Now that the exhibition season is over and the games start to count, the Reds can evaluate their spring session. Although the club finished under .500 in the Cactus League, they did come away with encouraging signs that provide optimism for the 2014.
Here are three of the positive signs from the spring:
Billy Hamilton The rookie center fielder proved that he can bunt and keep the ball on the ground, reflected in his .327 batting average and nine steals in 17 spring games.
Bryan Price The new manager said immediately after he was hired that he intended for his club to run more than they did under Dusty Baker. He has been good to his word, as shown by the club’s steal attempts and runners moving from first to third. The team’s 26 stolen bases were tops in the Cactus League.
Brandon Phillips The All-Star second baseman was not speaking to the local media during spring training, but his bat started talking at exactly the right time. Heading into the real season, Dat Dude had five homers and eleven runs batted in during his last eight games.
Unfortunately, there were some reasons for pessimism as we head to the regular season. Here are three discouraging signs for the Reds from Spring Training:
J.J. Hoover Just when the club needs him most because of injuries to Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall, the reliever has struggled all spring. He posted a 5.63 era and allowed runs in six of his eight appearances.
Joey Votto The former Most Valuable Player is still taking too many pitches instead of driving them. He had just one homer and five RBI in 20 spring games, and he accumulated three times as many strikeouts as walks.
Injuries The numbers of ailing players are mounting, and catcher Devan Mesoraco is the latest. Earlier, veteran free agent Skip Shumaker went on the disabled list, joining Jack Hannahan and a slew of pitchers.