After a tight division race in 2013 that saw the top three teams in the National League Central win at least 90 games, the Cincinnati Reds look to improve and win the division.
Last year, the Reds went 90-72 and made the playoffs as the second wild card team. They experienced an early exit though as they lost the do or die wild card game to the up and coming Pittsburgh Pirates. Many teams would be satisfied with this type of season, but for a team like the Reds who have made the playoffs and lost in the first round three out of the past four seasons, this was far from satisfying.
Looking ahead to this upcoming season, the Reds seem ready to contend for the NL Central once again. The hottest topic about this team seems to be Billy Hamilton cracking the starting lineup. This speedy center fielder took the big leagues by storm as a base-stealing threat. He’ll have big shoes to fill with the departure of Shin Soo Choo who was an on-base machine. The sky is the limit for this talented young player.
Injuries seemed to plague the Reds last year. Johnny Cueto, Ryan Ludwick, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Sean Marshall, and Jonathan Broxton were the main casualties and look to bounce back with a healthy 2014. Barring these injuries, the Reds may have one of the best pitching staffs in the MLB. From their outstanding starting rotation, to their lockdown bullpen, the pitching seems to be their biggest strength.
Overall, injuries are a part of the game and happen to every team. If they can stay healthy and Joey Votto can put together an MVP type of season, I can see the Reds making a deep playoff run.