The Reds (of all people) outbid everyone for the right to sign Aroldis Chapman, the young (22) lefty fireballer from Cuba. Chapman is just the latest in an impressive collection of young arms the Reds have been stockpiling. Volquez should be back mid-summer from Tommy John surgery. He's already won 17 games in a season. Johnny Cueto has big-time talent and can be brilliant at times. Homer Bailey started living up to his hype in the second half of 2009 and Arroyo and Harang are still around.
The Reds are also stacked just below in the minors with Travis Wood, Matt Maloney, Brad Boxberger and Mike Leake. General Manager, Walt Jockety, who built the current Cardinals' empire seems to be focused narrowly on big time arms and has done an amazing job of collecting them. Chapman is just the latest.
If Cueto puts it together, Bailey grows from the second half, Volquez comes back strong and any two of those four prospects pan out, they could be scary good and scary bad for NL batters to face.
Have we finally seen the real Homer Bailey? His last nine starts of 2009 featured a 6-1 record with a 1.70 ERA. After two years of inconsistency that caused him to pinball back and forth to the minors, Bailey could be a stud. Cueto is hard to figure out. His strikeout per nine went down last year, but that could be explained by shoulder troubles that landed him on the disabled list. Even so, he went 11-11 with a 4.41 ERA. If he can pick up the strikeout rate and increase his K/BB ratio to 3 or so, then he could be dominant.
Harang has had two mediocre years in a row. He used to be a really good pitcher. It's hard to believe the last two years are the norm now, but unless he can prove otherwise, he's just a placeholder until the kids come up. Arroyo is a gritting fighter, with little else going for him. He finished fairly strong, but is at best, another placeholder.
Maloney was 13-5 in the minors and then came up and went 2-4 in late season starts with the Reds with a 4.87 ERA. But his K/BB was excellent at 3.5 as he has excellent control. He gave up too many homers, but that should correct itself. If he keeps the ball in the yard, he could win 15.
Reds' fans have a lot to look forward to. The future may or may not show up in 2010, but it won't be long beyond that if 2010 isn't the start of big things for the Reds. Just picture in your head a rotation of Volquez, Cueto, Chapman, Bailey and Maloney. Whoa. That could be fun to watch.