Choo is a brilliant lineup fit in Cincinnati, as the Reds had by far the major leagues' worst on-base percentage from their leadoff hitters in 2012 (.254). Choo, by comparison, ranked among the majors' top 20 qualified hitters in on-base percentage in each of his three batting title-eligible campaigns (2009-10 and 2012), and his walk rate ranked among the top 25 in both 2010 and 2012. Therefore, there's an excellent chance that the Reds will have their leadoff man on base a good 75 times more than they did in 2012, and that presents a huge advantage for projected middle-of-the-order sluggers Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, who combined had 232 RBIs in 1,731 plate appearances (one per 7.46).
To say that the odds of the Reds boasting at least one 100-run scorer (Choo) and as many as two 100-RBI men (Votto and Bruce, the likely Nos. 3 and 5 hitters) are good is selling this lineup short. Surely Choo should be a .280-average, .375-OBP performer in 2013, and coupled with probable 100-run, 20-steal contributions, his value will improve. That he'll also experience a boost in home run potential in his new ballpark, which is good for left-handed power, means Choo deserves every bit of his boost in ranking, from my No. 86 overall player to 78th.
Defensively speaking, however, there are concerns for Reds pitchers following this deal. (And that's not because of anything Donald, a projected backup infielder for his new team, does to the team.) Choo as a center fielder is a puzzling experiment, as he has 10 career big league games at the position, only one in the past six seasons and only 161 total as a professional. The man he's replacing, Stubbs, had the third-best Ultimate Zone Rating (per FanGraphs) out of 20 qualified center fielders (6.8), while Choo had the worst UZR of 17 qualified right fielders (-17.0). With Ryan Ludwick in left field, Choo in center and Bruce in right, the Reds have an outstanding chance of placing all three outfield positions in the bottom five in the majors defensively in 2013 … so good luck, Reds fly-ball pitchers.
Two Reds hurlers had higher than the major league average fly-ball rate in 2012, Bronson Arroyo with 38.3 percent (27th out of 88 qualifiers) and Homer Bailey with 37.6 percent (32nd), so don't count on either having as easy a time repeating what were solid ratios in 2012. Both lose a solid $1-2 in NL-only auction drafts as a result of Stubbs' departure and Choo's arrival.