As you may remember, back in the spring, I did a position-by-position preview for the Reds. In the interest of accountability (and to give us something to talk about during the All-Star break), I thought it would be nice to look at how I’ve done so far. I’ll do the lineup today and the pitching staff tomorrow. Enjoy.
Predicted WAR: 3.5
Predicted Slash Line: .270/.360/.360 (RH), .265/.325/.440 (DM)
WAR Pace: 2.3
Current Slash Line: .276/.356/.363 (RH), .214/.296/.293 (DM)
Comments: I couldn’t have called Ryan Hanigan any better (seriously, I missed his OPS by .001). He’s been exactly what he’s expected to be. Devin Mesoraco has been a different story. Though, perhaps if there is one place where I should be forgiven for missing a call it is with the rookie catcher. There are some positive signs, though. Mes is walking at a good rate and his BABIP is probably unsustainably bad (that is, he’s bound to have more hits fall in). I wouldn’t be surprised to see the catching tandem come closer to my 3.5 WAR projection than the current pace suggests.
Predicted WAR: 7.0
Predicted Slash Line: .310/.415/.550
WAR Pace: 9.7
Current Slash Line: .348/.471/.617
Comments: Everyone who thought Joey Votto was going to be better than his MVP season and make a run at the doubles record, please standup. I don’t know what to say about him. Joey Votto, he’s real and he’s spectacular.
Predicted WAR: 4.0
Predicted Slash Line: .275/.330/.475
WAR Pace: 4.3
Current Slash Line: .280/.322/.428
Comments: I’m doing pretty well here. Brandon Phillips isn’t slugging quite like I thought he would, but he did have that injury at the beginning of the year. Phillips has really been very good this year, and given the hit his production took when he was hurt, I wouldn’t be surprised if he made my prediction look too conservative by the end of the year. Phillips seems to be having a slightly late peak.
Predicted WAR: 2.5
Predicted Slash Line: .270/.310/.400
WAR Pace: 3.5
Current Slash Line: .252/.298/.409
Comments: I’m feeling pretty good about this one. Zack Cozart seems to be who I thought he was except that he’s been a little better defensively (that is to say he’s been very good when I thought he would just be good). Now, if only Dusty would bat him seventh, where he belongs.
Predicted WAR: 3.5
Predicted Slash Line: .270/.340/.430 (SR), .260/.330/.440 (TF)
WAR Pace: 2.1
Current Slash Line: .178/.241/.302 (SR), .278/.345/.556 (TF)
Comments: Well, I didn’t do so great here, did I? I was one of a small camp who thought Scott Rolen wasn’t totally done. So much for that. I also didn’t think Todd Frazier would get much playing time. Wrong again. I don’t think anyone saw this kind of performance coming from Frazier, but it’s salvaged third base for the Reds. Rolen has actually been worth -0.5 WAR, so if the Reds wise up and play Frazier everyday, he could easily better the 2.1 WAR the Reds are currently on pace to get from third.
Predicted WAR: 2.0
Predicted Slash Line: .260/.320/.450 (CH), .250/.315/.400 (RL)
WAR Pace: 2.8
Current Slash Line: .239/.311/.478 (RL) .268/.310/.390 (CH)
Comments: Basically, Ryan Ludwick has been who I thought Chris Heisey would be and vice versa. In any case, the results so far are roughly what I expected. I don’t know if I believe Ludwick will keep this up, though.
Predicted WAR: 3.5
Predicted Slash Line: .255/.330/.425
WAR Pace: 1.0
Current Slash Line: .215/.286/.367
Comments: Boy, Drew Stubbs has just been awful. He hasn’t been Rolen awful, but that’s faint praise if ever there was. Here’s the thing though: his numbers shouldn’t be this bad. He’s striking out less. He’s hitting more ground balls and fewer fly balls, but some how, his BABIP is down (that is almost impossible ground balls have a much higher BABIP than fly balls). So, really, we should expect some improvement in these numbers. I know I’ve always been a Stubbs defender, but this looks like an awful lot of bad luck to me. I guess we’ll see.
Predicted WAR: 5.0
Predicted Slash Line: .270/.350/.500
WAR Pace: 2.5
Current Slash Line: .249/.326/.505
Comments: A bit off here. What’s really hurting Jay Bruce‘s WAR prediction is defense. I thought Bruce would rebound and derive some serious value from his fielding, instead, he’s continued to slump. There have been some serious misplays in right this year. It’s disappointing from someone who looked so fabulous a few years ago. There has been more consistency from Bruce this year on offense (he’s had only one really bad slump and only one really serious tear), which is nice, I guess. What would be really nice is if he could continue to avoid slumps, but still have those weeks of transcendence. We’ll keep an eye out.
Not bad overall. This team hasn’t been quite as good as I expected offensively, but much of that comes from those first few weeks when no one except Votto was doing anything. Except for third and center, I feel pretty good about my guesses. I’ll check back in after the Reds win the World Series to see how I did for the entire season. Pitchers tomorrow.
Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.