Great America Ballpark Park Factors: Hits 110; Runs 130; HRs 135
(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)
Values ~ 2000: $0 2001: $16 2002: $8 2003: -$5
Lidle has a running fastball that he will try to sneak onto the outside corner to RH batters, but he depends primarily on his low 90s sinker and splitter. He gets a lot of ground ball outs when he's on. The move from a turf park back onto grass may be to his advantage; although his splits last year don't support that theory.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: -$7 2002: -$2 2003: $7
I can't explain what Cincinnati thought they were doing with Acevedo last year. Acevedo's ratios from his 2001-02 partial seasons with the Reds (Hit Rate = 1.08; K/BB Ratio = 1.78; HR Rate = .209) were not encouraging and it appeared that, with only 78 IP above A ball before having been called up, that he has been rushed. Cincy did the right thing in 2002 and sent him to AAA for the rest of the year where he had better success (Hit Rate = .94; K/BB Ratio = 3.76; HR Rate = .103). So, with a lack of quality starters with the big club last year and a kid showing some promise, they put Acevedo in the AAA bullpen. However, he was pitching well after a midseason call-up when he was disabled. He had minor foot surgery after the season but should be ready to go this spring. He has a 90 mph fastball, curve, slider and change. I think he's worth keeping an eye on and like him as a sleeper pick.
Values ~ 2000: $7 2001: -$2 2002: -$7 2003: -$6
This one-time top Met prospect had his career sidetracked by injuries. He rekindled interest by pitching well after being traded to Tampa Bay in 2000 but has been inconsistent the last few seasons. His fastball in the low 90s, good breaking pitch and an effective change. It would be a nice story if Wilson could have a season that approached what was once expected of him, but those ratios don't make him worth the gamble.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: -$1 2003: -$2
Last year, Harang showed the kind of control his minor league ratios show he is capable of (his walk rate improved 57%) but he became more hittable in the process (hit rate: +17%; HR rate +61%). I haven't seen him, but he's reputed to be the kind of finesse pitcher the ratios graph suggests with a moderate fastball, slider and change he can all throw for strikes. He'll have a better chance to make a mark in the Reds rotation and while speculative owners may take a chance I plan to take a pass.
Values ~ 2000: -$9 2001: -$12 2002: -$2 2003: -$19
Just when you thought it was safe to own Haynes... Haynes is reputed to have terrific stuff (sinker, curve, splitter) but his numbers have usually been below average. When his walk rate improved over 2001-02 it appeared as though he finally made some progress. But last year Haynes was wretched before sitting out the last couple months with a bulging disk in his back. Stay away. Haynes' spring has been slowed by a cranky back.
Values ~ 2000: $27 2001: $18 2002: $20 2003: -$12
OK, so the move to the rotation didn't go so well... The plan now is for Graves to re-assume his closer role, which should delight owners in continuing leagues who bought him at a starters price last year. Graves fastball is in the low 90's, but he has an impressive breaking ball and gets a lot of groundball outs. His strikeout rate is unexceptional, especially for a closer. You should have him low on your list of closers.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $5
Wagner was the Reds' first draft choice last year and the first member of the 2003 draft class to crack the majors. He throws mid-90s heat and an excellent slider. He's the Reds closer in waiting and could have the job by mid-season. Owners in carryover leagues should draft him now.
Values ~ 2000: $6 2001: $5 2002: $2 2003: -$8
Riedling has a mid 90s fastball and splitter and was once thought to have closing potential. Nevertheless, Cincy gave him 8 starts early last season. Not only was he abysmal but he landed on the DL with a sore elbow. Riedling pitched better after he returned from the DL and worked strictly out of the pen. If you still like him as a speculative closer prospect, with his poor numbers last season he should go cheap.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: -$14 2002: NA 2003: -$2
Although Reith made a better showing last year than he did after being rushed to the majors in 2001, there was little to write home about. He throws a 88-92 mph fastball with running movement, slider and change. When I saw him, his fastball was topping out at 90 and he appeared to be aiming the ball and had difficulty with location. He was knocked out in less than 3.
Values ~ 2000: -$1 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $2Norton missed 2002 following Tommy John surgery. He had some success as a starter in the Cubs' system until he reached AAA where he struggled and was eventually switched to relief. He's 28, coming off a decent AAA season. He has a chance to be LH reliever in the Cincy pen but I doubt there is much fantasy value to be had.
Values ~ 2000: $4 2001: $6 2002: -$2 2003: -$1
After being cut loose by Texas for gross ineffectiveness, Van Poppel spent much of the year in the minors before being called up to the Reds and showing enough to warrant another look this spring. He's a flyball pitcher and tends to have a high HR rate under the best of circumstances. Pass.
Values ~ 2000: $25 2001: $5 2002: -$5 2003: -$12
Jones is a few years removed from his days as a closer and any fantasy value. He may not be as bad as last years Coors-inflated numbers make him appear but I still have no interest.