The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Friday, March 29, 2013

Reds 2013

So I've been devouring everything Reds related the past couple months in anticipation of the Reds run in 2013. For a couple of great reads, check out the ESPN Magazine cover article in the current baseball preview issue. Joey Votto shines as they declare him the best hitter in baseball. ESPN, by the way, predicts we lose the NLCS to the Nats. Another great read is the Redleg Nation Preview Wrap-Up. I'll get back to that in a bit.

I still believe 100% if Cueto doesn't pull an oblique in the NLDS last year, we are World Series Champs. This year, I am a bit concerned. I think we will do just fine in the NL Central. It would take a couple major injuries to hold us back from another division title. However, I think the playoffs will be tough. While we kept our team almost entirely intact (Choo notwithstanding), other contenders have significantly upgraded their rosters, and you can be sure Strasburg won't be shut down this season!

The biggest issue of spring clearly was what to do with Chapman. While it's great to have an exciting closer, Chapman is most valuable as a starter. What helps the team more?
  • 200 innings as a starter, and in the rotation for the postseason
  • 70 innings as a closer and perhaps a non-factor in the postseason (like 2012)
Clearly, he was signed (over $30 million) to be a starter. He was moved to closer when we had a closer break down last year (Madsen). We signed Broxton and Marshall to big contracts assuming both would be future closers, and now they are the most overpaid middle relievers in baseball. The only reason he is not starting this year is Dusty Baker. Chapman as a starter is the difference between a World Series title and another postseason flameout.

Anyway, I think Redleg Nation sums it up best in trying to predict the season. They analyzed every hitter and pitcher and predicted their WAR, comparing it to the actual WAR from 2012. That suggests an increase in team WAR at 8. That translates to 8 more wins than last year. He tempers that by guessing we'll lose 4 games to injuries. He also uses our record by run differential from 2012 as a baseline, feeling it more closely represents outcome. That ends up putting us at 95 wins this year. That sounds about right to me, and it should be plenty to win the Central.

The big question is the playoffs. Unless one of our pitchers makes a big leap this year, I just don't see us matching up against SF, LAD, WAS, DET or LAA. It should be a fun ride though!

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Even if Chapman got put into the rotation, he'd be limited in his appearances and innings, since his arm would not be used to the usage that the other starters have. He would have been shut down at the end of this year just like Strasbourg was shut down in 2012.

I agree - we do need some luck to win a championship this year. We could also use some key injuries to some of those other pitchers.