Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2 Reds ready to make the 'leap'


Happy Leap Year everyone! In celebration of this momentus day/occasion I have featured two players who I feel are on the brink of a breakout season. While both of them have had some success already throughout their careers, I believe 2012 could be the year for them both to make the "leap".

#2 SS Zack Cozart
-An unfortunate injury back in mid-July ended a solid major league debut for the infielder. Cozart appeared in only 11 games for the Reds last season (.324 BA), but he impressed the team enough to earn the preseason nod at the position heading into this year. The 26-year old isn't the highest-ranked prospect in the organization, but his presence at short could go a long way in helping this team get to where they want to go. Don't expect him to be Barry Larkin in his first full year, however expecting a .300 avg, 15 homers, 20 steals and solid defense from him isn't out of the question either. That would be much more production than the club got from their shortstops in 2011 (.238 BA, 7 HR, 59 RBIs)
#34 SP Homer Bailey
-It's hard to believe that it's been nearly eight years since Cincinnati plucked Bailey from La Grange High School in Texas, but it has. The franchise has shown tremendous patience and diligence with the right-hander over the years and in return the 25-year old has rewarded them with steady progress. Last year was a career year for Homer by many accounts. He posted career-highs in wins (9), ERA (4.43), innings pitched (132), and WHIP (1.280), among other categories. Still though, he continued to be hampered by injuries that limited his time spent on the field. Talk to any scout and they'll agree with the sentiment that Bailey has "ace" stuff, but his durability has always come into question. Should Bailey ever go a full season without making a trip to the disabled list one can only imagine what kind of season he could have. I believe the '12 campaign will be that elusive season he's been searching for.

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