February 26, 2008

Peering into the Crystal Ball: ST 08

So the boys played 1 game, an intrasquad contest that pretty much equates to playing a game of sloshball with your buddies at your local elementary school yard on a weekend.

Hmmm, not sure if they allow that sort of thing in this day and age, but that’s what we used to do back in college in the early 90s. Put the keg on second base and everytime you round the bag you chug one. The game usually ends when players can’t find a nearby bathroom.

Based on the play by play account of today’s game I am prepared to go on record with some bold — very bold — fearless predictions. Here we go:

  • Scott Hatteberg and Norris Hopper both get the starting nod on opening day. Jay Bruce begins the year in Louisville. Votto makes the roster but sits against Brandon Webb. I want professional at-bats from Hatteberg vs one of the leagues toughest pitchers and I am guessing that is what Dusty will want as well. Doesn’t mean Votto isn’t a starter, mind you, but he is gonna get eased into the job.

    This will surely cause an anti-Dusty uproar amongst certain fans who can’t wait to see Bruce and Votto become perennial all-stars, but wait, don’t go berserk yet because in a surprise development Volquez wins a slot in the starting rotation. Affeldt becomes a situational lefty in the bullpen, the same role in which he excelled for the Rockies last season, and Fogg and Belisle fill out the rotation with anchors Harang and Arroyo. Bailey and Cueto start the year in AAA. Cueto will have a strong spring but his inexperience and lack of a full season at AAA will incline management to give him a couple starts in the minors before tossing him into the fire. Bailey will struggle with control this spring and require more time in Louisville as well.

  • No surprises anywhere else on offense unless Alex Gonzalez’ knee issue doesn’t go away in which case Keppinger gets the starting nod at SS. If AGON winds up on the DL you will have either Castro or Janish as back up. Maybe both make the roster. They might very well carry 3 catchers again if Bako has a decent Spring. More backlash against Dusty over this issue, no matter which way he goes because this is likely a decision that takes place at the end of camp.
  • The bullpen is what can make or break this team as we have witnessed before. Its no surprise that the last time the Reds were in serious contention they had a young hard throwing successful set up guy in Todd Coffey. Will we ever see that Todd Coffey again? I don’t know to be honest but I see him making the club along with Burton, Weathers, Cordero (obviously) and Coutlangus. Stanton gets released, and Mercker’s comeback is not convincing enough to take a chance on him. Roenick wins a job with a good spring and Majewski… I don’t know. Does he have options left? He might get traded. I guess that’s wishful thinking.

1 comment to “Peering into the Crystal Ball: ST 08”

  1. smartelf says:

    OK, slight revision in my prediction based on Dusty’s conversation with John Fay: “I come from the Dodger way. With young guys, the next best thing is long relief. It’s in between starting and relieving. It’s probably the less pressure on the staff because most of the time you’re coming in when you’re behind.”

    So now I am predicting Volquez/Bailey compete for a spot in the rotation with the loser going to the bullpen in a long relief role. I still think Cueto starts the year in AAA.