The Cincinnati Reds are just entering the second half of the season, and already it looks to be an exciting trek forward.
In the 85th game of the season, Homer Bailey tossed the second no-hitter of his career en route to a Reds victory. The win brought the team to 49-36 on the year. They currently sit in third place, just 3.5 games out of first place in the NL Central.
Nobody would've predicted Homer's no-hitter, but in this article we'll try to do just that by predicting what each of the Reds' 25 players will do between now and the end of the year.
Let's get started.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.coma and are current through play on July 4th, 2013.
The catcher position has been relatively disappointing for the Reds this year. Between Ryan Hanigan, and Devin Mesoraco, Reds' catchers have combined for a .222/.317/.326 triple slash with six home runs, 12 doubles, 32 RBI and 27 runs scored.
Hanigan missed games early due to injury, but even after his return, he's yet to regain any of the ability he showed at the plate in 2012. Through 43 games played, Hanigan owns a .197/.288/.277 slash line with just two home runs, 13 RBI and 12 runs scored.
It remains to be seen whether Hanigan will return to form, but the Reds could certainly use his production over the team's remaining 82 games.
Prediction: Hanigan fails to hit .240 on the season and continues to lose playing time to Mesoraco
Mesoraco, once the one of the game's most highly touted catching prospects, is well into his third professional season and has yet to show any inclination of living up to that high praise.
Through 116 career games, Mesoraco owns a .221/.293/.361 triple slash with 11 HR, 39 RBI and 37 runs scored. Mez is still just 25 years old, and there's still the possibility he puts it all together.
This season, the young backstop has shown some signs of life in the form of a .245/.320/.371 triple slash, four home runs, 19 RBI and 15 runs scored. While it doesn't seem like much, it's certainly better than his career averages and could translate to further improvement.
Prediction: Mesoraco improves, pushes his slash line to .260/.355/.450 and becomes the team's full-time starter.
Joey Votto is the Reds' only first baseman. But when your starter is as good as Votto, you don't need another one.
Through 80 games, the former MVP owns a .323/.432/.511 slash line with 14 home runs, 16 doubles, 39 RBI and 58 runs scored.
Votto's RBI totals are lower than you'd expect given his home run totals and his impressive slash line, but the production he puts forth on a day-to-day basis is of such a high quality that it's tough to knock him for it.
As it stands, Joey Votto is one of the front-runners for the NL MVP Award, and should he continue at his current pace, he may very well take home his second such award.
Prediction: Joey Votto continues to rake at the plate and finishes in the top three for MVP voting
Brandon Phillips is well on his way to another All-Star Game selection this season. Through 72 games, the 32-year-old has put together an impressive season, totaling 12 home runs, 13 doubles, 63 RBI and 44 runs scored to go along with a .269/.324/.427 slash line.
Phillips is occupying a different sort of role with the Reds in 2013, though. For nearly all of the Reds' games, Phillips has hit fourth in the lineup.
Generally, Phillips has occupied the leadoff or second spot in the order, but with Ryan Ludwick sitting on the DL, Phillips was asked to man the cleanup spot of the order. Boy, has it paid off.
Phillips is only 14 RBI shy of his 2012 total of 77 and is currently on pace for 128 RBI this season. That total would shatter his old career best of 98, achieved back in 2009.
BP is as good as they come at second base, and while he doesn't provide the type of speed that can net him a 30-stolen-base season anymore, he's valuable both at the plate and in the field.
No one in the game of baseball turns in more highlight-reel plays than Phillips, and his superb defensive ability lands him in the top five among NL second basemen in fielding percentage, Rtot, RF/9, RF/G, assists, putouts and double plays turned.
Prediction: Phillips starts at second in the All-Star Game, reaches the .280 batting average plateau, wins a Gold Glove Award and records his first top-10 finish in MVP voting.
Todd Frazier burst onto the scene in 2012 and finished the season with a third-place finish in Rookie of the Year voting.
Frazier started off 2013 with a bang, and it looked like he would continue upon the success he experienced last year. Through his first 21 games, Frazier posted a .263/.352/.553 slash line with six home runs, 18 RBI, 13 runs scored and a 22:10 K/BB ratio.
In the 59 games since then, Fraizer has slashed just .235/.332/.350 with four home runs, 23 RBI, 21 runs scored and a 52:23 K/BB ratio.
Frazier's struggled mightily this season and has yet to look comfortable for any prolonged stretch outside of his first 22 games.
Prediction: Frazier gets his average up above .255 and finishes the season with 20-plus home runs.
Jack Hannahan signed with the Reds as a free agent this past season. Hannahan has been a great asset defensively and has made just one error in 55 total chances between third base, second base and first base.
Offensively, Hannahan hasn't offered much. In 80 at-bats, the 33-year-old owns a paltry .188/.258/.250 triple slash with four extra-base hits, seven RBI and five runs scored.
He's never going to be much of a threat at the plate, but Hannahan can be a solid defensive replacement in late inning situations.
Prediction: Hannahan pushes his average over .200 and makes only three errors all season.
Zack Cozart was touted as a versatile shortstop who could hit, hit for power and steal bases, all while offering above-average defense.
Cozart offered great power last year, to the tune of 15 home runs, but he disappointed with his .246 batting average, .288 on-base percentage and just four stolen bases.
This year, Cozart has a .243/.272/.379 slash line with seven home runs, 33 RBI and 42 runs scored.
Cozart may never be the .270 hitter he was in the minors, nor is he likely to ever steal 30 bases like he did in 2010, but he can easily hit 20 home runs, drive in 60 runs, score 80 and play superb defense over a 162-game season.
Prediction: Cozart bumps his average up to .255 by season's end and finishes the year with 17 home runs and 65 RBI.
César Izturis is in a situation similar to Jack Hannahan's. The 33-year-old shortstop was brought in by the Reds this past offseason and functions as a defensive replacement/pinch hitter/spot starter.
Izturis has functioned well in that capacity and has yet to make an error in 70 chances.
Offensively however, it's been a struggle for the veteran, who's slashed just .187/.256/.227 with three doubles, three RBI and three runs scored.
In the second half, barring injury, Izturis will likely fill the same role with the Reds, and it's unlikely his production increases in that time.
Prediction: Izturis treads water offensively but continues to offer above-average defense at the two middle-infield positions
After Ryan Ludwick went down with a separated shoulder during the first game of the season, the Reds were forced to turn to a number of sources—e.g. Xavier Paul—for production in left field.
Another injury, to Ludwick's replacement Chris Heisey, brought Derrick Robinson into the fold. With Heisey back, the Reds' left field situation includes Paul, Robinson and Heisey.
Amidst the injuries that have plagued Reds' left fielders, Paul has been the most consistent producer of the bunch. Through 61 games played—153 at-bats— Paul owns a .248/.335/.405 slash line with five home runs, nine doubles, 25 RBI and 19 runs scored.
Paul has also made 43 appearances in the field this season and has been a competent fielder. Although he doesn't offer much range, he has shown the ability to hold down the fort and provide decent enough pop both off the bench and in the everyday lineup.
Moving forward, Paul will likely concede at-bats as the Reds look to work Chris Heisey back into the fold while giving Robinson at-bats as well. With the possible return of Ryan Ludwick in August, Paul will likely be slotted into a fifth outfielder's role, giving him even fewer at-bats.
Prediction: Paul works as the team's fifth outfielder/pinch hitter and then fights for at-bats if and when Ludwick returns.
Robinson, like Paul, has done a decent job filling in for injured outfielders. Over 57 games, the 25-year-old has compiled 115 at-bats while working to a .261/.341/.330 slash line with six doubles, a triple, seven RBI and nine runs scored.
Robinson has outstanding speed and has also chipped in two stolen bases to go along with above-average defensive ability.
In recent games, Robinson has been given the opportunity to hit leadoff, and, as evidenced by his .346 OBP, he's responded well to these opportunities. This positive performance trend lends itself to the idea that Robinson could see a good number of at-bats even after Ryan Ludwick returns.
Prediction: Robinson will function as the Reds' fourth outfielder until Ludwick returns, at which point he becomes the team's fifth outfielder.
Heisey was sidelined early this season due to an unfortunate hamstring injury. The 28-year-old left fielder played just 23 games prior to hitting the shelf and has played just four games since retuning.
Since returning, Heisey has appeared in five games with eight at-bats while working to a .273/.333/.722 slash line with two doubles, one home run, three RBI and a 2:2 K/BB ratio.
Heisey's numbers on the season are not good—.186/.217/.349 slash line—but after having spent two months away from the team, he may very well turn the corner and regain his 2011-12 form.
Prediction: Heisey regains starting duties in left field and serves as the team's starter even after Ludwick returns. Over the course of the second half, he'll hit .265 with eight home runs.
Shin-Soo Choo is the only center fielder on the Reds roster.
Through Choo's first 52 games, he compiled 193 at-bats and posted a .295/.449/.523 slash line with 10 home runs, 20 RBI, 40 runs scored, five stolen bases and a 50:40 K/BB ratio.
Choo has cooled off considerably since then and has slashed .228/.364/.342 with two home runs, seven RBI, and 15 runs scored.
Choo's struggles are due largely in part to the regression his BAbip—down to .282 over his last 30 from .353 over his first 52 games. With a little bit of luck, his batting average will begin to climb again.
Prediction: Choo regains his form and works back to a .283/.438/.492 slash line with 21 home runs, 50 RBI and 115 runs scored by season's end.
Like Choo, Bruce is the only player at his position on the Reds roster. Bruce has been a staple in the Reds lineup for the past five seasons, and now, in his sixth season with the team, he has blossomed into a solid all-around hitter.
In 82 games, Bruce sports an impressive resume, including a .275/.322/.512 triple-slash with 18 home runs, 25 doubles, 56 RBI and 47 runs scored.
Bruce is hitting the ball to all fields with relative consistency, and although his 27.8-percent strikeout rate is slightly high, he's still able to carry a respectable batting average and OBP.
Moving forward, Bruce is a legitimate 40 home run candidate, and given the quality of batters hitting in front of him, 100 RBI is a very realistic total.
Prediction: Bruce finishes the season with a .282 batting average, 41 home runs and 110 RBI.
Cueto has had a rough go of things through the first half of 2013. The Reds ace has made just nine starts and is currently on the DL for the third time this season.
While he's been healthy, Cueto has been solid, posting a 3.33 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP and ratios of 7.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 2.93 K/BB and 7.0 H/9.
Unfortunately for the Reds, Cueto being healthy is a relatively rare occurrence, and, according to SI.com, Cueto could be out until at least August.
Prediction: The Reds take the safe approach, and Cueto doesn't make another start in the regular season.
With all of the injury problems surrounding Cueto, Latos has functioned as the team's de facto ace. Over 17 starts, the 25-year-old owns a 3.03 ERA to go along with a 1.20 WHIP and great ratios including 8.9 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 3.63 K/BB and 8.3 H/9.
Latos' second-half production is generally slightly better than the first half, so we could see a bit of progression going forward.
Expectations will be high for Latos as the season progresses, but he should be up to the task.
Prediction: Latos wins nine games in the second half and finishes the season with a sub-2.90 ERA
Bronson Arroyo continues to turn back the clock on what has been an all-around solid career. In 17 starts, Arroyo has worked to a 3.50 ERA with a 1.18 WHIP and ratios including 4.9 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 2.86 K/BB and 8.9 H/9.
The 36-year-old has his best single-season ERA since 2006, and he's been a key contributor to the success of the Reds pitching staff.
Arroyo is pitching for a contract, and, in order to get one with the Reds he'll need another great half.
Prediction: Arroyo continues his success and pitches to a 3.63 ERA over the second half of the season.
Homer Bailey has finally begun to blossom into the pitcher everyone once thought he would.
Bailey has made 17 starts this year and owns a 5-6 record with a 3.57 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and ratios of 9.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 4.27 K/BB and 7.6 H/9. Bailey's current ERA, WHIP, K/9, BB/9, K/BB and H/9 figures represent the best of his career, and he's clearly figured things out on the hill.
After a dominating no-hit performance in his last start against the Giants, the sky is the limit for the 27-year-old in the season's second half.
Prediction: Bailey uses his second no-hitter as a spring-board for a big second half including a 2.65 ERA and seven wins.
For some, Mike Leake has been the most surprising member of the Reds starting rotation. Leake struggled in his third season as a big league pitcher, but you'd never know that by watching him in 2013.
This year, in 16 starts, the 25-year-old righty has pitched to a 7-3 record with a 2.52 ERA, and a 1.13 WHIP with ratios of 5.8 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 3.19 K/BB and 8.3 H/9.
His strikeout numbers will never be great, but with his increased control, Leake is arguably the best fifth starter in the league.
Prediction: Leake continues on his impressive pace and pitches to a 2.85 ERA over the second half
Tony Cingrani is going to be a full-time pitcher for the Reds over the next few weeks as Johnny Cueto rehabs from yet another lat injury.
Cingrani has been all-around great in his rookie campaign. In 13 appearances—eight starts—Cingrani has a 3.40 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and ratios of 10.5 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 2.95 K/BB and 6.8 H/9.
Cingrani's numbers have been good, but if you eliminate his relief appearances, he's been even better. In his eight starts, the 24-year-old owns a 3.15 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and ratios of 10.1 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 3.64 K/BB and 6.5 H/9.
Cingrani was thrown into the fire at a young age but has responded incredibly well, leading one to believe his success is not a fluke.
Prediction: Cingrani pitches to a 3.53 ERA over the second half and finishes the year with 10 wins.
The Reds bullpen has struggled through much of the 2013 season. Through the first 81 games of the year, Reds relievers own a 3.71 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP and ratios of 9.7 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 2.50 K/BB and 7.5 H/9.
On top of the disappointing metrics, the bullpen has worked to a 16-16 record.
There have been bright spots along the way. Aroldis Chapman, Sam LeCure and Alfredo Simon have been solid in the 'pen, and relievers Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton should return and be dependable in late-inning situations.
Providing Marshall and Broxton's return to the active roster is a smooth one, the Reds should be in position to right the ship over the course of the second half.
Prediction: The bullpen rebounds and finishes the year with an ERA between 3.15-3.25
Chapman is generally lights-out. When the ball gets turned over to him, and the Reds have a lead in the ninth inning, there's little doubt the team will come out on top.
On the year, Chapman owns a 2.57 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP and ratios of 15.2 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 3.28 K/BB, 5.70 H/9 and 0.8 HR/9. Though these numbers are solid, they represent a step back from Chapman's stellar 2012 campaign.
Chapman has struggled in the two outings prior to his most recent, allowing three runs over just one inning pitched. Prior to that rough stretch though, the 25-year-old hurler had gone 13 appearances—13 innings pitched—without allowing an earned run. Additionally, Chapman had outstanding ratios, including 18.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 5.20 K/BB and 2.7 H/9.
As the season moves forward, Chapman should return to the level of dominance he asserted over opposing batters in 2012.
Prediction: Chapman lowers his ERA to 1.83 by season's end and records 40-plus saves.