Following a playoff appearance in 2012, the Cincinnati Reds are in a perfect position to repeat as NL Central champions, even with teams like the potent St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers looking to make runs of their own.
In 2012, the Reds charged into the bayside area of California and took down the Giants twice in overwhelming fashion. The two confident wins left little to the imagination of the high hopes the Reds had for last year’s postseason.
However, the strong output from the pitching staff and the offense took a dive when the NL Central champions returned home. Faced again—and then again—with being in a win-and-advance position, the Reds ended up losing three straight to end their ideas of any World Series run.
I think that can change in 2013.
Cincinnati has all the makings of another strong showing this year, and it should be one of the favorites to take home the World Series title.
Finally, something Cincinnati fans could have to brag about.
First of all, the organization and its players have tasted the postseason—they have the experience.
Joey Votto is returning from a year in which injuries cut his production and should be ready to continue pummeling the baseball at the plate.
Newly acquired Shin-Soo Choo will start in center field for the Reds this season and will look to add a much-needed boost to the top of the lineup. He has speed, some power and can produce a solid amount of hits.
One of the league’s most efficient defenses will likely have another strong year.
With a few members returning to the bullpen from injuries and Jonathan Broxton re-signing on a three-year contract, Aroldis Chapman might get a chance to start this year.
If he can continue to develop his changeup and be even nearly as effective in the starting rotation as he was in a closer role last year, Cincinnati would boast a formidable (indeed, scary-looking) rotation headed by Chapman, Johnny Cueto, Matt Latos and the rising starter, Homer Bailey.
With more offensive production, a stout defense and a fearsome pitching staff, the Reds will be looking for the NL Central crown.
They’ll also be looking for much more than that.
Cincinnati fans have high hopes, for this could very well be their year.