Know Your Enemy: An early look at the NL Central

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Cincinnati Reds

Jun 30, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) adjusts during an at bat during the third inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

W-L: 76-86

The Reds struggled with injuries to some of their key players, including Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, which took away any hope they had at having a successful season. Adding them in with speedster Billy Hamilton, third baseman Todd Frazier and new addition Marlon Byrd, the Reds offense looks to be one of the most formidable in the division.

Johnny Cueto put up a ridiculous 2.25 ERA and finished second in Cy Young voting. There have been some major changes to the rotation this offseason though, with Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon both being traded away. Homer Bailey (who could miss the beginning of the season due to surgery) and Mike Leake are as important as they’ve ever been for the Reds.

While starting pitching is a mystery, there’s no question about the closer’s role. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman will continue to overload radar guns around the country and finish games strong for the Reds.

The Reds are solid, but in a division as deep as this and with their starting rotation losses, they could fall behind the competition unless their pitchers put up career numbers.