April 3, 2009
STOP HIM BEFORE HE KILLS AGAIN:
Young core gives Reds immediate hope (Jerry Crasnick, 4/02/09, ESPN.com)
How long has it been since the Reds' most recent winning season? Steve Parris led the pitching staff with 12 wins and a 4.81 ERA, Adam Dunn was denting bleacher seats for the Dayton Dragons in the Midwest League and Bowden was still referred to as the "Boy Wonder."
Is this the year for a reversal of fortune? Judging from the talk in Sarasota and Cincinnati, there's reason to hope.
Scouts and talent evaluators in Florida are calling the Reds a team with genuine dark-horse potential, and the enthusiasm is starting to build on Mount Adams and in Fountain Square. At the very least, the Reds should be good enough to take attention away from Chad Ocho Cinco's offseason antics, which is definitely a good thing. [...]
Cincinnati isn't the only National League team capable of springing a surprise this season. San Francisco has enough pitching to be a player in the NL West. Atlanta will be significantly better than last year's 72-win debacle, and the Marlins, always an afterthought in March, have Hanley Ramirez and some scintillating young pitching to compensate for a meager payroll and several winter roster subtractions.
But the Reds win out because of their surplus of arms. Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Micah Owings make for one of baseball's best 1-through-5 starting contingents. As astute Reds fans and Scrabble devotees have pointed out, you can take the first letters of their last names and spell "HAVOC."
The bullpen gives manager Dusty Baker a lot of options, with Arthur Rhodes and Bill Bray from the left side; Dave Weathers, Mike Lincoln and Jared Burton from the right; and 34-save man Francisco Cordero at the back end.
Not only has Dusty already destroyed Kerry Wood and Mark Pryor, but he's done serious damage to Aaran Harang and Bronson Arroyo. Nevermind that he overpitches Harang in many starts, he even brought him in for a four inning relief appearance last year. Prior to that he had an ERA of 3.50, after 5.71. And poor Bronson went from the Sox, expert at grooming arms, to 240 innings his first year under Dusty, 110 pitches per start. So now they have three of the best young arms in the game -- Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey -- and they're leaving them to the tender mercies of Dusty? This is going to be sad to watch. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 3, 2009 7:28 AM