For the past couple seasons, one of the things we could count on the Reds to have was a solid pitching rotation. The same should hold true for the 2014 season, but we could see some new faces in the starting rotation. One familiar face however will be missing. Bronson Arroyo will no longer be with Cincinnati after being a reliable starter for the past eight years for the Reds.
The mainstay in the number one spot of the Red’s rotation is Johnny Cueto. Cueto did find himself on the disabled list three times last season, but should be ready and healthy for a strong 2014 season. Cueto has been the Reds ace for the last few years and if he can stay healthy the entire year, the Reds will have an almost guaranteed win every five days.
Behind Cueto in the rotation will be Mat Latos. Latos has been arguably the Reds best trade in the last decade. He has easily adjusted to being a second ace behind Cueto in the second spot of the rotation. He’s a big, strong guy who has a strong arm. He had surgery during the off season to remove floating cartilage in his elbow that was in there almost all of last season. He sure had a heck of a season for having something floating around in his pitching elbow all year. As with Cueto, a healthy and strong Latos will be very dangerous to opposing teams.
With the departure of Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati will fill their third spot in the rotation most likely with Homer Bailey. Bailey threw his second career no-hitter last summer and has proved that he has what it takes to move up in the rotation. At one point in his career Bailey was the Billy Hamilton of the minors, as in he was the Reds prospect that fans and the club were most excited to see come to the majors. It has taken a few seasons, but Bailey is finally coming into his own showing that he can be the 200-inning work horse that he was expected to be from the beginning.
Another pitcher that will likely move up in the rotation is Mike Leake. Leake has been up and down during his career with the Reds. He came straight from college to the majors and at times he lets that immaturity show. However, last season was his best as a Red and just like Bailey he looks like he is starting to come into his own. He posted a 14-7 record in 31 starts and a 3.37 ERA in 2013. Leake has a nasty slider and even still sitting towards the bottom of the rotation he is a solid starter. He needs to have a good season in 2014 to prove to the Reds organization that he is worth signing to a long term deal.
Finding himself in the fifth spot of the rotation in 2014 I believe will be Tony Cingrani. Cingrani played a huge part in Cincinnati’s success last season when Cueto served his time on the disabled list. A main concern with Cingrani is that he does not have much of a pitch variety and relies to heavily on his fastball. He can throw a two-seam and four-seam fastball, along with an effective change up. The speed of his fastball is enough to throw hitters off where he hasn’t seemed to need too much of a variety of pitches. Cingrani will be a good reliable option for the Reds at the bottom spot of their rotation.
Just like the past few seasons, the Reds should have some solid starting pitching in 2014. One thing that will be to the advantage of all the pitching staff is that former pitching coach Bryan Price is the new Reds manager, so he knows their tendencies better than anyone. He will be able to manage their games better than Dusty Baker could have. The Reds are set on the defensive side of the ball to put them in contention for another playoff appearance.