The 2009 Major League Baseball season is just days away. The Cincinnati Reds are taking shape in the form of a classic sleeper. First, let's take a look at the pitching.
The starting rotation contains two veterans in the likes of Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo. The first of which has his mission clearly spelled out: sink or swim. The return of two electric youngsters bolster the Reds hopes. Edison Volquez and Jonny Cueto will try to build on last year's success. Finally, the fifth starter, Micah Owings will have to hold off Homer Bailey to take the last spot. No matter how it works out, look for the loser in that battle to fill a spot back in Triple A Louisville.
The bullpen should shape up with mostly familiar faces in David Weathers, Francisco Cordero, Jim Bray, Jared Burton, Arthur Rhodes, Nick Masset, and Mike Lincoln.
The starting eight on the field should be locked in barring injury.
First Base: Joey Votto
Second Base: Brandon Phillips
Shortstop: Alex Gonzales
Third Base: Edwin Encarnacion
Catcher: Ramon Hernandez
Right Field: Jay Bruce
Left Field: Johnny Gomes
The hard part will be nailing down the bench. My picks for the bench include: Dickerson, Hairston Jr, Adam Rosales, Ryan Hanigan, and Paul Janish. This unfortunately leaves Norris Hopper off the 25 man roster. Hopper is great with the bunt and has some speed, but doesn't quite make this year's team.
This team on paper is younger and hungrier than Reds teams of recent years. Drop me a comment or two and let me know what you think.