The Cincinnati Reds are going to win at least 90 games this year. I know, it's an optimistic prediction, but it doesn't come without some points to back it up.
The National League Central Division has continued to get weak, as the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff has continued to get stronger.
The St. Louis Cardinals lost Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa, the Milwaukee Brewers lost Prince Fielder and the entire Houston Astros franchise is about to get moved to the American League. Meanwhile, the Reds have added Mat Latos, Sean Marshall and have even committed over $250 million to Joey Votto.
So, given all of this evidence. We're faced with one question: How will the Reds rotation hold up over the course of the 2012 season?
Luck for you, I have the answers.
Johnny Cueto took "the leap" in 2011 and is now a legitimate number one starter. His dominance didn't translate to many wins in 2011 because of a very up and down offensive campaign out of Cincinnati. This year is going to be different.
Wins - 19
Losses - 7
ERA - 3.09
WHIP - 1.087
Here's what the San Diego Padres lineup looked like in Mat Latos' first start of the year in 2011
Yep, I think Mat Latos is excited to be in Cincinnati.
Wins - 16
Losses - 9
ERA - 3.91
WHIP - 1.26
Oy. Bronson Arroyo allowed 46 home runs in 2011. Read that again, I'll wait.
46 home runs.
Arroyo was simply terrible throughout much of the 2011 season. The Reds are starting the 2012 season with plenty of options at starting pitcher, and regardless of the amount of money he's making, Dusty Baker can't keep running him out there with a plus-five ERA. I strongly believe that Bronson Arroyo simply isn't a good pitcher and will be replaced before July.
Wins - 4
Losses - 9
ERA - 5.52
WHIP - 1.47
Anybody who has followed this Reds teams has become frustrated by Homer Bailey at one point or another. He's obviously talented, but so far he hasn't been able to consistently deliver results.
This season is a true test for Bailey. It will determine if he's a front line starter or back-of-the-rotation guy.
I'm banking on his 4-1 September in 2011 as a sign that he's turned the corner.
Wins - 14
Losses - 11
ERA - 3.77
WHIP - 1.262
Mike Leake is legit and that he's about to have a breakout 2012. He might be starting the year as the Reds No. 4 or No. 5 starter, but he's going to be pitching with Cueto and Latos in the team's three-man rotation in the playoffs.
Wins - 20
Losses - 5
ERA - 2.91
WHIP - 1.19