The first set of 2017 projections were recently released. The Steamer projections are now up on Fangraphs. One of the more popular projection systems, ZiPS is still likely a few weeks out (they were released on December 11th last season for the Reds). ZiPS is typically known as more reliable, while Steamer is typically more pessimistic. So take these for what they are.


Joey Votto is the only projected above average hitter, which is very scary. The good news is that Votto’s 140 wRC+ is the 5th highest projection in baseball (Trout-162, Harper-147, M. Cabrera-147, Stanton-141). The second best hitter in the projections is actually Jesse Winker, which is very encouraging (although he is only projected for 14 PA). Winker is projected to put a .346 OBP, which would be very nice.

Adam Duvall (91 wRC+), Scott Schebler (96 wRC+), and Eugenio Suarez (94 wRC+) are projected as just slightly below average hitters, all with good power for their positions

The most interesting thing from the projections is that Jose Peraza (84 wRC+) is better than Zack Cozart (80 wRC+), and Dilson Herrea (90 wRC+) is better than Brandon Phillips (86 wRC+). I would assume the Reds internal projection system shows at least something similar, which probably is one of the driving forces in jumping to the young movement in the middle infield.


The offensive projections are not great for the Reds. The Reds have several hitters within the “margin of error,” but the Reds would have to significantly beat the projections to have a good offense in 2017. The Reds should do everything they can to move Cozart and Phillips before the season starts to at least have upside at those positions. If that happens, the Reds would have an entire starting lineup under 30 years old, minus Votto at 33. The possible mid-season lineup below might not be great in 2017, but nearly every position except 1B and C should be fully on the up-tick.

  1. Hamilton – CF
  2. Peraza – SS
  3. Votto – 1B
  4. Duvall – RF
  5. Suarez – 3B
  6. Mesoraco – C
  7. Winker – LF
  8. Herrera – 2B

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 48 Comments

  1. Looks familiar. Only two players, Votto and Winker, with above average OBP.

  2. only one player with a obp over 350, and no one hitting .300? I sure hope these projections are low.

    • Low, but realistic. It’s hard to assume Votto hits under .300 so let’s give him that but who else? I think the bigger problem is half of the regulars may be under .250!

      Even scarier? Duvall likely does not hit 28 homers and this assumes no injuries!

      • Votto and maybe Peraza are the best bets to hit .300.

        Steamer seems very pessimistic on the offense, much like they were for pitching. Specifically, Votto hitting under .300, Suárez hitting less than 20 HRs, Peraza with only 29 steals with 500+ plate appearances, and a healthy Mesoraco (Steamer projects him to have 400+ ABs) hitting just .229/.305/.403 (if he does indeed get that many ABs, I think he hits closer to .250-.260/.330/.???) seem unlikely. I agree that Duvall and Cozart will likely fall off from 2016, though Cozart will probably do it in a different uniform. And all of the other players that are either still in the minors or are projected as bench pieces are just too difficult to predict.

  3. Nick or anyone who knows why……

    How is it that Suarez and Duvall both come out at 91 wRC+ but Suarez rates almost double the WAR projected for Duvall who had the best defensive Sabre rating for his position?


    • Because LF/RF have a negative defensive adjustment and 3B has a positive adjustment. The difference between LF (-7.5) and 3B (+2.5) is 10 runs, or about 1 win. So, since the difference above in WAR is only 0.6, what they are REALLY saying is that Duvall is 4 runs better at being a LFer than Suarez is at being a 3Bman. However, 3B is still harder to play than LF, so Suarez gets credit for that.

      Hope that made sense.

      • Thanks Patrick. It helps and also reminds me of why I become quickly suspicious of derivatives as they move away from the baseline data.

        • Always good to be suspicious! A lot of these new derivatives are very nuanced, as it turns out, and as a result can be misused.

  4. I’ve been saying for a year that Winker is the 2nd most productive hitter in the Reds organization behind Votto. I’m glad this certain projection agrees. (Not that this is a radical idea… I’m sure plenty of folks said the same thing)

    Also, Steamer (and most projections) are notorious at not believing inflated BABIPs. Votto’s true talent BABIP is north of .350, yet the system always wants to regress him to league average (which is stupid), which is why he always hits over .300, but is always projected to hit .290ish (at least for the last few seasons).

    With that said, I think 4.0 WAR for Votto isn’t unrealistic. If his defense doesn’t tick up, he’ll eventually stop posting 160+ wRC+ seasons to buoy his WAR figures in the 5+ range.

    • He was stone cold awful on defense last year at over 2WAR negative by fangraphs. If it was variance he should be better but the trend is going against him.

    • Well…Steamer agrees for a 14 AB sample for Winker. Honestly, I would just throw out the Winker and Dilson Herrera projections completely because of that. Too difficult to project a prospect, especially when we are unsure how early/late in the season they will make it to the Majors.

  5. Is the line up what you anticipate Price will put out or your ideal line up? I would roll it out something like this:

    1 Winker – LF
    2 Votto – 1B
    3 Suarez – 3B
    4 Schebler/Duvall – RF
    5 Mesoraco/Barnhart – C
    6 Herrera – 2B
    7 Peraza – SS
    8 Hamilton – CF

    I think the Reds need to maximize more OBP at the top of the order. Votto, being the Reds’ best hitter, needs to bat 2nd.

    • cc: 100 Joe Nuxhall Way

      • Since this makes sense, no that won’t be it.

        I bet (not want) it will be:

        Cozart or Peraza
        Herrera or BP

        Mesoraco would bat 6

        • I think it will be more along the lines of (at least to start the season):

          2nd baseman

    • Batting second seems to be natural for Votto but as long as Bryan Price is managing the Reds, it won’t happen.

      • In all honesty, your best hitter should bat second. Next best should be 4th, next best should be 1st, then 3rd, 5th, and decreasing in quality from 6 through 9.

    • Ryan,

      That is what I anticipate the Reds actually doing. I like yours much better. I’ve advocated for Votto batting second for years. I definitely like Winker hitting leadoff too.

      • The thing is, BHam actually put up a really good OBP in the 2nd half of last season before he was injured. If he comes back and keeps showing ability to get on base, I’d be ok with:

        CF BHam
        RF Winker
        1B Votto
        LF Duvall
        3B Suarez/Senzel (we can hope)
        C Tucker
        SS/2B Peraza/Herrera
        SS/2B Peraza/Herrera

        • I would start Schebler over Duvall based on his second half. Duvall and Schebler will both likely be starters at the beginning of the year, and when Winker is ready, whichever one is hitting better of the two will be the starting right fielder, with Winker taking LF (Duvall and Schebler are both better suited defensively in RF than Winker would be).

  6. These numbers are all tripe, just based on last year and even then I do not understand Votto

    Hamilton is severely underrated on our and Scott Schebler is going to surprise. If they forecast him to hit 252, then he will be a 30 HR guy. He and Billy really showed growth in the second half that can be built on.

    I like the idea of packaging Duvall and an arm. I like him, just time to upgrade our trinkets. And I still want Meso in LF on days he doesn’t catch platooning with Winker.

    I will not be disappointed if they don’t trade, just seems like a good time to trade him, Cozart and a few pitchers for newer trinkets

    You’d do it for Randolph Scott

    Come on Williams, be bold and courageous

  7. I know about his injuries, but if Devin Mesaraco gets the 479 PA, I highly doubt a .229 BA? Why would anyone expect that? I am saying .313 36 119 & is our clean-up hitter! You can laugh, say what you want,
    But .229 ??? That’s just stupid.

    • Mesoraco has a .237 career average…..

      • His 2 full seasons, he hit .238 and .273. I think you can safely assume a healthy Mesoraco would fall somewhere between there. If you just include those seasons combined, he’s a .257 hitter. In my opinion, I think a healthy Mesoraco hits .250-.260

    • I think it is even more unrealistic that Mesoraco makes 479 PAs given that Williams has already acknowledged that even in their best case scenario Meso is not going to be ready for full time duty at the onset of the regular season. When he has seen virtually no competitive pitching for going on nearly two years,it is almost an insult to the pitchers he will be facing to project him at anything near his career average.

  8. Votto way too low. Hamilton and Schebler too low. Winker too low, but based on games played not production rates. Duvall and Suarez probably about right. Let’s hope it’s Peraza and Herrera’s numbers we are worried about up the middle and not Cozart and Phillips. Are you listening Mr. Williams? And finally Mesoraco’s numbers look way too optimistic. I’d count on him for about the same number of at bats as Michael Lorenzen with approximately the same production.

  9. Hey Nation, Happy Thanksgiving !!

  10. With the Arizona/Seattle deal scratch off the most likely trade partner for Cozart

  11. With Segura going to the M’s, Cozart isn’t headed to Seattle now. So let’s see…who needs an injury prone aging SS?

    • Seems to me the Reds are increasingly looking at being reduced to unpalatable options on Cozart like sending a “trade partner” enough money along with ZC to get a middling “prospect” in return, nontendering him, or holding onto him until spring when they are likely to end up doing some version of the previous two.

    • Some teams I can see that could use an upgrade at SS are the A’s, Diamondbacks possibly, after they picked up Ketel Marte, who the M’s wanted to upgrade with Cozart, Padres, Phillies, Rays and Twins?

      • Washington and Dusty, who loves proven vets and shortstops who can bat second, is a possibility, too. The Twins, in a youth-oriented rebuild and having dumped the prolific Plouffe, are not really in the market for a shortstop of Cozart’s age.

        • I wasn’t looking so much at age, as I was ability. And I can’t see the Nats as an option with Trea Turner really coming in as a young star this year. He played outfield last year, but I expect him to go back to his natural shortstop without any injuries in the OF

  12. Going to make it way tougher to find a home for Cozart. Troubling. Another article I read this morning speculated on the trade market for Schwarber.
    Talks about controllable pitching. Naturally Sale, Archer and Carrasco were mentioned. Made me wonder whether we could put a package together anchored by Disco… and whether we would want to.
    Schwarber not a great defender but certainly solves a hitting issue.
    What does anyone else think. Who else would it take and is it something we should consider?

    • yeah Washington looks like the best fit for Cozart at this point… I thought Phillips might go (home) to Atlanta but the braves signing of Sean Rodriquez kinda hurts that option unless they want to use Rodriguez as a super sub still. so the Dodgers might be the only other real option for Phillips.

      • and who knows if they are interested or if he would wave the no trade to go to LA

  13. Looking at MLB transactions, couldn’t help but notice RP Tom Wilhelmsen and SP Nathan Eovaldi were released. Would anyone else be interested in seeing them in Cincy next year? Maybe get Wilhelmsen for a year as a solid ‘pen piece with some closing experience and Eovaldi as someone to go this year until Stephenson/Garrett/etc. are ready and to take Descalafini/Straily’s spot next year if they’re traded/released?

    • Eovaldi wasn’t going to be tendered a contract this winter, anyway, since it’s his final year of arbitration eligibility and he’ll miss 2017 following Tommy John and flexor tendon surgeries.

  14. I feel the Scheb and peraza outperform these fairly easily….of course votto as well. Fairly disheartening to see only one everyday player with a projected OBP over .317.

  15. The Reds are a 90+ loss team. Worrying about whether Votto bats #2 or #3 is moving chairs on the Titanic. In other words it makes no difference. The Reds are a mess. They have several #4 and #5 starters and one of the worst bullpens in MLB. The team is loaded with journeymen. Winker is over rated by the Reds faithful. Average speed and defense with no power. Cozart will get a sack of potatoes from some desperate team or the Reds simply release him if they can’t trade him. They will save his full salary this way. Phillips is a bigger problem. They are stuck for $14 million if they can not move him which looks increasingly likely to be the case. Maybe they will get lucky…. Believing Duvall will duplicate 2016 and Schebler has become a quality starting outfielder is wishful thinking. Barnhart will catch more games than Mesoraco and be a better hitter and handler of pitchers. Hamilton will hit .235., steal 45 bases, and play outstanding CF. Reds need another good draft in June 2017.

    • Happy Thanksgiving to you, too. At this time of year, we can try to catch the spirit and be hopeful.

    • You’re right it doesn’t matter much, but the thought process and decision making required to build/manage a winner is always important.

      If Price can’t be trusted to construct a decent lineup with he’s losing, he (or his replacement, perhaps) can’t be trusted to construct a decent lineup when an extra win might be the difference between the playoffs and not.

  16. Votto will hit .300, and I think the Hamilton projection is waaayyyy off (at least I really hope so) based on his second half. other than that the Reds have a bunch of wild cards…

  17. So let me get this straight…..basically none of our guys in their 20s will improve and Mesoraco will get 439 atbats. If our guys did suck that bad then wouldn’t Winker get more then 14 atbats? Let me be the first to project that this projection is idiotic and worthless.

    • Where is your evidence that people in their 20s always improve? Projections represent the most likely outcome, the 50th percentile case. Inherent in that, is the possibility that someone like Suarez could hit 30 homers and bat .290 while playing GG defense. Not likely to happen, but it is built in.

      Playing time projections, as always, aren’t useful for players in the minor leagues. There’s no way to project what the front office is going to do with Winker. His rate stats (what matters), however, are about right, I’d say.

      You have to first understand where the projection comes from and what information it is trying to convey. Calling projections idiotic and worthless is pretty… well…

  18. Good reason to show Winker at 14 at bats. Don’t have to reveal his limited power stats.

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About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.


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