Fangraphs Dan Szymborski, the cat loving and ZiPS maestro has written his elegy for the 2019 Cincinnati Reds. He goes into what the Reds plan was heading into the year, and where it went wrong. But for me the most interesting part of the elegy was actually when he began to talk about the 2020 team.

Based on current rosters and assumptions, ZiPS projects the Reds to be in the 82-85 win territory.

On paper, the squad in Cincinnati is kind of in that “if everything goes right they could contend for a wild card” range. And that’s before the offseason takes place. The Reds have noted that they are raising payroll, though the haven’t specified to what extent that expansion will be. They should have plenty of money to spend in the offseason if they do most of the things expected of them when it comes to who they will tender contracts to for 2020.

There’s still a decent amount of talent that would need to be added to get from that projection to where they’d need to be, at least on paper, to be a true playoff contender with normal error bars. But it’s a good starting point as the team heads into the offseason with plenty of money to spend.

So long wonderful view from the press box

The Cincinnati Reds are moving their press box. For the longest time the press box in every stadium was located behind home plate. In some places it’s been higher up in the stands than others, but behind home plate is where it was. But that started to change at the Major League level in 2007 when the Chicago White Sox renovation of what is now Guaranteed Rate Field moved the press box to a spot down the right field line.

The Baseball Writers Association of America wasn’t thrilled about it, and then commissioner Bud Selig told them that no other team would be allowed to do that moving forward. Oops. As noted by Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports, the Angels, Blue Jays and “a couple of others” have moved their press box since. And the Reds are now right there with them. In place of the old press box there will be premium seating in what they are calling The Press Club, which as they describe it, will include “unparalleled views of the action while enjoying first-class dining, service, and amenities. Those amenities listed are all-inclusive food and beverages, fully-stocked bar, upscale food, in-seat service, and access to a private locker for personal liquor/wine storage for use during games. Sounds fancy. And expensive.

The press box is being moved down the left field line on the suite level. The radio and tv booths will remain behind the plate. That’s going to make for a fun walk for the beat writers in the second inning when they make their radio appearance. Whoever it happens to be that day, good luck not missing the start of the next inning before getting back to your seat.

What the new hitting coach hire and promotion could mean for the Reds farm system

On Thursday the Cincinnati Reds announced that they had hired Alan Zinter as the new hitting coach at the big league level. They also promoted Donnie Ecker from assistant hitting coach to assistant hitting coach and director of hitting.

Over at RedsMinorLeagues.com I went in depth on what that could mean for the farm system. But there’s also a lot in there from Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams on the move and what it means for the entire organization. I wrote a lot of words about it all – some good, and some not so good.

You could go work for the Reds….

The Cincinnati Reds have posted plenty of jobs that are available in the organization. There are eight total listings. Some of them are based in Cincinnati, but one of them is in Arizona at the spring training/rookie level complex. Others have a yet to be determined location at a minor league affiliate.

  • Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coach. Location to be determined.
  • Certified Athletic Trainer. Location to be determined.
  • Baseball Analytics Trainee.
  • Data Scientist.
  • Coordinator of Minor League Nutrition.
  • Sports Science Intern. Location in Goodyear, Arizona.
  • Baseball Research Analyst.
  • DevOps Engineer.

Good luck.

16 Responses

  1. Sliotar

    Good for Szymborski that someone pays to use his system…that’s what makes America great.

    However, the flaws in his system (all have them, programmer bias, coding error, whatever) are noticeable. It’s like injuries or age don’t play a realistic role.

    Votto – 0.7 WAR in 2019 … ZIPS projects him at 3.2 WAR in 2020 (4.1 for 2019)
    Senzel – 0.7 WAR in 2019…ZIPS projected him at 2.0 in 2019, 2.0 for 2020, 2.0 for 2021

    https://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=4314&position=1B

    There’s around 4 more wins, add in another by ZIPS from Winker, etc. and you can see where the over-80 projection comes from.

    Hard to believe, though, that the Reds wouldn’t use their own data and account for an aging player and 2 promising, yet still unproven guys, coming off season-ending injuries.

    • Frank

      Hard to believe that your complaint here is that basically ZiPS isn’t perfect so we should not pay attention to it at all.

      • Sliotar

        Thanks for the “hot take” reply.

        It took 90+ wins to win the NL Central each of the last 2 years, the Wild Cards rarely make it to the World Series….

        and 3 other division teams have made the playoffs recently and probably think they are in 2020.

        I hope the Reds front office and analytics department take projecting wins more serious than some of their fans do.

      • Lockersocks79

        @Sliotar

        I don’t have much to add to your post, just wanted to point out that wild card teams do fare well in the playoffs:

        Since 1995 there’s been 50 wild card teams beyond the wild card playoff game.

        -50 wild card teams
        -25 played the league championship series
        -13 made it to the World Series (accounting for 26% of teams)
        -6 have won the World Series with the nationals currently knocking on the door. That’s good for a 25% cut of all titles.

        If all playoff teams had an equal chance on winning the world series and given that there have been 25 seasons and 200 playoff teams, the wild card teams should have won only 12.5% at best. And that’s not factoring in how strong other teams are compared to them.

  2. Colorado Red

    Wonder what the data scientist involves?

    • Michael Smith

      Neal Degrasse Tyson but an android

  3. jcaf7804

    Does this mean the Reds need to come up with another 10-12 WAR to seriously be in contention…based on an 80 win season projection? That’s quite the hurdle unless I’m off base.

    • Doug Gray

      Yes/no. We don’t know the exact projections for the other teams. When the 2019 season was set to begin the Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers were projected for 87, 86, and 85 wins each.

      I’d say it’s probably fair to say that 87-90 is the target, if you’re building off of a projection model. So the Reds need to try to find somewhere in that 5-10 range depending on exactly where you fall on things.

      With the amount of money they have to spend, they should be able to find at least somewhere in that middle range of wins. Maybe it takes trades (and the money involved to pay the salary of someone they trade for) to get it done, too. But, on paper, they should be able to get to the “projection” area based on what they have.

      Executing the plan to get that, and then having the season play out as expected – those things are quite different. The front office has the ability to control the execution of the plan. But once the games start, injuries, luck – those things come into play and can alter everything (sometimes for you, or sometimes against you). Tougher to plan around that stuff.

  4. vegastypo

    I’m still laughing that they’re calling it the Press Club when the “press” is being moved out. Lovely.

    Reminds me of a cartoon I once saw where two guys are on bulldozers, and one is asking the other what they’re making room for. The other guy says something like, “When we get rid of all these trees, they’re going to build Forest View Mall.”

    • IndyRedsFan

      Sad to say, but I saw a real life version of that cartoon play out here in Indy about 20 years ago. On my way to and from work, I watched 3 to 4 acres of trees along the interstate get taken down. The sign out front….”Coming Soon, Woodlands Office Park”.

      When it was done, they had left one tree.

  5. GreatRedLegsFan

    Watching at the WS teams rosters, I’d say it’ll take a ton for the Reds to improve offensive up to a decent competitive level, good luck!

  6. TR

    Are the early projectors predicting at least a .500 record for next year?

  7. Lockersocks79

    A lot can change with trades over this off season, but here’s my best case outlook:

    -Castillo, Gray, Bauer and disco rank in the top 5 rotations in baseball.

    -R. Iglesias bounces back and with Lorenzo and Garrett the bullpen also ranks in the top 10 in baseball.

    -Votto rebounds and hits .300 with 20 hrs.

    -the offense is average to slightly above average at best. Aquino has some regression and strikes out 200 plus times hitting 250ish while hitting 30 hrs.

    -The young core do exactly what they did last year with only exception being Ervin who nearly misses being an all star with a .280 average and close to 30 hrs for the season.

    -Suarez hits .290 with 40 hrs.

    -The he team becomes a dark horse that will be near the top of the division battling only st Louis for the division title.

    -Reds 2nd place 88-74 possible wild card.

    This all changes if the Reds pick up a few good relievers and Rendon.

    But the wheels fall off the bus if the Reds do too little and anyone of the cards/cubs/brewers get Rendon/Cole

    • doofus

      Does Suarez strike out 200 times in 2020?

      • Lockersocks79

        It’s probably going to be in similar territory as the past three seasons, a strike out every 3-4 at bats. Hopefully he cuts down a bit but there’s still great value in guys like Suarez.

        Adam Dunn got a lot of criticism over his strike out rates but he contributed 100r/100rbi/40hr/100 walks every year and was very much undervalued at the time. Suarez is starting to put up similar numbers while playing the hot corner.

        I’d be thrilled if Suarez took it up a notch to mvp caliber play, but I’m also content with another 5 years of 2019ish stats

  8. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Predictions are always a shot in the dark.

    Like this past season, I thought the Reds would finish just under 500. With the perverbial “give/take”, that’s where they finished, 6 games under. But, I thought their offense would have been much better, and I didn’t expect their pitching to be that good. I don’t believe anyone would have expected that.

    For next year, as of now, if they don’t find anyone, I would expect about the same, but better offense and not so good pitching.

    How to get better, that’s the question. I believe we have the horses to do it, but they have to step up. For instance, Votto has to be Votto, not some “serviceable” IFer. Winker has to start hitting at his OBP he had in the minors. Senzel stated he believes he could hit 300 up here, like he did in the minors. Prove it. We have some guys who hit great in the minors. But, they need to do it up here.

    So, if we go get anyone new, it’s got to be for offense. Oh, sure, some pitchers could help, also. But, then, the FO is relying of people like Winker, Senzel, JVM, and Votto to step up. I believe they can; I seriously hope they do. But, I would rather have some higher OBP guys in there, some guys who I know we can count on to get a 350 OBP, because they have a history of having done it before.

    I don’t care about power in any new batters we get. I believe we have plenty of power. We need guys to get on base. The numbers? We hit something like 50+ more HR’s than last year, but we only scored something like 5 more runs. How that can be? People simply weren’t getting on base. With the 50+ HR’s, we should have probably have had at least 50+ more runs, not 5. I wonder what those 50+ additional runs would have meant as far as our record meant?