Ladies and gentlemen, the focus is now officially on 2012. For all of us, except for maybe Cardinals fans, it's time to move on from 2011. This year is so last year anyways. So here at MLBDD we're spending some time projecting each team's 25-man roster for Opening Day 2012. We're not projecting trades or free agent signings here, so this is purely focusing on the talent that each team already has in-house. The 2012 season may not start soon, but we can still think about what it might look like.
Starting Lineup (ages are based on April 4, 2012)
Catcher: Devin Mesoraco - Age 23
First Base: Joey Votto - Age 28
Second Base: Brandon Phillips - Age 30
Third Base: Scott Rolen - Age 37
Shortstop: Zack Cozart - Age 26
Left Field: Yonder Alonso - Age 25 (as of 4/8/12)
Center Field: Drew Stubbs - Age 27
Right Field: Jay Bruce - Age 25
Full batting order, bench, starting rotation and bullpen projections, as well as some of my thoughts, are included below the fold.
1. 2B Phillips 2. CF Stubbs 3. 1B Votto 4. RF Bruce 5. 3B Rolen 6. C Mesoraco 7. LF Alonso 8. SS Cozart
1. RHP Johnny Cueto - Age 26
2. RHP Mike Leake - Age 24
3. RHP Bronson Arroyo - Age 35
4. RHP Homer Bailey - Age 25
5. RHP Edinson Volquez - Age 28
Closer: LHP Aroldis Chapman - Age 24
Some Quick Thoughts
- Cincinnat's lineup is mostly set for next season. It's not totally clear whether they're comfortable starting Mesoraco on Opening Day, but he's probably ready and they have a solid alternative in Hanigan.
- Left field is one place where things could get shaken up, given that we all know how stretched Alonso is going to be as a regular in the outfield. There's still a very real chance that they trade him and find a better defender to play there. They could even just bump Heisey into the everyday lineup, too.
- The rotation lacks a top-end talent. They have five solid pitchers, and someone like Bailey or Cueto could turn in a fantastic season, but they don't really have an ace here. If there's any big thing that the Reds are looking for right now, it's probably an elite starting pitcher.