We’ve dealt with the entire offense now, and it’s time to move to the pitching staff. Pitchers are always difficult because of the injury factor. For that very reason, I choose not to worry at all about injuries when projecting pitchers. I don’t know who will be healthy and who will be hurt, and so I won’t pretend I do. Instead, innings projections represent what we should expect from a pitcher given a full season.

I will start with Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos. Some would argue that Homer Bailey should be included here as well, and maybe he should, but I need to see just a little bit more form him first.

Johnny Cueto
2013: 60.2 IP, 7.6 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 2.82 ERA
2014 Projection: 215 IP, 7.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 2.80 ERA

2013 WAR: 0.6 (FanGraphs), 1.4 (BBRef)
2013 RA-9: 1.6
2014 Best Guesses: 3.5, 5.0, 5.0
2014 Floor: 3.0
2014 Ceiling: 7.0

Mat Latos

2013: 210.2 IP, 8.0 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 3.16 ERA
2014 Projection: 205 IP, 8.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 3.20 ERA

2013 WAR: 4.4 (FanGraphs), 3.8 (BBRef)
2013 RA-9: 3.9
2014 Best Guesses: 4.0, 4.0, 4.0
2014 Floor: 3.0
2014 Ceiling: 7.0

There is a lot to unpack there, but let me start with the “win” stats. There are, I think, three good methods for measuring pitcher value right now. The two versions of WAR you are likely familiar with. The last, RA-9 Wins, you may not have heard of. It is also a FanGraphs metric, but it gives the pitcher credit for some things that WAR thinks are just luck.

We don’t know nearly as much as we should about measuring pitcher value yet, and so I’ve chosen to include all three in the interest of providing a complete picture. I also need to highlight that the FanGraphs version of WAR doesn’t get Johnny Cueto and never has. A lot of this has to do with how Cueto completely shuts down the running game, but there are other factors.

What we have, rather luckily are two very similar pitchers. I have Cueto just a little better because he suppresses the running game so well and because, since making changes a few years ago, he’s been consistent in his ability to suppress home runs. I’ve also docked Latos just a touch because we know he’ll start the season at least a little late.

The great thing, though, is that it would be shocking if anything other than health kept these two from being really good and it’s very possible that one of them will make a run at the Cy Young award. The Reds strength is their pitching staff, and it starts in very good shape with these two.

Joey Votto
Brandon Phillips
Zack Cozart
Ryan Ludwick
Billy Hamilton
Jay Bruce
Todd Frazier
Devin Mesoraco
The Bench