Fantasy 40/40: 2010 Cactus League Breakdown: Cincinnati Reds
My Cactus League Breakdown continues today with a look at the Cincinnati Reds. The newest member to the Cactus League, the Reds will now call Goodyear, AZ their new spring home. They are far from the days of Junior Griffey and big haus Adam Dunn. This is a young and up-and-coming team loaded with talent and upside. Like we all know, talent and upside can only get you so far. With the Reds being a few years from being competitive in the NL central – they do own the rights to many productive and viable fantasy starters. Here’s a look and fantasy breakdown of the 2010 Cincinnati Reds.
PLAYERS THAT WILL BE DRAFTED:
Brandon Phillips – 2B – Phillips continues to grind away and put up nice numbers from the keystone. Last year was his third 20/20 in a row to go along with at least 78RBI/78R in that 3 year span as well. To guarantee that production at 2B is a little too much to pass on, especially in middle rounds. Take a consistent bat before Roberts and after Cano.
Joey Votto – 1B – This young first baseman will look to improve on his rookie year which was up and down (lost his father). Votto has the potential to put up .300-30-100-90-10 for the Reds and he’s only 26. He plays in a launching pad and is surrounded by young and talented hitters; Votto being the best of the bunch. When the big names come off the board, look to grab Votto in rounds 4-6. I recently took Votto in the 3rd round of a dynasty draft – went a round earlier to secure the young hitter for my future.
Jay Bruce – OF – A former candidate and prospect of the year – annually – Bruce is now 23 and looking to match his all-world hype. He has tremendous power potential and his batting eye saw an improvement last year after he returned from the DL. Also, after his return from injury, Bruce posted an pedestrian 1.078 OPS in that Red’s lineup (that’s Albert company my friends – a minute sample window I know). Take a mid-round flier on him and look for him in keeper leagues.
Drew Stubbs – OF – Another young prospect getting a chance to show his colors. The former Longhorn Stubbs came up last year and played well enough to catch manager Dusty Baker’s eye. Stubbs now has the centerfield job and the leadoff spot in Cincinnati – most likely. His speed and spectacular defense will keep him in centerfield, his 20/30 potential will keep him in the lineup. Take Stubbs late in mixed leagues and in middle rounds in NL only formats – even if it’s for his SB totals in Roto leagues.
Scott Rolen – 3B – Now just an image of his old-self, Rolen is in the “Aramis-I-can’t-stay-healthy-but-have-the-tools” boat. Treading water just to stay relevant, Rolen should be a backup in mixed leagues and used primarily in NL only leagues; for the 100 games he will play in. Arm is great – no points for web gems though.
Johnny Gomes – OF - Retained to play LF, Gomes put up 20 HR in limited time with the Reds in ‘09 replacing Jay Bruce’s AB’s. He rakes against left-handed pitching, so he might end up platooning out there with Chris Dickerson. Might be better left for NL only formats. Keep an eye -potential sleeper.
Orlando Cabrera – SS – It seems Cabrera is attempting to play for all MLB teams before he is done on the diamond. Anyway, now starting for his 47th team, Cabrera will not score 100 runs any more. He might still put up 60RBI/60R in this lineup – late rounder in NL only drafts.
Ramon Hernandez – C – An injured ‘09 cut into Hernandez’s production – seeing his HR go from 15 to 8. Take Hernandez in NL leagues hoping he might be able to hit 12-15HR once again.
Francisco Cordero – CL - Cordero had his third consecutive season with at least 30 saves. Typically, he averages a strikeout per inning, giving fantasy owners a nice K total and WHIP contributor for a RP. He might see an increase in his ERA from last year – 2.16 – but expect another 30 saves from this stopper. Scoop him up in front of guys like Aardsma, Wagner, Hoffman and maybe Wilson.
Johnny Cueto – SP - This flame thrower is only 24 and did not quite take the step forward everyone was expecting. His strikeout total regressed and his numbers were similar to his rookie season after a few tough starts late in the year. That’s what most people are remembering about this hard hurling RH – giving you a draft day sleeper. I love Cueto long-term and expect a nice year from him – possibly winning 14 or 15 games.
Aaron Harang – SP - Considered the ace of the staff, Harang has not been able to re-capture his ‘06 or ‘07 performance benchmarks. He has potential to rebound given his groundball trends and past numbers. He’s now healthy and could have huge upside on a low risk, late round gamble.
Bronson Arroyo – SP - The subject to a lot of chatter and trade talk this off-season, Arroyo finds himself once again in Cincinnati. He is a flyball pitcher pitching in a home run derby environment – but he will give you 200 innings. He’s a perfect example of how a pitcher is better suited for real life than fantasy baseball. Real life: he can be a 3rd or 4th on my team anyday; a gamer and grinder. Fantasy: stay away until he calls Petco Park home. NL only leagues.
Homer Bailey – SP - Bailey is another young arm who hasn’t quite put it all together. (Sidenote: everytime I see Homer Bailey, I instantly think of Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh for some odd reason. For those of you too young to know the reference, google it and rent it if you are a true baseball fan. Or buy it. Download. Tweet it. Whatever. Watch it). Continuing, Bailey is still young enough to find his groove and be a top of the rotation guy. He has all the talent – just has to put it together.
Johnny Cueto – SP – Read above.
Homer Bailey – SP – Same as Cueto.
Chris Dickerson, Johnny Gomes, and Chris Heisey – OF - All three figure to play LF sometime this year. Gomes hit 20 HR replacing Jay Bruce in the OF last year and figures to see half the AB’s. Dickerson would platoon with Gomes and offer SB help in NL only leagues. Heisey is 25 and coming off a nice season at double-A. Triple-A didn’t prove to be as easy for Heisey; however, he can steal a base and he plays with grit and determination. Monitor the LF competition in case of change or injury, the winner should offer aid in NL leagues.
Ardolis Chapman – SP - I only put Chapman here because he’s not an option this year if you want to win this year. In keeper and dynasty leagues, he can be clumped with the other prospects and top arms. Don’t bite on the hype, the Reds have enough pitching at the major league level.
Todd Frazier – OF/2B/3B – Frazier is a Swiss Army knife for the Cincinnati coaches – playing all four infield positions and LF. The all-time HR leader for Rutgers in a season (22) and career (47), this Toms River native should see significant time in the majors for the Reds. Possibly filling in for Rolen after his contract runs out after this season or Cabrera or Phillips in 2012 – Frazier is better left for long-term leagues and a bench reserve in NL formats.
Ardolis Chapman – SP – Chapman is the 100 mph throwing, Cuban lefty who defected this off-season. The un-expected winner in the silent auction, the Reds invested $30 million for this young man. Some may ask how? Phillips, Harang, Rolen and Arroyo all have contracts coming off the books over the next two years. Some may ask why? Well, he’s LH and throws 100. Not too bad of a base to start with. Potential arrival later in the season, 2011 more likely.