Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Is Mat Latos poised for a breakout season in 2013?
David Schoenfield places Mat Latos at number one, calling the Reds' right-hander "a sleeper Cy Young candidate in 2013". While Latos did allow more home runs at Great American Ballpark, he finished with a better ERA at home. Schoenfield mentions Latos' slider as the key to his success. My biggest concern for Latos is his declining strikeout rate. After striking out more than a batter per inning in 2010, his K/9 was down under eight last season. He also posted a BABIP of .266 in 2012, which was his lowest since he threw a mere 50 innings in 2009. The good news is that his groundball rate was up a bit, possibly due to the increased usage and effectiveness of his slider.
Bradley Woodrum looks at the increased value of the stolen base in baseball's new offensive environment. The conclusion is that teams can afford to be more aggressive on the basepaths as the breakeven point for success has decreased significantly in recent years. Many clubs have not adjusted to this new dynamic as 26 teams posted success percentages above their breakeven point in 2012. The Reds are one such team, though I do not think we will see the team making any significant changes to their baserunning strategy this season. The other implication for the Reds is a boost in the value of Billy Hamilton.
You can cross Logan Ondrusek off the list for the Reds. That leaves six players that will discuss their 2013 salary with the Reds today. They are: Homer Bailey, Mat Latos, Alfredo Simon, Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Heisey, and Mike Leake.
Jeter's ankle injury and subsequent recovery lessens the odds of him reaching several hit milestones, most notably 3500. I think if he is able to bang out two or three more healthy, productive seasons to get to the neighborhood of 3700 or 3800, then all bets are off as to where he finishes. At that point, there will probably be a team or two willing to pay a replacement level Jeter to hang around to collect 4000 hits. From there, would a club give him a chance to challenge Pete Rose's record? Who knows, three teams let Rose hang around after he was finished as a useful player. From 1980, his second year in Philadelphia, until the end of his career, Rose was worse than replacement level according to bWAR. Those were obviously different times and special circumstances. Having said this, I believe the odds of Jeter breaking the record are about one percent.