Way back at the beginning of this fateful season, when some of us were convinced the Reds could sneak into the playoffs, I decided to make some predictions. My crystal ball was full of optimism, hopeful that young players could step forward and that the front office would do something, anything that made sense. I have since been reminded to never, ever be optimistic when regarding the Reds.
Of my 23 predictions, I got two right…kinda. Like if you really, really squint. But hey, two for 23 is nearly 10 percent, which is higher than Jose Peraza’s walk rate so there are small victories. Let’s revisit and look forward shall we:
Predictions Made (with present commentary in parentheses):
- Reds win 15 of their first 20 games…. (Oh, uh, well about that. 3-18 is nearly the inverse of 15-5, so maybe I was onto something? The tarot cards were just upside down? I’ll recalibrate next year, I swear.)
- ….but then quickly lose 22 of their next 30. (This sounds more like the Reds we know and love. And in reality, they went 14-16 instead of 8-22! I always love when the Redlegs exceed expectations.)
- Tyler Mahle emerges as the Reds’ ace by the All Star break, with 9+ wins and a sub-3.00 ERA. (At the All Star Break, Mahle was 7-7 with a 4.02 ERA, which isn’t quite what I was hoping for but is close to it. As for staff ace, if your definition of ace is relative, then sure, it was Mahle. Luis Castillo and Sal Romano had struggled. Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani were mostly hurt. Amir Garrett was in the bullpen. Matt Harvey was newly a Red. This feels like a Pyrrhic victory though.)
- Amir Garrett resents Mahle’s emergence and demolishes the competition post break, with the Reds winning every single one of his post-break starts. (This one makes me too sad to revisit.)
- Four Reds are named to the All-Star team, none of them named Joey Votto sadly 🙁 (Three Reds were named to the team, and one was Joey Votto! Scooter Gennett got his much-deserved nod with a late-game homer to boot, and Eugenio Suarez nudged some of the best third basemen in the game for his bid.)
- Luis Castillo doesn’t reach the absurd projections assigned to him, but quietly becomes the most dependable pitcher on staff. Finishes season with 150 IP, 225 Ks, and a 3.20 FIP. (This prediction feels like a bad version of Two Truths and a Lie, except Two Lies and a Truth. Yes, Castillo didn’t meet the absurd projections assigned to him. No, he didn’t become the most dependable nor did he finish near those numbers I projected. Currently, he has 161.1 IP, 160 K, and 4.41 FIP.)
- In three combined starts against the Reds, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner cede 22+ runs. They represent the two pitcher’s three worst starts of the season. (Clayton Kershaw vs. Reds: 0 GS; Madison Bumgarner vs. Reds: 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Take that MadBum!)
- Raisel Iglesias records 125+ strikeouts in his first full season as closer. (Nope, not even close. Iglesias has 72 K’s in 66.2 IP.)
- Three weeks into the season, Eugenio Suarez will have more steals than Billy Hamilton. (Over the entirety of 2018, Eugenio Suarez has stolen one base. In the first three weeks, he stole zero bases. Billy Hamilton stole four bases those first three weeks and has 31 on the season. This was a stupid bet to make.)
- Scooter Gennett will hit less than four home runs over the course of the season but will have a four double game. (Dear Scooter fans — I am sorry for doubting you. Your folk hero is indeed a competent hitter and has proven me wrong time and time again. I do still think it is silly to extend him, but Scooter is good. Best, Wes)
- Nick Senzel will receive Rookie of the Year consideration despite really only playing half a season. (So many of these predictions make me sad. So, so sad.)
- The rotation at the end of the season will be Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Amir Garrett, Sal Romano. (Roster limbo, rotation, hurt, bullpen, bullpen. This was such a tough year for Reds pitchers. Just such an unfortunate year.)
- The Reds finish 80-82, better than pretty much anyone expected. (Let me check the math…yeah, nope not going to happen. Maybe next year, I guess.)
Joey Votto Predictions:
- Joey Votto has three 40+ on base streaks over the course of the season. (The longest streak Joey manages is 20 games, followed by 16 and 15 game streaks. All impressive, but not even close to three 40 game efforts.)
- Joey Votto will anger at least one prominent fan from the Cardinals, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and surprisingly, Marlins. (The Marlins have fans?) (Joey made a Philly fan mad by not letting him get a foul ball! None of the other teams though sadly.)
- Joey Votto will hit more homers than Aaron Judge. (Despite missing about 40 games with a broken thumb, Aaron Judge has still hit 26 home runs. Also, Jose Peraza has more homers than Votto does. Weird year, that 2018.)
- Joey Votto will throw a pitch for the Reds during a ridiculous 20+ inning affair in late July or early August. (Nope, but so many other position players did! Including Alex Blandino and Brandon Dixon, who performed better than most of the Reds bullpen!)
- Joey Votto will record the highest WAR of his career ( > 7.5) (It was a down year for Votto, but he’s still the best and still better than so many other baseball players so it’ll all be okay.)
Front Office Predictions:
- Adam Duvall will have another near-All Star first half before being traded to the Phillies who have had a surprisingly strong season. (Hey! HEY! I basically got this one right! You have to ignore the near-All Star first half and substitute the other surprising NL East team from Atlanta, but I got really close!)
- Nick Senzel will be called up for good on June 3. (Again, it’s been a sad year.)
- Shed Long takes over 2B, pushing ROY-contender Nick Senzel to short by early August. Shed Long never relinquishes the position and Jose Peraza is sent to AAA for good. (Not really sure what I was thinking here. Absolutely none of this prediction made any sort of sense, except maybe Nick Senzel being forced to switch positions.)
- Devin Mesoraco will be traded to a fringe contender long before the July 31 deadline in exchange for a top-50 prospect and a throw in. (Fringe contender — The Mets were good at the time, so yes. Long before July 31 — Mes was traded on May 8, so yes. Top-50 prospect and a throw-in — In the cleanest sense of the prediction, I was wrong. BUT! Matt Harvey was once a top-50 prospect and definitely counted as a throw-in at the time of the trade, so I’m putting this one in the right column on all counts.)
- Bryan Price will be let go at season’s end. (The Reds season ended in April, so there’s an argument to be made here. I won’t make it, but I’m just saying.)
It’s been a long slog from those initial predictions to now, with too many injuries and too little joy in the middle. But I’ve loved doing this Regularly Scheduled Rain Delay for a second season and having you all participate so intelligently every other week. Until 2019 then.
BIG MOOD pic.twitter.com/Zi3Nppo0zY
— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) May 11, 2018
Sike, not done with me yet. We still have to settle the small matter of Author Views. Despite Matt making a valiant challenge right at the end, there was one clear winner in this fight: Me. I look forward to the grudge match in year three, with both Matt and I taking a title. Need to have something to compete for in 2019, right?
Oh, and on the small matter of my fantasy baseball team: The Kangaroo Court Fees ended up 1-20 on the season, finishing last in the league again. As I said, 2018 was a sad, sad year.