Our buddy Justin has posted a very optimistic take on the 2009 Reds over at The Hardball Times. An excerpt:

When Rally published his NL Central projections last month, he had the Reds one game over .500. The Hardball Times Preview’s projections had them one game under .500. The consensus is that the defense (pitching and fielding) looks very promising, while the offense is probably a bit below average.

With the estimates I came up with here of 759 runs scored and 709 runs allowed, and plugging them into the pythagoran formula, I’m getting an overall expected winning percentage of .534. That would make them 86-75, and surprise contenders in the NL Central.

Wow. I’d take that in a heartbeat.

Methinks Justin is overrating the offense, but I’m not going to quibble. We’re barely a week away from Opening Day; I’m in the mood to be optimistic right now.

You really should go ready the entire piece at THT, plus the comments and methodology that Justin posted at his blog.

7 Responses

  1. nycredsfan

    As much as I’d like to, I just can’t see 86 wins. I’m hopeful of a .500 season, but I’m not even counting on that at this point. There are way too many question marks and areas of potential disaster to count on it.

    Having said that, this team will be frustrating to watch at times, but should be interesting to watch too and at least there are some good stories to keep an eye on with all of the young players from AA to the big club.

  2. Y-City Jim

    Making up Dunn’s 40 HRs, 100 runs scored, and 100 rbis will be extremely hard to do plus this team still lacks the ability to get runners on base. If the pitching and defense is very good, they might get to the 70’s in wins.

    Speaking of defense, Hairston was a train wreck at SS today.

  3. per14

    Replacing Dunn’s offense will be difficult. But there is a flip side to that coin: as Justin points out, Bako, Patterson, and Keppinger got 20% of the team’s PAs (which is astounding when you think about it), and their offensive production ranged from historically awful to marginally mediocore. Replacing their ABs with even replacement level production will be a huge improvement. Now, granted, the jury is still out on whether that can be done but there are reasons to believe that it can. Moreover, we can and should expect improvement from Votto, Bruce, and EdE. Combine that with remarkably improved defense in the OF, and I think 81-86 wins are possible.

  4. preach

    Drop Brandon to 5 or 6 and put EE in the cleanup spot and Phillips improves as well. While I whole heartedly agree with the conclusion that our outfield defense will be much stronger, I have to admit that Bako and Patterson are much better defenders than Hernandez and Taveras. With that being said, the key to our success this season rides with our short stop position. If Gonzo is healthy, than the defense is improved in the middle from last year and the offense should struggle less. If that is the case, and I know that is a big IF, than with the improved bats up the middle, and a better performance by our core (Bruce, Votto, Phillips), perhaps we can replace much of what we lost in Dunn and Griffey offensively. You gotta love the rotation (heck, we may have the best fifth starter and long man in the majors by the time the season starts), our bullpen is pretty much the same from last year (which I have no real complaints about), our defense should be much better. If we can add to our obp from last year, we might be in this for a while.

  5. Sultan of Swaff

    Right on, Per14. Replacing those ABs w/ compentant major leaguers will be a huge first step. Watching last year, it was almost as if I could take a half hour off from the game because you’d have Bako, the pitcher, and Patterson. No chance of missing anything good happening. So often the middle of the lineup hitters would get on and there was no one to drive them in. You bet opposing pitchers were working around the meat of our lineup in tight spots. 86 wins is within the realm of possibility, but I’d only give it a 15% chance.

  6. GregD

    That 709 runs allowed estimate is the big wild card.

    From the pitching. I could see a repeat of last year when they allowed 800 runs:
    Harang 4.78era
    Volquez 2nd half 4.60era
    Arroyo 4.77era
    Cueto 4.81era

    or a repeat of these guys numbers from a couple of years ago (minors for Cueto, overall 2008 for Volquez):
    Harang 3.73era
    Volquez 3.21era
    Arroyo 4.23era
    Cueto 3.28era