Originally posted on Redleg Nation  |  Last updated 1/15/12
The Reds have clearly and rightly made the choice to acquire elite pitching this off-season over adding a big hitter to the lineup.  Most Reds fans now eagerly await watching Mat Latos, Sean Marshall and Ryan Madson take the mound in a Reds uniform. With the pitching upgrade accomplished, attention has now legitimately turned to the question of who else, if anyone, will play left-field for the Reds beside Chris Heisey. But focusing on the LF question in isolation partially obscures a different implication of the Reds prioritization of improving the pitching staff — the failure to address who will bat clean-up for the Reds. Last year, the 4-hole was a black-hole for the Reds offense. The 2011 National League OPS for the #4 hitter was .807.  For the Reds it was .701. While too much can be made of batting order, the league as a whole recognizes the importance of an effective hitter in the clean-up spot.  For the NL, the #4 slot had the second highest OPS, following narrowly only the #3...
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