Cleat Geeks

N.L Central Predictions: #4 Cincinnati Reds

At the start of the 2015 season, the Reds got off to a very good start winning their first four games. They had a very capable core lineup that could do it all. Billy Hamilton had speed. Brandon Phillips, Devin Mesoraco, and Joey Votto could hit and they even had one of the most efficient closers in MLB, Aroldis Chapman. That sounded like a recipe for success. Disaster struck when the injury bug bit the team hard throughout the season. and the team could not recover. The Reds collapsed to dead last in the NL Central rankings and finished with a 64-98 record.

ToddFrazierThe Reds have spent the off-season trying to pick up the pieces. The Reds did not carry out anything in the first few months aside from filling up their minor league rosters. The biggest early moves for the Reds began with relief pitchers Pedro Villareal and Ryan Mattheus and center fielder, Ryan Lamarre, all leaving for free agency. Left fielder, Skip Schumaker became a free agent in November. To top it all off, they lost Todd Frazier in a three team deal that sent him to the Chicago White Sox. Frazier’s departure is what will hurt the team most. He was a clutch hitter for the Reds in 2015 with 35 homers and 89 RBI’s. The Reds have traded Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees in exchange for four minor leaguers. Right handed pitchers; Caleb Cotham, and Rookie Davis joined third baseman, Eric Jagielo and second basemen Tony Renda in Cincinnati in late December.

While the Reds have had their setbacks, they’ve had a few other acquisitions as well. They claimed a few minor leaguers including CF Jake Cave from the Yankees and pitcher Chris O’ Grady from the Angels off waivers. While the Reds lost Todd Frazier, they did gain three players from the LA Dodgers as part of the three team deal; 2B Jose Pereza, 2B Brandon Dixon. and LF Scott Schebler,

RedsWinkerThe Reds have rounded out their off-season thus far by inviting several players to train with them in the spring. The team sent invitations  to right-handed pitchers, Zack Weiss, Layne Somsen, Timothy Adelman and Drew Hayes. Catchers Joe Hudson and Chad Wallach were also invited. The rest of the players invited included shortstops Carlton Daal, and Alex Blandino, lefty pitcher, Cody Reed and outfielders, Phillip Ervin and Jesse Winkler.

The most important things for the Reds are to stay injury free and make smart use off their acquisitions. They can still make a respectable run even with the loss of Chapman. While the Brewers had to go so far as changing managers to get back on track, the main reason for the Reds last place finish in 2015 was due to injuries. While they may have lost one of the biggest pieces to their team and even a few smaller ones, the Reds are still a very capable team. The Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs have had better off-seasons and will be tough for the Reds to catch in their current state but if they can make smart use of all their minor league and stay injury free, they can overcome the big losses and be a dark horse.

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