bruce votto phillips
It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. We’ll continue with the All-2000 to Present Reds Lineup.
C – Ryan Hanigan
1B – Joey Votto
2B – Brandon Phillips
3B – Todd Frazier
SS – Zack Cozart
RF – Jay Bruce
LF – Adam Dunn
CF – Ken Griffey, Jr.
SP – Johnny Cueto
SP – Mike Leake
SP – Bronson Arroyo
SP – Aaron Harang
SP – Homer Bailey
Closer – Aroldis Chapman
Atlanta Braves
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
Miami Marlins
Minnesota Twins
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Oakland A’s
Philadelphia Phillies
Seattle Mariners
Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals

Scott Rolen had 12 RBI in March/April, but was hit .217. He straightened his average out in May to .271, but he only knocked in six runs. Rolen has put it together in June, hitting .306 for the month with 14 RBI. His OPS was around .700 entering the month, but he has the mark up to .736 thanks to his June .845 OPS. Can he keep it up?
If last year is any indication the answer is no.  He wasn’t terrible in the second half last year, but he was significantly better in the first half.
Pre-All-Star Break:  283 ABs, .290 batting average, 43 runs, 17 HRs, 57 RBI, .909 OPS
Post All-Star Break:  188 ABs, .277 batting average, 23 runs, three HRs, 23 RBI, .772 OPS
Rolen also tailed off in 2009 (.320 batting average, .909 OPS before the break, .282, .785 after it). The last time his OPS did not drop after the All-Star Break was 2007. The last time his average did not drop after the break was 2003. That’s a significant history of regression.
The good news is even if you should expect his numbers to fade, he can still be helpful. His second half numbers, aside from the lack of home runs, were still helpful to fantasy teams. He also plays a shallow position. As long as Rolen is healthy, keep trotting him out there. Sure he’ll get the occasional day off, but that should help in the long run.
Besides, he’s not guaranteed to fade just because he has a history or second half regression. The likelihood is stronger, but there’s no reason to hit the panic button until you have to.

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By Brandon Berg, EE Sports World
Homer Bailey has been under my close watch ever since he was a stud in the minors. He was a top prospect on every major minor league scouting site out there five years ago. He was SUPPOSED to break out two years ago.
Well… that hasn’t happened and the fans are still waiting.
The problem with Bailey seems to be that he always has a nagging injury and he gets off to a slow start. Then just when you think he’s figured it out and he is on a roll, the season ends. Last year, for example, Bailey was headed to the 15 day DL for right shoulder inflammation, an injury that was seemingly minor that ended up taking three months to recover from.
In his four seasons prior to this year, he has failed to log at least 20 starts in any of them. In 2009, he posted a 6-1 record with a with a 1.70 ERA over his final nine starts of the season. In 2010, in his final starts 4-1 with a 3.55 ERA with just 19 walks.
The snow falls, melts, falls again, melts and here we are, Spring Training all over again. Homer Bailey also has to start over again.
This year, Bailey started out on the DL with an unusual injury, right shoulder impingement. He returned on May 5th to throw a gem, 6 IP, 4 H,1 ER, 1 BB and 7 K to notch the win. He followed that up on May 10th with another gem, going for 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB and 5 K to capture another win.
Last year, he struck people out on an 8.26 K/9 clip, which looks like is going to stay somewhat the same for this year. Perhaps the most encouraging stat is the one walk he has so far this year. In the past, Bailey has walked people around a 4.2 BB/9 rate, but last year his control had improved, as he only walked people at a 3.30 BB/9 rate. Nothing special, but an improvement nonetheless.
Bailey has been a your perfect model of inconsistency so far in his career, but with a great start this year, one has to wonder if he can keep it going the whole year. Are we going to witness a complete reversal of roles and watch a poor second half of the season instead?
Is it possibly Bailey finally has it figured out? Absolutely.
Bailey sports a solid fastball, which he now throws about 56% of the time, down from the 71% when he first entered the majors, thanks to the development of his secondary pitches, which he now throws 25% of the time, a pitch he has nearly developed from the ground up in the last five years. In his first year in the league, he threw it just 1% of the time. He also hurls a curveball and split-fingered fastball, a pitch he replaced his change-up with three years ago. They are not go-to pitches, but still effective.
Bailey has a fairly deep arsenal, full of pitches he can now trust and appears to be gaining control on all of them. I see just one red flag.
In Bailey’s worst season in the majors, he was getting the first pitch strike 57.8% of the time, but this year, in two starts, he’s only getting the first strike 50% of the time. Combine that with the low BABIP against him (.257) and high LOB (left on base) 90% and we can see luck is on Bailey’s side a bit. It’s a small sample size, but worth a look.
Bailey is still available in about 30% of leagues, so if he is available in your league, snatch him up immediately, but monitor him closely. He could be great for wins (Reds have a potent offense), strikeouts and a solid ERA. Keep pitching him, but if he starts walking people, look very hard into selling high, because he could start unraveling and have an abysmal second half.

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The Reds are blessed with two of the best young hitters in the game in Joey Votto (27) and Jay Bruce (24 in April). Votto made the jump from above-average fantasy first basemen to MVP. I’m not saying that Jay Bruce can become MVP material, but he has the ability to become an elite power-hitting outfielder.
Bruce topped 20 home runs for the third straight season, setting a career high with 25. He also set career highs in runs (80), RBI (70), and OPS (.846). Perhaps most importantly, he hit .281. Considering he hit .254 and .223 respectively in his first two seasons, last year’s jump in average was monumental.
It wasn’t that way for the whole season though. Through July he was hitting just .261 with ten HRs in 376 at bats. That average was higher than his career average entering the season (.240), but it was far from spectacular. He made up for it by 53 runs and driving in another 41. continue reading »

Carlos Santana missed some time with a minor knee injury, but he’s back at it.  Through 15 games for Triple-A Columbus Santana is 17 for 51 (.333) with 10 runs, 4 doubles, 5 HRs, 16 RBIs, 2 SBs, and 11 walks. His on-base percentage is .452, his slugging percentage is .706, and his OPS is 1.157.

With Lou Marson hitting .088 (3 for 34) and Mike Redmond (soon to be 39) better suited for a back-up role (and mentor), Santana could get his call before long.

Aroldis Chapman continues to impress for Triple-A Louisville. Through three starts he’s 1-1 with a 0.60 ERA and 18 Ks in 15 innings. It’s not all rose for Chapman though. He also has 10 walks so far. He’ll have to work out his control issues before the Reds call upon him.

Stephen Strasburg does not share that problem. In 12-1/3 innings for Double-A Harrisburg he has surrendered just 3 Walks in 12-1/3 innings. He’s racked up 17 Ks already to go with his 2-0 record, 0.73 ERA, and 0.811 WHIP. I expect Strasburg will test the Triple-A waters before the Nationals give him the call. They do not want to rush their prized prospect. Plus, his clock doesn’t start.

Carlos Santana is killing it for Triple-A Columbus. In four games Santana is 7 for 16 (.438) with 6 runs, 2 doubles, 4 HRs, 8 RBIs, and 2 walks. His on-base percentage is .500, his slugging percentage 1.313, and his OPS a ridiculous 1.813. He has 21 total bases in four games. If he continues to rake like this, he’ll be getting a call sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile Aroldis Chapman was impressive in his debut for Triple-A Louisville. He went 4-2/3 innings allowing one run while striking out nine. In spring training Chapman was 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA. He had 15 Ks in 10-2/3 innings.

Chapman isn’t the only pitcher on the fast track. Stephen Strasburg shined this spring for the Nationals going 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA. He had 12 Ks in 9 Innings. In his debut for Double-A Harrisburg Strasburg allowed one earned run (plus 3 unearned) in five innings to pick up the victory. He struck out 8 while walking 2.

It’s just a matter of time before these three get their call.

Joey Votto is really a hot button player this year. Some really love him, while others want no parts of him. I think I’m somewhere in the middle. 

I understand the concern since Votto ‘s career highs in runs (82), HRs (25), and RBIs (84) by no means scream fantasy starting first basemen. I can’t fault you if his mysterious absence last year has you concerned. Nor can I fault you if you think he’s overvalued given an ADP that puts him in the early third round. Personally I have him as my 9th ranked 1B (click to see the rankings).

Putting all of that aside, I love his potential. He’s a career .310 hitter with a .924 OPS. While he’s not a prototypical power hitter, he has hit 49 the past two years with 70 doubles. The addition of Orlando Cabrera should lead to more RBI opportunities. 

While he plays in a hitter’s park, he is equally as effective on the road.

Home:  528 AB, 86 R, 160 H, 31 2B, 3 3B, 32 HR, 99 RBI, .303 BA, .939 OPS
Away:  551 AB, 76 R, 174 H, 46 2B, 1 3B, 21 HR, 86 RBI, .316 BA, .909 OPS

He has picked apart his division to the tune of .317 with 32 HRs and 99 RBIs in 156 games.

Votto will turn 27 in September and is in his third full year in the bigs. If anyone has breakout written all over them, it’s Votto. That doesn’t mean I think you should take him early in the third round, but I would have no problem if he slipped to the 4th, even if I had him penciled in for my IF slot.

Past profiles:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles:  Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs:  Geovany Soto
Chicago White Sox:  Jake Peavy

While Joe Mauer was supposedly set to sign a ten-year deal with the Twins according to WCCO, it appears the announcement was premature. There were, however, some other moves that were on a much smaller scale.

Melvin Mora inked a deal with the Colorado Rockies. He will serve as a utility player as he can play virtually every position. He will turn 38 on Sunday, and his fantasy value has probably dried up, as evidenced by his .260, 44 R, 8 HR, 48 RBI 2009 numbers. 

Kevin Millar, who’s also 38, will try his luck with the Cubs. Millar managed to hit just .223 with 7 HRs and 29 RBIs for the Blue Jays last year. He too has little to no fantasy value, and little may have skipped town.

The Reds bolstered their infielde by signing free agent SS Orlando Cabrera and trading for Aaron Miles. Cabrera will start for the Reds and likely hit in the two-hole. He had a solid year split between the A’s and the Twins hitting .284 with 83 runs, 9 HRs, and 77 RBIs. He has a good chance of replicating those numbers in Cincinnati. Miles will serve as a backup infielder and has little fantasy value.

Ryan Garko signed with Seattle. He’ll be used primarily as a bat off the bench to face lefties. He could also play some first, DH, and even have spot duty at catcher. He too has little fantasy value.

Now an early look at the NL Central.

1. Can the Cubs’ offense bounce back?
Geovany Soto had a miserable season hitting .218. He was brilliant in Triple-A Iowa in 2007 and had an amazing Rookie season. I fully expect him to bounce back in 2010. Even if he is an average of his past two years, he’d have a decent season. Just don’t reach for him. Assuming Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano can stay healthy, they should have better seasons as well. Marlon Byrd hit 70 percent of his HRs at Rangers Ballpark so I expect him to take a step back in Chicago. At his age (34), I don’t expect Derrek Lee to match the 35 HRs and 111 RBIs. As a whole, though, I do think the Cubs will be much-improved on offense next year thanks to the addition by subtraction of Milton Bradley.

2.  Can Carlos Marmol get it done at Closer?
His BAA was equally nasty as a closer and a setup man, though his ERA and WHIP both improved when he took over at closer. He has both the stuff and demeanor to get the job done. I think he can be a high-end closer next year despite entering the season with just23 career Saves.

3.  Is Joey Votto set to bust out big time?
Joey’s average and OPS  soared dramatically in his second full season. Despite playing in 20 fewer games he had 13 more runs, six more doubles, one more HR, the same amount of RBIs, and 11 more walks. As long as he stays healthy, Votto should emerge as one of the games best hitters.

4. How about Jay Bruce?
I’m not sure he’ll light the world on fire, but he should be improved. Hard not to when you hit .223. I’m encouraged by the way he played in September when he hit .353 with 4 HRs and 16 RBIs in 34 ABs.

5. Is Lance Berkman’s dip a sign of things to come?
I don’t think so. He’s about as steady as they come. Gone are the days of 40 HRs and 120 RBIs, but he should still be good for 30 & 110.

6. Is Tommy Manzelli going to be a viable fantasy option?
I don’t think so. He didn’t exactly put up monster numbers for Triple-A Round Rock last year, hitting .289 with 68 runs, 9 HRs, 56 RBIs, and 12 SBs in 530 ABs.

7.  Is Casey McGehee for real?
He had an impressive Rookie season hitting .301 with 58 runs, 16 HRs, and 66 RBIs in 355 ABs. I like the way he responded in September hitting .337 with 5 HRs and 26 RBIs after struggling in August hitting .241. I wouldn’t want him as a starter, but his 2B/3B eligibility make him a decent bench option.

8.  Can Garrett Jones continue to be a power threat?
He certainly hit his share with 21 in 314 ABs for a 14.9 AB/HR ratio. It is highly unlikely that he can maintain that ratio. His OPS of .939 was also significanly higher than the majority of his minor league stints.

9.  Will Mark McGwire be a distraction?
I don’t think so. He came clean early enough where is shouldn’t be much of an issue for the Cards.

10.  Will Ryan Franklin continue to be an elite closer?
Franklin was one of the surprise closers last year when he recorded 38 saves with a 1.92 ERA. His numbers were significantly worse after the All-Star break.

0.79 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, .165 BAA
3.33 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, .284 BAA

While he was a pleasant surprise last year, I see no reason to believe he can match his 2009 production.


The Reds won the Aroldis Chapman Sweepstakes by signing the Cuban defector to a six-year deal. The prized lefty prospect has a fastball that tops out in the 100s.

He will start the season in the Minors where he can work on his control and harness that fastball. Kudos to the Reds for beating the big boys to land Chapman. Unfortunately this is the type of gamble that small market teams need to make in order to compete.

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