Cincinnati Reds

Manager: Bryan Price
Stadium: Great American Ball Park
2008 Record: 74-88 (5th in NL Cent)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule

LINEUP

08: Batting | Runs (12th in NL)
PLAYER B POS
Willy Taveras R CF
Edwin Encarnacion R 3B
Brandon Phillips R 2B
Jay Bruce L RF
Joey Votto L 1B
Ramon Hernandez R C
Jerry Hairston Jr. R LF
Alex Gonzalez R SS
OFF THE BENCH
Jonny Gomes R INF/OF
Chris Dickerson L OF

PITCHING

08: Pitching | ERA (13th in NL)
ROTATION T POS
Edinson Volquez R SP1
Aaron Harang R SP2
Bronson Arroyo R SP3
Johnny Cueto R SP4
Micah Owings R SP5
BULLPEN
David Weathers R Setup
Arthur Rhodes L Setup
Francisco Cordero R Closer
 
The Reds have never had any trouble hitting the long ball. But a well-rounded offense has proved to be more elusive. Last year, Cincinnati was fourth in the NL in homers, but because the Reds hit just .240 with runners in scoring position, they finished 12th in runs scored. After trading Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn late last season, the Reds, in an attempt to upgrade their speed and defense, signed Willy Taveras to play center. It's all part of a concerted effort to focus on youth. [Taveras is 27.] "We're going at it a bit of a different way," says slugger Jay Bruce. "But we still have five or six guys who can hit 20 homers." Bruce, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips all figure to easily top that mark, but it won't take much of a difference if there aren't any guys on base when they go yard. Besides the Reds' abysmal performance with runners in scoring position, their low run total had a lot to do with a .321 team OBP, which ranked 12th in the NL. That's an area where new leadoff man Taveras [.308 OBP in 2008] won't be much help. As the saying goes, you can't steal first base.
-- Tim Kurkjian

ESPN The Magazine's Reds preview Insider

PROSPECTS

HITTER TO WATCH:

Willy Taveras' two-year deal is something of an obstacle, but Drew Stubbs is at least as good defensively and will provide more with the stick if he gets the opportunity.

PITCHER TO WATCH:

Right-hander Daryl Thompson should end up getting some spot starts and doing some middle-relief work, although his balky shoulder could limit his availability.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

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SPORTSNATION

Is it time for the Reds' youth to shine? Will Joey Votto be mentioned among the National League's best first baseman? How about Jay Bruce? Is he one of the top right fielders in the NL? Register your vote.

NL poll page

Featured Comment

Reds (90-72) They have a big three on offense: Jay Bruce, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.


KAS09K

National League fan previews

FANTASY

SLEEPER

Johnny Cueto was extremely unlucky last season, as demonstrated by his 13.9 home-runs-per-fly-ball percentage. Yet he had an impressive 8.17 strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio as a rookie. Boosting that K rate would go a long way in helping him overcome his unfavorable home park.

BUST

The ballpark is a problem when it comes to pitchers' not working at peak performance, and judging by the spring returns, Francisco Cordero is clearly not. The one thing in his favor is that there are few reliable alternatives lurking to steal his job.
--Tristan H. Cockcroft

INJURY TO WATCH

Bronson Arroyo. When you hear the diagnosis of "carpal tunnel syndrome" it usually conjures up the image of an overworked software programmer whose hands are going numb from endless hours at the keyboard. But this injury is impacting the Reds in a different way. The electric shock-like pain in Arroyo's thumb and index finger is keeping him from writing, playing guitar and, most importantly for the Reds, pitching well. The plan, along with anti-inflammatories and intermittent rest, is for Arroyo to pitch through this, something he has done in the past. But the level of symptoms he is experiencing, on top of the fact that this is a chronic condition, makes it impossible to guarantee that Arroyo will be able to do so. Don't be surprised if he is forced to endure a stint on the DL early on.
-- Stephania Bell

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30 Questions: Will Aaron Harang bounce back in '09?

PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  • Jayson Stark

    Stark
    No. 16 overall
    (4th in
    NL Central)

  • Tim Kurkjian

    Kurkjian
    No. 21 overall
    (5th in
    NL Central)

  • Buster Olney

    Olney
    No. 18 overall
    (3rd in
    NL Central)

  • Rob Neyer

    Neyer
    No. 24 overall
    (4th in
    NL Central)

  • Jim Caple

    Caple
    No. 10 overall
    (2nd in
    NL Central)