The Reds currently have a 0.5% chance of winning the NL Central according to Fangraphs Playoff Odds. They are 7.0 games behind the consensus favorite St. Louis Cardinals. While being 7.0 games back on May 5th is certainly not insurmountable, it is highly unlikely. Sure, the Brewers had a 6.5 game lead on July 1st of last season, but the Cardinals aren’t the Brewers, and the Reds certainly aren’t the Cardinals team that was chasing the Brewers last season.
The Reds odds of getting a wild card spot are still only 2.2%, but attaining one of those two spots is much more possible than winning the division. The Reds are currently just 1.0 game out of the second wild card spot. The two teams holding the wild card spots are the Cubs and Padres.
For the Reds to have any chance at a postseason spot, it simply comes down to health. The Reds starting 8 position players (and I’m including Brayan Pena in this because I have seen zero reason to believe Devin Mesoraco will return any time soon) certainly have their flaws as a collective group, but there is no doubt they are much better than their possible replacements. The Reds bench is really bad. Any injuries to any of the Reds starting 8 position players, and it would be really difficult to see this team competing. Cueto, Leake, and DeSclafani have to stay healthy too. There is just simply no replacement for any of those guys right now.
As far as production goes, I think for the most part what you see is what you will get. I don’t see Votto, Bruce, Phillips, Hamilton, Frazier, or Pena really fluctuating all that much on what they have done so far in 2015. Cozart will come crashing back down, but hopefully Byrd can get back towards his preseason projections (and that could be an almost even switch).
As far as the rotation, we pretty much know what we will get from Cueto and Leake. DeSclafani will almost assuredly come back down, but he shows promise of being a solid SP. The big thing will be those last two rotation spots. We don’t really know how Michael Lorenzen can pitch at the MLB level. If he can be somewhat successful, that would be big for the Reds. Jason Marquis is probably as bad as his 5.22 ERA indicates. The Reds success out of the #5 rotation spot will really be dictated on how much stubbornness the Reds masterminds have with Marquis, and not bringing up Raisel Iglesias to at least give the Reds a chance.
With the bullpen, it pretty much it was it is. The Reds need to use Cingrani in more high leverage situations, and use the Cuban Missile more like I suggested back in March.
I don’t know if I actually believe this team has any real shot. It is hard to believe the Reds could be better at seasons end than one of the Cardinals, Nationals, Dodgers, Pirates, or Cubs/Padres. You just never really know though. It is baseball, a lot of crazy things happen in this game.
…..but that is just my ramblings about the Reds on this Tuesday afternoon. What do you think about the Reds realistic chances of making the postseason?