It’s been 11 years and 10 seasons since the Reds last winning season. And with the beginning of each season comes great expectations and high hopes for fans.
But what makes 2010 different from the last 10 seasons?
The first – and possibly the most crucial to the team – thing that stands out about this year’s team is the pitching staff. With both Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto finishing the 2009 season in strong fashion coupled with the signing of highly-touted 21-year-old Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, the future of the Reds pitching staff looks bright.
Combine the younger guys with veterans Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo and there is a real chance the Reds have the best rotation – top to bottom – in the National League. However, for that to happen, Harang will have to get back on track – or back to half the pitcher he used to be – and Arroyo will need to eat up over 200 innings for the sixth straight year and record his third straight 15-plus win season.
The next key element to the Reds success is the ability of younger player’s to step into starting roles and become impact players. The left field vacancy will provide the best chance for a younger player to step into a starting role. Last year Joey Votto was the young guy that stepped up in a big way for the Reds at first base. This year that responsibility may fall on the shoulders of guys like Chris Heisey, Juan Francisco or Todd Frazier.
Another essential key to the Reds success in 2010 will be the play and leadership of guys like Scott Rolen and Ramon Hernandez. Rolen and Hernandez are crucial to the balance between youth and veterans on the club and can be great mentors to some of the younger guys. Both also bring years of experience at the plate and on defense which really upgrades the team in both aspects.
The last – and certainly one of the brightest spots of the 2009 season – thing that stands out about this year’s team is the bullpen. The 2009 season featured many young pitchers out of the bullpen for the Reds. Daniel Ray Herrera had a breakout first full season where he posted a 3.06 ERA in 61.2 innings.
At the back end of the bullpen is setup-man Nick Masset who led the bullpen in both innings pitched with 76 and strikeouts with 70 and had an ERA of 2.37. Closing out games will be the Reds lone All-Star in 2009, Francisco Cordero. Cordero had another outstanding season with 39 saves in 43 chances and had an ERA of 2.16.
So as the new season approaches there is the same excitement that comes with every season, but looking at this team and the players it has acquired and those it has developed, 2010 has the potential to be a great one.