Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Our season outlook (part one)


As if there hasn't already been enough prognostication for the upcoming season, we provide you with a little more in this post. Today is part one of two in a mini-series featuring our predicitions for the 2012 campaign. In this one we provide our expected outcome of the season, the order of finish in the NL Central, and a brief opinion

Expected outcome of the 2012 season:

@RedlegsWriter
Could this be in their future?
- It’s hard to be logical, and be a fan at the same time. The heart gets in the way of the brain sometimes, but I can’t convince myself that this team isn’t better than the 2011 version. In fact, it is probably better than the 2010 National League Central Champion Reds that finished 91-71. Barring major injuries and major letdowns by certain players, I see the 2012 Redlegs going 94-68, to beat out the dirty birds for the division crown. They will finally win a playoff series, but the dreams of a World Series berth are dashed in six games in the NLCS, by those phreakin’ Phillies. Tears of red flow through the streets of the Queen City.

@Redlegs_Review
- My heart says…the Reds will win over 100 ballgames, claim the NL Central crown with ease, and sport the league’s best overall record. They’ll then blaze through the postseason en route to a World Series title...number six in franchise history, for those keeping score at home.

My mind says…the Reds edge out the Brewers and Cardinals in a tight race for the division title, but are ultimately eliminated before they can reach the World Series....most likely by those pesky Cheesesteaks Phillies from up North or those Beach Bums Giants from out West.

Predicted finish of NL Central:

@RedlegsWriter
Reds (NL Central Champs)
Cardinals (2nd Wild Card winner)
Pirates
Brewers
Cubs
Astros

@Redlegs_Review
Reds (NL Central champs)
Brewers (2nd Wild Card winner)
Cardinals
Pirates
Cubs
Astros

A topic of concern entering the season:

@RedlegsWriter
- With as much optimism that I and all Reds’ fans have going into the season, it would be a major disappointment if Cincinnati doesn’t win this year. Optimism can be a tricky mistress however, allowing its ugly sister Pessimism to rear her ugly head. It would seem publicly that a high majority of fans think that everything will turn up Reds this season, myself included, but I got to thinking the other day, “what if it doesn’t and how can it?” Generally speaking, it seems like every fan thinks every player is going to have a fantastic season, if you get my drift. Sure there are some detractors, but they shouldn’t completely be ignored when there are so many places, things might not go right. It IS baseball, after all, and who knows what could happen. Don’t hate me for this, but we must all temper our expectations with caution.
Can Rolen stay healthy?

What if Mat Latos disappoints in his first season as a Red? What if Homer Bailey actually regresses instead of breaking out his year? Can we actually expect Scott Rolen to stay healthy this season? Will the duo of Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick produce in left field? Will Drew Stubbs be better? There are a lot of eggs going into the Zack Cozart/Devin Mesoraco baskets too. Both are rookies with little proof so far that they can succeed in the majors, and with little proven depth behind them (apologies to Ryan Hanigan). It takes a certain amount of faith to remain optimistic, but it’s something that fans with so much fervor can and will certainly do.

Surely, some of these scenarios will work out in the Reds’ favor, but it would have to be a nearly perfect season, one would think, for every question or concern to have a positive outcome. Will enough players live up to the hype and help bring Cincinnati and its fans the success they so desperately crave, and rightfully deserve? I absolutely hope and think so.

@Redlegs_Review
- A big concern for me heading into the year is how the club intends to utilize Aroldis Chapman. The left-hander is now entering his third season with the franchise and still doesn’t have a clear role. There were rumors that he could possibly replace Francisco Cordero as the team’s closer, but that idea was scraped when the Reds opted to sign free agent Ryan Madson instead.

It was also believed that the team wanted to transition him from a reliever to a starter over the winter, but the addition of Mat Latos has left no room for him in the rotation either. The recent season-ending injury to Madson only further complicates his and the Reds' situation. As it stands now, the Cuban native is likely to either begin the season in the bullpen, or begin the year as a starter in Triple-A. Simply stated, Chapman is too talented and too pricey ($3.8M in 2011) to be anything less than either a starting pitcher in the major leagues, or a closer. That’s just my opinion on the matter.

Be sure to check back in tomorrow as we each reveal a bold prediction along with our best and worst-case scenarios for the season.

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