2017 Reds

The Cincinnati Reds are going to the playoffs. (Maybe.)

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight has made a name by digging into the data and making informed predictions about everything from politics to sports. Well, they have a running “playoff odds” tracker, much like you see at various other sites. Here’s how they describe their tracker:

This forecast is based on 100,000 simulations of the season and accounts for starting pitchers, travel distance and rest. It updates after each game.

Here’s a much more detailed explanation of how they reach their conclusions. Anyway, without further ado, here’s the latest update (kudos to long-time RN editor Greg Dafler for bringing this to my attention):

Am I telling you that the Reds are definitely going to make the playoffs? Well, I’m more optimistic than almost anyone, but…no, I’m not going out on that particular limb. I am, however, telling you there’s a chance.

Yes, we’re all excited about the Reds’ hot start, and it has us dreaming of greater things. The fact of the matter is that the Reds are probably not going to make the playoffs this year. I mean, I wouldn’t call 18% great odds (and Baseball Prospectus has the Reds at 11%, tied with the Cardinals). Let’s not start ordering playoff tickets just yet.

Just the fact that the Reds have a legitimate chance — even if it’s an exceedingly slim chance — well, that’s the difference between this team and the teams we’ve suffered with over the last two 90+ loss seasons. There was no hope last year. There was no hope in 2015. Those teams were just bad.

This year, the Reds still aren’t great. Let’s not go overboard just because they have jumped out to a good start. But they’re young — the youngest collection of hitters of any Reds team since 1971, as pointed out to me by another long-time RN editor and podcaster extraordinaire, Bill Lack — and they have actual upside. The Reds of 2015-16 had no upside.

So here we are: the Reds are playing good baseball at the moment, and we’re getting a chance finally to see some of this young talent, and manager Bryan Price — with some semblance of a real roster at his disposal for the first time — is showing us that he’s willing to get creative. It’s fun to watch.

Are the Reds going to make the playoffs? No, probably not. If they do — if they catch lightning in a bottle — it’ll be a magical season that we’ll talk about forever. But this season is going to be fun, whether the Reds compete for a playoff spot or now. It’s a likable group of players, with some young talent, and one of the best hitters in baseball in the middle of the lineup. It’s the most interesting Reds team since 2013, and maybe more interesting than that one.

And I’m going to enjoy it.

14 thoughts on “The Cincinnati Reds are going to the playoffs. (Maybe.)

  1. Enjoy it certainly.
    These Reds could surprise and be the 2015 Astros and arrive a year earlier than all expected. An astute move here or there could put them in that position. And the Reds still have 3 big cogs to the machine (DeSclafani, Bailey, and Mesoraco) absent and scheduled to return off of the DL at some point.

  2. I really hope that Homer Bailey can come back and be what he was before he got hurt. At this point that seems highly unlikely, but if they were to get another arm back that could have some impact, things could get interesting.

    They need a #1 starter that you can pencil 200 innings of getting it done and stuff like that and following Cueto box scores will get you to sigh.

    Couldnt’ count on DeSclafini getting hurt either.

    • He’s going to have a grow a stylish stache because Homer is going to be Eckersley-Lite!! To the pen my good sir!!

  3. It really is exciting to talk about playoffs isn’t it.In reality we don’t know what will happen but we do know over the last 80 or so games we are around 500.We also know most of our guys are young guys and some are already big leaguers based on their performance so far in the show.Others are trying to prove they belong while others are waiting in the minors and hoping they get a shot.We have talent in the majors and at all levels of the minors and as mentioned we have Homer,Disco and Devin trying to get healthy.Its a fun time to be a Red’s fan because we don’t know what’s going to happen because we have young players.Personally I like the fact we have young power arms at all levels and that plays all the time.

  4. It’s not even April 15th and we’re talking playoffs. Hey, why not! Although, our starters had better start dishing out 7+ innings or our bullpen’s collective arms will fall off by June.

  5. I know we had to let Paraza play. No surprise here but I truly believe Brandon Phillips deserve to be in the reds hall of fame. And not 10 years from now . Bacause of being a small market team and being over shadowed by other teams. He was ijnstrumental in bringing us back and puttinfg us position to win even though SF came back on us. Day in and out. Steady in the field. Clutch hitter and always a great smile and class

  6. It’s absurd to talk playoffs after one month much less 9 games. Let us get real. Almost this entire pitching staff has innings limits in place. Their replacements also have inning limits as well. It would take a bona fide miracle to predict who is going to the playoffs. And to put this in perspective Nate Silver also predicted Hilary in a landslide. I get that it is fun to predict but the danger in articles like this is in getting our hopes up. To to think it is just spring…. Let us withhold the predictions until the dog days of summer

    • Everything you say is right, but this is baseball, so there’s no danger in getting our hopes up.

  7. Really enjoying the start to the season. Always good to see some young players getting a chance and performing well. I also like that the pitching staff is doing well and there is no need to rush Bailey or DeSclafani back. There wasn’t much expected for this year but that is why they play the games. Hey, you never know.

    • It’s probably unwise to rush them back, but as Simon Cowell points out above, the starters have innings limits (which they might not exceed if they don’t start pitching deeper into games), so the returns of Bailey and DeSclafani might make a big difference later in the year, particularly if the team is sustaining some of this excellence and in the hunt.

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