Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cincinnati Reds


Cincinnati Reds (97-65) – First Place NL Central, Division Champions

The Reds, behind the leadership of Dusty Baker and his trusty toothpick, won an astonishing 97 games, thanks in large part to a solid lineup, a strong bullpen, and a healthy starting rotation.  Only 6 pitchers made a start in 2012 for the Reds, and the sixth only made 1 start.  When a rotation stays that healthy all year long, a team is bound for success in this league.

Even Dusty Baker's bobblehead doll doubled as a toothpick holder

Pitching- The rotation was led by Johnny Cueto, who finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting.  Cueto led the team with 19 wins, a 2.78 ERA, and threw in a team leading 217 innings.  Acquired in the off-season, Mat Latos was expected to be a second ace for the Reds.  He lived up to that hype, winning 14 games with a 3.48 ERA.  He also struck out a team leading 185 batters and opponents hit just .230 against him.  Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake rounded out the rotation, all starting more than 30 games and only Leake not surpassing 200 innings.  Flame throwing Aroldis Chapman was phenomenal in the bullpen, despite experiencing fatigue part way through the season.  Chapman had 38 saves with a 1.51 ERA, all while striking out 122 batters in just over 70 innings.  Sean Marshall, Logan Ondrusek, and Jose Arredondo rounded out the bullpen with solid performances all year long.  Acquired at the deadline from the Royals, Jonathan Broxton was also good in a set-up role down the stretch.

The Reds are head over heels for Aroldis Chapman, even
when he celebrated after a save by doing a somersault

Infield- Despite injury problems, first baseman Joey Votto was still the anchor of the Reds’ infield.  In 111 games, Votto hit .337 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs.  Perhaps the most impressive statistics were his .474 on base percentage and his OPS of over 1,000.  Second baseman Brandon Phillips had another good year for the Reds.  Phillips hit .281 with 18 home runs, 77 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.  Phillips played gold glove caliber defense again, but only lost out on the award to Darwin Barney due to Barney’s insane season in the field.  Third baseman Todd Frazier, who finished third in the NL ROY voting, had a strong season with a .273 average, 19 home runs, and 67 RBIs.  Frazier did every thing this year, including hitting a home run with no hands, and even saving a restaurant goer's life in Pittsburgh by administering the Heimlich maneuver.  

Here are some other facts about Todd Frazier

Outfield- The outfield was anchored by power hitting corner outfielders Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce.  Ludwick had a fantastic rebound season, hitting .275 with 26 home runs and 80 RBIs.  Bruce led the team with 34 home runs and 99 RBIs, and even stole 9 bases in the process.  Drew Stubbs has struggled mightily since coming up to the big leagues.  While Stubbs has also hit for some power, those numbers were down in 2012, with just 14 home runs.  Stubbs’ average was again low, as he hit just .213.  Stubbs' main asset is his speed.  He stole 30 bases, due in part to his long strides, and he chases balls down in center field with the best of them.

Twitter Account of the Day- One of my favorite players to follow, Brandon Phillips @DatDudeBP Phillips  is an entertaining follow and he even showed up to a kid's Little League game after the kid tweeted him.

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Check back tonight for the Hot Stove Daily Wrap Up and tomorrow with Wade's review on the Baltimore Orioles.