Off-Season Moves: The 2010 NL Central Champion Reds fortified what they had more than they changed it, re-signing MVP Joey Votto, promising youngster Jay Bruce and rotation fixtures in Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto to long-term contracts. They also added Edgar Renteria to
Strengths: This team is very strong on the positional side, offensively and defensively. Between Votto, Bruce, Scott Rolen, Drew Stubbs and Brandon Phillips, they have five guys who can hit and field. Their starting lineup features big-time power, led by Votto, with six players hitting 18 home runs or more last season. Their biggest breakout candidate is Jay Bruce who is entering his age-24 season. Last season Bruce started slowly, but in the second half he hit .306/.376/.575 with 15 home runs. He may not hit for that much average over a full season as he is still a bit strikeout-prone, but 30 home runs and an .875 OPS is a very attainable goal.
The Reds’ pitching is good and reliable and gives them a chance to win every night. No pitcher personifies that last sentence more than Arroyo, who has won 15 or more games the past three seasons and logged over 200 innings the past six. Arroyo may be hittable and prone to the long ball, but he battles and works deep into games, despite a difficult pitching environment in Great American Ballpark. While their rotation may be composed of more number-three and four-starter-types, they have a few guys with the capability to step up. Edinson Volquez was promising in his return from Tommy John surgery; if he can return to his pre-injury form, he might be their guy. Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto both have good stuff, but Bailey’s inconsistency and Cueto’s lack of size likely keep them from taking the next step.