2017 Reds

Five bold predictions for the 2017 Cincinnati Reds

1. The Reds finish 2017 with a winning record.

I’ve been very critical and pessimistic about the Reds in recent years. It could be that I am getting soft, but I really believe this team is going to surprise a lot of folks. The Reds are projected to go 74-88 by PECOTA. The Reds need to be +8 in the win column to have a winning season. So what makes me believe they can have their first winning season since 2013?

The Reds went 36-37 in the second half last year. The Reds offense had a 100 wRC+ in the second half last year, good for 8th best in baseball. There is a lot to like about this year’s lineup with every position having potential. The Reds bullpen was solidified in the second half last year with the additions of Iglesias and Lorenzen, as their ERA was nearly a run lower than the first half.

The biggest difference in my estimation will be the depth of the rotation. The Reds are starting the season with Reed and Stephenson not even in the rotation. Last year the Reds had guys like Josh Smith, Keyvius Sampson, and Tim Adleman making starts. That shouldn’t be the case in 2017. The Reds young pitchers will certainly take their lumps from time to time, but there shouldn’t be guys making starts with zero potential, minus Bronson Arroyo.

2. Adam Duvall will hit 40 home runs.

Duvall has legit power. I wrote more about the positives of Duvall back in October. But to sum it up, Duvall’s power didn’t just come out of nowhere. I think this is somewhat of a misconception that Duvall hitting bombs left and right in 2016 was surprising. Between 2011-2015, Duvall hit 126 home runs in 571 games. He hit a total of 30 home runs in 2015 alone. Spring training stats don’t mean a lot, but Duvall has 6 HR in 53 AB. He is locked in, and I am expecting lots of power. I don’t expect the OBP to improve much, but when you factor in his defense you are looking at a really nice player.

3. Billy Hamilton makes the NL All-Star team.

This one is for Chad Dotson, President of the Billy Hamilton fan club. Hamilton’s OBP jumped from .274 to .321 from 2015 to 2016. Another 20 point tick in OBP, and you are looking at a league average hitter with elite speed and defense. He was already worth 3.1 fWAR last year, and with more folks appreciating overall value, this might be Hamilton’s year to make the mid-summer classic.

4. Zack Cozart gets traded before the All-Star break.

The Reds seemed poised to trade Cozart. The Reds have plenty of options to fill 2B after they move Peraza to SS (Gennett, Herrera, Alcantara). I think there will be a team in need of Cozart’s services sooner rather than later, and I don’t think the Reds want to wait around and risk injury. If Cozart gets off to a hot start that could be huge for the return.

5. Anthony DeSclafani doesn’t pitch in 2017.

There has to be one negative in these predictions, right? Disco unfortunately seems destined to go from the “his injury isn’t really that bad” to he is having Tommy John Surgery.

What are your bold predictions for the 2017 Reds, nation?

51 thoughts on “Five bold predictions for the 2017 Cincinnati Reds

    • Especially with nothing out of DeSclafani and very little out of Bailey. They need both those guys back and effective to be a .500 team. It also needs to happen before the AS break.

  1. Not exactly a bold prediction, but here goes: this will be the final year of the Bryan Price experiment. In the end, he’ll be remembered as a sort of Gerald Ford of Reds managers: a mix of competence and clumsiness who acted as a caretaker manager between the Dusty Baker era and the next big surge of competitiveness.

    A bolder prediction (I don’t really think this will happen, but I’d like to see it happen.) The Reds find a way to hire Buck Showalter away from Baltimore. (His contract ends in 2018. Could our Redlegs see fit to lure him away a year early?)

    • Nicole,

      Love the idea of Buck managing the Reds. He seems like one of the few difference makers in terms of MLB managers.

      Buck would certainly add a “gravitas” to the Reds in terms of how the national media views the organization, instead of the current default view of “they are in a bad place.”

      • The Castellinis would never do it because he comes from outside the “Reds country” bubble and they have a weird tunnel vision thing going on that prevents them from doing national talent searches for these kinds of jobs.

        But I’d love to be proven wrong.

        • I forgot about Dusty Baker’s long standing history with the Reds before 2008. His time managing in the Reds system along with being a key cog on the BRM mad him a natural choice as Reds manager.

          • I forgot about how one early counter-example disproves a general premise over time.

          • They’ve hired 2 non interim managers. 1 was a complete outsider with a longstanding track record and 1 was their pitching coach. Where is the general premise?

          • There’s more of Steve continuing to pontificate while the general premise is he is “intelligent”.

  2. Rookie Davis WAR is higher that Aroldas Chapman at the end of the year. BAM.

  3. Happy Baseball Season!
    (The Reds start tomorrow, of course, but 7 months of geeking out over our favorite sport begins in a few hours).

    Bold prediction: someone you don’t expect gets traded before season’s end…..like DeSclafani, Mesoraco or Hamilton.

    There is being respectable, and there is truly being in the hunt for a playoff spot in future seasons. As the season unfolds, the Reds realize how much work is left to achieve the latter and act accordingly.

    • I anticipate (if not expect) 2 of those 3 players (Disco, Meso, & Billy H.) to be traded by years end.

  4. I saw a lot of comments here in the Nation over the off season writing Duvall off or just ignoring him when talking line ups or rosters! I wondered what they expected, last season was the first time in several years we had production out of LF! He has some pretty good pop in that bat that plays well at GABP and you don’t normally think defense with a left fielder but he played pretty good defense! BHam finds 20 more points in his OBP and Duvall hits 40 the Reds may very well be a 500 team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Don’t see how a winning record is possible with the starting pitching that the Reds are tossing out there.

    You’d think with the injuries that Lorenzen or Iglesias would have had a chance to move to the rotation, but nooo…

    I think the rebuild is extended 1-2 years.

    • You’re probably right, Jesse, but these pitchers are young and inexperienced and, thus, hard to make predictions for. I think a winning record is possible but not probable.

    • Not a chance Iggy ever starts and I’m OK with that….too fragile. He can contribute to winning from the bullpen as has become the trend from the better teams in baseball

    • I have said the Winning Reds won’t happen until at least 2019, for the past 2 years. I just don’t see them winning enough games to compete this year. and next year seems like another transition season after we see some of what we have this year.

      Will I be thrilled if I am wrong and we have a winning season. You bet ya!!

    • They’re in the bullpen because their arms weren’t holding up under a starters workload, not because they couldn’t perform. High leverage reliever > Injured starter

  6. Bryan Price has been a stabilizing force, not showy, but thorough, businesslike and determined to make his team get better. Too much credit is given to managers of winning teams, too little those whose guys who work their jobs, work them hard day in and out, and produce slow progress. To cast him aside after a torturous rebuild would be an injustice.

  7. Nick- Great stuff from you as always. My predictions

    Suarez makes All Star team
    Peraza hits .300 for season (although OBP may only be .301) and plays solid defense
    Marty B is happy b/c Joey V gets 100 RBI batting behind BHam/Peraza.
    Agree with you strongly that Cozart is not here long.

  8. Bold predictions: 1) Joey Votto flirts with batting .400 all season. 2) Schebler hits 29 homeruns. 3) Lorenzen and Iglesias each pitch 60 innings or less, despite being pretty healthy all year. 4) The Reds keep Turner up with the big club all season. 5) The Reds and Cubs have a benches-clearing brawl after Lorenzen brushes back Bryant the inning after Bryant hits his 8th homerun of the year off Reds pitching.

    Go Reds!

    • As a corollary to #2… certain members of the media will say Schebler doesn’t have “real power” since he’s never hit 30 HR in a season. He just hit 29!!!

  9. Bold prediction #1: After Cozart is traded & Peraza moves to ss, Gennett & Alcantara become better options at 2nd base (over Hererra). #2 Garrett & Davis combine for 12+ wins by ASB.

    • An unfortunate but I think probable modification of this prediction: Price becomes enamored with Gennett’s “grit” and compares him to a “young Skip Schumaker.” He is awarded starting second base job when Cozart is traded, and we never see Hererra.

      • That’s….scarily plausible. Not the “never see Hererra” part–unless his shoulder is shot–but I can absolutely see Price preferring Scooter and describing him as a “young Skip Schumaker.” Heck, I bet THOM! calls him that on air the first time he gets his uniform dirty.

  10. 1) Reds sign Cuban phenom Luis Robert.

    2) Cozart is traded in early June. Herrera takes over at second base with Peraza shifting to SS. Herrera posts a OPS in the .785-.810 range.

    3) Reds draft UNC RHP J.B. Bukauskas #2 overall, assign him to Daytona where he flourishes and ends the season in Double-A Pensacola.

    4. Scott Schebler hits 27 HR and posts a .280/.340/.475 slash line.

    5. Luis Castillo forces his way to Cincinnati by the end of July and looks the part of a frontline starting pitcher by posting 9.0 K/9 in 10 starts and draws comparisons to Cueto/Rijo/Soto from Reds fans.

    • Regarding Castillo:

      I went to the Reds Futures game in Dayton this past Saturday. I don’t know if the radar gun was accurate or not, but it had Castillo touching 98 consistently on a day where the temp was around 50° with a stiff breeze. His offspeed stuff was about 10-12 mph slower than the heater and fooled a couple of batters badly.

      His only mistake was to Schebler who hit one that still may not have landed yet. He pretty much held the Reds to 1 run on 5 hits through 4+ innings. If he keeps that up, I can definitely see him joining the big league club.

    • I’d love if #3 happens. Bukauskas is the clear best pitcher in college imo. I’ve seen 4 of his starts this year and he keeps getting better. 60-65 fastball (sits 93-96, touches 97-98), 70 slider (which he manipulates for different movement when it’s really on), and a 60 changeup. His control has been excellent this year too. Does an excellent job changing eye level.

  11. I have long believed that the total wins that the Reds put up in 2016 was very misleading, and firmly believe that the 2nd half of the year was much more representative of the kind of ball that the Reds can play going forward. As we all remember, the Reds were especially challenged at the start of the year with both a young starting staff (plus the dubious return of Alfredo Simon) combined with a decimated bullpen after the 2015 season (led by the loss of Chapman, but also the release of several set up pitchers, including Manny Parra and Sam LeClure). Remember when we thought JJ Hoover was the answer to our bullpen post Chapman!

    It is no wonder that the Reds went 17-35 in April and May (.327 winning percent), as they gave up 320 runs scored while our Reds plated only 210 runs. I don’t have an exact count, but I remember that there were many games at the start of the year where they had the lead going into the 8th inning, and literally just blew the game. If I could figure out how to go back and track this on baseball-reference.com, I bet it was at least 7-8 games in the April-May period alone.

    As we all know, things got better once DeSclafani rejoined the starting rotation in mid-June, and both Igleasias and Lorenzen stabilized the bullpen in mid-to-late June. While the overall team ERA was 4.91 for the year (versus a league average of 4.18), let’s not forget how terrible April and May truly was, with a team ERA approaching 6.00 at that time. You just can’t win ball games when you give up so many runs.

    While we are again starting off the season somewhat challenged with both our starting rotation and bullpen, we are in much better shape now vs. a year ago. Our lineup is now largely sorted out (sans Mesoraco), and we should be able to put up league average or slightly above league average in terms of run production as the young lineup continues to mature.

    As for predictions:
    1) Reds 2017 Record: 78-84
    2) Billy Hamilton reaches a 3.40 OBP, stays healthy, plays in 145 games, gets 80 SB
    3) Joey Votto gets out of the gate early, which helps him hit .355 for the year, 25 HR, 100 RBI and a 1.000+ OPS
    4) Pereza exceeds expectations and continues to hit .300+, reaches .360 OBP and steals 50 bases
    5) Duvall hits 40 HR, but remains a free swinger with an OBP ~ .300
    6) Schebler has a breakout year, following strong 2H2016 – hits 28 HR on .285 BA and .850 OPS
    7) DeSclafani comes back later than expected, but has another stellar year at the top of the rotation.
    8) Finnegan, Garrett, and Reed each wins at least 14 games
    9) The Reds try and build credentials for Robert Stephenson, but trade him before mid-summer deadline

  12. 1. Doug Flynn, who believes obp stands for ‘outdoor batting practice, replaces Marty to become the ‘voice of the Reds’
    2. Elvis bobblehead night is so wildly popular, it becomes a monthly event in 2018 sponsored by the R&R HOF, which abandons Cleveland and moves to the Queen city soon thereafter
    3. In late July, Homer Bailey pitches a no-hitter in his first start of the season, signs a new $27million extension and blow his aclu out the following day
    4. Billy Hamilton sets the statcast record for ‘home to first to dugout to gatorade cooler’ after popping out to second for fifth time in businessman’s special against Dodgers
    5. Learning from past mistakes, Brian Price throws down ‘fudge’, and its many variations, (fudge you, fudgin’ A, fudge yes, fudge no, and fudg’n stupid) 39 times in postgame interview with cub reporter from Enquirer who, the day before, had divulged just how tacky the teams’ independence day unis would be
    6. Followers of the RLN successfully lobby MLB to, for the first time since 1877, count walks as hits propelling Joey Votto to the first .500 average in the live ball era
    7. The new all-you-can-eat booth leads to a costly lawsuit for the organization as a young girl from Covington is unable to fit in the front car of the beast a day after attending a Reds doublheader
    8. feel free to add your own…

  13. Battlinbill seems pretty close to what I’m thinking for year,but you have to take in account Bryan price, just like last year when reds brought in worst pitcher in majors in Alfredo Simon and just gave him job without proving himself in st,price gonna do it again with Arroyo,and that my friends is not going to go very well

  14. If my eyes and word finder are to be trusted, Jesse Winker has yet to appear on this thread either in the main post or comments.

    I’ve been and remain a strong backer of both Duvall and Schebler. However, with the Reds still in “sorting out” mode, doesn’t Winker figure somewhere in the mix for 2017 doing something to be noticed? I hope so.

    .

    • If Winker isn’t in Cincinnati and starting at least 3-4x a week after the Super 2 cutoff, the Reds have mentally failed.

      If either Duvall or Schebler struggles or gets hurt, I think Winker could be up even sooner than that.

      Regardless, someone who OBP’d .390+ in AAA with as many walks as strikeouts has nothing to prove in AAA. He won’t “learn” to hit for more power in AAA, which is what a bunch of people seem to think he’ll do if he stays down.

      Recall that Winker’s OBP last year in AAA was higher than Votto’s OBP in his best AAA season. That’s saying something.

      • I believe he is likely to experience at least a short term drop off in OBP when he comes up. This makes it matter more that he pick up his power output.

        The sample size was small but in ST where he was seeing a lot of MLB pitching, his BB rate plummeted while his K rate rose several % yet his combined BB/K rate was essentially the same as his combined BB/K rate for his minor league career. The big fluctuation between the two alternatives with a combined rate unchanged from the historical data is reason to keep an eye on his OBP when he gets to MLB.

  15. Bold:
    Votto .360/.475/.590

    Bolder:
    Garrett wins 15 games in 160 innings

    Boldest:
    The Reds win more games than the Pirates (83).

    Not Bold:
    Scott Feldman pitches opening day for his churches softball league next year.

  16. Bad predictions first:
    Amir Garrett stays on 25man roster all year. In 2023, his first free agent year, he wins a Cy Young award for the Chicago Cubs. When meeting the media on a road game in Cincinnati, he thanks the organization and fans for being such a class act, but says, “In the end, baseball is a business, and I had to do what was best for myself and my family.”

    Scooter Gennett, Scott Feldman, and Scott Schebler do juuuust enough to keep playing time away from Winker, Herrera, Romano, and Stephenson.

    Anthony Desclafani and Homer Bailey combine for less than 100 innings pitched.

    Good stuff:

    Votto wins batting title and hits >.350/.450/.600.

    Billy Hamilton get on base at .320 clip all year and steals 80 bases.

    Cody Reed pitches well, earns a starting spot next to Finnegan, who also pitches well. Fans in Kansas City start following their stats and wonder if they REALLY needed Cueto to win that World Series.

    Reds actually try the outside the box pitching idea Dick Williams spoke about, and Iglesias and Lorenzen rank 1 and 2 in the league in “relief appearances of >=2.0IP”.

    Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall play at a borderline All-Star level.

    Season prediction: The Reds are firmly in top half of NL in runs scored, but due to the combination of inexperienced pitching and “too many games against the Cubs,” fall short of 80 wins. 78-84.

  17. 1. Homer Bailey’s career is effectively over.
    2. Billy Hamilton plays 110 games due to injury and ends 2017 with a .315 obp.
    3. Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez take 2 steps forward.
    4. Nick Senzel starts his MLB career Sept 1.
    5. The reds fail to win 70 games.
    6. Bryan Price is fired in late September….Not so bold.
    7. Amir Garret finishes in the top 5 for ROY.

    • Gosh I predicted an 83 win season but winning 69 is certainly possible without Disco, Homer and innings limits on Reed Garrett and Rookie.

      Actually just thinking about it, maybe Bob Steve stretches out and Reed or Garrett go to pen when they max out innings. Either way, 69 is very possible…

  18. Bold Predictions 1) By the end of the year the world will know of the Reds young and promising rotation, Sal Ramono will be talked about as the future ace

    2) Homer Bailey never pitches meaningful innings again

    3) The future long-term middle infield is not on the current roster

  19. My five bold Reds predictions:

    1. Billy Hamilton steals 70 bases.

    2. Jesse Winker will hit ten home runs for the Reds this season.

    3. Amir Garrett wins ten games this year.

    4. Homer Bailey fails to win ten more games for the Reds the rest of his career.

    5. Cozart will play in the playoffs this year, but not with the Reds.

    6. [A bonus prediction] No Reds pitcher will save more than 20 games this year.

  20. Not exactly predictions, but here’s what would make me happy and deem the season a “success.” These are tempered in the reality of the Reds, and not exactly how I would want things, but here we are…

    1) One of Garrett, Reed, Stephenson, Davis, Romano, et al. pitches 150 innings with above-average peripherals (K%, BB%, GB%)

    1a) Finnegan tosses 175 innings and puts up 2.0+ WAR.

    2) DeSclafani’s elbow is fine and he doesn’t require TJ

    3) Iglesias, Lorenzen both remain healthy and pitch well from the ‘pen (if they must!) This will provide the anchor for the Reds best-in-MLB bullpen in 2018.

    4) Peraza posts a walk rate of 5%, proving he has the capacity for some amount of plate discipline.

    5) The Reds don’t bungle the start of Winker’s career (not exactly sure what this will look like).

    5a) Billy Hamilton stays healthy and doesn’t tear a labrum or something diving for a ball in the gap.

    If those 5+ things happened, I’d count the season a success, regardless of record. It would give us the base necessary to feel competitive in 2018 and perhaps even sign a FA to plug a hole for the 2018 season.

  21. Garrett and Davis both rank in top 5 for RoY honors
    A Reds minor league pitcher gets suspended for drug use
    Duvall and Schebler exceed expectations while Hamilton dissapoints
    Peraza steals more bases than Hamilton
    Reds trade Robert Stevenson for some teams top ss prospect

  22. My 5 Bold Predictions:

    1. Anthony Desclafani won’t be back before July. However, he’ll be a bright spot in the rotation posting a 9-3 record and 3.00 ERA to end the year.

    2. Joey Votto’s recent focus on fielding improvement will shave a few points off his BA mark from last year, but leads to a second Golden Glove. He’ll still carry a .310/ .430/ .550 slash line with 25 HR, and 90 RBI which will land him in the top 10 in MVP voting again.

    3. Bullpen will surprise the pro-NY/ CH/ LA pundits and actually carry the SPs, posting a 3.30 ERA after a slow start in April-May.

    4. Due to the aforementioned Desclafani/ Bailey injury setbacks, Bronson Arroyo will be only Reds SP to win 10+ games. His reduced pitching velocity will partially disrupt batters’ timing, enabling him to achieve a 3.90 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, but he will only end up with 90 Ks.

    5. Jesse Winker will make it impossible for Reds management to keep him in the Minors any longer. After a May call-up he will go on to win ROY after hitting something like .285/ .350/ .490 with 15 HR and 75 RBI.

    Reds finish 2017 at 79-83, thereby baffling uber-negative ESPN and MLB Network analysts, which will lead the pundits to ponder the meaning of life (many sources pick Reds to lose 100 or more games). In a competitive NL Central, this will be barely good enough for 4th place unless Pittsburgh tanks.

    The Offense will exceed expectations and score runs. However, you can’t win games with batting alone. In the end, SP will be the Achilles’ Heal once again. Poor SP will be partially offset by the bullpen, anchored by Lorenzen and Iglesias (whom i think will keep the Reds in more games than last year)

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