We know you need answers about the upcoming Reds season, so our authors got together to offer a few. We also thought we’d change-up the standard package by asking a few unusual, but important, questions. We even ventured a couple semi-educated guesses about 2019.
Thanks to the 17 writers who had the time to participate: Jordan Barhorst, Nick Carrington, Ashley Davis, Nick Doran, Chad Dotson, Grant Freking, Chris Garber, Matt Habel, Wes Jenkins, Nick Kirby, Bill Lack, Clay Marshall, John Ring, Jackson Thurnquist, Jim Walker, Matt Wilkes and yours truly.
With Opening Day just two days away, let’s get started!
How many games will the Reds win this season?
For context, the Reds won 64, 68 and 68 games the past three seasons. They won 99, 98, 108 and 102 games from 1973-76.
Our staff answers reflected universal optimism, in varying degrees. Predictions ranged from a high of 81 wins (Chad) to a low of 71 wins (Clay). The most common answers were 78 and 79, with four writers each. A cluster of picks around 74-75 rounded out the choices.
Who will win the 2018 National League pennant?
Every writer answered either the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals or Los Angeles Dodgers. The most common answer was the Dodgers (Nick C., Chris, Wes, Nick K., Bill, Steve, Clay and Jim). The Dusty-free Nationals received five endorsements. The Cubs got four. Let the record show that the stupid Cardinals got zero.
Who will win the 2018 World Series?
Our predictions have a decidedly American League tilt, with 12 of us choosing the junior circuit. Cleveland (Chad, John, Jackson, Jim and Matt W.) was the most common answer. Three writers (Nick K., Bill and Clay) picked the Yankees. Three more (Jordan, Ashley and Steve) chose the defending champion Houston Astros. On the NL side, three writers predicted the Dodgers and one (Nick D.) chose the Cubs. Grant picked the Nats. Matt H. went with the Red Sox.
Sports books have made the Astros and Yankees joint favorites.
Who will bat leadoff the most for the Reds in 2018?
Only two players received predictions: Billy Hamilton and Jesse Winker. 12 of our authors chose Hamilton, with varying degrees of regret. Five of us (Nick C., Chad, Nick K., Steve, Matt W.) went with our heart over our brains and picked Winker.
What Reds player is most likely to be traded during the season?
The answers here were scattered. But each of the five players mentioned received at least two votes. The top pick to be traded, with five votes (Chris, Matt H., Steve, Clay and Jim) was Devin Mesoraco. Four people (Jordan, Wes, Jackson and Matt W.) chose Adam Duvall. Four others (Chad, Grant, Bill and John) chose Scooter Gennett. Raisel Iglesias and Billy Hamilton each received two votes. One person who thought Hamilton would be traded also thought he would lead off the most.
What Reds player will be the biggest surprise in 2018?
As you might imagine, there were a lot of different answers. Six of us chose a pitcher, leaving eleven of us picking position players. Of the latter group, five players received predictions: Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler (5), Jose Peraza, Devin Mesoraco (2) and Jesse Winker. Four pitchers — all starters — were chosen: Amir Garrett (2), Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle (2) and Homer Bailey. (The Mahle votes came in before last night’s game against Texas.)
So the most common prediction was Scott Schebler.
What Reds player will be the biggest disappointment in 2018?
You knew we had to ask. The replies were evenly divided among pitchers and position players. Only one player, Scooter Gennett, received three (Grant, Steve and Jackson). Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorenzen, Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza each were the choice of two writers. Individual votes were cast for Brandon Finnegan, Sal Romano, Tucker Barnhart and Adam Duvall.
Clearly, no consensus. Our pessimism was spread all over the roster.
What will the date be when Nick Senzel is called up?
You’ll be relieved to know we all chose dates from the 2018 season.
This was tough. Not only are there the service time considerations of team control and Super Two status, but Senzel doesn’t really have an obvious position to play right now. And the performances of Jose Peraza and Scooter Gennett, the two players he’d most likely replace, are hard to predict. If Peraza and Gennett are getting the job done, would the Reds rush Senzel up? How soon would the Reds bench Peraza or trade Gennett to make room?
Good luck with that, Dick Williams.
The earliest prediction for Senzel Day was April 14 (Clay) and the latest was September 1 (Jordan).
Many replies were clustered around late May to early June, presumably timed to coincide with the expiration of Super Two considerations. I guess this group thinks the Reds will find a place to play Senzel one way or the other. Keep in mind that the Super Two cutoff varies from year-to-year, and isn’t calculated until the season is over. Within this range you had May 28 (Nick D.) June 2 (Matt H.), June 3 (Wes), June 4 (Jackson), June 5 (Steve), June 6 (John and Bill) and June 9 (Matt W.). Chad picked May 13. I picked June 5 to coincide with the start of a home stand against the Rockies and Cardinals.
Other choices clustered around the All-Star Break. July 19 (Chris), July 20 (Nick C.) were examples of those. In retrospect, a prediction around the trade deadline might have made sense.
When Nick Senzel is called up, what position will he play?
Nine people chose 2B, seven chose SS and one picked 3B.
Who will be the Reds starting pitcher on Opening Day 2019?
No one selected Hunter Greene. Then again …
The overwhelming choice here was Luis Castillo, selected by 13 of us. Chris picked Anthony DeSclafani, Nick Kirby and Clay chose Homer Bailey. Jim Walker said it would be a pitcher not currently on the roster, so maybe that’s a sly vote for Greene after all.
Who will be the Reds manager at the end of 2018?
Again, most of us (12) picked Bryan Price. Chad chose Buddy Bell. Three of us (Steve, Clay and John) picked Jim Riggleman. Jim Walker picked Riggleman or John Farrell.
Bell and Riggleman are coaches on Price’s staff. Farrell is the former Red Sox manager who was just hired by the Reds as a scout.
Who will be the Reds manager at the start of the 2019 season?
It should be noted that these answers were submitted before Barry Larkin’s tacky campaign commercial for the job was posted.
Our answers reflect a lot of uncertainty.
First the inside candidates. Four writers stuck with Bryan Price (Jordan, Ashley, Nick K. and Jackson). Five of us (Nick D. Chad, Bill, Steve and Clay) chose Barry Larkin. Nick Carrington picked Farrell. Chris chose Riggleman.
A few of our writers felt the Reds would go outside the organization and out of character. Wes picked former Astros manager Bo Porter. Matt Wilkes likes former Yankee manager Joe Girardi for the job. Grant did a random Google search and came up with Chris Woodward, one of the LA Dodgers coaches. John Ring predicts Joe Espada, coach of the Astros.
Matt Habel has started beating the mustache drum for Corky Miller.
So there you have it Nation. The collective wisdom of our authors. How would you answer these questions? And no waffling.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. Contemporary Reds thrills: witnessing Jay Bruce’s 2010 homer and Homer Bailey’s 2013 no-hitter in person. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 280 characters about the Reds is Redleg Nation, although you can follow his tweets @spmancuso.