After countless seasons of absolute failure, the Reds, as they are every year, are looking to score some success in 2009. With 21 days 'til spring training, I would like to profile who will probably be on the Reds' 25-man roster come opening day.
1. Edinson Volquez
Volquez, after coming off a ridiculous season, perhaps the best season by a Reds pitcher in recent history, is ready to do it again, and improve on his 17-6 record and 3.21 era.
2. Aaron Harang
Although he had a lackluster season, going 6-17, Harang is going to try to be what he was in 2006 and 2007, winning 16 games in both of those seasons.
3. Bronson Arroyo
With arguably his best season as a Red, going 15-11, Arroyo is looking to improve on what has been 4 straight ten loss seasons, and back to back seasons with an ERA higher than 4.00.
4. Johnny Cueto
Although he did not shine too bright in his rookie year, going 9-14 with nearly a 5.00 ERA, Cueto looked very good at times, and just needs to control his blistering mid to upper 90's fastball and limit his pitch count.
5. Micah Owings
Owings, a great addition for the Redlegs, is looking to build on what has been a demise for Reds starting pitchers.
Other possible starters include: Ramon Ramirez, Matt Maloney, Daryl Thompson, and maybe a last chance for Homer Bailey.
1. Brandon Phillips, 2B
Phillips has been the Reds only consistently successful player. Phillips has led the Reds defensively, and has been quite consistent at the plate, hitting over .260 every season for the past three years, and hitting at least 25 home runs over the past two years.
2. Joey Votto, 1B
Votto solidified the starting first base job, with an amazing rookie year, almost hitting .300, and hitting 24 home runs, while playing a solid first base, only having 11 errors on the season. Votto could be the answer for the Reds, if he is willing to step up.
3. Jeff Keppinger, SS
After not playing a chunk of the 2008 season, Keppinger is looking to get back on track, to where he was in 2007, when he hit .331, in 67 games. Keppinger lets almost nothing by him at short stop, and will be a key attribute to the Reds' middle infield this season.
4. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
After many seasons of double digit errors, many Reds' fans want to give up on this young third baseman. I would not give up yet, because he has talent at the plate, and proved it in 2008, hitting .251, while hitting 26 home runs. If Encarnacion can make less mistakes in the field, he will make a bigger impact in '09.
5. Ramon Hernandez, C
Hernandez is hopefully the savior for years and years of failed catchers in Cincinnati.
1. Jay Bruce, RF
Bruce, probably the most exciting story of 2008, is back, and looking to feed off his rookie success. In only 108 games, Bruce totaled 21 home runs and 52 runs batted in. Bruce is looking to be the run producer for the Reds this year, after losing Adam Dunn, the Reds leading run producer for the past few years.
2. Willie Taveras, CF
Taveras was a great addition for Cincinnati. He provides great speed, and defensive skills, and although his OBP is a concern, when he gets on base, he most likely will steal second, and sometimes third, and atomically be in scoring position.
3. Jerry Hairston Jr., LF
Hairston will provide more speed in the outfield and will add another solid right handed bat to the Reds' lineup. In limited playing time in '08, Hariston hit .326.
1. David Weathers
Weathers has been the most consistent pitcher in the Reds bullpen over the last few years, and is looking to prove that once again this year.
2. Fransisco "Coco" Cordero
"Coco", had a great season closing for the Reds in '08. He racked up 34 saves, and is looking to build on it in '09.
With all the talent the Reds have, it looks like they just might compete for a playoff spot in '09. Call me crazy, but the Reds have the skill to contend.