It has obviously been a rough season for the Reds. The Reds just clinched their second consecutive losing season, and are buried with the Brewers in the NL Central basement. This season has not been completely lost though. The Reds have had some positives in the 2015. Here is a list of ten of those.


1. Anthony DeSclafani

The Reds picked up DeSclafani this past off-season in a deal that now is viewed as a complete steal. DeSclafani got off to a great start, and is well on his way to a great finish in his rookie season. DeSclafani leads all rookie pitchers in the MLB in fWAR (2.9), largely in part to leading the MLB in game started as a rookie (28). DeSclafani has a solid 3.67 ERA, and his 3.69 FIP shows that there has been virtually no luck in that number. His last two starts (coming against the Pirates and Cardinals) have been nothing short of incredible: 13.1 IP, 2 R, 0 HR, 16 K, 1 BB, 1.35 ERA, 0.97 FIP, 0.7 fWAR.

2. Joey Votto’s resurgence


Despite comments from the Reds radio play-by-play broadcaster that he was no longer elite on July 5th, Joey Votto has had an MVP-caliber season. Votto is 4th in the MLB in fWAR (7.1), and 2nd in wRC+ (174). Votto has shown that he is still one of the best players on the planet to those who might have forgotten. If Votto can stay healthy, he will earn every penny of the giant contract.

3. Todd Frazier’s first half

It is easy to forget just how good Todd Frazier was in the first half after his second half struggles. Frazier was 6th in the MLB at the All-Star break in fWAR (3.9), after hitting .284/.337/.585. Frazier has since fallen on the map, hitting .220/.269/.397, but he is still 21st in the MLB in fWAR (4.3). It is certainly looking like the Reds missed a great opportunity to sell high on Frazier, but 2015 still has to be viewed as a strong success for Frazier.

4. Eugenio Suarez

Zack Cozart was having a better season that anyone could have possibly imagined. Cozart then went down for the season, and that gave Eugenio Suarez a chance to play everyday. All that Suarez has done is hit, hit, hit, and hit some more. Suarez is 5th among all MLB SS with 300+ PA with a 109 wRC+, and has proven that he is an everyday MLB player. The Reds will have a good problem to have with two solid SS options in 2016.

5. All-Star Game and Home Run Derby


The All-Star game may have come to the Queen City on a really bad year, but the Reds played a great host to the midsummer classic. Todd Frazier then put on an incredible show in the home run derby, and the city got behind him leading him to victory. It was a special moment for Frazier and the Reds.

6. The Reds didn’t sign Mat Latos to a long term deal

The Reds not only got a great return on a pitcher with an expiring contract, but they avoided signing a pitcher who has been absolutely terrible in 2015. Latos has a 4.92 ERA in 2015, was traded again, and was eventually moved to the bullpen before being DFA’d by the Dodgers. Latos was once looking like a possible $200 million pitcher when he was with the Reds, but he certainly won’t get anywhere close to that now. It’s also now very apparent that Latos is a terrible teammate too. The Reds really dodged a major bullet here.

7. Raisel Iglesias

Raisel Iglesias has turned out to be a great signing with the Reds. Despite only making 16 starts so far in 2015, Iglesias is 10th among MLB rookies in fWAR (1.7). Iglesias has posted a stellar 9.82 K/9, to go along with a solid 3.54 FIP. Igleisas has certainly earned a spot in the 2016 rotation, and along with DeSclafani, he gives the Reds hope to have a solid rotation in the near future.

8. The initial returns for Cueto and Leake

Walt Jocketty waited, waited, and waited to trade Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, and it sure looks like he pulled the trigger at just the right time. Cueto has struggled mightily in Kansas City, and the iron-man Leake has been on the DL with the Giants. The Reds got three very solid arms for Cueto, and the Giants would have certainly changed their mind on giving up the now #5 Reds prospect, Keury Mella for Leake.

9. Top draft pick in 2016

The one good thing about being really bad is that you get a top draft pick the next year. The Reds are almost a lock for a top 5 draft pick in 2016, and maybe they can strike gold. Right now, the Reds would draft fourth. The Cubs drafted Kyle Schwarber 4th in 2014. You never know.

10. Arolids Chapman

He may be completely underutilized, but Aroldis Chapman has been one of the best pitchers on the planet again in 2015. Chapman’s 1.86 FIP is the third best in the MLB of any pitcher with 50+ IP. It’s better than Clayton Kershaw.


*note: all stats include games played through 9/14/15

45 Responses

  1. gaffer

    Walt clearly got the trades about as right as can be expected so far. His lack of making more trades is really the main issue. Lets hope he has just played his hand well on Aroldis.

    Interestingly, I remember that at the time of the Latos trade Walt said that he would not be surprised to get good prospects back if he traded Latos later. I thought that was very telling that a guy you just gave up “the farm” for you were not saying he was going to stay long term. They always knew he was a jerk.

    • tct

      Yeah, I think you nailed it. When Walt has decided to make a trade, he has done pretty well. It’s the opportunity costs of not making trades when players were at their highest value, along with his horrible track record in free agency that has put the Reds where they are now. Yes, he did alright for two months of Cueto. But he could have done better if they had traded him in the offseason, or at last year’s deadline. Same goes with Leake. And while we don’t know exactly what the offers were for Chapman, the implication in the media was that the Reds weren’t really serious about dealing for him and were asking for the moon. And they should have at least listened to offers on Frazier.

  2. Big56dog

    How about little love for Tucker – I know the power numbers are not so great but he has shown he is a solid left handed bat

    • gaffer


      He has a decent chance to be a 300 PA guy given Mes hip issue.

    • Tom Reed

      And Barnhart gives the Reds good defense, overall, with an excellent arm. Even if Mesoraco lands in left field next season, the Reds are in good shape at catcher and we’ll see if Pena comes back.

      • CP

        Let’s not go crazy here. Barnhart has produced 0.3 WAR in his time with the Reds. I’m perfectly fine with him as the backup catcher, but if he is the starting catcher, the Reds are really hurting. The same goes for Pena, he’s only had 0.4 WAR.

        They will need to find a starting catcher if Mesoraco cannot play the position. They already have the worst hitter in the NL playing CF.

      • Nick Kirby

        Ya, Tucker has been a nice player, but he is nowhere near being a starting catcher.

      • lwblogger2

        I think Barnhart has it in him to be a starting MLB catcher. This is especially true if they have him get most his rest in when a LHP is scheduled to start for the opposition. He’s not going to be an All-Star but I could see him blossoming into a solid MLB backstop. I’m not a very big proponent on WAR but I could see him turning into a 2-2.5 WAR player with 1-2 WAR being the likely outcome if he were to get most the games in 2016.

  3. Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

    While not a great season for the team as a whole there have been some pretty good individual seasons worth following. At the beginning of the season one might have hoped that Bruce having a bounce back year would be on a list like this. With the struggles of he and Frazier the second half the team has really fallen farther into mediocrity. Here’s hoping Jocketty doesn’t sit on his hands this offseason and trades one of these guys. I love both of them but they are not consistent enough to be cornerstone type of guys on a winning team.

    • Mike Schuh

      That’s the truth Jack. Both need to go and let new young players that can do as well get a chance. These two can’t hit well enough to bat below the 7 spot. And Price using them most of the season and last in the batting order below 7or 8 is responsible for the losing seasons.

      • Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

        It isn’t totally Price’s fault as there is literally nobody else that could have hit where they have. They’re both good players but when you have a team full of inconsistent hitters you wind up with a season such as this.

      • lwblogger2

        This is more true when they slump at the same time. If either Bruce or Frazier were slumping, then the team could perhaps have been treading water. With them both slumping though, the team was in a ton of trouble.

  4. Shchi Cossack

    I think if we count Frazier’s 1st half success as a positive (yes I do) and ignore his 2nd half collapse, we need to include Cozart’s 1st half emergence as an elite SS and complete player despite his severe injury.

    • Redsfan48

      Cozarts was a half of a half. He got injured well before the first half ended. Plus most would argue Cozart is definitely not elite, including myself. This year he was good, maybe even great but his success isn’t likely to be sustained especially due to the injury.

    • ohiojimw

      Hard to ignore Frazier’s 2nd half when he has done the same sort of routine previously.

      I can go along on Cozart with the proviso that with an injury as severe as his at his age, it is potluck as to what he will be in the future no matter how hard he works at rehab and getting back to where he was.

      • lwblogger2

        Frazier has always struggled in the 2nd half. Someone posted the numbers a month or two ago and I was stunned by how telling they were as far as good first halves followed by second-half declines.

  5. metalhead65

    I would not judge the Cueto deal in favor of the reds just yet. Johnny is struggling for sure but the players the reds got in return have not exactly set the league on fire themselves. Lamb has shown flashes but still has not pitched more than 5 innings in a game and has an ERA of almost 6. plus he and all the young pitchers besides disco throw a 100 pitches before the 5th inning most games. the other guy is making his first career start after being a reliever so we have to wait and see how that works out. and I could be wrong but didn’t they get lamarre from the royals to? I hate trash the guy but they if they are starting skippy over him what does that tell you? same thing with duvall from the giants. I realize that this is mostly another bone headed decision by the reds because what other team would not play those 2 guys the last month of a lost season? they may not future stars but they have to be better than skippy right? why would not play them and see what you have? as for the draft I do not trust jocketty when it comes to making decisions on the reds future. they have a top 5 pick which means he will pick a guy with 5th round talent and switch him to a starter if he is a pitcher or move him from the outfield to back up catcher because that is where they see his best potential as. you would hope these young guys get better if they do not turn up with arm problems from being forced to go that 1 more inning they did not have in them this season. their ERA’S could easily be 1 run lower if he did not send them back out to get hammered in their last inning. common sense says if they have thrown 85-90 pitches in 4 or 5 they are not going to be able to go 1 more inning but he made them do it anyway with the same results every time and that would BAD.

    • Moses

      LaMarre was actually not part of the Royals trade but a Reds’ draftee years ago. The third player the Reds received absolutely tore it up in AA and may be the jewel of the bunch…

      • ohiojimw

        Yes, if the net is 5 years or better of a middle of the rotation (minimum) starter and several years of a top flight short man in the pen, I think the Reds will have done well on Cueto.

    • CBtheRED

      You missed the point. No one was trading MLB quality hitters at the deadline. The Ceto return will be magnificent. Why? THERE WERE NEVER GOING TO SIGN CUETO! All three of those players will contribute in the coming seasons. They stole that trade.

      • metalhead65

        they got something in return but there is no guarantee the players they got will be great and if they are then they will not be reds for long. being the “small market” reds they will be dealt once they become as great as we all hope. so at best the reds will get 2- years out of them.this year and next will be development then they have a couple of years before free agency and they are gone.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        The players the Reds got for Cueto will be under their control for the next several years so I would argue that “they will not be reds for long” isn’t accurate. If they are great, they may not be when eligible for free agency but in the meantime, if they ARE great, so much the better for the Reds during that time.

  6. wkuchad

    Agree big time on #1-9 as positives for the Reds! It’s nice to have hope for the future in years like this, and I have hope for 2017/2018 that the Reds can get back to winning ways.

    In 2016, the Reds should put $0 in starting pitching. Let’s go with Bailey and all rookies and 2nd year pitchers to see who can start to develop into true ML starters for 2017 / 2018. Seems like we have a dozen possible SP candidates, so it shouldn’t matter if most are on innings limits. It could be another rough / development year, but the Reds need to be realistic.

    Outfield – Seems like there’s a few free agent outfield candidates. This is where I hope we put most of our extra payroll money (assuming we have extra). I’d like to add one big multiyear bat that can make things more exciting next year and help us win in 2017/2018. I’m not worried about blocking prospects, because we have 2 open outfield spots IMO.

    #10 on your list – I like the positive outlook, but I was too disappointed in not trading Chapman.

    ..and I hope to never see the word “elite” ever again.

  7. Tom Reed

    It’s been a tough season, that’s for sure. But as a long-time Reds fan I’ve experienced a lot of -.500 seasons. If the off-season trade of Chapman produces a good hitting outfielder, who can lead off, and perhaps a player or two for the bench and bullpen, then I feel the Reds can be in playoff competition in a few years.

    • greenmtred

      It would be great if Chapman could bring that sort of return, but it seems very unlikely, don’t you think? Even if he were a starter, Chapman isn’t going to command a good-hitting mlb outfielder, never mind bench help in addition.

  8. LoopingHR

    Hopefully Walt will take advantage of the draft pick and not sign a pitcher, already have enough of those

    • Redsfan48

      With a top 5 pick you don’t draft based on need. You take the best available player. 2nd round and later, then consider need.

      • RedAlert

        Sorry, but disagree with Redsfan – this team needs offense – I’m with LoopingHR. Should be set with pitchers for a while now > first pick in upcoming draft this time around needs to be for offense period

      • RedAlert

        Unless this need may be addressed by moving Chapman or Bruce …

      • Redsfan48

        Would you rather have a Kershaw/Cueto/Price-esque superstar pitcher or a good, maybe great, but not a superstar hitter? You can always trade this pitcher or some of our current pitchers for offense later.

      • CP

        Sure…and what will they need in 4 or 5 years when the hitter finally gets here?

      • RedAlert

        I’ll take the hitter at this particular point

      • lwblogger2

        I think you have to be looking at the best available player regardless of position. Maybe you take an offensive player over a pitcher that’s rated higher if that player is real close to the pitcher you’re considering on your draft board. Otherwise, I think you have to take the best overall player, pitcher or not.

        Keep in mind that in most cases, even a top pick will take 3-5 years to make MLB. There are exceptions of course but you can’t count on it.

      • metalhead65

        the problem with that is all his picks have been pitchers while ignoring the biggest issue for this team and that is left field! unless they sign the cuban they must draft the best outfield prospect there is. because apparently winker and the rest of walt’s not ready for prime time picks will have to spend at least another 2 years in the minors before they are promoted to sit on the reds bench. because sitting on the bench is the best possible way to learn in the big leagues according to the jocketty philosophy. name another team that does this or does not call up any of the so called crown jewels for some on the job training in the last month of the season. how can you say they are not ready if they are not given a chance to at least test themselves out against the best players? if they don’t do well then they know what they need to work on to get back up for good. if it crushes them so bad that they lose confidence then they were not that great to begin with and the reds need to find that out as soon as possible and move on. the fact they are playing skippy instead of lamarre or duvall show they have no idea what they are doing. this team is so much farther away than the 2017 reboot walt promises it is not funny. there is a reason the cardinals fired him and the reds are finding out why now.

      • jdx19

        I generally agree with your statement here, but given the fact that rankings are a bit fuzzy anyways, there are likely to be both pitchers and hitters in the 3rd to 7th type ranking.

        If they think they need hitting more than pitching they should take a hitter in that range rather than a pitcher. The rankings aren’t hard science.

  9. peter ponds

    How refreshing is to read positive things just for a change. We all know our Redlegs are in a awful spot, worsened by the missing opportunities in 2010-2013.

    People that realistically follow the team knew this day would come, when they had to get rid of the likes of Cueto, Leake, Latos, Chapman. That’s the small markets fate. It could be much worse though, if not for Mr. C paying the big bucks – right or wrong- to Votto, Bruce, BP and Bailey. At the same time, I give them plenty of praise for having a second wave of pitchers almost ready to take over. Arms like Stephenson, Travieso, Amir Garret, Moscot and Iglesias, plus the guys acquired in deals make this transition easier to swallow.

    When almost everyone is already declaring the Cards, Pirates and Cubs as the division champs for the next 10 years, I’m fine putting my bucks on the Old Reds in a very short time if they keep drafting & developing players as they have the past 8 years, trading for the right players and establishing a strong core of coaches from top to bottom.

  10. VaRedsFan

    Several writers have been saying for 2 years that Brandon Phillips’ career would spiral into oblivion, but his 2015 year has been anything but.

    • jdx19

      Given tons of data about past 2nd basemen, it’s a reasonable conclusion that BP would have declined rapidly. He hasn’t this year, and that’s fantastic, but let’s not get carried away.

      His BABIP this year so far is 17 points above his career average and his power (ISO) is basically at a career low. His defense, according to FG has declined sharply. From 2010 to 2014 he was at least 10 runs better than average. This year, he’s at 3.7 runs. Also, his resurgence on the bases might be a flash in the pan. He’s 4.3 runs above average on the bases so far this year, which is the best in his career. Speed is a skill that does not get better as one gets older, so we shouldn’t expect his baserunning value to be anywhere near this good going forward.

      All in all, he’s at 2.5 fWAR, which puts him in the “slightly-above average” category of player (2.0 WAR being an “average” everyday regular). Certainly a nice surprise, but he’s still more likely than not to slip to “below average” next year.

      • greenmtred

        I can’t argue about BP’s age, because that’s well-established, but age-related norms are averages, not always applicable to particular players. Defensive metrics are, at best, controversial(as they should be, since they are eyeball judgments dressed up as hard science), and base running is about more than speed. Of course BP isn’t the player he was years ago, but he has had a better year than most would have predicted, and it leads me to wonder whether he has been less plagued by nagging injuries than in recent seasons.

      • sultanofswaff

        I agree with everything you state, but I think we spend too much time worrying about whether he will fall off a cliff. Given his body type, I think the odds are good that he’ll have a graceful decline phase. Yeah, he’ll never win any 40 yard dashes, but his first step on defense is still top notch. If he simply maintains 2 WAR over the next year, he will have earned his contract. Anything more than that is a win for the Reds.

  11. sezwhom

    I’m tough on old Walt but he deserves props for the Suarez-Simon trade and a major thumbs up on poaching DeSclafini for Latos. As for the Cueto deal: that’s looking more and more like a major theft in our favor. However, I think Walt could have gotten a better return on Leake.

  12. pinson343

    Great list, Nick. I like all 10 picks.