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Yorkshire Blue

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
35,484
Location
London
Ah, spring training.

The sound of rubber or cork wrapped in yarn and covered with leather thumping into leather mitts or the rifle crack of corked ash. Ahhh.

There is something magical about the phrase "pitchers and catchers report". It sounds so innocent but at the same time so alluring. I'm definitely going to have to get myself out to the States and down to the desert (my Reds have moved from Florida to a brand spanking new complex out in Arizona) one March to watch some Cactus League action.

It's that time when optimism runs higher than a Ron Martin IOU. Why couldn't it be our year this year? It's all the excitement and anticipation of a 162 game season that promises so much without all the drudgery and tedium of a 162 game season when you are effectively out of the running by the All-Star break.

Indeed, it is around this time of the year that I traditionally start a thread saying that this could finally be the year for my Reds.

And with Aroldis Chapman*, the $30m fire-balling defector scorching radar guns with triple figure readings - in early March! And he's a lefty! - it would be amiss of me not to. So here goes.....

The Reds' rotation could be something special. It's not just Chapman and his three-digit velocity, there also young, live arms in former no.1 overall prospect Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto and once he returns from Tommy John surgery Edison Volquez. There are also a couple of other young pitchers in last year's 1st round draft pick, Mike Leake and Travis Wood who are nearly ML ready and the Reds are absolutely stacked with young arms. Oh and this is without mentioning Harang and Arroyo, their top two pitchers of the last handful of years. They aren't quite yet Atlanta or the early 90s, but they could be. It's probably a year too soon for this group, but when you have young talent, who knows?

The Reds don't just have pitching talent, their defence is looking something special as well: gold gloves at 2nd, 3rd and short-stop means the infield isn't too shabby, and an outfield with Drew Stubbs in centerfield, Jay Bruce in right and Chris Dickerson platooning in left has to be amongst baseball's best. The catching situation isn't bad with two defensively above average catchers there. Overall that is a pretty tidy defence at a time when defence is being regarded as the biggest inefficiency in baseball, following on from OBP (read Moneyball).

I'm just not convinced about the offence. Votto is quality, Bruce will rebound after last year's freak BAPIP but it's probably lacking an extra quality bat in there. Still with that pitching and defence, you never know. I think 2011 is more likely to be the Reds' year but the Reds seem to be everyone's dark horses this year, and I haven't felt this optimistic about their prospects before.

*My favourite columinst Joe Posnanski writes about him here.
 
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