We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Reds Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Brandon Kraeling from Red Reporter.
1) Grey, myself and Razzball in general love Todd Frazier. If you don’t believe us, take a look at our Todd Frazier fantasy. So with that out of the way, what are your expectations for Frazier and are you looking to draft him for fantasy purposes in 2013?
Barring an almost unwelcome unretirement by Scott Rolen, you can pretty much pencil Frazier in as the everyday 3B for the Reds in 2013. I’m not sure I’d expect him to go off, but he’s a disciplined enough hitter that I don’t think he’ll decline, either. I think a .270-.275 average with 20-25 HR is pretty much where he’ll be, with the average maybe being a little bit higher.
2) Mat Latos’ season was a tale of two halves with a 4.13 ERA to start the year and a 2.84 to finish it. So what Latos can we come to expect for 2013? Will we get another split year or did he figure something out during the second half of the season that’ll hold over to this one?
It’s hard to tell what to expect from Mat Latos at this point, as he’s always been an emotionally charged pitcher. He definitely made strides toward the end of the season last year, and was noticeably more confident. Then again, Buster Posey might have completely taken that confidence in Game 5 of the NLDS, and he’s been a notoriously slow starter, even back when he was in SD (career 5.73 ERA in April, 2 runs worse than any other month). I’d expect the same thing this year, but it’s anyone’s guess how confident he’ll be coming out of Spring Training.
3) The big move by the Reds this summer was getting Shin-Soo Choo who has been a solid outfielder over the last few years. We’ve come to expect roughly a 20/20 season given a full year and a reasonable average to go with it. Any chance the change of scenery has Choo giving us a career year in 2013 or should we draft him expecting what we usually get?
I think it’s definitely possible, given the fact that he’s in a smaller ballpark now in a contract year. Also take into account that in 9 games at GABP, he’s sporting a 1.048 OPS, his 2nd highest total and .150 higher than his previous home. That being said, there’s no telling how he’ll adapt to a new team, and more importantly, a new manager in Dusty Baker. I’d expect improvement, but let’s keep our expectations in check.
4) Zack Cozart wasn’t bad in 2012 but he wasn’t all that great either with his .246 average, .288 OBP and only 4 steals. Grey was all over him last year with plenty of Razzball love and even said in his Top 20 Shortstops he’d write another one if he hadn’t already written 6 of them in 2012. So what’s your expectation of Cozart for fantasy purposes for the 2013 season?
I’d expect him to improve. Despite his glove-first reputation, there’s definitely some hitting talent there, but his plate discipline was positively awful. I’m hoping he’ll learn from the experience he had and improve there, but the 15 HR power is real. Another thing in Cozart’s favor is that because of the Choo acquisition, Cozart will bat 7th or 8th in Dusty’s lineup, which will mean a whole lot less pressure on him.
5) The Reds are going to be in it to win it this year with a solid roster. What’s the most likely headline we’re going to see in 2013 regarding these Reds?
A) Aroldis Chapman has become the ace of the starting rotation with a 10+ K/9 rate, a 3.25 ERA and plenty of wins to go with it
B) Homer Bailey legally changes his name to Groundball Bailey and puts up a Brandon Webb-type year
C) Jay Bruce hits 40 HRs
D) Billy Hamilton slips Dusty Baker some LSD-laced toothpicks to chew on for the year and steals Ludwick’s spot in the lineup. Though Dusty gets a little frustrated with the lack of power, he puts up with it because of the 70+ steals Hamilton posts and moves him to the top of the lineup
E) Joey Votto returns to 2010 form, hitting 35+ HRs and is NL MVP
I know which one I think will happen, but I want to break them down individually, if that’s okay.
A) I think the potential is absolutely there, but there’s no telling how this transition is going to go, especially with an arm as volatile as Chapman’s. The K/9 is a given, and the ERA there is doable, but I’m not sure how he’ll hold up over a full season. In the minors, he showed an ability to keep his velocity up into the later innings, which bodes well to this transition, but to do it in the big leagues for a full season is another animal.
B) I think I speak for most Reds fans when I say that I would absolutely love to see this happen.
C) This is the one that I think has the best chance. Jay Bruce keeps getting better and better, and as his confidence goes up, the power numbers have too. He needs to prove his consistency, as he’s been prone to slumps in the past couple of years, but I think that’s definitely a milestone on the horizon for him.
D) I also would love to see this happen, if only to avoid having to watch Bruce/Choo wander around CF in 2013. Unfortunately, because of the Choo/Ludwick/Bruce situation, B-Ham probably won’t be considered until 2014 (unless there’s a long-term injury, and even then Chris Heisey will get a lot of that time). When he gets up, he’s gonna be the best big league base stealer in the last decade, assuming he can somehow steal first.
E) Sadly, I think it’s too close to tell here too. The story we heard after the season was that Votto never really recovered from his injury, and his omission off of Canada’s WBC roster isn’t exactly a promising sign there. Assuming he’s healthy by April, he’ll be able to hit, but his lack of power was pretty telling at the end of last year to the point where I need to see him hit a homer before I feel comfortable with him out there.