For the last few years, putting together projections for Reds pitchers has been relatively easy because we’ve known who was going to be in the rotation more or less from the start of spring. This year, we know three pieces of the puzzle, but not the last two. Correspondingly, I have to guess. It does seem to me that, in recent years, when it’s come out that so-and-so is the favorite for some spot, that means the spot is theirs unless they get hurt. Thus, I am projecting Tony Cingrani and Anthony DeSclafani to be the fourth and fifth pitchers in the rotation. I’m guessing Igelsias and the others go to AAA to wait for an injury to happen.

With exception of Homer Bailey, who we’ve been told will miss a week or two to start the season, I am projecting a full season of starts for these pitchers (again, we’ll deal with injuries in the last part). Also note, that I don’t have a lot of faith in how FanGraphs’ version of WAR measures pitchers, so I tend to go with Baseball-Refernce here. Here we go…

Player IP K/9 BB/9 ERA WAR
Johnny Cueto 220 8.6 2.4 2.60 6.0
Homer Bailey 190 7.8 2.4 3.60 2.0
Mike Leake 210 6.6 2.1 3.70 2.0
Tony Cingrani 170 9.5 3.8 3.70 1.5
Anthony DeSclafani 160 7.1 2.5 4.00 1.0
Bullpen WHEE LOL NOPE #.## 3.5


Johnny Cueto – If he’s healthy, he’s great. Pretty simple. Some slight ERA regression there, but, really, if he’s pitching there’s hope.

Homer Bailey – Homer is 28 now and at his peak. He’s had one really good season and a bunch of totally okay seasons. I think it’s safe, at this point, to call him and average to slightly above average starting pitcher. He has days when he’ll blow you away and days when, well, not so much.

Mike Leake – Here’s the thing about Leake and Bailey. Leake is two years younger, and he has, to this point, been much more valuable to the Reds than Homer had been at the same point. Now, you may say that unfairly leaves out Homer’s best season, and you’re right. Still, I think it’s fairly hard to make a case that, over their careers, Bailey has been a better pitcher. Leake doesn’t have the ceiling of Homer, but he also seems to have a higher floor.

Cingrani – He will strike people out. The questions are all about his control and, correspondingly, he is ability to stay in games. I don’t think he should be counted on to go deep into games on a regular basis

DeSclafani – I’m really just spit-balling here. I don’t know much about him. But it looks like, form his minor league numbers, that he has a bit to go where endurance is concerned.

The Bullpen – I don’t project individual pitchers here. It’s pointless. In fact, I don’t really believe you can predict what an entire bullpen will do from one season to the next. What I do think is this: the Reds can count on Aroldis Chapman to be very good. After that, I assume average. Thus the WAR projection is a bit above average for a ML bullpen. That’s all you’re getting from me.

17 Responses

  1. Frogger

    Wow, this is very optimistic. If this happens we are in the playoffs for sure.

    • Jason Linden

      In what way is this optimistic? I expect the ace to be an ace. the two guys who have been okay, to be okay. The two new guys to be, um, adequate-ish, and the bullpen to be the bullpen.

      Optimistic would have Leake and Bailey picking up 3 WAR, at least. Among other things.

      • Frogger

        Not only are you forecasting 600+ innings from the three established starters. Which these three starters have never done together in same season to my knowledge. Leake has only pitched 210 innings once in his career. Cueto has pitched 220 innings once in his career, and the year after his other 200 inning year he only pitched 60. I think your general war numbers for those pitchers will come to about 10 as you predict. The young guys tho….. Cingrani coming back to pitch 170 innings with a 3.7 ERA after arm trouble in 2014 would be ideal, and I give it a 30% chance. Disco- has had a dozen innings of big league ball with a +6 era, but you forecast a 4 ERA and 160 innings from a rookie. In short you forecast everything going right. That is optimistic. I think a sixth starter for us this season will be important at some point.

      • Frogger

        Correction in 2012 those three pitched a total of 604 innings. That was a great year. If they do it again we will be making a playoff run. As long as the 4 and 5 aren’t Jimmy Haynes terrible.

      • Jason Linden

        You didn’t read all of it (or you missed something while reading), I always assume full health when I do projections, then, in the last post (coming soon), I lop some off for injuries. The idea is that I’m pretty sure someone will get injured, but I don’t know who.I doubt those 3 together will pitch 600 innings.

      • reaganspad

        Leake only had 179 that year but he is a lock to go over 200 again. Homer and Johnny easily go over 200.

        Cingrani at 170+ would be great this year, he is a beast. It will be fun to see what we have with DeSclafani.

        Unlike any other year I can remember, we have 4-5 guys who could easily be a 5th starter. Stevenson, Lorenzen, Moscot could all be there in the second half. Parra was a starting pitcher. I like him a lot when healthy. Would love to see Rasail get the entire year at AAA starting.

        And Samson may be the new and improved Simon.

        I am fine with your pitching projections Jason

      • Frogger

        Sorry Jason I missed your qualifier there. I expect those three to produce 10 war anyway even if someone is on the shelf a bit. The other two also have the talent to exceed those projections. Your projections for the staff are easily attainable. However, if it all happens it is a good year for the Redlegs.

  2. JB WV

    Great statement about Leake having a “higher floor”. He might be better than I thought. Intelligence is underrated; Leake pitches at a high IQ level. He’s not Maddux, but Maddux-like in that respect. I’m more optimistic about Cingrani, but he has to show durability this year to remain a starter. If he does, with his stuff, it could be a great year.

    • reaganspad

      After watching Lorenzen pitch, I have confirmed that this will be Mike Leake’s last year with the Reds.

      give him the qualifying offer, but Lorenzen looks like a better pitcher now and he is about $11.0 million cheaper. I am happy for what Mike has done and will do this year. I think he will have a great contract year.

      Lorenzen is ready now, but it will be good to stretch him out farther in AAA for half a year.

      Man are we gonna have some September call ups this year

      • jessecuster44

        Mike Leake has improved every year for the Reds. I’d rather see what Lorenzen can do in real games before letting Leake walk.

  3. redmountain

    The thing about this is that it is early. With pitchers only have pitched a few innings, three guys are sure starters if Bailey can pitch. Marquis, so far, looks good, but what who has he faced? The others have been fine too. I think the bullpen will be above average and that the starters will be too. There are plenty of arms to fill out the pitching staff and pretty good. If anyone goes north and then cannot get anyone out, guys like Lorenzen and Moscot, and others could be brought up and will be just fine. The question is still the offense and as long as Byrd hits, that too is a non-issue.

  4. Thegaffer

    Are these projections for both the reds AND the team they are traded to in July?

    Sorry, could not resist.

    • redmountain

      If the Reds are in it and trade players away, then I will join the Jocketty should be lynched crowd. Jocketty traded two starters away this winter and there are six candidates to fill those two spots. With the possibility of losing both Cueto and Leake at the end of the season there need to be replacements If none of the kids has been brought up and Marquis has not proven to be good enough to keep, there will be three openings. Those three openings will have some pretty good kids ready to pitch. Iglesias, Moscot, Lorenzen, Travieso, and Stephenson among others will be ready or close to ready. That is five guys that could be used for 3 or 4 spots. Who knows who will be ready or close by next season. How about Garrett, Howard, Guillon, Corcino, etc. Yeah Jocketty has really done a terrible job as the GM….

  5. preacherj

    I can’t stop laughing over the bullpen projections. Looks like something I put in some of my charts at work. I see why the owner hates me…..

  6. John Kenkel (@SunBreaktheDawn)

    Thanks for taking the time Jason. I hope Casa de Linden and these projections leave you with some time to breathe.
    Interesting comparison between Bailey and Leake’s floors. With how much Leake has steadily improved over the years I am a tad surprised there has been no talk of an extension.