SLEEPER Dustin Hermanson is back, and looking very good in spring training. He's got a good shot at being the Reds' saves leader at the end of the season.
BUST Adam Dunn's batting average keeps dropping, and it's getting harder for his power to make up for it. Tread carefully.
HITTER TO WATCH: Joey Votto, 1B Votto is a standard walks-and-power, mediocre-glove first base prospect, although his bat would immediately be an improvement over Scott Hatteberg's.
PITCHER TO WATCH: Homer Bailey, RHP
Bailey is the best pitching prospect in the National League, throwing mid-90s heat with an easy delivery.
MLB Preview 2007
FIXED The Reds used six players at shortstop last season and still "couldn't even make the routine plays," says one team member. Collectively, they made 25 errors, and that doesn't include all the mental mistakes. So Cincy deep-sixed the platoon and invested $14M (over three years) in Álex González. "He's the best I've ever played with," says veteran Jeff Conine, who has shared clubhouses with such stars as Miguel Tejada, Jimmy Rollins and Édgar Rentería. First baseman Scott Hatteberg says of González, "I just put my mitt up, and he hits it."
NEEDS FIXING When a team has eight different pitchers with saves, it means there's no closer. The Reds blew 24 of 60 ops last year, and 2007 isn't looking much better. Dustin Hermanson pitched only 6 2/3 innings in '06, due to back problems, but when he signed a minor league deal during spring training, he was immediately thrust into the closer competition. The Reds likely will open the season with Hermanson, David Weathers, 37, and LH Mike Stanton, 39, mixing and matching in the ninth. Where they'll end it, no one knows.
Homer Bailey has wowed scouts with his power repertoire and maturity at age
20. He was 71 with a 1.59 ERA in Double-A in '06, and could soon be the
When Great American Ball Park opened, in 2003, it didn't come with the big cost jumps normally associated with new digs. The average ticket price ($17.90) is nearly 20 percent lower than the MLB average ($22.21), and overall costs per season are 10 percent cheaper. Unfortunately, it's only a relative bargain. Reds fans have suffered through six straight losing seasons and three managers.
"If Harang performs like last season, Arroyo stays consistent and Homer develops into what he could be (The Next Clemens), we could have a good staff this season."