Monday, December 30, 2013

Reds defense tabbed 9th-best in baseball

The combination of good pitching and defense can win a lot of games for baseball teams. And such was the case for the Reds in 2013.

Sure, pitching can be attributed to much of Cincinnati's success this past season, but one could make a solid case that their defense played an even larger role.

So, I guess it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that their defense was recently ranked among the top 10 in baseball by ESPN's Buster Olney. Well, No. 9 to be exact.

Here is a quick look at what Olney wrote about the defensive prowess of the Redlegs:

Brandon Phillips has won Gold Gloves at second base and Joey Votto is extremely aggressive with his positioning. “To me, it’s the best right-side defense,” said one evaluator. Billy Hamilton will be an upgrade over Choo in center field, and Jay Bruce is one of baseball’s best right fielders.

In case you are curious, the Cardinals edged out the Reds in the rankings by coming in at the No. 7 spot, while the Pirates rounded out the top 10.

For what it's worth, the Reds committed the third-fewest errors in the National League last season (76), trailing only Arizona and St. Louis, who both notched 75 miscues.

Losing Ryan Hanigan will hurt, but when you look around the diamond, the Reds really don't have a defensive liability anywhere. The infield is pretty solid all the way around while Bruce and Hamilton lock down two-thirds of the outfield. I suppose the biggest weakness on defense will be Ryan Ludwick in left field. But new manager Bryan Price can rest easy knowing that he has Chris Heisey to turn to for defensive purposes if push comes to shove.

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