The Ramrod had a busy off-season letting 2B Sergio Koplove signs in Madison after a trade brought him here in season 18. Also not resigned was longtime player 1B Dmitri Miller who looks set to retire if interest does not pick up on him. At 36 it is unlikely he will find too many suitors.
Trades sent SS Aaron Fox and RP Tony Iglesias packing to other cities. Fox's skills will be missed, but his 10.3M deal will not be. LF Jorge Ramirez gives the ramrods new blood. He might find playing time at 2B on occasion and could even be Koplove's replacement there for the future. He has both the speed and bat Cinci is probably lacking in the lineup and he should jump right in as a team leader for season 19. The Ramrods also brought in CF Brad Finnessey through trade. Finnnessey has a potential gold glove at CF and his bat should add some offense to the bottom of the lineup as well. The Rule 5 draft brought in 2 new relievers Long Reliever Victor Garces and setup man Gary Jenkins. Both should see plenty of action.
RF Tony Bravo was signed in season 18 to be the centerpiece to the lineup and he did not disappoint batting in almost 120 runs while hitting just shy of .300. He isn't the only bat to watch for on this young team. First baseman Alex Leon might be the perfect number 5 hitter making sure that those pitching to Bravo are legit. New guy Hector Fernandez should add power to the end of the lineup. He strikeout too much and makes to many mental mistakes to be put toward the top of the order. 2B Aaron Holt could be one of the better leadoff guys in the game and should get plenty of opportunity to steal bases and score runs. Cincinnati will be to find a way to bury SS Vladimir Perez, who is a defense only player, but is the team's only option at short right now. C Kaito Nakano might be another bat that will need to be pushed toward the end of the lineup while he has potential to knock in runs, he is still mistake and strikeout prone, Overall Cinci will find they riding toward the top of the K are this season.
The rotation looks like Cincinnati might consider going back to its roots where they ran out a tandem rotation. Former Cy Young and all-star Clarence Patrick is still a capable arm, but can't pitch a guaranteed 7 innings anymore. Albert Maurer, Stan Nation and Angel Duran are in the same boat. Leaving the team with 2 legit starters Junior Martin and Rookie call-up Roland Bryant. Bryant is an elite ace in waiting, but he still has a lot of developing to do to get close to his potential. He will struggle some in his first season, but might be the hands down choice for Rookie of the year. Rule 5 pick-up Victor Garces might challenge for rotation time.
The pen is littered with journeyman relievers, no one is a superstar but they should combine for a solid unit. Rule 5 guy Gary Jenkins joins a unit with Jeff Watson, David Ramos and Nate Hamill. They all serve to protect 41 save man Tomas Rivas. AAA prospect Hugh Samardzija could add something to the mix if a reliever struggles or gets hurt. AAA Reliever Guy Bibby might be another option or might be a guy the Ramrods want to further develop in AAA for the season.
Summing it up with a Quote:
"Roland Bryant has one of the best sinkers I have ever seen coming out of high school. He is a true 4 tool pitcher once you consider his control and understanding of the game. I have never seen a pitcher with such a gun for an arm come out of high school as a pitcher and not a thrower."-Scout Vitas Edwards