The Cincinnati Reds have had a wild ride here in 2013. The team was without Ryan Ludwick, Johnny Cueto, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton for extended parts of the year, but managed to keep themselves in contention until they began to get healthy.
While these players have had little time to make their mark on the team, others have had nearly a full season to meet, surpass or fall short of their preseason expectations.
Players like Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo, Jay Bruce and others consistently met their season projections, but they're the exception to the rule. For the five players discussed in this list, the 2013 season was either a wild success or a downright disappointment.
All stats come courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com—unless otherwise noted—and are current through play on Sept. 15, 2013.
Tony Cingrani came into the 2013 season ranked as the team's third-best prospect behind Billy Hamilton and Robert Stephenson, according to BaseballAmerica.com.
Needless to say, the expectations for Cingrani's future were very high, especially after his breakout campaign in 2012. However, nobody expected the 23-year-old to have this kind of season.
Stepping in for injured ace Johnny Cueto, the young lefty boasted a strong stat line, featuring a 2.92 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP with per-nine ratios of 10.3 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and 6.2 H/9. Cingrani owns a 2.4 WAR over 23 appearances—just 18 starts—and with enough innings, his ERA would be good for a 10th-place tie in the NL with Patrick Corbin.
Cingrani has done everything the Reds could ask of him, but they'll need him to return from his recent injury and give just a little more if they're going to overtake the Pirates and Cardinals for the NL Central crown.
Perhaps no player on the Reds roster has been more disappointing this season than third baseman Todd Frazier. After a near ROTY Award winning season in 2012, Frazier is the owner of a .239/.319/.404 slash line with 16 home runs, 68 RBI and 55 runs scored.
Frazier's peripheral stats are right around where they were last season, but we've seen a stark drop over all three components to his triple-slash this season. In just eight more games played this year, Frazier's batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage have dropped 36 points, 12 points and 94 points, respectively.
Hopefully for the organization it's nothing more than another case of a sophomore slump. The 27-year-old has seen his BABIP drop from .316 last season to .277 in 2013. In contrast to this drop off, though, Frazier's walk rate, strikeout rate and line drive rate have all improved over the figures posted in his rookie campaign.
It all looks like a giant case of bad luck for Frazier. Unfortunately for Frazier, though, the Reds were a favorite among many to make a run at the 2013 World Series, and his overall production is solidly disappointing when you consider the importance of his position.
When Manny Parra was picked up by the Reds, I totally wrote the acquisition off as a mistake. To this point though, Parra has proven that the signing was no mistake, and that he can be a key contributor to a bullpen.
Over 50 appearances—the second most of his career—Parra owns a 3.46 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP and ratios including 11.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 3.53 K/BB and 8.0 H/9. The 30-year-old lefty's season included a stretch of 19 appearances in which he didn't allow an earned run, by far the longest of his career.
The former Milwaukee Brewer has been somewhat effective against right-handed hitters this season, but it's been Parra's impressive dominance over lefties that has carried him to this point. In 80 at-bats against Parra, left-handed hitters are struggling to a .175/.247/.250 slash line, with just two extra-base hits—both were home runs—and three runs scored.
Parra is having easily the best season of his big league career and, given his track record of mediocrity, it's hard to say anyone saw it coming.
Last season, with former top prospect Devin Mesoraco nipping at his heels, Ryan Hanigan managed one of the best seasons of his professional career. The then 31-year-old catcher worked to a .274/.365/.338 slash line with 16 extra-base hits, 24 RBI and 24 runs scored.
Although those numbers don't jump off the page, his defensive ones sure do. Last year, Hanigan threw out baserunners at an incredible 48-percent clip while making just four errors in 833 total chances.
This season, Hanigan is still throwing out plenty of baserunners—he's done so at a 46.4-percent clip—however, the offensive numbers have plummeted to career-low status.
Hanigan did spend some time on the DL this season, and perhaps that's still working against him. Or perhaps he's just a catcher on the wrong side of 30 experiencing a downturn in his abilities as a hitter.
Either way, a .206/.321/.276 slash line and 11 extra-base hits isn't going to cut it. If not for his defensive prowess, Hanigan would be hard pressed to retain a roster spot for 2014.
Outside of Tony Cingrani, there hasn't been a more surprising player on the roster than Mike Leake.
In 2012—just his third year as a professional—Leake managed a 4.58 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP and per-nine ratios of 5.8 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 10.1 H/9 and 1.3 HR/9. While Leake was bound to be better than he was in his 2012 campaign, no one quite expected this big of a bounce back.
Over 29 starts, Leake has already set a career high in wins—13—with a career low ERA of 3.35. The 25-year-old has also seen improvement in his WHIP, H/9 and HR/9 figures. If not for four wins blown by the bullpen, Leake could be a 17-6 pitcher.
Leake has quietly become arguably the best fifth starter in baseball and looks to be back on the right track as far as career progression goes.
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