Archive for March, 2005

2005 Baseball Predictions

The fact that I picked all four Final Four teams in my office pool means I am an expert sports predictor. While I’d never encourage you to sell your house and place wagers on what you read here (I don’t encourage gambling either), there would be more difficult ways to make a fortune.

With that, the long and short of it will be that the Reds will go 75-87 and finish in fourth place in the NL Central, Adam Dunn will hit 50 homers for the first time, and the Reds pitching will flirt with the 5.00 ERA mark again. You’re going to have a fun offensive team to watch where the pitching takes them out of games. Finally, Austin Kearns is going to have a breakout season, hitting .320 and hitting 30 dingers. Here’s what I think the rest of the league will do:

NL East – Florida Marlins (The Braves are finally dethroned)
NL Central – St. Louis Cardinals
NL West – San Diego Padres
NL Wildcard – Houston Astros

AL East – New York Yankees
AL West – Cleveland Indians (Sorry Brian, no Tigers)
AL West – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
AL Wildcard – Boston Red Sox

NL Champ – Houston Astros
AL Champ – New York Yankees
World Series Champ – New York Yankees

NL MVP – Adam Dunn
AL MVP – Alex Rodriguez
NL Cy Young – Jake Peavy
AL Cy Young – Randy Johnson

So that’s it folks. Yanks win it all.

Less Then a Week….

Yes, we’re now less then a week away from the start of the REAL season. As it stands, the Reds are 14-13 this spring. Not too bad, although the fact they’d lost three of four now that the games matter a little more is a little discouraging.

Being the humanitarian that I am, I’m going to post my predictions on how well the Reds will do this season. While I don’t encourage gambling, if you took these predictions and went to Vegas and placed wagers on them, you could probably retire happily and your family could live for generations to come. Of course I wouldn’t recommend it just because, you know, anything can happen.

I had my fantasy baseball draft last night. Joel at the Great American Reds Blog ran an awesome draft and has done a fine job as commissioner. He’s done so great of a job, I’m actually going to feel bad about kicking his ass in the opening game (it’s head to head league). I’ll also be squaring off against the Red Reporter’s own JD. Should be a fun time.

Marty Brennaman Chat

Be sure to check out the latest awesome chat at Tuesday at noon will be a chat with Marty Brennaman. Once again, I’ll be at work, but if you can make, I’m sure it will be very worthwhile.

Cuts and Team Previews

The Reds made their latest round of cuts a couple of days ago. Edwin Encaracion and Rob Stratton were the most notable. While I never expected Edwin to make the big league club, I’m hoping he’ll see some time later this year. He’s the thirdbasemen in waiting for sure.

Stratton was a little surprising because I thought he might break camp if Griffey was still out. Guess they’ll let him fine tune his skills as well.

The Hardball Times had their Reds team update. A pretty objective look. Unfortunately I have to agree with a lot of what he’s saying.

And this is pretty old, but JD did a nice Reds review over at Baseball Think Factory.

Cincinnati Reds Spring Training Recap

The Reds have played 21 pre-season games so far this year, and they’ve won 11. Not bad, but not great either. We’re less then two weeks away from the “real” season, so what’s the real news that’s come out of these games that don’t quite count?

Ken Griffey, Jr. has yet to get into a spring game. While I’m less concerned with the Wily one’s flirtation with the Mendoza line, that sort of compounds the problem as they have one centerfielder who has yet to play, and another who’s struggling mightily at the plate.

It looks like the rotation is all but set. While Paul Wilson, Eric Milton, Ramon Ortiz, Aaron Harang, and Brandon Claussen won’t cause anyone to gape in awe, I’m hoping (hoping, hoping, hoping) they perform better then what we got out of our pitching last year. I’m not too optimistic because only Claussen (2.08 ERA, 13 IP) and Eric Milton (3.60 ERA, 15 IP) have pitched well so far this spring.

Offense shouldn’t be a problem, despite the centerfield problems discussed above. Austin Kearns continues to tear up the preseason (.364 BA/.545 SLG), and Adam Dunn hit his third homerun yesterday. Sean Casey has struggled (.194 BA), but you hope he and the Wily one will be able to work out their kinks before the season starts. Rob Stratton has been a pleasant surprise, and could possibly break camp with the team if Griffey isn’t ready.

At this point, if the Reds can put together a .500 April, I’d be pretty happy. I’m not optimistic about them getting off to a nice jump like they did last year, but hopefully they won’t be too far behind the Cards at this time next month.

Reds Stuck at .500, Kearns Still Red Hot

Work has been unusually busy. Client emergencies equal more money in my pocket, which is all good. But I promise to do a more indepth look at the Reds spring season this week. Stop by…you won’t regret it.

In the meantime, Austin Kearns is still the talk of the spring. He leads the team in total bases (21), and is slugging .583. The Wily one continues to struggle (batting average of .143), and Adad Dunn is right where you’d expect him to be (.275 batting average, two dingers).

All that’s good for a 9-9 record (9-10 once you count the loss to Toronto this afternoon.

Kearns is Hot, the Wily One’s Not

We’re close to two weeks into the spring season, and while the games don’t mean a whole lot at this point, you never want to see a guy struggle for fear it’s the beginning of a trend.

With that said, Wily Mo Pena is a paltry four for thirty two in eleven spring games. His extra base hit tally includes only one double.

Austin Kearns, on the other hand, has simply been on fire. Twelve for twenty eight with four doubles and a homer. That’s good for a .429 batting average and a .679 Slugging.

The other hot hand this spring is Rob Stratton. He leads the team in homers (4) and is slugging .880. Not that we really need another outfielder to step up but this Rob Deer wanna be could be a nice tool off the bench, or a formidable fourth outfielder if the Reds finally pull the trigger and trade one of their top four outfielders.

The Reds split their two games with Detroit yesterday. but they still stand 6-8 and near the bottom of the NL. Good thing these games don’t count.

Reds Roundtable Chat

Earlier this week, I got together with three other Reds bloggers and we hashed out how we thought the Reds and the rest of the NL Central would fare in 2005. We’re spreading the wealth, so be sure to hit the links below so you get all of our wisdom.

Part 1 – The Offense at Great American Reds Blog by Joel
Part 2 – The Lineup at Shawn’s Reds Blog
Part 3 – The Pitching by yours truly (keep reading below).
Part 4 – The NL Central by Reds and Blues by Doc Scott

So here’s part three. I’m pretty critical of the Reds pitching. More so then any of the others. Don’t kill the messenger when I say I told you so.

Joel – It’s great fun to talk about this lineup that will probably
score a kagillion runs this year, but what do we need from the pitching?
Shawn – A sub-5.00 ERA and two or three guys with 200 innings.
Doc Scott – Look on the bright side- the pitching can’t get any worse.
It has to get better.
Joel – I think the pitching gets much better… I’m talking a sub 4.80
ERA…you heard it here first.
Blade – I don’t know, Milton and Ortiz don’t inspire me too much.
Shawn – Milton will be around .500, 12-11, I think. Ortiz is a bit
shaky, could go either way. Wilson about the same ERA, worse record.
Something like that.
Joel – Milton: 13-10, 4.75 ERA
Shawn – Wilson 12-10, 4.40, Claussen 10-7, 3.86, Harang 9-11, 4.75 or
so, Hudson 6-3 in 14 starts, Ortiz is the wild card.
Blade – This offense should make these pitchers look decent in the win
Doc Scott – I think Ortiz will be better than Milton. Milton is sort
of a disaster waiting to happen, given the HRs and GABP’s friendliness
towards lefty hitters.
Blade – I think I’m the pessimist here. Team ERA around 5.10,
marginally better than last year.
Doc Scott – 5.10? Wow. I think it’ll slide under 5, at least… 5.19
last year was the worst in team history.
Shawn – If it’s over 5.00, the lot should be fired, Gullett, O’Brien,
Miley. No excuse for that again.
Blade – With Milton, Ortiz, and Wilson, i just don’t think they have
great arms and the younger guys like Claussen aren’t quite there yet.
Plus, Ramon Ortiz has posted a 5.00+ ERA before.
Shawn – They don’t. But they are major league pitchers, unlike what we
had the last couple of years.
Joel – Milton, Wilson, and Ortiz are all average pitchers…the problem
isn’t that they’re bad, it’s that they are overpaid.
Shawn – Everyone overpaid for pitching this year. It wasn’t just the
Doc Scott – Yeah, thank the effin’ Mets.
Joel – I hate the Mets…almost as much as the Cubs
Shawn – If Milton gives 200 innings of league-average pitching, that’s
more than what we had
Blade – What’s league average these days?
Shawn> – 4.64 last year
Blade – Milton’s usually on the bad side of that number and I just
don’t like what his k/bb ratio did last year.
Joel – In his career, Milton has -2 RSAA, so technically he’s a smidge
below league average, but close enough
Shawn – His career ERA+ is 99, almost dead-on average.
Doc Scott – I will give that Eric’s about the right age for a career
Joel – I think it will take a career year from Milton or Wilson to put
the Reds in competition for the playoffs.
Doc Scott – Joel, agreed. Someone’s going to have a Loaiza/2003 year.
Blade – Who will be the biggest surprise
Shawn – Claussen – winning record.
Blade – Good pick. I could see him finally coming out
Doc Scott – I think Claussen’s a year away from true success, but I do
think he’ll have a career. I like his makeup.
Joel – He wears makeup?
Doc Scott – ha- no, I just think Brandon’s got the anti-LaLoosh head…
but also maybe the anti-LaLoosh stuff. I also think the bullpen’s ERA
will be a run better, maybe more.
Joel – Definitely, I think the bullpen will be the biggest improvement
this year. The three new guys are much better than Matthews, Norton,
and company, and Wagner will be better this year.
Blade – I think Wagner will turn it around as well.
Doc Scott – Don’t discount Graves- it’s his walk year.
Joel – The problem with Graves is that he’s not the kind of pitcher
that can turn it on or off…he is what he is

Reds Stuck at .500

I guess it’s better then losing all of your games, but the Reds have been busy and as it stands, are now 3-3 in the spring league if you count both sides of the split squad game that took place yesterday against the Pirates.

Saturday, the Reds lost a game in the ninth to the defending champs. Boston scored three runs in the top of the ninth to put the BoSox ahead for good. Future Hall of Famer Adam Dunn hit his first homer of the spring. Eric Milton did not look good in his two innings of work.

On Sunday, the Reds turned it around against the Yankees and came from behind in the ninth. Their three runs put them ahead by a run (6-5), and Todd Coffey slammed the door shut for the good guys. Ramon Ortiz was tagged for three runs. With both Milton and Ortiz, I’m hoping to look back and say that they need time to get their arms ready.

Yesterday they split two games with the Pirates. They took the first one 10-2. Rob Stratton hit two homers and driving in four runs. In the second game, the Reds and Jose Acevedo got crushed. The Pirates took the game 12-1, and Acevedo got rocked for six runs in his one inning of work.

All in all, nothing too surprising. I figured out pitching would take us out of some games, but our bats would keep us in others.

Austin Kearns Da Man

The Reds won their first spring game of the season as they beat the Devil Rays 4-1. Austin Kearns hit a big two run shot off of former ROY Hideo Nomo. Rich Aurilia had two hits, which was nice to see.

Aaron Harang looked sharp, striking out three over two innings. And Adam Dunn of course did his part, scoring a run.

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