One of my favorite things about spring training is that everything is potential. As Nick Kirby pointed out recently, you know some team will make a leap, but you don’t know which team. So why not the Reds?
In my own nerdy way, I always think it’s fun to do a “best-case scenario” look at the season. That is, what if everything goes like we want it to?
Billy Hamilton – .270/.340/.360, 5.0 WAR
This is the dream with Hamilton, right? An above-average on-base percentage to go along with his amazing speed and defense make him perfectly suited to leadoff.
Jesse Winker – .300/.360/.450, 3.5 WAR
In this scenario, Winker forces his way onto the team reasonably early in the season. Bryan Price has at least made it clear that this is a possibility. Winker would slot nicely between Votto and Hamilton and I’d be shocked if he didn’t beat everyone on the team except Votto in OBP.
Joey Votto – .330/.460/.570, 7.0 WAR
What’s scary is that this doesn’t even feel like an especially optimistic projection. I mean, it IS optimistic, but, well, let me put it this way: In his last 502 plate appearances last year (enough to qualify for the batting title), Votto hit .367/.466/.616. Them’s MVP numbers, ma.
Adam Duvall/Scott Schebler – .260/.310/.500, 3.5 WAR (combined)
My official opinion is and will continue to be that Winker is a better bet than either Duvall or Schebler. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t imagine one or both of them still having very good years.
Devin Mesoraco – .270/.350/.500, 4.5 WAR
I can’t quite bring myself to put Mes back to his previous levels — even in a best-case scenario piece — but this is close. The Reds have seemed optimistic about Mes in a way they weren’t about Homer, so I’m starting to have real hope that he’ll come back. If he does and he’s good, well. That’d be something.
Eugenio Suarez – .280/.340/.470, 5.0 WAR
I’m already on record more than once saying that I expect big things from Suarez. His defense was getting quite good by the end of last season and he hit well in the second half. Third is a loaded position right now, so he’s probably going to look less stellar when compared with others at third, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be an excellent player.
Dilson Herrera – .280/.340/.430 3.0 WAR
In this scenario, Zack Cozart is traded and Herrera gets the second base job while Peraza slides over to shortstop. Ignore Herrera’s major league stats, which amount to a couple of cups of coffee several years ago when he was even younger than he is now. Instead, look at his minor league numbers and you’ll find someone with good plate discipline and bit of pop to go with it.
Jose Peraza – .300/.330/.400 3.0 WAR
We’ve seen a decent bit of Peraza in Cincinnati already. If you want to see what I think of him, you should take a good look at what I wrote Monday. Peraza has the potential to be a lot of fun to watch.
Anthony DeSclafani – 3.10 ERA, 200 IP, 4.0 WAR
Brandon Finnegan – 3.50 ERA, 200 IP, 3.0 WAR
I’m going to write about Disco and Finnegan together. Basically, in a best-case scenario, both players continue to progress as we saw them progress last year.
Amir Garrett – 3.20 ERA, 170 IP, 3.5 WAR
As with Winker, I’m assuming that Garrett forces his way onto the team. I am a huge believer in Amir Garrett. I think he’s the most likely of the pitching prospects to have a substantial major league career. Here’s the key: you need to watch his change up as spring progresses. If it’s working, there’s not much that can get in his way.
Homer Bailey – 3.00 ERA, 100 IP, 2.0 WAR
Homer comes back right on schedule, and pitches well. Doesn’t get more best-case than that.
Other Starters – 150 IP, 1.0 WAR
Even in a best-case scenario this team is gonna need a spot starter here and there.
With Michael Lorenzen, Raisel Iglesias, Drew Storen and a demoted-to-the-pen Scott Feldman (remember, this is the best-case scenario), the Reds have a good bullpen that should take care of the many leads they are handed by the rotation.
This isn’t real. Of course it isn’t. The odds of this happening are very slim. However, for each player, the projection is simply at the upper-end of what they are capable of. This team, if it were to happen, would give the Cubs a run for their money and, you know, that would be pretty fun.