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The Reds starting pitching last year was a thorn in the side of the club. Their offense still produced near the top of most major categories but the starting pitching lagged considerably. This offseason the Reds moved top prospects Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Brad Boxberger and veteran pitcher Edinson Volquez to the San Diego Padres for young ace Mat Latos. I love this trade. To the naked eye, it seems like a little bit much to offer for Latos but Alonso and Grandal were both blocked by better players, Boxberger projects to be a reliever and Edinson Volquez looked like he had rice pudding between his ears last season.
The rotation coming into the 2012 season should look like this; 1. Mat Latos, 2. Johnny Cueto, 3. Mike Leake, 4. Bronson Arroyo and 5. Homer Bailey. I know Aroldis Chapman is being molded into a starter but I believe he will begin the year at AAA and earn a call-up at some point depending on the success of Bailey. Seasons for our 2012 Reds starting pitching should look like this:
Mat Latos: 16-6, 3.23 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 198 IP and 190 strikeouts
- Latos will thrive this season with increased run support. This will provide him with a greater level of confidence relieving him from the pressure of having to go out and keep his opponents under three runs a game. The effect of pitching in PETCO Park is greatly exaggerated when discussing Mat Latos's career thus far. Aside from last season where he let up eight home runs both home and away, Latos has let up fewer home runs on the road than he has pitching in PETCO. Great American shouldn't have that profound an impact on Latos.
Johnny Cueto: 20-5 2.75, 1.10 WHIP, 188 IP and 142 strikeouts
- Johnny Cueto had an impressive 2011 by practically every statistical measurement except wins and losses. Cueto posted a 2.31 ERA and 1.09 WHIP and deserved upwards of 15 wins last season based up on those metrics alone. This season Cueto will establish himself as a true number one starter.
Mike Leake: 12-8 3.67 ERA 1.15 WHIP, 180 IP and 120 strikeouts
- Mike Leake is only 24 years old but his poise on the mound rivals that of any veteran pitcher of 10+ seasons. He doesn't walk many batters, in fact, last season he walked just 38.Control is critical when pitching in GABP and Mike Leake's is quite good. I expect him to flourish as the Reds number three starter and he could even exceed my expectations
Bronson Arroyo: 15-12 4.14 ERA, 1.39 WHIP 225 IP and 154 strikeouts
- Bronson Arroyo is starting to get old but last year was an outlier. He was sick most of the year with mono and had a series of back aches and still managed to make 30+ starts for the seventh straight season. This year Arroyo will return to that model of consistency we've become accustomed to the past 6 seasons.
Homer Bailey: 14-9 3.83 ERA 1.24 WHIP 162 IP and 147 strikeouts
- Homer's my breakout pick for the 2012 season. If you watch as many Reds games as I do (which is nearly every one) then you know that Homer Bailey has great stuff and incredible talent. He's got a good live fastball (2 seam and 4 seam) that he pairs up with a big 12-6 hook, a slider and a splitter. Those five pitches will serve him well this year and I think he finally puts it all together en-route to becoming the pitcher Reds fans and management have always thought he could be.