One fan’s interpretation on how the Reds can win the division in 2013

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No it’s not an April fool’s joke; Opening Day was a few days ago. For many fans it was their first chance to watch the offseason acquisitions make their debut. But for the Reds there are not many new faces on the roster. With the winning ways of last season, the Reds feel confident that keeping the same players will produce the same results. However, in order to maintain the success of last season they will need help from three key players: Sean Marshall, Aroldis Chapman, and Billy Hamilton. All of them were impactful and will need to dominate again this season.

When Sean Marshall came up with the Cubs he was a relatively unsuccessful starter and in time he transitioned into a long relief pitcher and then became a full time reliever before getting traded to the Reds. Working the late innings last year, Marshall had one of the best seasons of his career striking out 74 batters in 61 innings pitched. While his numbers are good, he needs to continue to pitch well if the Reds are to succeed. Jonathan Broxton will stay as the setup man which means Marshall will likely be a lefty specialist and late inning reliever as he was last year.

 

Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With a record setting fastball, Aroldis Chapman blew hitters away in the ninth and looks to continue the trend into this season. During the offseason the Reds were set on making him a starter, but towards the end of spring training they decided to move him back to the closer role. Personally, it is a big relief to know that Chapman is back closing games instead of starting them. Most relievers who transition into starters end up suffering some season ending injury, which was the fear of many that Chapman might be out for a long time. Others feared that the bullpen would be less effective without him. Well fear no more, he is back along with the same relievers from last season who made up the one of the top bullpens in the National League.

Billy Hamilton stole so many bases, 155 to be exact, that every Reds fan has heard of his tremendous speed. He may not have played above the AA level, but could be a key player down the stretch for the Reds. Even if he did not get an at-bat, he could still be very dynamic on the bases. Last season he combined for a .410 OBP and a .311 batting average. He shows steady progress, even though he did not impress too much during spring training. Hamilton may strikeout a bit and may not have much power, but he could be the difference in the Reds repeating as division champs. With the current outfield situation he should be given a chance to prove his worth.

 

Three players do not make up the whole roster but they will be main factors in determining the success of this 2013 season. If Sean Marshall continues to thrive in the late inning situations, the bullpen will be just as good as last year. Hardly any hitter can catch up to Aroldis Chapman’s heat, much less see it; helping him slam the door in the ninth. Depending on if the Reds call up Billy Hamilton, the sooner the better; he will help them run circles around the NL Central. Having all the pieces in place, it is no joke that the Reds could win the division.

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