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Will M
02-24-2010, 03:27 PM
Now that Walt has put together a decent team from A to Z I have been thinking of what is key if the Reds are going to compete for a playoff spot.
I came up with three things I feel are the most important.

1. Health. Pretty true for every team but always at the top of the list. I sigh when I think what a healthy Edison would have done for this years team.

2. The team has a lot of solid players & a few above average players (Arroyo, Cordero, Rolen, Phillips). However we have only one true star: Votto. For the 2010 team to rise up and win 90 games we are going to have to see several guys step up to be star players. Candidates? IMO Bailey, Bruce & Cueto. All have good minor league pedigrees. All have experience in the bigs.

3. 5th starter production. As I said above the team is solid but seems to have a lot of decent yet unspectacular players. So we can't afford a pitcher with an ERA of 5.50 starting one out of every five games. Lets say the 5th starter stinks and we go 11-21 in the 32 games he starts. To win 90 games we would have to go 79-51 in the games started by the top four starters. Thats a tall order IMO with the pretty average offense we expect.

Thoughts?

mth123
02-24-2010, 03:39 PM
1, A repeat for Joey Votto and a similar year from Jay Bruce to hopefully provide enough offense on a team which really doesn't have much else to get excited about when they are hitting.

2. The 4 starters pitching to their potential which would make Homer Bailey a Cy Young candidate and Johnny Cueto a strong number 2. Its probably too soon for Chapman, which means Bailey is really the only guy capable fo becoming a number 1.

Funny a few years ago we were all pointing to Bruce, Bailey, Cueto and Votto as the top prospects to carry the future. Its still true today with Chapman, Volquez, and maybe Leake and Alonso also joining that group in the next year or two. Many of the others have some promise and success would help, but they are all interchangeable parts IMO and wouldn't qualify as "key."

nate
02-24-2010, 03:50 PM
1. Health

2. Continued defensive excellence

3. Starting pitching

4. Out avoidance

5. Better jokes in chat

Vada Pinson Fan
02-24-2010, 04:44 PM
If Votto continues to OPS at +.900 and if Bruce can join him at that clip and add Philips, Rolen at .800 plus as you mentioned good health from the starters, starting staff and bullpen and an unexpected good to great year from Stubbs, Bailey and Hernandez then we have something special! Harang has to come through from two lousy years. Alot to have happen but you just never know!!!

Rojo
02-24-2010, 04:56 PM
Bruce. He needs to take a big step toward monsterdom. If he's Austin Kerns II, all the tinkering around the edges won't matter.

Scrap Irony
02-24-2010, 07:08 PM
If Bruce goes all Matt Holliday, the Reds have better players than the Cardinals almost across the board.

If he's more Matt Diaz, the Reds will have problems.

Caveat Emperor
02-24-2010, 07:51 PM
1. Are the Reds getting an '06/'07 Aaron Harang (fringe Cy Young candidate) or an '08/'09 Aaron Harang (fringe #4 who made you wonder what else he picked up in the Bay Area besides pitching tips).

2. Can Bronson Arroyo pitch well out of the gate, or is he going to wait until the games don't matter before he decides to turn it on?

3. Will Homer Bailey continue to progress as a major league starter, or was his success a product of late-season lineups and a bit of luck?

4. Will Jay Bruce become the player everyone projected him to be as a minor leaguer, or will he continue on the express train to Larsonville with his ~.300 OBP and poor LH/RH splits?

5. Can Drew Stubbs produce enough at the plate to make him a net positive value with his defense in CF?

6. Will the bullpen continue to be effective, specifically Arthur Rhodes (does he have 1 more good year left in him), Nick Masset (was 2009 an illusion, or is he that effective?), and Francisco Cordero?

and, as always:

7. Is the team going to stay healthy?

Joseph
02-24-2010, 07:59 PM
Scoring more runs than the opponents.

Simple, almost too simple, but this offense borders on anemic. Its going to take every living up to their hype and more for this team to truly contend.

OnBaseMachine
02-25-2010, 08:32 AM
1. Health is always one of the biggest keys. Hopefully the Reds can stay a lot healthier this season than last year when they were just devastated by injuries. We need 130+ games out of Scott Rolen and 150+ from Jay Bruce and Joey Votto. Same with Brandon Phillips.

2. The return of Aaron Harang to his 2005-2007 form. Harang wasn't bad last year (102 ERA+) but the Reds need him to stay healthy and get back to throwing 200+ innings with an above average ERA. Hopefully the Reds can resist running him out there after a rain delay or on two days rest.

3. Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, and Johnny Cueto. I hate to put even more pressure on them but all three are huge keys to the Reds success in 2010. If Bailey and Bruce carry over their success from late 2009, and if Cueto can pitch like he did for most of 2009 except for about 8-10 starts in the middle of the season, then the Reds could be looking at 86+ wins, IMO.

4. Left field. Can someone step up and win the the left field job? I'd love nothing more than to see a guy like Wladimir Balentien start to realize his potential and win the job. He's got the potential to be a 25-30 HR and .850 OPS hitter. If he were to come anywhere close to those numbers then the Reds offense should be well above average.

M2
03-02-2010, 01:11 AM
1. Wladimir Balentien having a good season.

2. The top two spots in the lineup getting on base.

3. Brandon Phillips having his best season ever vs. RHPs.

Mario-Rijo
03-02-2010, 01:35 AM
1. Wladimir Balentien having a good season.

2. The top two spots in the lineup getting on base.

3. Brandon Phillips having his best season ever vs. RHPs.

Holy crap do my eyes deceive me, M2 is back? I was just getting ready to put out a WAHT M2 thread. Glad to see ya.

On the topic at hand I gotta 1st ask Keys for what? Keys for a winning season or Keys to deep playoffs? I think we are likely to do one but not the other obviously. And since I believe Bruce isn't an "if" but a sure thing, I am gonna go a different route here. My expectations for most guys/spots are basically what they done last year without a ton of variation. The others are Bruce (who I expect to have a great season) and a few wildcards, those being Bailey, Gomes, Stubbs and Balentein. I think i'm on the fence with the latter 3 leaning towards them not doing real well. Bailey is the one guy whom I don't really know what to expect so I think if he does well and the bench improves as we go forward as well as the decision makers not wasting a ton of time bringing up guys (Heisey, Frazier etc.) when others struggle then I feel good about the season being a winning one.

OnBaseMachine
03-02-2010, 01:43 AM
1. Wladimir Balentien having a good season.

2. The top two spots in the lineup getting on base.

3. Brandon Phillips having his best season ever vs. RHPs.

Good to see you around here again.

I agree with ya on Balentien. He doesn't get as much recognition as some of the others in the left field race, but he's a darkhorse to win the job, IMO. He's got the potential to be a 25-30 HR, .850 OPS bat with slightly above average defense. If he can start to realize some of his potential then the Reds offense could be pretty good, IMO.

M2
03-02-2010, 01:54 AM
On the topic at hand I gotta 1st ask Keys for what? Keys for a winning season or Keys to deep playoffs?

In the first post Will said keys to competing for a playoff spot. Obviously a lot of stuff has to go right for that to happen, but my take is the thing most holding back the Reds is a horrific offense. The team needs to score about 750 runs if it wants to truly compete.

The top of the lineup is suspect in the OB department, which means big seasons from the middle of the lineup will be necessary. Votto will be hard-pressed to match his 2009 season, but he'll still be good. Bruce should be better. Rolen should be steady, but not overwhelming. Phillips, like I mentioned, needs to have his best season vs. RHPs. And the Reds aren't getting any meaningful production from the catchers.

That leaves LF, and Balentien strikes me as the one guy who could be a serious difference maker out there. I'm not saying he will be, but him realizing his potential is 100% of what the team most needs.

Mario-Rijo
03-02-2010, 02:27 AM
In the first post Will said keys to competing for a playoff spot. Obviously a lot of stuff has to go right for that to happen, but my take is the thing most holding back the Reds is a horrific offense. The team needs to score about 750 runs if it wants to truly compete.

The top of the lineup is suspect in the OB department, which means big seasons from the middle of the lineup will be necessary. Votto will be hard-pressed to match his 2009 season, but he'll still be good. Bruce should be better. Rolen should be steady, but not overwhelming. Phillips, like I mentioned, needs to have his best season vs. RHPs. And the Reds aren't getting any meaningful production from the catchers.

That leaves LF, and Balentien strikes me as the one guy who could be a serious difference maker out there. I'm not saying he will be, but him realizing his potential is 100% of what the team most needs.

Ah ok thanks M2, somehow I managed to gloss over that not once but twice, brain fart I guess.

I'd agree on your points but I also believe if Homer doesn't pan out the offense would have to do something extraordinary that they probably are not quite capable of. With the pitching and defense in place I like our chances of fighting for a playoff spot into September.

Ron Madden
03-02-2010, 04:26 AM
The two main keys are..

1. Score as many runs as possible.

2. Allow opponents as few runs as possible.


To be honest I'm kinda worried about #1.

edabbs44
03-02-2010, 08:12 AM
Jay Bruce is a huge key to this team this season. If he emerges as a front-line guy this season, this team will be a lot better than some may think.

Sea Ray
03-02-2010, 09:01 AM
In the first post Will said keys to competing for a playoff spot. Obviously a lot of stuff has to go right for that to happen, but my take is the thing most holding back the Reds is a horrific offense. The team needs to score about 750 runs if it wants to truly compete.

The top of the lineup is suspect in the OB department, which means big seasons from the middle of the lineup will be necessary. Votto will be hard-pressed to match his 2009 season, but he'll still be good. Bruce should be better. Rolen should be steady, but not overwhelming. Phillips, like I mentioned, needs to have his best season vs. RHPs. And the Reds aren't getting any meaningful production from the catchers.

That leaves LF, and Balentien strikes me as the one guy who could be a serious difference maker out there. I'm not saying he will be, but him realizing his potential is 100% of what the team most needs.


What about SS? If you're comparing 2009 to 2010 I think Janish to Cabrera can make a lot of hay offensively.

I disagree that Balentien is a key because if he falters there are so many other options like Heisey and Gomes.

IslandRed
03-02-2010, 09:49 AM
For me, I would start with Cabrera. The Reds are finally looking like a somewhat cohesive ballclub and not just a random collection of some decent players and filler, and the depth is better. In nearly every instance, if (insert name here) tanks or gets hurt, there's someone who can reasonably project to step in and at least not be a Black Hole of Awful of the kind that's killed the club for years. Shortstop is the exception, IMO, so Cabrera needs to play and play decently.

Otherwise, decent OBP from Stubbs (or whoever hits leadoff) and a breakout year from Bruce are what will move the team from average-ish to contender-ish.

membengal
03-02-2010, 09:51 AM
1. Bailey maintains end-of-year success and becomes the rotation anchor.

2. Bruce comes into his own.

3. Stubbs is legit and can OPS around .750.

4. Votto does not take a significant step back.

Kc61
03-02-2010, 09:53 AM
Harang, Bruce and Cabrera.

Ron Madden
03-03-2010, 04:11 AM
I'm not as confident about the catchers position as many of you are.

I honestly hope I'm wrong here but Hernandez hasn't shown me much. I like Hannigan's defense and plate discipline but he looks like a punch n Judy hitter.

The catchers position could be a very important key in 2010.

Mario-Rijo
03-03-2010, 04:19 AM
I'm not as confident about the catchers position as many of you are.

I honestly hope I'm wrong here but Hernandez hasn't shown me much. I like Hannigan's defense and plate discipline but he looks like a punch n Judy hitter.

The catchers position could be a very important key in 2010.

Maybe I'm just old fashioned but their offensive production is adequate for their position IMO. Especially if Hanigan gets more playing time making the defense top notch there. I know Hanny tends to get nailed for his shortcomings but I don't think his tendency last year to not hit well with RISP is something that will continue, he just seemed to try to do to much when that occcured and I think he will fix that issue as he gains experience. On Hernandez I don't really have any problem at all with his offense, sure he doesn't have the bat he once had but I think he usually does well at understanding the situation and doing what is called for from a team scoring approach. Overall he is a smidge below average maybe but I've seen much worse in semi-recent years.

I won't say I think they are an ideal combo back there but I don't believe they are hopeless and worthless which I tend to get that vibe on RZ, not you perse'.

Ron Madden
03-03-2010, 04:52 AM
Maybe I'm just old fashioned but their offensive production is adequate for their position IMO. Especially if Hanigan gets more playing time making the defense top notch there. I know Hanny tends to get nailed for his shortcomings but I don't think his tendency last year to not hit well with RISP is something that will continue, he just seemed to try to do to much when that occcured and I think he will fix that issue as he gains experience. On Hernandez I don't really have any problem at all with his offense, sure he doesn't have the bat he once had but I think he usually does well at understanding the situation and doing what is called for from a team scoring approach. Overall he is a smidge below average maybe but I've seen much worse in semi-recent years.

I won't say I think they are an ideal combo back there but I don't believe they are hopeless and worthless which I tend to get that vibe on RZ, not you perse'.


I don't think they are hopeless or worthless either.

It's just my honest opinion that Hernandez is over rated both offensively and defensively and he's getting old for a catcher. Again, I hope my opinion is proven wrong.

I love Hanigan's defense and plate discipline and I couldn't care less about his or anyone else's' batting average with RISP. I like Hanigan but I'm afraid he just doesn't have the body type or strength to catch everyday in MLB.

I hope you're right though. :thumbup:

Homer Bailey
03-03-2010, 10:45 AM
The two main keys are..

1. Score as many runs as possible.

2. Allow opponents as few runs as possible.


To be honest I'm kinda worried about #1.

I'm worried as well. This board seems to be very optimistic about this offense, and I'm just not quite seeing it. I'll gladly eat my words if I turn out to be wrong though.

membengal
03-03-2010, 10:56 AM
I wouldn't ascribe "optimism" to the board on the offense, as much as realism. I don't think anyone thinks they will be any more than average, at best, offensively. But if the pitching finishes coming together, and they can field the ball well, that might be enough to let them make a run at .500. At least, that's my take. Is "making a run at .500" optimism?

Homer Bailey
03-03-2010, 11:41 AM
I wouldn't ascribe "optimism" to the board on the offense, as much as realism. I don't think anyone thinks they will be any more than average, at best, offensively. But if the pitching finishes coming together, and they can field the ball well, that might be enough to let them make a run at .500. At least, that's my take. Is "making a run at .500" optimism?

I think it's pretty optimistic considering we haven't been over .500 for 9 years.

My post was probably better suited for the "Rank the Reds" thread, where I saw several posts that had our offense in the top 10 (maybe they meant NL?). I just know that we were one of the worst offenses in baseball last year, and we have done next to nothing to immediately upgrade that offenese, other than signing Cabrera.

Screwball
03-03-2010, 11:44 AM
I just know that we were one of the worst offenses in baseball last year, and we have done next to nothing to immediately upgrade that offenese, other than signing Cabrera.

3B was a huge problem almost all of last year as well, but if Rolen can log an impactful amount of games (~120 or so), that should be a pretty significant upgrade.

membengal
03-03-2010, 11:56 AM
I think it's pretty optimistic considering we haven't been over .500 for 9 years.

My post was probably better suited for the "Rank the Reds" thread, where I saw several posts that had our offense in the top 10 (maybe they meant NL?). I just know that we were one of the worst offenses in baseball last year, and we have done next to nothing to immediately upgrade that offenese, other than signing Cabrera.

I think that was top 10 NL from those with such a rank. At least, I hope so.

And I did not say they would get to .500 with this offense, just that if the pitching and fielding comes together it might be enough "to make a run at it". I hardly see that as wild-eyed optimism.