Friday, March 14, 2014

Reds boasted the eighth-best 'core' in 2013

Any knowledgeable Reds fan will tell you the core nucleus of Cincinnati's team is pretty solid. Reds Country doesn't need an outsider to confirm this must is true.

However, it's always nice to hear some praise from neutral sources, and ESPN's David Schoenfield provided just that in this post from Friday. Well, sort of.

Shoenfield set out to rank the 10 best "core fives" in the major leagues from last season. In other words, the combined strength of a given team's five best players. The rankings were determined using combined WAR of each team's best five players.

The Reds came in at the No. 8 spot with a combined WAR of 22.6. Their core consisted of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo, Mat Latos, and Homer Bailey. It'd be nice to have all five back again in 2014. But four out of five isn't too bad.

For the record, the Cardinals (24.6) and Pirates (25.1) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Also noteworthy is that eight of the 10 teams on the list made the playoffs last year.

Sadly, Schoenfield didn't include the Reds in his projected top 10 cores for 2014. The Pirates and Cardinals occupied the No. 4 and No. 5 positions on his list though. Essentially, this tells me the Reds are expected to rely more on their supporting cast this season as opposed to relying heavily on their stars, which isn't always a bad thing when you think about championship-caliber teams.

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