The Cincinnati Reds spring training camp is under way and, on paper, the team looks like one that could compete for a world title.
Given the talent level on the Reds' roster, it's safe to assume there will be some outstanding individual performances put forth in the 2013 season.
Joey Votto will lead the Reds in their pursuit of a second straight NL Central title, and perhaps a World Series, but where will his performance rank among the club's best?
This article will rank the prospective top five offensive producers while providing projections for their 2013 seasons.
Without further adieu, here's No. 5.
Questions, comments, predictions of your own? Feel free to share them in the comment box below.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.
Todd Frazier was arguably the Reds' biggest surprise last season. Outside of Ryan Ludwick, no player had more of an unexpected effect on the Reds' offense than Todd Frazier.
Frazier found success in the absences of both Scott Rolen and Joey Votto.
When Rolen went down with an injury on May 12, Frazier had one HR, three RBI, one run scored and a .346/.414/.692 slash line in just 25 at-bats (per ESPN.com).
By the time Votto returned on September 4, Frazier had compiled an additional 17 HR, 59 RBI and 49 runs scored with a .289/.348/.539 slash line (per ESPN.com).
Over that timespan, Frazier had 333 at-bats. Frazier's torrent pace provided for incredible ratios including 19.6 AB/HR, 5.6 AB/RBI and 43.8 XB/H%.
Although Frazier tailed off toward the end of the 2012 season, a portion of that can be attributed to a lack of playing time. In the Reds' final 29 games, Frazier only played in 16 where he received three or more at bats.
By the end of the 2012 season, Frazier had put together quite the rookie campaign, including a .273/.331/.489 slash line with 19 HR, 67 RBI and 55 runs scored.
This will be Frazier's age-27 season, and he is only just reaching his physical prime.
Given his ability to hit and hit for power, Frazier should be able to build upon his successful rookie campaign and become one of the Reds' top offensive contributors.
Brandon Phillips comes in at No. 4 on the list.
Phillips turned in exactly the kind of season fans have come to expect from him.
The 31-year-old second baseman capped off the 2012 season with a .281/.321/.429 slash line to go along with 18 HR, 77 RBI, 86 runs scored and 15 stolen bases.
Phillips failed to reach the 20-HR plateau for the third straight season and his stolen base total dropped for the third time in as many years.
Phillips could have had another 20-20 season if not for an early hamstring injury which nagged him through much of the season's early goings.
Phillips' injury cost him speed and power. Due to the injury, Phillips didn't log his first stolen base until May 9, or his second until June 10 (per ESPN.com).
Additionally, Phillips went from April 24 to May 22 without hitting a home run (per ESPN.com).
This season, as evidenced by his participation in the World Baseball Classic, Phillips is playing with a clean bill of health.
With Shin-Soo Choo batting ahead of him and Joey Votto batting behind him, Phillips will have plenty of protection and should see good pitches to hit.
Phillips will also benefit from some lineup consistency this season as both he and the Reds are on board with him batting second this season (per Washingtonpost.com).
With consistency in the batting order, added lineup protection and a clean slate of health, Phillips should enjoy one of the more solid seasons of his career.
Choo will fill a huge void in the Reds' lineup by becoming the team's leadoff hitter.
Choo has played in 101 games as a leadoff hitter and attained a .307/.386/.486 slash line with 162-game averages of 19 HR, 53 doubles, 64 RBI, 112 runs scored and 21 steals.
Though it's unlikely that Choo will eclipse the 50 doubles or 110 runs scored mark, it's a good base to begin with for projections.
If Choo lives up to his numbers (i.e. career .386 OBP in the leadoff hole) then he will score runs in droves.
Furthermore, Choo's presence gives the Reds the ability to drop Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart further down the lineup.
This move puts the Reds in a position where they have two players in Frazier and Cozart who are capable of hitting near the top, or in Frazier's case the middle, of the lineup.
Choo's contributions to the team go far beyond his offensive production.
Given his consistency in years past, it's hard to believe Choo
Although his 2013 season is likely to be a good one, the 30-year-old opens up a wealth of possibilities for the Reds.
Jay Bruce is one of the league's premier right fielders.
Bruce can hit in the heart of any lineup and provide numbers anywhere in the neighborhood of 35 HR and 100 RBI. In 2012, he did just that.
By year's end, Bruce had amassed 34 HR, 99 RBI, 89 runs scored and a .252/.327/.514 slash line.
One flaw in Bruce's game is his batting average, a result of prolonged hitless streaks.
Last season, Bruce had five streaks of four straight hitless games. Additionally, Bruce had 10 streaks of three or more hitless games (per ESPN.com).
Comparatively, Joey Votto had no streaks longer than two straight games without a hit (per ESPN.com).
In order for Bruce to boost his game to the next level, he'll have to cut down on the number of prolonged hitless streaks.
While it's unlikely that Bruce will eliminate all of those streaks, even a 25 percent reduction of the three straight hitless game streaks would increase his batting average significantly.
Entering his age-26 season, Bruce is just hitting his physical prime and is posed to improve on his previous body of work.
Should Bruce significantly cut into his hitless streaks, he could easily surpass my projections with an MVP-worthy season.
Joey Votto was an easy pick for the top spot on this list.
In five full seasons, Votto has compiled impressive numbers including 795 hits, 190 doubles, 129 HR, 440 RBI, 424 runs scored and a .316/.417/.553 slash line.
Over the past four seasons, Joey Votto has failed to hit under .322 just one time.
In that four year span, Votto has averaged a .321/.429/.565 slash slash line with 162-game averages of 31 HR, 47 doubles, 105 RBI and 102 runs scored.
Votto is a perennial MVP and Gold Glove Award candidate who has been voted into three straight All-Star Games.
Should Votto continue at his current pace through the entirety of his physical prime, Votto could find himself in Cooperstown by the time he hangs up his spikes for good.
Entering the 2013 season, there are minor doubts about Votto's health due to a knee injury which cost him 49 games in 2012.
Be that as it may, Votto is slated to play in the World Baseball Classic this year (per newyorktimes.com).
If there were truly any cause for concern, Votto would have withdrawn his name for consideration, or, the Reds would have barred him from participating, similarly to the approach they took with star pitcher Johnny Cueto (per newyorktimes.com).
Votto means everything to the Reds success and given his remarkable consistency and steady improvement over the past four seasons.
While assuming a clean bill of health, it's hard to expect anything less than an MVP-caliber season from the 29-year-old superstar.