TEAM MVP: 3B Todd Frazier's numbers speak for themselves, but it's his impact in the dugout and clubhouse that helped keep the club from fracturing during even the toughest of times. Frazier hit 29 homers, had 80 RBIs, and switched to a first baseman's glove to help fill a void while Joey Votto was injured.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Injuries prevented first baseman Joey Votto from returning to MVP form this season. Votto batted a pedestrian .255 in 62 games with six homers and 23 RBIs. The recurring quad injury was no fault of Votto's, but his absence from the field and clubhouse for the better part of this season had a far-reaching impact.
Brandon Phillips suffered a thumb injury. Since then, Negron made 36 starts, including 13 at second base and 22 at third base. The 28-year old Negron isn't a typical "prospect" with 943 minor league games. After nearly making the Opening Day roster last spring, Negron is expected to get a closer look next year with the Reds needing to shore up their bench.
--C Devin Mesoraco was given full-time catching duties after the Reds traded Ryan Hanigan in the offseason. Mesoraco didn't disappoint. He was named to the National League All-Star team and finished with 25 homers and 80 RBIs. He and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench are the only Reds catchers to produce those totals. The 26-year-old Mesoraco gives the Reds a power-hitting presence behind the plate who's made great strides on the defensive end.
--LHP Aroldis Chapman didn't know if he'd ever pitch again after being struck in the forehead by a line drive in spring training. Following reconstructive surgery, Chapman endured extensive rehab before returning to the Reds on May 10. He saved 36 games, including 12 of Johnny Cueto's 20 wins. Chapman reached 100 mph in 53 of 54 appearances, including a 104.53-mph pitch to Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt on July 28.
--CF Billy Hamilton missed the last four games of the season after suffering a concussion while robbing the Brewers' Ryan Braun of a home run on Sept. 24. After arriving in the major leagues late in the 2013 season, Hamilton had the reputation of being a slap hitter and speedy base-stealer. But he quickly evolved into an adept center fielder and more complete offensive player, leading all National League rookies in several offensive categories, including steals (56).
--RHP Johnny Cueto became the first Reds pitcher to win 20 games since Danny Jackson won 23 in 1988, and the first Reds right-hander to reach the 20-win plateau since Sammy Ellis and Jim Maloney each did it in 1965. Cueto's 242 strikeouts and 243 2/3 innings led the National League. A healthy Cueto should anchor Cincinnati's rotation for years to come.
--C Brayan Pena was the Reds' best offseason addition. He was a key cog in Johnny Cueto's pursuit of 20 wins. Pena also filled in admirably at first base for injured Joey Votto. Pena was a breath of fresh air in the clubhouse, a positive force for his teammates and the media. He also helped accelerate the development of Devin Mesoraco into one of the NL's top backstops.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's been a tough one. But we've grown together. We've battled through adversity this year. None of us ever put our head down. Bryan Price has done a tremendous job. The way he handled our situation this year, being a first-year manager, in my humble opinion he was great. It's not easy to manage a team where you're biggest players have been hurt ... and you've never had that lineup 100 percent healthy" -- Reds catcher Brayan Pena on the 2014 season.
MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - ROSTER REPORT
Cincinnati likely will hinge its hopes in 2015 on first baseman Joey Votto being healthy and on right fielder Jay Bruce and defensive shortstop Zack Cozart producing offensive numbers closer to their career stats. The starting rotation is a strength, but also provides a couple trading chips that could fill needs in left field and middle relief.
BIGGEST NEEDS: The Reds are so bereft of offense and deep in pitching that trading an arm to provide some punch in the lineup remains a possibility. Left field will be a focus with an aging Ryan Ludwick likely not returning. The bench can be strengthened from within the organization, but middle relief needs some help as well.
FREE AGENTS: INF Ramon Santiago, LF Ryan Ludwick, RHP Johnny Cueto
Ramon Santiago was among the Reds' least-used players until injuries got him more playing time. Santiago played well to put himself in consideration to resign, but the Reds' bench can be strengthened with prospects. Ludwick's career in Cincinnati is likely over with the Reds looking to pursue a more permanent and productive option in left field. The 36-year old Ludwick has a $9 million mutual option with a $4.5 million buyout. Cueto won 20 games and led the National League in strikeouts and innings. It's a virtual lock that the club will pick up his $10 million club option.
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: RHP Mat Latos, RHP Homer Bailey, RHP Mike Leake, RHP Alfredo Simon
Latos began the season on the disabled list following offseason knee and elbow surgeries and after 16 starts (5-5, 3.25 ERA) was shut down in mid-September with a bone bruise in his elbow. When healthy, Latos is a productive and fiery young starting pitcher. Bailey had season-ending surgery to repair a flexor mass tendon in his right elbow. Prior to the injury, he went 9-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 23 starts after signing a $105-million contract extension last February. Leake went 11-13 with a 3.70 ERA in 33 starts, logging 214 1/3 innings. He's among the Reds' most dependable starters with a fluid delivery not conducive to injury, making him a valuable commodity and/or trading chip. Simon moved into the starting rotation when Latos began the season on the disabled list. He went 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA prior to the All-Star break to earn a spot on the National League All-Star team. Despite a poorer second half, Simon is projected to return to the rotation in 2015.
IN LIMBO: It's been speculated that the Reds will shop a starting pitcher to fill needs this offseason, and the most likely candidates could be right-handers Mat Latos and Mike Leake, both relatively young, productive starters who'll command top dollar as free agents following the 2015 season.
--1B Joey Votto (strained left distal quadriceps) missed the season half of the season. He should be ready for spring training.
--RHP Homer Bailey (right elbow surgery in September 2014) could miss one or two starts at the start of the 2015 season. He will begin throwing in late December.
--2B Skip Schumaker (left shoulder surgery in September 2014) missed the last two weeks of the season.
--LHP Sean Marshall (arthroscopic left shoulder surgery in June 2014) missed the second half of the season.
--RHP Trevor Bell (right elbow surgery in July 2014) didn't pitch again in the majors after getting hurt in April.