Second-Half Predictions for Every Cincinnati Reds Player
It only took until June, but the Cincinnati Reds are finally healthy. Now that they are, fans should expect some big things out of the team's star players.
The first half of Cincinnati's 2014 season has been plagued by numerous injuries. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Mat Latos have all missed time with injuries this season, and they are still working their way to get back to producing up to their capabilities.
It should come as no surprise that the Reds have started to play better since getting healthy. They have been able to battle to get over .500 for the first time all year, and as everyone begins to get into a groove, they should be able to make a serious run at the postseason.
No matter how the first half went, each player will get a chance to finish the season on a good note with a strong second half.
Due to recent roster moves, it's unclear who the 25th man on the roster will be moving forward. Note that only 24 players are on this list because they are the only ones who are projected to be a part of the team for most of the second half, barring injuries.
Keep reading to see projections for each Reds player in the second half of the 2014 season.
*All stats are via MLB.com
C Devin Mesoraco
2014 first-half stats: 42 G, .315/.384/.651, 13 HR, 10 2B, 38 RBI
Devin Mesoraco has finally gotten a chance to play every day, and when healthy, he has taken advantage of his opportunity.
The young catcher has played in only 42 of the team's first 75 games because of injuries, but he has already set personal bests (home runs) or is on pace to do so (average, doubles, RBI, OBP and runs) in most offensive categories.
Mesoraco started off the season on a roll before going into a bit of a slump. It was a big moment for the catcher, and he responded by busting out of it nicely. He has gone through a couple of slumps this season, but he has worked his way out of them each time. That shows a lot of growth for a young hitter.
The catcher has been a strong run producer in the bottom half of Cincinnati's lineup. Throughout the beginning of his career, Mesoraco struggled to hit with runners on base. That hasn't been an issue this year. So far in 2014, he has hit .333 with runners in scoring position.
Mesoraco has thrived early in the count, which is when pitchers are more likely to throw fastballs. In at-bats that have lasted three pitches or less, Mesoraco is hitting .524 this season.
It will be tough for Mesoraco to duplicate his first-half success, but the 26-year-old will be able to prove that it was no fluke if he can keep it up in the second half.
2014 second-half predictions: 63 G, .282 AVG, 9 HR, 14 2B, 45 RBI
C Brayan Pena
2014 first-half stats: 52 G, .252/.280/.371, 3 HR, 10 2B, 14 RBI
The Reds brought Brayan Pena in this past offseason to help improve the offense, but he has shown that he brings a lot more to the table than just a solid bat.
Although Pena's bat has been a nice addition to the team, it's everything else that he has done that has really impressed. The veteran has done a great job of handling the pitching staff (especially Johnny Cueto), shown he can play first base when needed and been a great teammate.
Pena got off to a great start to the season at the plate, but his average has dropped in each month. Pena's drop in production has allowed manager Bryan Price to give Devin Mesoraco the majority of the starts.
Provided Mesoraco stays healthy in the second half, Pena will likely only be behind the plate once or twice every five days. He could spell Joey Votto from time to time, but he won't play as much in the second half as he did in the first half.
2014 second-half predictions: 30 GS, .265 AVG, 2 HR, 9 2B, 22 RBI
1B Joey Votto
2014 first-half stats: 52 G, .269/.410/.435, 6 HR, 13 2B, 21 RBI, 43 BB
A slow start to the season means that Joey Votto is due for a big second half of the season.
When the 2010 National League Most Valuable Player hits only .257 for a month and a half, something probably isn't right with him physically. Unfortunately for him and the Reds, Votto was placed on the disabled list in the middle of May as he tried to work through a quad injury.
In the first 12 games since coming back, Votto has already returned to old form. He has a .319 average and a .411 on-base percentage. He hit only .209 in the 12 games prior to going on the disabled list. Although he doesn't have a home run since returning, Votto has hit his fair share of balls to the warning track.
The injury hasn't kept Votto from doing what he does. He has still been getting on base 41 percent of the time, thanks to 41 walks through 51 games. He has struck out only 42 times, so he has continued to show a great eye at the plate.
With Brandon Phillips (.328), Devin Mesoraco (.348) and Ryan Ludwick (.319) hitting well with runners in scoring position, Votto's job is to get on base and let the batters behind him do their jobs.
2014 second-half predictions: 82 G, .320 AVG, 10 HR, 16 2B, 48 RBI, 69 BB
2B Brandon Phillips
2014 first-half stats: 72 G, .274/.306/.393, 5 HR, 19 2B, 33 RBI
After an offseason filled with uncertainty, Brandon Phillips came ready to play at the beginning of the 2014 season.
For the second straight season, Phillips was slated to hit second but moved out of the spot in order to try to help the offense. He has hit second, third and fourth at various points this season, but it looks like he has made himself comfortable in the cleanup spot once again.
The second baseman is hitting .274 with five home runs and 19 doubles, with the latter putting him among the league leaders. He just continues to hit better when the situation gets bigger. He is hitting .269 with the bases empty, but his average improves to .280 with runners on and .328 with runners in scoring position.
Phillips recently bruised his heel, according to MLB.com's Manny Randhawa, which is just as the Reds were starting to heat up. It's not clear how that will affect his playing time, but once he fully recovers, he will be back to helping the team. Unfortunately, it marks the second straight season in which he got off to a good start before suffering an injury in June. This injury isn't likely to linger throughout the season like his wrist injury did last year.
2014 second-half predictions: 82 G, .270 AVG, 7 HR, 12 2B, 44 RBI
SS Zack Cozart
2014 first-half stats: 71 G, .233/.273/.312, 2 HR, 12 2B, 1 3B, 17 RBI, 2 SB
Zack Cozart dug himself in a hole by starting the season 0-for-22, but he is quietly working his average back up to his career average.
Good news, Reds fans: Cozart is traditionally a slow starter and picks it up in the second half.
The shortstop has a career .243 average in the first half and a .263 average in the second half. Last season, Cozart hit .236 in the first half and .282 in the second half. That trend looks like it is going to continue this year as his average has dramatically increased in each month this season. He hit .180 in March/April, .258 in May and .282 in June. Through 69 games this season, he is at .237 overall.
Cozart's lack of run production has been a bit concerning for Reds fans. He has only 17 RBI this season after setting a career high with 63 RBI last season. The lack of production can be attributed to a .217 average with runners on base and a .156 average with runners in scoring position.
He has shown some pop in the past. However, he has only two home runs and 12 doubles this season.
Based on his career numbers, Cozart is due for a strong second half.
2014 second-half predictions: 81 G, .285 AVG, 6 HR, 14 2B, 32 RBI
3B Todd Frazier
2014 first-half stats: 74 G, .284/.350/.525, 17 HR, 15 2B, 1 3B, 45 RBI, 8 SB
Todd Frazier has been the best third baseman in the National League during the first half of the season, so he will be the player to watch in the second half.
Can he finish his breakout season on a high note or will he drop off?
That's the question that every Reds fan wants to know. Through Cincinnati's first 74 games of the season, Frazier is one of the only players on the team who hasn't missed time with an injury. That's been a great thing for the Reds because the third baseman is producing.
Frazier has a slash line of .278/.346/.516 through 73 games. The slash line is strong, but it's the way that he is producing that has fans blown away. He already has 17 home runs, 15 doubles and 44 RBI. His career high in home runs is 19, which he has done each of the past two seasons.
The thing is, Frazier has gotten better and better each month this season. His average, home runs and RBI have all increased in every month.
As good as he has been in the first half, it would be a little bit of a shock to see Frazier make the All-Star team. He's not a big enough name to get voted in as a starter, and the Reds will likely have at least two pitchers selected to the squad. Johnny Cueto is a virtual lock, Alfredo Simon leads the NL in wins and Aroldis Chapman is having another sensational season. It may be tough for Frazier to get in if the Reds get multiple pitchers selected.
Frazier probably won't duplicate his first-half success, but that doesn't mean he is going to drop off completely.
2014 second-half predictions: 84 G, .260 AVG, 10 HR, 15 2B, 35 RBI
RF Jay Bruce
2014 first-half stats: .224/.322/.395, 7 HR, 12 2B, 1 3B, 26 RBI, 8 SB
Jay Bruce is another Cincinnati player who has been slowed by injury this season, but you pretty much know what you are getting out of him every season.
When healthy, Bruce is going to hit 30 home runs and drive in around 100 runs. He won't reach either of those numbers this year, but he still has a chance to put up respectable numbers.
The right fielder may have come back from knee surgery a bit before he should have. After all, he was only on the disabled list for 15 days. He didn't look very good in the first week after returning, albeit he did have to face very good pitching. After about the first week back in action, he began to find his swing.
Bruce has a slash line of .279/.346/.544 in June, and he is hitting .304 in his last seven games. He has four home runs, six doubles and 12 RBI in the month, so it looks like he is definitely heating up.
The right fielder's reputation for striking out has come back to bite him this season. Although he has shown a better eye at the plate this year, umpires are still giving opposing pitchers very generous calls against the slugger. Bruce has 64 strikeouts this season, but he has had some serious gripes with the umpires. A chart by BaseballSavant.com shows the breakdown of where umps have called strikes on the outfielder. The results aren't pretty.
Bruce's knee injury will keep him from reaching the numbers that he normally puts up. However, he still has the talent to put up very strong numbers. As he has heated up, the Reds have as well.
Due to the knee injury, fans have yet to see even one of Bruce's famous hot streaks this season. Expect at least a few of those in the second half as he continues to get more at-bats.
2014 second-half predictions: 83 G, .281, 14 HR, 14 2B, 49 RBI
CF Billy Hamilton
2014 first-half stats: .276/.311/.400, 4 HR, 13 2B, 3 3B, 24 RBI, 31 SB/9 CS
Todd Frazier has been the biggest surprise on the team, but Billy Hamilton isn't far behind.
There isn't anything that Hamilton hasn't been able to do this season. He can hit, he can run, he can field and he can throw. The biggest issue has been injuries, but he hasn't suffered one that has kept him out of the lineup for more than a couple of days.
The rookie looked overmatched during the first two weeks of the season. He hit only .140 during that span, which led some to wonder if he was ready for the majors. However, he faced the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays for the first nine games of the season. Those squads are loaded with good arms.
Since that time, Hamilton has wowed in every aspect.
The speedster already has 31 stolen bases, which is well ahead of what the team leader had all of last season. He has raised his average up to .273. He has played Gold Glove-caliber center field. His arm has quickly become one that is feared.
Whether it's getting on base to lead off the game or coming up with a big hit late in games, Hamilton has been a huge part of the team's offense.
When he is playing the way he is right now, the Reds are tough to beat. Now he will have to find a way to keep up his high level of play as the league adjusts to him.
2014 second-half predictions: 79 G, .265, 2 HR, 16 2B, 3 3B, 28 RBI, 46 SB/7 CS
LF Ryan Ludwick
2014 first-half stats: 58 G, .276/.337/.416, 5 HR, 11 2B, 23 RBI
Ryan Ludwick was told on June 1 that he would split time with Chris Heisey and Skip Schumaker in left field. Since that time, he has responded the way that Bryan Price has to like.
The veteran is hitting .372 with two home runs and five doubles in June. Those numbers come in a small sample size (10 games), but they are hard to ignore.
Ludwick's numbers can be explained in two simple stats. He has always been prone to swing early in the count, and he is hitting.408 in at-bats that last two pitches or less this season. Also, he is hitting .341 with runners in scoring position in 2014.
The left fielder has five home runs on the season. If he continues to hit well with runners on base, the Reds can afford to have his power numbers a bit down from where the team expected them to be.
2014 second-half predictions: .255 AVG, 7 HR, 13 2B, 34 RBI
Of Chris Heisey
2014 first-half stats: .216/.277/.336, 2 HR, 9 2B, 8 RBI, 6 SB
Chris Heisey has been a valuable member of the Reds the past few years, but he has yet to take advantage of extended playing time whenever he is given the opportunity.
The splits for the reserve outfielder are really unbelievable. He has only one home run and two RBI in 24 starts, and he has one home run and six RBI in 34 plate appearances as a pinch hitter or replacement.
Heisey's has proven over the years that he is most effective when he is coming off the bench. He is the team's only power threat off the bench, can give the team a boost on the bases and be a defensive replacement.
With Ryan Ludwick (right-handed) and Skip Schumaker (left-handed) swinging the bat well, it looks like the Reds have found a solid platoon for left field. Now Heisey will likely make limited starts in left field and maybe an occasional start in center for Billy Hamilton.
2014 second-half predictions: .250 AVG, 4 HR, 10 2B, 18 RBI
OF Skip Schumaker
2014 first-half stats: .220/.259/.284, 1 HR, 4 2B, 11 RBI
Skip Schumaker missed the beginning of this season with an injury, but he has played well enough to earn a spot in a platoon in left field.
The biggest thing that has helped him get playing time is his versatility. Schumaker can play any of the three outfield positions, and he can play second base. He has seen fairly consistent playing time since coming back, although he's not going to play much against southpaws now that the team is healthy.
Schumaker's overall numbers don't jump out, but he plays the game the right way. He can move runners along, and he can come through with a big hit. He is hitting .311 with men on and .276 with runners in scoring position. For part-time players, those are the areas that will get you more playing time if you produce.
Although he has played his way into a platoon situation, it will be tough for Bryan Price to give Schumaker playing time if Ryan Ludwick is able to continue to swing the hot bat. Now it's Schumaker's turn to show that he is willing to raise the bar the way that his platoon partner did.
2014 second-half predictions: .250 AVG, 1 HR, 9 2B, 20 RBI
INF Ramon Santiago
2014 first-half stats: 25 G, .220/.334/.240, 0 HR, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Ramon Santiago saw a bit more action in the first half than he probably anticipated when he signed with Cincinnati, but he won't see as much playing time in the second half—as long as the starters stay healthy.
Santiago has filled in at second base and third base because of injuries, and he has given Zack Cozart the occasional day off at shortstop. He has made 25 appearances and has posted a .225 average. When he is called upon late in games, he has usually done well at moving runners over.
The 34-year-old isn't expected to be a game changer, but he is expected to contribute when he is given playing time.
2014 second-half predictions: .234 AVG, 1 HR, 3 2B, 9 RBI
RHP Johnny Cueto
2014 first-half stats: 16 GS, 116 IP, 3 CG/2 SHO, 7-5, 1.86 ERA, 0.845 WHIP, 71 H (9 HR), 119 K/27 BB
Johnny Cueto has been so good in the first half of the season that it makes you wonder what he is capable of if he can stay healthy for a full season.
Johnny Beisbol leads the majors in several key categories: innings pitched, complete games, ERA, WHIP and average against. He has done all of that while pitching the majority of his games in Great American Ball Park.
The way he is pitching, Cueto has a chance to be the first Cincinnati pitcher to ever win the National League Cy Young Award. Given what he has done since adding the twist to his windup, there's no reason to think that he won't be able to put up great numbers in the second half.
The only issue that the Reds may face is how to handle his workload. Through his first 16 starts, Cueto has thrown 116 innings. That averages out to about 7.1 innings per start. If he keeps that pace up the rest of the season, he would be in for a heavy workload. He is scheduled for four starts between now and the All-Star break and could make 14 after the break. If the pace continues, he could challenge 250 innings. He has thrown more than 185 innings only once in his career—217 back in 2012.
Cueto has turned himself into the best pitcher in the NL, if not all of Major League Baseball. It's not realistic to expect him to keep doing what he's doing at such a high level, but he can certainly keep dominating to some extent.
2014 second-half predictions: 18 GS, 125 IP, 2 CG, 11-4, 2.74 ERA, 120 K/30 BB
RHP Mat Latos
2014 first-half stats: 2 GS, 11.2 IP, 0-0, 3.86 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 11 H (1 HR), 6 K/3 BB
It took until June, but Mat Latos is finally back with Cincinnati after undergoing elbow surgery and knee surgery in the offseason.
The Reds will likely take it easy on Latos for his first couple of starts. The right-hander doesn't need to push his luck in the middle of the season. After the All-Star break, he should begin to look like the pitcher that Reds fans have seen over the past two seasons.
Latos comes to pitch every five days. Even when he doesn't have his best stuff, he is usually able to give his team quality innings.
Luckily for Cincinnati, it is getting its pitcher back at the right time. Latos has always been a slow starter, but when the weather gets warmer and the team is chasing a playoff spot, he steps up in a big way. The right-hander posted a 2.68 ERA in the second half of last season and a 2.84 ERA in the second half of 2012. With the second half of the season right around the corner, the Reds expect big things out of their starter.
2014 second-half predictions: 18 GS, 112 IP, 1 CG, 9-2, 3.29 ERA, 103 K/37 BB
RHP Homer Bailey
2014 first-half stats: 15 GS, 90.1 IP, 7-3, 4.68 ERA, 1.450 WHIP, 102 H (12 HR), 81 K/29 BB
Even though he has a new contract, Homer Bailey has yet to figure out how to get through April without getting hit around. Luckily, he just gets stronger as the year goes on.
Bailey has already shown improvements this season. His ERA has dropped in each passing month, and like Mat Latos, Bailey just gets better as the season goes on. Don't forget that he has thrown a no-hitter in the second half of each of the past two seasons.
Last year, the right-hander's ERA was just above 3.00, or 0.8 below his first-half ERA, in the second half of the season. In 2012, he posted a 3.21 ERA, which was nearly a run lower than it was in the first half.
Bailey has routinely shown that he just gets better and better as the season moves on. The way he is pitching right now, there is no reason to believe that that trend won't continue yet again this year.
2014 second-half predictions: 17 GS, 113.1 IP, 2 CG, 9-4, 3.19 ERA, 102 K/32 BB
RHP Mike Leake
2014 first-half stats: 15 GS, 100.1 IP, 5-6, 3.59 ERA, 1.186 WHIP, 97 H (10 HR), 72 K/22 BB
Mike Leake had a breakout season in 2013, but so far in 2014, it has been a mixed bag of results.
The right-hander had a decent April and a fantastic May (6-for-6 in quality starts), but June has not been as kind to him. Before his last start, he had yet to allow fewer than four runs or get past the sixth inning in any start this month. He shut down the slugging Toronto Blue Jays over eight innings in his last start, so maybe he has turned things around.
Most of the pitchers in this rotation are better in the second half. That's not the case with Leake. For his career, his second-half ERA is more than one run higher than it is in the first half. He does not have a career ERA below 4.00 in July, August or September.
During his breakout season last year, Leake hit a wall in August and threw only three quality starts after July. He allowed 34 runs in his final 56.2 innings of the season over the final two months. He also threw a career-high 192.1 innings last season, and he is on pace to top that this season.
As the workload increases, the 26-year-old has usually slowed down a bit. The increase in workload shouldn't be as tough to handle this year. However, Leake will still have a tough time matching what he did in the first half.
2014 second-half predictions: 17 GS, 108 IP, 7-5, 4.17 ERA, 68 K/29 BB
RHP Alfredo Simon
2014 first-half stats: 15 GS, 95.2 IP, 10-3, 2.92 ERA, 1.087 WHIP, 81 H (12 HR), 60 K/23 BB
Alfredo Simon was originally just slated to make a start or two while Mat Latos recovered from his injuries, but here we are in June, and Simon leads the National League with 10 wins.
As good as the veteran pitcher has been, Reds fans need to start wondering just how much more the team will get out of him as a starter this season. Will Cincinnati limit his workload as a starter? Will the team move him out of the rotation and back to the bullpen at some point? Will the Reds try to use Simon as a trade chip at the deadline to improve other areas?
There are a lot of questions surrounding the right-hander, but as long he continues to pitch the way he has through 15 starts, the team will love to have to figure out what to do with him.
Simon is quickly closing in on his career high in innings pitched (115.2 in 2011). He has already thrown 95.2 innings in 2014, which is more than he has thrown in either of the past two seasons as a reliever. Don't forget that this is only the second season in which he has been a starter. Even when he started for the Baltimore Orioles three years ago, he made only 16 starts.
The Reds could try a couple of things in order to manage his workload because it isn't in his best interest to throw 87 innings one season and 200 the next, especially since he has never thrown more than 115.2. The team could try to use off days to its advantage and skip him in the rotation from time to time. It could let him go for another 10 starts or so and then move him to the bullpen—and Tony Cingrani back to the rotation—so that he would be able to adjust back to his old role in time for a possible postseason run.
Simon has been good enough in the first half to make the All-Star team this season. Chances are that he drops off in the second half, but the biggest storyline surrounding the veteran will be how the team handles his situation the rest of the way.
2014 second-half predictions (as a starter only): 8 GS, 54.2 IP, 4-2, 3.62 ERA, 42 K/14 BB
LHP Tony Cingrani
2014 first-half stats: 13 G/11 GS, 63.1 IP, 2-8, 4.55 ERA, 1.532 WHIP, 62 H (12 HR), 61 K/35 BB
Tony Cingrani had a sensational rookie season in 2013, but he has been the victim of a sophomore slump this year. That led to his shift to the bullpen and, ultimately, a demotion to Triple-A so he could work on his stuff.
Last year, Cingrani relied heavily on his fastball. He has a deceptive delivery, so he could get away with it as long as he located it. He hasn't been able to get away with missing with his secondary stuff this season.
Cincinnati was going to manage Cingrani's workload this year no matter how well he was doing. The southpaw has made that a bit easier by going on the disabled list earlier this season and then struggling once he returned. Now he has to show that he can get back to getting guys out with more than just his fastball before he can get back to the majors.
At some point, Cingrani figures to rejoin the Reds rotation this season. Alfredo Simon's workload will most likely be managed at some point, but with how Cingrani's workload has been limited this season, he could easily rejoin the rotation at any point and not have to worry about an innings limit.
Cincinnati has a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs before the All-Star break, so that figures to be a good chance for Cingrani to prove that he is ready to be back in the majors. If he looks good, the Reds can start working on a plan for Simon and Cingrani.
If the Reds find another way to limit Simon's workload, they could use Cingrani in the bullpen. Between Sean Marshall's injury and Manny Parra's struggles, Cingrani would be a nice addition to the bullpen.
Would it be a surprise to see Cingrani replace Simon in the rotation at some point? No. It's just not clear when that time may come. Look for him to be in the rotation at some point in August if he is able to impress the organization while working on his stuff in the minors.
2014 second-half predictions (as a starter only): 9 GS, 57.1 IP, 4-3, 3.77 ERA, 54 K/20 BB
LHP Aroldis Chapman
2014 first-half stats: 19 G, 20 IP, 0-2, 13 SV, 2.70 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 8 H (1 HR), 41 K/7 BB
Aroldis Chapman came back from a very scary injury this year quicker than anyone could have ever imagined, and ever since he returned, he has been more dominant than ever.
Thanks to an increased usage of his secondary pitches, Chapman is on pace for a historic season. According to FanGraphs, the southpaw is using his fastball only 60.4 percent of the time this season. As a rookie in 2010, he threw the heater only 74.4 percent of the time. That percentage had gone up every season until 2013.
Chapman's success can be explained by his willingness to mix up his pitches. In the past, hitters had been able to (at least try) to sit on his fastball, especially in crucial counts. Now that he is willing to throw his slider and changeup in any count, opposing batters have no chance to touch him.
Until a recent outing, he had gone a month without allowing a run. He has allowed only six runs all season, with four coming in one outing. That's the definition of a shutdown closer.
Just how good has Chapman been in 2014? He has struck out 41 of the 74 batters (55.4 percent) he has faced. According to statistician Joel Luckhaupt, Atlanta Braves right-hander Craig Kimbrel (50.2 percent in 2012) is the only pitcher who has struck out more than half of the batters he faced in at least 10 innings pitched during a season.
Chapman's success gives him a great chance to make the 2014 National League All-Star team. As long as he is willing to continue to mix up his pitches, he's just going to get better and better.
2014 second-half predictions: 33.2 IP, 26 SV/2 BSV, 1.34 ERA, 65 K/13 BB
RHP Jonathan Broxton
2014 first-half stats: 25 G, 24.1 IP, 3-0, 5 SV, 0.74 ERA, 0.822 WHIP, 9 H (0 HR), 16 K/11 BB
Aroldis Chapman may get all of the attention, but Jonathan Broxton has been pitching at an All-Star level since coming off the disabled list in the middle of April.
Broxton started the season as the team's closer as Chapman recovered from his injury. It took him nearly a month to allow his first run and then it took him more than a month before he allowed another one.
The numbers don't lie. He doesn't have overpowering stuff anymore, but he has been throwing 93 mph consistently this season. Although his strikeouts per nine innings rate is the lowest of his career, his walks per nine innings rate is the lowest it has been since arriving in Cincinnati. The veteran doesn't have a pile of strikeouts, but he is getting outs. That's the most important thing.
With Broxton pitching this way, opposing teams are going to have a hard time rallying if the Reds have a lead entering the eighth inning.
At age 30, Broxton is having the most efficient season of his career. His 0.74 ERA and 0.822 WHIP are the lowest marks of his career. He's pitching at a ridiculously high level, so he will need to be on top of his game if he hopes to keep it going through the second half.
2014 second-half predictions: 38 IP, 2.84 ERA, 23 K/13 BB
RHP Sam LeCure
2014 first-half stats: 29 G, 28.1 IP, 1-1, 13 SV, 3.81 ERA, 1.482 WHIP, 30 H (3 HR), 24 K/12 BB
For some reason, June just hasn't been kind to Sam LeCure in recent seasons.
LeCure had a 1.16 ERA on June 1 last year and posted a 5.19 ERA for the month of June. This year, it's been a similar story. As of June 4, he had an ERA of 1.14 and has posted a 12.79 ERA this month.
Oddly enough, LeCure's struggles this year can be traced back to a hilarious haircut that he got on June 6. That night, he allowed four runs while recording only one out.
There's no real explanation as to why he has struggled in June the past two years after dominating during the first two months. It could just be a tired arm, but if last year is any indication, he's going to break out of it in July.
The right-hander posted a 1.80 ERA last July and a 1.04 ERA in September. He struggled in August last season, so given that he has followed a similar trend this year, that will be something to follow.
Manager Bryan Price just has to let LeCure work his way through his struggles the way Dusty Baker did last year. He may be hesitant to use the right-hander in key situations, but with the way Cincinnati's middle relievers have pitched this season, LeCure is still one of the most reliable arms in the bullpen.
LeCure has gone through some struggles in the past and has worked through them fairly quickly. Now, Price has to be hoping for similar results.
2014 second-half predictions: 31 IP, 2.74 ERA, 24 K/15 BB
RHP J.J. Hoover
2014 first-half stats: 28 G, 32.2 IP, 1-5, 5.23 ERA, 1.531 WHIP, 30 H (7 HR), 36 K/20 BB
For the second straight season, J.J. Hoover got off to a terrible start. For the second straight season, June has been the month that the reliever has turned things around.
Hoover had a 5.20 ERA as of June 9 last season and finished the year with a 2.86 ERA. It's going to take another remarkable second half in order to drop his current 5.23 ERA down to below 3.00 again.
There's no secret as to why the right-hander is struggling this season. He has walked 20 batters in 32.2 innings, whereas he walked only 26 batters in 66 innings last season. He also held left-handed batters to a .163 average last season, but they are hitting him to the tune of .333 this year.
Hoover posted a respectable 3.14 ERA in May, thanks to a .218 average against. He has held opposing batters to a .222 average and has walked only five in June, so it looks like he is starting to hit his stride.
Cincinnati needs a reliever to step up and get the ball to Jonathan Broxton. If he continues to pitch well, Hoover can regain some of the trust that he once had and pitch in the seventh inning once again.
2014 second-half predictions: 37 IP, 3.41 ERA, 40 K/17 BB
LHP Manny Parra
2014 first-half stats: 33 G, 22.1 IP, 0-0, 1 SV, 4.43 ERA, 1.522 WHIP, 23 H (3 HR), 24 K/11 BB
Cincinnati has to be wondering if it made a mistake by re-signing Manny Parra this past offseason. If anything, it has to be hoping that the left-hander can turn it around the way he did last year.
Parra got off to a dreadful start in 2013 but posted a 2.78 ERA in the second half of the season. His success can be linked to the fact that he held left-handed batters to a .167 average.
This season, his struggles can be tied to his inability to get left-handers out. Left-handed batters are hitting .275—or 18 points higher than right-handers—against the southpaw this season. He's walked 11 batters in only 22.1 innings in 2014, just a season after walking only 15 in 46 innings.
Manager Bryan Price has been forced to use Parra as the left-handed specialist because of Sean Marshall's shoulder problems. Now that Marshall is back on the disabled list, Parra needs to find a way to get batters out or he could find himself in a bad spot.
2014 second-half predictions: 27.2 IP, 4.63 ERA, 22 K/12 BB
RHP Logan Ondrusek
2014 first-half stats: 26 G, 28 IP, 2-2, 3.86 ERA, 1.571 WHIP, 32 H (1 HR), 25 K/12 BB
While the Reds look for a reliever to step up, Logan Ondrusek is doing his best to earn Bryan Price's trust.
Ondrusek's past seasons have turned him into a reliever who is only used during losses or blowouts. However, he is making a case to be used in close games this year.
After a rough first month, the tall right-hander has gotten better in each month this season. He has held opposing batters to a .200 average and has posted a 1.50 ERA in 11 outings in June.
Ondrusek has done a great job with runners on base this year. Although opponents are hitting .310 against him with nobody on base, he has held opponents to a .255 average with runners on and a .189 average with runners in scoring position.
If the other relievers continue to struggle come July, Ondrusek may find himself pitching in bigger spots down the stretch.
2014 second-half predictions: 31 IP, 4.34 ERA, 25 K/15 BB