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 catcherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t interested in distracting from the on-field product, but amplifying it this time around. The Reds are finally Ã¢â‚¬â€ FINALLY Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ 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 columnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s roots. There will be no deep-diving analysis, no player profiles, no righteous indignation at the front office for doing X when they shouldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ season, predicting the most unpredictable sport for the best team in the whole dang world.
- Reds win 15 of their first 20 gamesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
- Ã¢â‚¬Â¦.but then quickly lose 22 of their next 30.
- Tyler Mahle emerges as the RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ ace by the All Star break, with 9+ wins and a sub-3.00 ERA.
- Amir Garrett resents MahleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 pitcherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s end.
Well thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s it everyone. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even need to watch the games anymore; youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got the scoop. Happy you didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re all really, very, truly sorry.) But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a new season and nothing matters anyway because Reds baseball is back and the Cardinals still have yet to win a game.
So I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 Ã¢â‚¬â€ Kangaroo Court Fees Ã¢â‚¬â€ 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. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not much, but the Japanese Babe Ruth has to be a start right? Anyway, hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s my current team going into year 3 of a five-year dynasty league, suggestions appreciated:
As for authorial views, I finished sixth at seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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:
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. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a man of a people now. Narcissistic, maybe, but of the people. You lovely, adoring internet people.