Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2013 Reds predictions: Pitching MVP

Welcome to day three of our Reds team predictions for 2013. We've covered the team from the aspects of the plate and the field. Now it's time for perhaps the most important element of the team in pitching. The Reds pitching staff was among the best in baseball in 2012, led by Johnny Cueto in the rotation and Aroldis Chapman out of the bullpen. Who will lead the staff this year, according to the Redlegs Review writers?

Our pick for the 2013 Reds Pitching MVP:

@RedlegsWriter: Latos barely beat out Cueto to win the vote here. One couldn't really go wrong with either choice. I voted for Latos and here's why. Latos has been pretty good in his first three full years in the major leagues. He's 25 years old and entering the prime of his career. He's just the power pitcher that the Reds have yearned for in years past and he brings an edge to this Reds team that makes the starting rotation even more formidable. Some people have mistakenly referred to that as an attitude problem, but I like to call it supreme confidence. He's not afraid to want the ball, as evidenced by his willingness to replace Cueto on short rest after Cueto injured his oblique in Game 1 of the divisional playoffs in 2012. He went on to throw a solid four innings of one-run baseball in a 5-2 win for the Reds.

He finished the year with a 14-4 record and a 3.48 ERA and I only predict things to get better for him. He proved he could pitch in Great American Ball Park by putting up a better ERA (3.18) at home than he did on the road (3.93). Now with a year in Cincinnati under his belt and a sour taste in his mouth following the Reds playoff exit, Latos will lead the way for what will once again be a strong pitching staff and will challenge for his first Cy Young award, besting his eighth-place finish from 2010.

@Redlegs_Review: Unlike the Defensive and Offensive MVP awards, the voting for this particular award was split among the RR staffers. And I for one think that this is a great problem to have. It means that the Reds have plenty of quality arms, which also means they boast plenty of depth, as well. And depth is what usually is needed for teams to win the division. Cincinnati certainly has it this year.

Although Cueto has clearly been the team's best pitcher the last two seasons, Latos appears to be in position to challenge the Dominican native for the title. Latos proved that pitching in the hitter-friendly sandbox known as Great American Ball Park wasn't going to be a disaster for him. In fact, his home and away splits actually suggest that he prefers pitching in GABP over any opposing park. Think about that fact for a second, folks. And now after a season to get acclimated to his new teammates and surroundings, I expect huge things from the right-hander in 2013.

This award could eventually go to a handful of guys. Namely, Cueto, Bailey, or even a guy who didn't even receive a vote probably because we aren't sure what role he will play (Chapman). It will be exciting to see which pitcher emerges as the best on the staff. God knows there will be plenty of competition.

Honorable mentions go to Cueto (3 votes) and Bailey (1).

And in case you want to look back on a prior post, or just want to look ahead...

2013 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 Youngster

Monday: Potential All-Stars

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