The Cincinnati Reds finished up unloading all their tradable stars when they recently sent Brandon Phillips to Atlanta. They still have a couple stars on the team, but Homer Bailey is broken and there’s no chance they are trading Joey Votto.
The Reds have relied on rookie starting pitching since just after the 2015 trade deadline (yes, well over a season). Their young pitchers have shown promise, but you can’t expect the Reds to be very competitive during this stretch.
Homer Bailey will once again start the season on the DL after undergoing another elbow surgery. Which young starter will emerge as the ace of the staff?
Here is the 2017 MLB season preview for the Cincinnati Reds.
2015 Win/Loss Record: 68-94
Key Additions: SP Scott Feldman, RP Drew Storen, OF Desmond Jennings, SS Arismendy Alcantara, RP Louis Coleman, SP Bronson Arroyo, RP Austin Brice, RP Nefi Ogando, C Rob Brantly, RP Lisalverto Bonilla & OF Ryan Raburn
Key Losses: 2B Brandon Phillips, SP Dan Straily, RP Jumbo Diaz, SP Alfredo Simon, SS Ivan De Jesus Jr., RP Ross Ohlendorf, RP Josh Smith, OF Tyler Holt, C Ramon Cabrera, SP Keyvius Sampson &RP Caleb Cotham
Interleague Schedule: AL East
Projected Starters: Devin Mesoraco, Joey Votto, Jose Peraza, Eugenio Suarez, Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton & Scott Schebler
Projected Starting Rotation: Brandon Finnegan, Anthony DeSclafani, Scott Feldman, Robert Stephenson & Tim Adleman
Closer: Raisel Iglesias & Tony Cingrani
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Scott Schebler – Adam Duvall killed it last year and I think Schebler could also be a 20+ HR power hitter in the Majors. He hit for power in the minors and if given a decent place in the order, he could do the same if he gets pitches to hit. He doesn’t walk a ton or hit for a good batting average, but if you’re in an NL-only league, I’d target him late.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: OF Jesse Winker – Winker has been consistent at every level in the minors for the Reds. The 23-year old hit .303 in Triple-A and has hit at least .281 in every season. I think he’s for sure going to hit in the Majors. I once thought he could be a power hitter due to his power numbers in A-ball, but he only hit three homers in 380 at-bats last year. It could still come back, but the Reds have plenty of power hitters on their way up (Nick Senzel & Aristides Aquino), so having a solid contact hitter fits in their future plans.
Team Analysis: The Reds gave the ball to a bunch of rookies and lived to tell about it. At various points in the season, Cincinnati had an all-rookie starting rotation. They even broke a 100+ year old record by starting a rookie in 42+ consecutive games. The team only won 68 games last season, but those pitchers earned their stripes and got a lot of on-the-job training in the Majors.
The Reds hoped to get the ace Homer Bailey back in the rotation at the start of the year, but he just had another surgery on his elbow (bone spurs). The Reds will once again rely on young starting pitching. Manager Bryan Price will also implement a three-headed closer rotation of Tony Cingrani, Raisel Iglesias and Drew Storen. The ‘closer by committee’ decision usually never works out for very long. The cream rises to the top and someone will eventually start to get every closing opportunity.
The Reds lineup was more explosive last year than many believed. Captain Joey Votto started the year off in a slump, but ended the season as the league’s hottest hitter. He was helped out by Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall having career years. I expect the speedy Billy Hamilton to take another leap in his performance. He is starting to get more contact on the ball.
Cincinnati isn’t expected to have a very good year, but they do hope to get everybody healthy. This year will very similar to last year and they will get their young players some reps and hope some more new faces from their farm system will contribute. I think they will get a few more wins this year due to the experience many of the starting pitchers received last season.
2017 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 70.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2017 Projected Win/Loss Record: 71-91 (4th in NL Central)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.