Cincinnati Reds: Mid-Season Report Card
Team: Cincinnati Reds
Record: 53-42 (5.0 GB)
Biggest Surprise of 1st Half:
When all five starting pitchers make 30 or more starts, just like they did in 2012, you would expect maybe they wouldn’t have the same amount of luck the following year. However the Reds’ starting pitching is still very much reliable and has been blessed with good health the past two years aside from missing Johnny Cueto for the better part of 2013. To this point, the Reds have used only six starters and four of them are within reach of the 200 inning plateau. Simply amazing!
Biggest Disappointment of 1st Half:
Without doubt, it’s their left-field production. Cincinnati’s left-field production ranks 21st in MLB which isn’t the worst, but it also isn’t what they expected. Instead of jogging out Ryan Ludwick everyday, they’ve had at-bats mostly going to Xavier Paul, Derrick Robinson and Chris Heisey which leaves much to be desired. Runner-up: Ryan Hanigan who hasn’t come anywhere near the production he’s produced the last couple of years.
Joey Votto is second in the league for Runs Created at 81 which could surpass his MVP winning 2010 season of 144 which led the league. He continues to lead the league in OBP, and although his power numbers are down, he’s still the cornerstone of the Reds offense.
Prospect Ready to Make an Impact:
This year Tony Cingrani was rated as the #2 or 3 best prospect in the Reds system and after a cup of coffee in 2012, he has sure made an impact thus far in 2013 while making 10 starts. John Sickels of Minor League Ball says he can be a number three starter, maybe more, which goes a long way in replacing Cueto in the rotation.
Contender or Pretender:
Contender. The Reds simply need to maintain their pace to be eligible for the playoffs as a wild card winner. Surely, the organization and its fans would prefer to win the division, and not have to resort to relying on a single playoff game to advance to the Division Series. To do that though, the Reds need Ryan Ludwick back healthy (on track for a mid-August return) and set-up man Sean Marshall (ready to begin rehab soon). Unfortunately, Cueto and Jonathan Broxton remain out as well with no timetable for their return. Having Cueto back at some point this year would be a swoon to their chances in the post-season, so I’m sure Reds fans are crossing their fingers for that to happen. Then Cingrani can help out in the pen unless someone else goes down to injury.
Overall Team Analysis:
Shin-Soo Choo has been a revelation – what a creative trade from GM Walt Jocketty’s standpoint. Choo has generated the highest OBP of his career which is exactly what the Reds wanted – to lead off and get on base. The Reds are a solid team, but I’m sure fans are a little disappointed that they’re not leading the division now as that was the team’s goal all along in 2013. They can take solace though that a playoff-spot this year is virtually guaranteed unless the Reds falter and another team catches fire. I don’t see that happening though.