Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2012 Cincinnati Reds A-to-Z

It comes after "A" and "B."
I was inspired by this article to write an A-to-Z guide about the Redlegs. It’s a neat idea and a fun way to list all the things to know and love about the 2012 Cincinnati Reds because they are awesome. Here it goes. If you have better options, comment below and if it’s really good maybe it will get promoted from the comments to the post!

A - Aroldis Chapman.
Who else for A? Chapman throws the baseball faster than anyone in the history of the world. It is a quite a spectacle to behold when the best baseball players on the planet are swinging right through Chapman’s fastball, as evidenced by his 17.2 strikeouts per nine innings as of July 24th.

B - Bruuuuuce.
That’s what you’ll hear when “Trey Deuce” steps into the batter’s box. It’s the affectionate chorus fans bellow for their young right fielder, Jay Bruce. At age 25, he’s already a two-time All-Star and is locked up through 2016 so you’ll be hearing that sweet crooning for a long time to come.

C - Cueto...
...as in Johnny Cueto, the Reds ace. He’s been arguably the best, most reliable starter in the National League since May of 2011. He fell six innings short of qualifying last year due to injury, but he’s once again on pace to have one of the lowest earned run averages in all of baseball. He could be one of the top two or three contenders for the 2012 NL Cy Young, if he doesn’t win it that is.

D - DatdudeBP.
Brandon Phillips is a major fan favorite. Maybe it’s because he’s so active on Twitter, or maybe it’s because of his contagious smile. Then again there was that “little” incident with Yadier Molina and the dirty birds in 2010, that Reds fans had to love. Oh yeah, the All-Star second baseman’s not too shabby with that golden glove or that bat of his either.

E - Extra-base hits.
Who doesn’t like these? Joey Votto leads baseball with 36 doubles. Todd Frazier is tied for the lead in triples (5) among rookies. Six players have double-digit home run totals, led by Jay Bruce with 19. Ryan Ludwick is second with 15, in just 248 at-bats, which is almost 100 less than Bruce.

F - Frazier.
It’s safe to say rookie third baseman/left fielder/first baseman/superhero Todd Frazier has received fan approval. He’s hit a walk-off home run, a homer with barely any hands at all, had a two-homer game, and saved a man’s life in Pittsburgh. If he can maintain his current numbers, the “Todd-father” should get strong consideration for Rookie of the Year, but will he with that Harper guy getting all the attention?

G - Great American Ball Park
It’s a gorgeous baseball facility, which opened back in 2003. It’s famous (or infamous) for being a hitter’s park where home runs are the norm. A recently-ended 74-game homer streak is clear evidence of this. It may be tougher for pitchers, but it can make for very exciting games and let’s face it; chicks dig the long ball.

H - Hamilton.
Billy Hamilton is the number one prospect in the Reds farm system. He stole 103 bases last year, and has already surpassed that number in 2012 with more than a month left in the season. He can hit a little too with a .324/.417/.488 slash line going into play Tuesday. He was promoted to Double-A Pensacola recently, after starting at High-A Bakersfield. He could be in Cincinnati as a September call-up.

I - Infield.
The Reds have one of the best defenses in all of baseball and it starts with the infield. Joey Votto won his first Gold Glove and Brandon Phillips his third in 2011. Scott Rolen is an eight-time Gold Glove winner, and can still pick it for an old man at third, while Todd Frazier does well to fill in for him there. The rookie Zack Cozart is very good at shortstop too. Okay, Ryan Hanigan isn't technically an infielder, but he certainly helps the defense.

J - Jocketty
Walt Jocketty is the general manager. Whether you love him or not is up to you. The only reason Joey Votto isn’t here for the “J” is because his last name starts with a “V” and I thought he’d fit there a lot better than, say, Wilson Valdez.

K - K.
It’s the symbol for strikeouts. We covered this already. Aroldis Chapman strikes people out like crazy. Then he strikes out more of them. The Reds bullpen is third in the NL in strikeouts. Sean Marshall (10.8) and Jose Arredondo (10.0) both have strikeout rates at or higher than 10 per nine innings pitched as well. Cueto (109) and Latos (103) do pretty well for themselves too, as far as total strikeouts go.

L - Larkin.
Barry Larkin. Hall of Famer. That is all.

M - Mustaches...
...or is it moustaches? Who cares? Sam Lecure has a really good one. Corky Miller also has one, as part of what some might consider something better.

N - Now.
The Reds made some bold offseason moves, leaving many to label them as a “win-now” team. It makes sense. A lot of their best, young players are either in their prime, entering their prime, or are the best players in baseball, cough, Joey Votto.

O - Ondrusek.
Logan Ondrusek is really tall. In fact, at 6’8’’, he’s the tallest player on the Reds roster. He’s also really good at pitching, which is a plus. Some of aliases are “Ondrusexy” and the “BFG: Big Friendly Giant.”

P - Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
The newest minor league affiliate of the Reds, with the wild name. In 2012, they replaced the Carolina Mudcats as the AA team for Cincinnati. Oh, and don’t forget about the Louisville Bats (AAA), Bakersfield Blaze (High-A), Dayton Dragons (Low-A), Billings Mustangs (rookie), and the AZL Reds (rookie).

Q - Questions?
It’s been a long-standing tradition (or at least since Twitter got popular) to tweet John Fay, Mark Sheldon, Jamie Ramsey, or any of your favorite personalities or bloggers with stupid questions that will really annoy them. Legitimate questions just aren’t as entertaining.

R - Relief pitching.
The Reds have the best relievers in baseball. Their bullpen ranks first in baseball in ERA. Sam LeCure at 3.57 is the only regular Reds reliever with an ERA above 3.00. J.J. Hoover has an exact 3.00 ERA in 18 innings, while Bill Bray has a 6.75 ERA in only 6.2 innings. Everyone else is gold.

S - Starting pitching.
The Reds are the only team to have used the same five starters with which they began the season. They rank fifth in baseball in starter ERA and lead baseball with seven complete games. Johnny Cueto, the unquestioned ace, followed by Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Homer Bailey, and Bronson Arroyo, while certainly frustrating at times, have been a big reason for the success of the Reds so far this season.

T - Toothpicks.
These little, wooden utensils are the trademark of skipper Dusty Baker. There’s no telling how many he has gnawed through while making the ever-tough lineup and pitching decisions which seem to aggravate Reds fans on Twitter to no end. Check the standings.

U - Up.
It’s the way the Reds are trending. After winning the NL Central crown in 2010, and playing like a real contender this year, it’s a really fun time to be a Reds fan. 2011? Well we don’t want to talk about that.

V - Votto.
Joseph Daniel Votto. You will want to pay attention because he is something special. He is the best hitter in baseball today. There’s nothing else to say. He’s currently on the disabled list after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus and the Reds are still winning. Reds fans are eager to get him back in the lineup anyways because, well, he’s the best hitter in baseball today.

W - Winning.
The Reds are a season-high 17 games over .500 at 57-40. They just won their sixth straight game on Tuesday evening, and now have a 2.5 game lead in the NL Central standings.

X - Xavier Paul
Thank goodness he was added to the roster recently, or what else would I have put here. Plus, as I am typing this Xavier Paul just finished a great night in a win against the Astros, going 3-for-5, with two RBI, a stolen base, and an outfield assist. Good for him, and the Reds.

Y - Young'uns
The Reds rely on a lot of young talent. Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco are both rookies, as is the aforementioned Todd Frazier. 10 of the current 25-man roster are 26 years old or younger. Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey are 27, so it's not like they're old or anything and I had to mention them in here. The veterans are pretty good too, though.

Z - Zero...
...as in the number of games back. The Reds are in first place in the NL Central as of Tuesday, July 24th and plan to be there after their last game on Wednesday, October 3rd. It feels good.

Comment or tweet at @RedlegsWriter if you have an idea for a letter and something you love about the Cincinnati Reds.

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