It’s been a tough three years for the Cincinnati Reds under manager Bryan Price. The former pitching coach took the lead job after Dusty Baker was let go following a 90-win season. Unfortunately for Price, he was left with a dysfunctional team on the brinks of collapsing.
They’ve lived through the fall and now it’s time for the franchise to build itself back up, again. That said, the farm system isn’t as strong as a number of the other rebuilding teams and this team still has a number of holes around the field and on the mound.
2016 Record: 68-94
2016 Moneyline Record: -7.26 Units
2016 Over/Under Total Record: 87-65-10
Current World Series Odds: +26500
Current Odds To Win NL: +13000
Current Odds To Win NL Central: +8500
Regular Season Win Total: 69.5
The Reds’ biggest accomplishment in the offseason was finally sending Brandon Phillips to another team—the Braves—to open up an everyday spot at second base for Jose Peraza. Phillips nixed a number of trades over the last few years, but they finally found the fit he wanted.
In limited action, due to positional challenges, Peraza hit well posting a .324 average with a .762 OPS. He actually outperformed Phillips last year and brings more youth and upside than the 36-year old middle infielder.
Other than Phillip’s departure, little has changed in terms of position players from the team that closed out the 2016 season. The only possible exception could be Devin Mesoraco’s return. He’s still unlikely to open the season on the roster due to injury and has played just 39 games over the last two seasons with a .178 average in 2015 and .140 in 2016. The team could use the bat that slammed 25 homers and drove in 80 back in 2014, but there’s no guarantee we’ll ever see that guy again.
With that, this lineup once again turns into the Joey Votto show with his supporting cast of characters. Votto is one of the best hitters in baseball. Outside of him, this team is filled with flawed offensive players.
Guys like Peraza and Scott Schebler are untested over a full major league season. Adam Duvall has plenty of power with 33 bombs, but is a low OBP guy, getting on less than 30-percen of the time.
Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez are solid players, but they hit just around .250 and cannot be expected to produce an OBP much over .310. Really, that leaves Billy Hamilton who has been hyped as much as any other young player in the game not named Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, but the speedster cannot get on base consistently. He did improve his OBP to .321 last year, but he needs to be getting on near 35-percent of the time to be a real menace atop the order. His speed is a dynamic tool, but he needs to get on more to allow him to use that speed to help the team score runs.
Even with Votto and half a good season of Jay Bruce last year, this team was slightly below average in runs scored, ranking No. 18 of 30 with 716.
All in all, for a team that ended with 94 losses, that runs scored numbers isn’t too shabby and this offense looks to be about as good, provided Peraza and Schebler handle the everyday, full-season grind rather well.
What ultimately sunk the 2016 Reds was their pitching. Only the Twins and Diamondbacks had a worse team ERA than the Reds’ 4.91 mark. The bullpen was even worse than that with a 5.09 ERA.
To make matters worse, the team’s winningest pitcher from a year ago—Dan Straily—is now on the Marlins while Anthony DeSclafani, the starter with the best ERA, will be beginning the year on the DL.
With Homer Bailey also sidelined, as always, this team will turn to the likes of Scott Feldman and Tim Adleman to be significant parts of this rotation. Outside of them and Brandon Finnegan, who pitched to a solid 3.98 ERA, there are no even mediocre answers in this rotation. Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson both flopped last year while Amir Garrett has been okay at best this spring.
Sadly with as shallow the talent pool is in the rotation, they won’t be getting much support in the backend. Drew Storen is an interesting pick up. He was a good closer a couple years ago, but has been rather disastrous the last few years.
Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias are good young arms, but that’s about it. Tony Cingrani was the team’s closer last year and did get 17 saves, but his ERA was 4.14 and his WHIP was 1.444. Likewise, Blake Wood will be a significant piece again after leading the team in appearances last year. He had a 3.99 ERA, but a WHIP of 1.435.
This offense could play if the pitching was better, but while there are some fine offensive pieces, there’s just not enough here to win the 7-6 ball game every night. The Reds need a couple arms to step up to even get to the 70 win threshold.
April 3-6: vs. Phillies
April 7-9: at Cardinals
April 10-12: at Pirates
April 13-16: vs. Brewers
April 18-20: vs. Orioles
April 21-23: vs. Cubs
April 24-26: at Brewers
April 28-30: at Cardinals
The Phillies are actually a very interesting matchup for the Reds in the first series of the year. Unfortunately for the pitching staff, it’s at home in what is a hitters’ ballpark, but Philadelphia was the worst offensive club in baseball last year so the pitching may actually have a chance. Of course, the Phils made a few good moves to bring in some solid major league players to supplement the team, primarily on offense while the Reds stood still. Last year, the Reds beat the Phillies in four of their six meetings.
After the first series, the Reds run into a few more difficult opponents. Sure, they have a couple series against the Brew Crew thrown in there as some relief, but otherwise, the Cardinals, Pirates, Cubs and Orioles are all potential playoff contenders.
View this years MLB game match-ups with the complete seasonal schedule for all MLB teams. Each year we will be updating the season schedule with the current information including final scores, so bookmark this page.
The 2017 Major League Baseball season is tentatively set to begin on April 2, 2017, and feature three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will be ESPN's first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year.
The 88th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and will be played at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. It will be televised nationally on Fox.
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