The Reds look to be one of the most fantasy relevant teams in 2012 for a variety of reasons. They have top end talent at major positions and some interesting secondary players as well. After finishing a disappointing 79-83, good enough for just third Place in the NL Central in 2011, they’ll look to capitalize on some major players leaving town from their competitors — namely, Albert Pujols leaving St. Louis for Anaheim and Prince Fielder springing Milwaukee for Motown. They also aren’t crying about Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension. Opportunity is knocking for Cincinnati. We’ll see if they’re able to answer the call in 2012.
In “30 Teams in 30 Days,” the Fantasy Baseball Cafe will preview each team in Major League Baseball on a daily basis. In addition to projecting starting lineups, rotations and closing situations, the Cafe will identify potential targets for 2012 fantasy baseball drafts.
|C Devin Mesocaro||.289||.371||.484||60||15||71||1||436||in AAA|
|1B Joey Votto||.309||.416||.531||101||29||103||8||599|
|2B Brandon Phillips||.300||.353||.457||94||18||82||14||610|
|SS Zack Cozart||.310||.357||.467||57||7||32||9||323||in AAA|
|3B Scott Rolen||.242||.279||.397||31||5||36||1||252|
|LF Chris Heisey||.254||.309||.487||44||18||50||6||279|
|CF Drew Stubbs||.243||.321||.364||92||14||44||40||604|
|RF Jay Bruce||.256||.341||.474||84||32||97||8||585|
Unsettled: Inexperience. Once you look past the star power in the heart of the Reds’ lineup, you see a lot of question marks. Both Devin Mesocaro and Zack Cozart made the most of the cup of coffee they received in 2011 and have parlayed that into lofty projections (by some) for 2012. With less than 90 Major League at bats between them, what they’ll actually produce is anybody’s guess.
Target: Brandon Phillips. While others are gambling on the upside of the oft-injured Ian Kinsler in Round 2, Phillips offers a more consistent high level of play, filling up the entire fantasy stat sheet three rounds later. He’s a near lock for .275, 20 HRs, 90 Rs, 15 HRs, 80 RBIs and 15 SBs, and he hasn’t played less than 140 games in any of the last six seasons. Phillips has been one of the most consistent fantasy 2Bs over the past half-decade and is still being drafted after the likes of Dan Uggla and Rickie Weeks.
|Johnny Cueto (R)||9 -5||2.31||1.09||104||47||156.0|
|Mat Latos (R)||9 -14||3.47||1.18||185||62||194.1||w/SD|
|Bronson Arroyo (R)||9 -12||5.07||1.37||108||45||199.0|
|Homer Bailey (R)||9 -7||4.43||1.28||106||33||132.0|
|Mike Leake (R)||12 -9||3.86||1.17||118||38||167.2|
Unsettled: The Cuban. What does the future hold for defector fire-baller Aroldis Chapman? The 24-year-old has spent the last two seasons making bats miss in setup duty, but a successful transition to the rotation would give the Reds a left-handed arm they desperately need. General Manager Walt Jocketty claims Chapman will continue to work as a starter all spring, and while he may not crack the rotation in April, he’s one injury or series of blowups away from solidifying his spot on the bump every fifth day.
Target: Mat Latos. The other owners in your league may be seeing the surface facts, being that Latos, coming off a disappointing fantasy season in 2011, is moving from the most pitcher friendly park in the major leagues in Petco Park to a home run haven in the Great American Ballpark. But don’t be fooled; Latos is no product of Petco, the way many of his teammates are. Over the last several seasons he’s been just as successful away from San Diego as he has been in it, and with an actual Major League lineup around him, maybe he’ll stop pitching seven innings of one-run ball and taking losses. The peripherals are all there, and Latos looked for most of the latter half of 2011 like the guy who people were hoping for when they drafted him. Look for him to put together a very impressive 2012 in his new digs as a great value pick in Round 8.
The 8th and 9th Innings
|Ryan Madson (R)||32||2.37||1.15||62||16||60.2||w/PHI|
|Sean Marshall (L)||5||2.26||1.10||79||17||75.2||w/CHC|
Chasing Saves: Ryan Madson stands to be a man on a mission in 2012. After watching his former team shell out enough to buy a small country to Jonathan Papelbon, Madson was forced to settle on a one-year, $10 million deal (we should all be forced to settle for this) with Cincinnati, and a chance to showcase his talents in hopes at a big payday next off-season. Marshall provides excellent insurance for the Reds, as he’s been the fill-in closer with the Cubs the past few seasons and provides a good back-end lefty in the bullpen in case Aroldis Chapman is called upon to start.
The Reds need to strike while the iron’s hot, and the NL Central is anybody’s for the taking. They’ve certainly done their best efforts this off-season to acquire the pieces in Latos and Madson to help them make the jump. Top to bottom they’re stricken with fantasy talent and should be one of the most represented teams in your league’s draft. Whether or not that translates into team success in 2012 is to be seen.
Brendan Horton is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Brendan in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of bigh0rt.
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