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.