Reds promoting shortstop prospect Zack Cozart

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From John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

A Zack Cozart is registered at Reds team hotel. Could be [an] odd coincidence, I suppose.

Ruling out the one-in-a-million chance that it actually is an odd coincidence and there’s another “Zack Cozart” staying at the Reds’ team hotel this weekend in Milwaukee, it sounds as though the Cincinnati front office has finally given in and promoted the promising 25-year-old shortstop from Triple-A Louisville.

Cozart has hit .310/.357/.467 with seven home runs, 26 doubles and 32 RBI in 77 games this season for the Louisville Bats. He’s also stolen nine bases in 11 attempts while playing adequate defense.

Success isn’t going to come easy for the first-time major leaguer, but Cozart only has to outplay Paul Janish, who is batting .227/.259/.271, and Edgar Renteria, who is hitting .229/.304/.271, to make himself an everyday presence in Cincinnati’s inconsistent starting lineup.

The Reds were able to squeak out a 9-8 extra-innings victory in St. Louis on Wednesday but enter Thursday’s action with a disappointing 44-44 record. They need to get it going, and Cozart can help make that happen.

UPDATE, 12:39 PM: Yonder Alonso, a teammate of Cozart’s at Triple-A Louisville, has confirmed that the shortstop is on his way to Milwaukee. The move should be made official before Thursday night’s game.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves