The Cincinnati Reds are the next NL Central team in the Top 5 series. The Reds are getting younger and younger and could start challenging for the NL Central title in the next year or two. They have a couple very nice hitters for fantasy purposes which I will discuss below.
Here are the Top 5 Reds for 2010:
1. Joey Votto-Votto missed a month last season due to depression but was still able to put together a fine season going 25-84-.322-.414-.567 in 489 at bats. Give him a full season and he could easily approach 30-100-.300. Bill James says he gets close-27-90-.311-.397-.550 in 2010.
2. Brandon Phillips-Phillips is one of the best fantasy second baseman in baseball, as he gives owners solid production in 5 categories, which is rare for a second baseman. Phillips had a solid season in 2009, going 20-98-25-.276-.329-.447. James projects another solid season for Phillips-21-81-22-.269-.322-.434 in 2010.
3. Jay Bruce-Bruce had an injury filled first season with the Reds in 2009, but he still hit 22 HRs and drove in 58 runs in 345 at bats. He only hit .223-.303-.470, but his BABIP was ONLY .222, so all he has to do is regress to the mean around .290-.300 and his average should get a boost, along with his power numbers. James projects a 38-95-.274-.340-.537 season for Bruce in 2010.
4. Drew Stubbs-Stubbs was drafted as a prospect who could hit for power and steal some bases. His first few years in the minors produced alot of stolen bases, but only 28 HRs in 1,600 at bats. When called up to the Reds last year, Stubbs hit 8 HRs in 180 at bats and stole 10 bases. James projects Stubbs to go 11-51-51-.267-.336-.390 in 2010. Yes, 51 SBs!
5. Francisco Cordero-the 5th slot was a tough one as I am not one to recommend Reds pitchers, and I only do so for those in deep fantasy leagues. Cordero will give fantasy owners what they want-saves. He saved 39 games in 2009 with a solid 2.16 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. One note of caution is that Cordero's K's/9 have dropped from 12.22 in 2007 to 9.98 in 2008 to 7.83 in 2009.
Sleeper Alert: Chris Heisey-Heisey probably isn't on many fantasy owner's radar at this time, but he could win the left field job with a solid spring training in 2010. Heisey had a solid 2009 season going a combined 22-77-21-.314-.379-.521 in AA Carolina and AAA Louisville. He also hit 38 doubles and had a K/BB ratio of 77/48, so there is alot to like.