I’ve started work on my 2010 Reds player projections. After finishing with my projected offensive starters, I decided to put a lineup through the baseball musings lineup tool to peek at the starters’ potential production. My starting lineup does include Paul Janish at shortstop, but has him batting 8th: Stubbs, Dickerson, Votto, Rolen, Bruce, Phillips, Hanigan/Hernandez, and Janish.

That lineup projects to score 771 runs over a full season, which would have ranked 6th in the NL last year.

2009 rank Runs Scored
NL 1st 820
NL Avg 718
Cin 673
NL 16th 636

Obviously, the starting lineup won’t play together for 162 games, and I still need to create projections for the bench players and playing time estimates for everyone. Looking at last year’s NL Central, everyone went through a lot of lineups. Pitchers were ignored in the following summary:

Team Batting Orders Runs
Brewers 109 785
Cardinals 126 730
Cubs 131 707
Reds 130 673
Astros 102 643
Pirates 121 636

I see no correlation between the two columns. In fact, the Astros used the lowest number of batting orders and scored 30 runs fewer than the Reds and 140 fewer than the Brewers. The Cubs used 131 different batting orders, yet scored 34 more runs than the Reds.

So, how will the bench and minor league players contribute? Most of us are optimistic about the organization’s top minor league prospects like Frazier, Alonso, etc. It is also worth noting that most of the expected bench players also have a promising minor league profile, as seen in this table of career minor league statistics.

Adam Rosales .289 .364 .491 .855
Drew Sutton .280 .378 .442 .820
Wladimir Balentien .273 .345 .526 .871
Juan Francisco .281 .311 .482 .793

Rosales, Sutton, and Balentien all have minor league careers on par or even better than that of highly touted Juan Francisco. If the pitching and defense holds or improves upon its performance last year (723 runs allowed), this could well be the Reds first winning season in a decade.