dunn to hit 40+ homers, walk over 100 times and get on base at a .380+ clip. That is a guy you want in the middle of your order.

CF - Josh Hamilton will be patrolling centerfield in Cincy for years to come if you ask me. Despite sizing up at around 6'5" and weighing near 230 pounds, Hamilton has great range for someone his size. And we all know he has the arm for CF. But his bat is what is special - if Hamilton can do what he did this spring after not playing for four years then just imagine what he can do after receiving more exposure to big league pitching. Hamilton has all the tools to be a superstar in this league. I believe Hamilton will have an All-Star career in Cincinnati.

RF - Jay Bruce will be the third component of what I believe will be the best outfield in baseball for years to come. Jay Bruce has "superstar" written all over him. Often compared to Larry Walker, don't be surprised to see Jay Bruce debut with the Reds by mid-2008. Between Bruce, Dunn, and Hamilton, the Reds starting outfield alone could eventually combine to hit 110 homers a year if they all stay healthy.

Additional options include Chris Denorfia, Drew Stubbs, Chris Dickerson, and Danny Dorn.

The future of the Reds infield:

Though not as stacked as the outfield, the Reds future infield also looks to be very good.

At 3B we have Edwin Encarnacion, who I believe will be one of the best 3B in baseball for years to come. Encarnacion displays terrific range and a strong arm though errectic at times, it's something that can and will most likely be corrected. EdE's bat will be relied upon to fill one of the Reds weaknesses - power from the rightside. Encarnacion is one of the few RH power bats in the system but he is a great one. 30 homers and 45 doubles a year is not out of the question from EdE.

Other options: Juan Francisco - young 3B in Dayton who the Reds like but he is very raw and still a long ways off.

Middle Infield - Alex Gonzalez is currently holding down the SS position and will do so for the next couple years, but the Reds do have a solid trio of young shortstops in the minors - Chris Valaika, Milton Loo, and Paul Janish. Janish is the closest of the two - he brings Gold Glove type defense to the table and a solid eye at the plate, but his bat is still a question mark. I look for him to be a solid backup to either Milton Loo or Brandon Phillips. Valaika will be the future 2B IMO due to his lack of range at SS. Valaika and Loo have the biggest bats of the bunch. Loo has the most potential between he and Valaika, but Valaika will probably reach the majors first.

Future middle infield:

SS Milton Loo/Brandon Phillips
2B Chris Valakia

1B - Joey Votto will continue the Cincinnati first baseman tradition of being an incredibly nice guy who just happens to hit left-handed and throw with the right hand. Votto is a very underrated hitter who I think has a chance to be a very, very good major league hitter. 25-30 homers and plenty of doubles along with a .380+ OBP will be what you get out of Joey Votto.

Next in line: Logan Parker.

Future Catcher:

The lack of a catching prospect is a big weakness in the Reds organization. David Ross, Javy Valentin, and Chad Moeller are all 30 years old or older. Miguel Perez is looked at as the Reds catcher of the future, but I'm not very high on him. He is a very good defensive player but his bat is truly horrific. Jacob Long hit well last year but that was in rookie ball and who knows how he will fare against Midwest League pitching this year. The Reds need to target a catching prospect when talking trades with other teams.

Starting Pitching:

With Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo both signed through the 2010 season, the Reds have two solid pitchers who they can rely upon to give them 200 innings of below 4.00 ERA ball. They can also serve as mentors to two kids who I think will have great major league careers - Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto. Bailey has the stuff and makeup to become the first ever Cincinnati Red to win a Cy Young. Cueto's stuff is just a notch below that of Bailey's, however, his control is better at this point. A rotation led by Homer Bailey, Aaron Harang, Johnny Cueto, and Bronson Arroyo has a chance to be something special.

Travis Wood, Matt Belisle, Sam Lecure, and Kirk Saarloos are options in the fifth spot.

Bullpen:

The collection of young bullpen arms the Reds have assembled makes me feel good about the future state of the bullpen. Todd Coffey is already established. Billy Bray, Jon Coutlangus, and Jared Burton all look like they could be good major league relievers. Brad Salmon, Calvin Medlock, and Carlos Guevara aren't too far away. Derrik Lutz and Sean Watson are two college guys with good stuff who could move fast.

Final words:

With all that said, I realize not all of these guys will pan out. Some could be traded and some could flame out, but it's still fun to speculate and look into the future. I truly believe this team has a bright future ahead. The new ownership wants to win and they will do their best to keep around the players who they believe will help achieve that goal, as evidenced by the extensions of Harang and Arroyo.

mth123
04-02-2007, 02:32 AM
Agree completely. Hopefully as the younger guys arrive, some others can be shipped off for the missing pieces (Like Catcher and maybe a more all around SS).

In A couple of years it should be real fun.

WebScorpion
04-02-2007, 10:02 PM
I think Gonzalez is going to be the SS for a while...say 3 or 4 years. The guys we have in the minors will be lucky to push him. I think Phillips is at second to stay and I think he'll do well there...Phillips and Gonzalez make a great middle infield defensively and what we lose in Gonzalez' offense is more than made up for by the crushing outfielders. (Either Dunn, Hamilton, Griffey or Dunn, Hamilton, Bruce) You're right about catchers...we could use some prospects, but defense will be #1 priority and a good offensive catcher will never make a Krivsky team if he can't play outstanding defense behind the dish. The future is bright, I agree! :thumbup: :cool:

corkedbat
04-02-2007, 11:10 PM
I DVR'd the game whilr I was at work and have to say I truly and thoroughly loathe the uniforms.. A huge butt-ugly step down. I do think I am going to love this team though (well, except for Milton and Cormier). :D

RedEye
04-03-2007, 12:50 AM
Thanks for the in-depth preview; it is well-written and insightful. I'm optimistic, too. The team seems to have more young talent, especially in pitching, than it has had in years.

I am, however, realistic about the chances of all this "pitching depth" working out. It seems like quite a few teams have had their dreams dashed by young pitchers recently.

First of all, none of these pitchers has done anything at the ML level yet. They are young and talented, but it is very hard to project their minor league success into ML performance IMO. Decent stuff and a good fastball can get you pretty far at AA, but at the ML you have to have more than that. Just a few years ago, the Mariners had the most pitching depth in the minors of any team. However, the combination of busts and injuries left them with just one marquee talent: King Felix.

Then there's the possibility of injury at the ML level. Think about Kerry Wood and Mark Prior just a few years ago. They still could come back at some point, but I think it is safe to say they won't have the careers everyone thought they would. The Cubs ended up having one dependable starter (Zambrano) out of their three young studs. That said, if you are lucky enough to have three starters turn up at the same time, we know the results (see Braves of the '90s, A's of recent years).

More than any any of our hitters, Bailey, Cueto and Travis Wood are the keys to the future. If one of the three can turn into at least a top #3 starter, the starting rotation will be quite good for a few years. If one of them can turn into a legit #1, we could have a real contender on our hands.

Cincinnati hasn't had ANY homegrown pitching talent in years. I just think it's important to keep in mind that we have a long way to go with these guys. In any case, it'll be fun to see how their careers pan out.

kheidg-
04-03-2007, 01:18 AM
I DVR'd the game whilr I was at work and have to say I truly and thoroughly loathe the uniforms.. A huge butt-ugly step down. I do think I am going to love this team though (well, except for Milton and Cormier). :D

I liked the uniforms. Maybe I am in the minority...

kaldaniels
04-03-2007, 01:27 AM
I liked the uniforms. Maybe I am in the minority...

I'm with you. The more red and white in them and the less black the better in my opinion.

Ron Madden
04-03-2007, 01:36 AM
I liked the uniforms. Maybe I am in the minority...

I like 'em too.

Mutaman
04-03-2007, 02:26 AM
Just think, if we lose Wednesday, everybody will be back to predicting gloom and doom. Personally I think the Banana Man ruined this organization for a long time, and we have lots of dues to pay to make up for it.

Redhook
04-03-2007, 11:16 AM
Good post OBM. I agree with everything you said. It's finally starting to look good being a Reds fan. The only thing I wish the Reds had is one more right-handed bat. Are there too many lefties (Dunn, Griffey, Hamilton, Bruce, Votto)?