Mark Sheldon checks in from Goodyear with a few starting pitching notes. Mike Leake has cemented his role as one of the more dependable cogs in the stacked MLB rotation, and he's looking to fine-tune and improve on a few things that hopefully will make his 2013 successes sustainable. Michael Lorenzen, who was picked in the competitive balance round by the Reds last year, throws really, really hard and probably has zero idea where he is most of the time (he pitched for the Cal-State Fullerton, the Reds' rookie league Arizona team, the Dayton Dragons, the Bakersfield Blaze, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, and the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League - all in 2013), and he's been actively transitioning from full-time OF to full-time SP. David Holmberg, acquired in the trade that sent Ryan Hanigan to the Tampa Bay Rays, is also in the Cincinnati Reds camp for the first time, and he's looking to impress the coaches into considering him for some big league starts in 2014.
John Erardi compares a past set of aces to a potential pairing. There truly has been a complete overhaul of both the current iteration of the Reds and of the collective pool of baseballers in general. The Reds have morphed from the HR launching, pitching-poor franchise of 8-10 years ago into one rather rich with pitching talent and relatively devoid of offense. That pitching talent isn't just average, either, and the top of the rotation could feature a potency not seen since Bucky Walters, Paul Derringer, and Johnny Vander Meer anchored it in the late 1930s. The contract parallels are cool, too, so check it out.
League-wide batting average was at .253 last year, the lowest since 1972 (prior to the advent of the DH in the American League). Does that mean that more $$ should be shuffled to the pitchers doing the run prevention, or is it really worth chasing those few elite hitters than can break the pattern? Yell at each other about it through your keyboards here.
Razzball asked me to answer a few questions regarding the outlook for certain Reds in 2014. Razzball's a fantasy based site - and a dang good one - but there's always a decent similarity between how individual players perform and how teams as a whole shake out (pythagorean and 3rd-order win percentage be damned). Keep these in mind when the Dropkick Cuetos are racing past you in this year's Red Reporter Fantasy Baseball League (which is happening again, right?).
Homer Bailey may well be on his way to signing a big, fat, superextension. Drop by that there other thread to stay abreast of the situation.