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Can you smell it? Can you smell the fresh cut grass, the hot dogs sizzling on their grills, the dirt rubbing against the newly minted leather? Can you hear the mowers whirring, the organ starting up, the smack of the ball against the bullpen catcher’s mitt? Or can you just feel it in your core, no matter where you are, that sunny spring days are coming to Cincinnati and that BASEBALL IS BACK, BABY.

I, for one, am giddy.

If you followed this column at all last year, you know it was filled with random games and gimmicks and probably way too many tweets. Well this year will be a little different because your Regularly Scheduled Rain Delay isn’t interested in distracting from the on-field product, but amplifying it this time around. The Reds are finally — FINALLY  — worth devoting hours of energy and attention to again, and that must be recognized.

All of that being said, this first issue, Volume 1 of the 2018 Regularly Scheduled Rain Delay if you will, will adhere closely to the column’s roots. There will be no deep-diving analysis, no player profiles, no righteous indignation at the front office for doing X when they should’ve done Y and how could they ever be so Z?!?!

No, there will be none of that. Because here, in this first volume of 2018, I will attempt to draw a roadmap for the rest of the Reds’ season, predicting the most unpredictable sport for the best team in the whole dang world.

General Predictions:

  • Reds win 15 of their first 20 games….
  • ….but then quickly lose 22 of their next 30.
  • Tyler Mahle emerges as the Reds’ ace by the All Star break, with 9+ wins and a sub-3.00 ERA.
  • Amir Garrett resents Mahle’s emergence and demolishes the competition post break, with the Reds winning every single one of his post-break starts.
  • Four Reds are named to the All-Star team, none of them named Joey Votto sadly 🙁
  • Luis Castillo doesn’t reach the absurd projections assigned to him, but quietly becomes the most dependable pitcher on staff. Finishes season with 150 IP, 225 Ks, and a 3.20 FIP.
  • In three combined starts against the Reds, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner cede 22+ runs. They represent the two pitcher’s three worst starts of the season.
  • Raisel Iglesias records 125+ strikeouts in his first full season as closer.
  • Three weeks into the season, Eugenio Suarez will have more steals than Billy Hamilton.
  • Scooter Gennett will hit less than four home runs over the course of the season but will have a four double game.
  • Nick Senzel will receive Rookie of the Year consideration despite really only playing half a season.
  • The rotation at the end of the season will be Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Amir Garrett, Sal Romano.
  • The Reds finish 80-82, better than pretty much anyone expected.

Joey Votto Predictions:

  • Joey Votto has three 40+ on base streaks over the course of the season.
  • Joey Votto will anger at least one prominent fan from the Cardinals, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and surprisingly, Marlins. (The Marlins have fans?)
  • Joey Votto will hit more homers than Aaron Judge.
  • Joey Votto will throw a pitch for the Reds during a ridiculous 20+ inning affair in late July or early August.
  • Joey Votto will record the highest WAR of his career ( > 7.5)

Front Office Predictions:

  • Adam Duvall will have another near-All Star first half before being traded to the Phillies who have had a surprisingly strong season.
  • Nick Senzel will be called up for good on June 3.
  • Shed Long takes over 2B, pushing ROY-contender Nick Senzel to short by early August. Shed Long never relinquishes the position and Jose Peraza is sent to AAA for good.
  • Devin Mesoraco will be traded to a fringe contender long before the July 31 deadline in exchange for a top-50 prospect and a throw in.
  • Bryan Price will be let go at season’s end.

Well that’s it everyone. You don’t even need to watch the games anymore; you’ve got the scoop. Happy you didn’t drop all that money on MLB.tv now, right?

Odds are, most of these predictions will be wrong. I mean, just look at my March Madness bracket: Virginia was going to win it all! (Sorry Chad. We’re all really, very, truly sorry.) But it’s a new season and nothing matters anyway because Reds baseball is back and the Cardinals still have yet to win a game.

Scouting Report:

So I won’t be doing the Kangaroo Court Fees segment from last year again because this is a season of optimism and fining all of these new guys for trying their best seems Scrooge-esque. Also, I actually accomplished most of the fines I put on myself in the last Rain Delay column, so setting myself up for more goals sounds like just too much work.

What will be sticking around though is this Scouting Report section, where I forcibly make you all care about both my dynasty fantasy team and my narcissistic quest to be the most viewed Redleg Nation author.

Some updates and refreshers:

Last season, my fantasy team — Kangaroo Court Fees — went 4-17 and finished last in the league. While that makes it sound like my team is in a sorry state, which it is, it also means that I landed Shohei Ohtani in our offseason waiver draft. It’s not much, but the Japanese Babe Ruth has to be a start right? Anyway, here’s my current team going into year 3 of a five-year dynasty league, suggestions appreciated:

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As for authorial views, I finished sixth at season’s end, falling 7,000 views behind Matt Wilkes, and many, many views behind Chad, Steve, Nick, and Jason. This year, I will be coming back with a vengeance, writing content that you people actually want, and still probably finishing five or six. What can I say, I know my place. The current standings:

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Well….I’ve got a lot of work to do. BUT, get used to looking up Matt Wilkes.

If you have any predictions of your own or any future column suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter. I’m a man of a people now. Narcissistic, maybe, but of the people. You lovely, adoring internet people.

8 Responses

  1. Kap

    I am a big Mahle fan. He has done everything he could throughout his minor league career, his cup of coffee last year, and this spring to justify his ceiling so far. However, his ceiling is that of a #3 starter, which is still good. Castillo is more than likely an ace or a good #2 starter. Who do you slot in between those two. More on that later………… (like 9 or 10 months from now)

    I would like Mez shopped at the trade deadline, if he is/remains healthy (and that’s a big if). Trade Duvall if the package is worth it, otherwise it’s kinda pointless. I don’t see Shed Long making the majors this year. Next year for sure.

    Otherwise, I like what you wrote here. My 2018 record Prediction: 76-86 (trending upwards is what matters)

  2. bouwills

    Last year the Reds broke camp with a 4 man rotation of Feldman, Finnegan, Garrett, & R. Davis with 5th starter B. Arroyo to join team as needed. Finnegan injured & replaced with Adleman after 2 starts. This years rotation won’t be quite as volatile but predicting the Reds record 1 game at a time? Got a coin to toss?

  3. Matt Wilkes

    “Well….I’ve got a lot of work to do. BUT, get used to looking up Matt Wilkes.”

    Oh, it’s on!

  4. Streamer88

    August will be interesting. Mahle went 160 innings last year, so 180 this year. Garrett prolly in a 140 innings limit. Finnegan 140. Romano 160. Homer? Lol, Disco?

    Imagine a (crazy) scenario where we’re 72-64 but we have no MLB starters with innings left! If Bob Steve has 120 innings by then at AAA… is he the guy?

    • Streamer88

      It’s an interesting conundrum because throttling innings carefully throughout the year may cost us wins (Jackson Stephens up for spot start via 10 day DL a la Dodgers “arm fatigue” game played last year), yet may allow pitchers to get into September. Will be interesting to watch.

  5. Jack

    If Billy gets 350+ at bats they will finish 72-90. If Winker gets 550 at bats they will finish 84-78.

  6. Chad Dotson

    Really hoping Blandino sticks as the backup at SS (and elsewhere around the infield). He’s infinitely better than Cliff Pennington, at the plate anyway.

  7. Sandman

    I find it a little funny that you basically predict the reds to be 23-27 thru the first 50 games of the season (which puts them on pace for a 75-87 season) then predict they will finish 80-82.

    It’s not unreasonable (certainly doable). It’s just something that stood out to this little ol brain of mine.😊