This post marks no. 5 in our 8-day series featuring predicitions for the upcoming season. GM Walt Jocketty and the Reds were as aggressive as ever this winter adding mutiple notable players via trade or free agency. While the club hopes all of these acquisitions make a positive impact, only one can stand out as the Reds' Top Newcomer of 2012. Here's a look at our selections:
@RedlegsWriter's pick: Mat Latos
-The Reds needed help in their rotation after finishing in the bottom half of the NL in ERA, so they exchanged a valuable four-player package with San Diego in return for Latos. The tall, young righty has shown flashes of having ace-like material. Although some are quick to say he had a “down” season in 2011 going 9-14 with a 3.47 ERA, that would have placed him second in wins and first in ERA among qualified Reds’ starters, not to mention he would have led the Reds in strikeouts (185) and been second in innings pitched (194.1). He is certainly an upgrade to the staff. Behind the Reds’ potent offense, Latos will have an excellent season, as he proves to be the solid number two starter, behind Cueto, for which the Reds have been looking, and part of the 1-2 punch the Reds will need to be successful late into the fall.
@Redlegs_Review's pick: Ryan Madson
-Unlike in year’s past, there were several options to select for this accolade. Sean Marshall, Mat Latos and Ryan Ludwick could all turn out to have a great impact on the season, but their efforts are all in vain if Madson doesn’t come in and secure the victory. Sure, the Reds had a solid closer in Francisco Cordero before, but Madson provides a younger, less-suspenseful version at the backend of the ‘pen. Plus, the former Phillie will be pitching with a chip on his shoulder as he tries to reestablish his market value for free agency. Players in their “contract year” are always a good bet to do well. I'm expecting the 31-year old to do just that en route to a monster season.
Honorable mentions go to: Ryan Ludwick and Sean Marshall
And in case you want to look back on a prior post, or just want to look ahead...
2012 season predictions schedule:
Monday: Offensive MVP
Today: Defensive MVP
Wednesday: Pitching MVP
Thursday: Most Improved
Friday: Top Newcomer
Saturday: Player Poised for Breakout Year
Sunday: Top Rookie
Monday: Potential All-Stars