We know you need answers about the upcoming Reds season, so our authors got together to offer a few. We also thought we’d change-up the standard package by asking a few unusual, but important, questions. We even ventured a couple semi-educated guesses about 2019.

Thanks to the 17 writers who had the time to participate: Jordan Barhorst, Nick Carrington, Ashley Davis, Nick Doran, Chad Dotson, Grant Freking, Chris Garber, Matt Habel, Wes Jenkins, Nick Kirby, Bill Lack, Clay Marshall, John Ring, Jackson Thurnquist, Jim Walker, Matt Wilkes and yours truly.

With Opening Day just two days away, let’s get started!

How many games will the Reds win this season? 

For context, the Reds won 64, 68 and 68 games the past three seasons. They won 99, 98, 108 and 102 games from 1973-76.

Our staff answers reflected universal optimism, in varying degrees. Predictions ranged from a high of 81 wins (Chad) to a low of 71 wins (Clay). The most common answers were 78 and 79, with four writers each. A cluster of picks around 74-75 rounded out the choices.

Who will win the 2018 National League pennant?

Every writer answered either the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals or Los Angeles Dodgers. The most common answer was the Dodgers (Nick C., Chris, Wes, Nick K., Bill, Steve, Clay and Jim). The Dusty-free Nationals received five endorsements. The Cubs got four. Let the record show that the stupid Cardinals got zero.

Who will win the 2018 World Series?

Our predictions have a decidedly American League tilt, with 12 of us choosing the junior circuit. Cleveland (Chad, John, Jackson, Jim and Matt W.) was the most common answer. Three writers (Nick K., Bill and Clay) picked the Yankees. Three more (Jordan, Ashley and Steve) chose the defending champion Houston Astros. On the NL side, three writers predicted the Dodgers and one (Nick D.) chose the Cubs. Grant picked the Nats. Matt H. went with the Red Sox.

Sports books have made the Astros and Yankees joint favorites.

Who will bat leadoff the most for the Reds in 2018?

Only two players received predictions: Billy Hamilton and Jesse Winker. 12 of our authors chose Hamilton, with varying degrees of regret. Five of us (Nick C., Chad, Nick K., Steve, Matt W.) went with our heart over our brains and picked Winker.

Winker

What Reds player is most likely to be traded during the season? 

The answers here were scattered. But each of the five players mentioned received at least two votes. The top pick to be traded, with five votes (Chris, Matt H., Steve, Clay and Jim) was Devin Mesoraco. Four people (Jordan, Wes, Jackson and Matt W.) chose Adam Duvall. Four others (Chad, Grant, Bill and John) chose Scooter Gennett. Raisel Iglesias and Billy Hamilton each received two votes. One person who thought Hamilton would be traded also thought he would lead off the most.

What Reds player will be the biggest surprise in 2018?

As you might imagine, there were a lot of different answers. Six of us chose a pitcher, leaving eleven of us picking position players. Of the latter group, five players received predictions: Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler (5), Jose Peraza, Devin Mesoraco (2) and Jesse Winker. Four pitchers — all starters — were chosen: Amir Garrett (2), Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle (2) and Homer Bailey. (The Mahle votes came in before last night’s game against Texas.)

So the most common prediction was Scott Schebler.

schebler

What Reds player will be the biggest disappointment in 2018?

You knew we had to ask. The replies were evenly divided among pitchers and position players. Only one player, Scooter Gennett, received three (Grant, Steve and Jackson). Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorenzen, Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza each were the choice of two writers. Individual votes were cast for Brandon Finnegan, Sal Romano, Tucker Barnhart and Adam Duvall.

Clearly, no consensus. Our pessimism was spread all over the roster.

What will the date be when Nick Senzel is called up?

You’ll be relieved to know we all chose dates from the 2018 season.

This was tough. Not only are there the service time considerations of team control and Super Two status, but Senzel doesn’t really have an obvious position to play right now. And the performances of Jose Peraza and Scooter Gennett, the two players he’d most likely replace, are hard to predict. If Peraza and Gennett are getting the job done, would the Reds rush Senzel up? How soon would the Reds bench Peraza or trade Gennett to make room?

Good luck with that, Dick Williams.

Senzel

Photo: Kareem Elgazzar, Cincinnati Enquirer

The earliest prediction for Senzel Day was April 14 (Clay) and the latest was September 1 (Jordan).

Many replies were clustered around late May to early June, presumably timed to coincide with the expiration of Super Two considerations. I guess this group thinks the Reds will find a place to play Senzel one way or the other. Keep in mind that the Super Two cutoff varies from year-to-year, and isn’t calculated until the season is over. Within this range you had May 28 (Nick D.) June 2 (Matt H.), June 3 (Wes), June 4 (Jackson), June 5 (Steve), June 6 (John and Bill) and June 9 (Matt W.). Chad picked May 13. I picked June 5 to coincide with the start of a home stand against the Rockies and Cardinals.

Other choices clustered around the All-Star Break. July 19 (Chris), July 20 (Nick C.) were examples of those. In retrospect, a prediction around the trade deadline might have made sense.

When Nick Senzel is called up, what position will he play? 

Nine people chose 2B, seven chose SS and one picked 3B.

Who will be the Reds starting pitcher on Opening Day 2019?

No one selected Hunter Greene. Then again

The overwhelming choice here was Luis Castillo, selected by 13 of us. Chris picked Anthony DeSclafani, Nick Kirby and Clay chose Homer Bailey. Jim Walker said it would be a pitcher not currently on the roster, so maybe that’s a sly vote for Greene after all.

Castillo

Who will be the Reds manager at the end of 2018?

Again, most of us (12) picked Bryan Price. Chad chose Buddy Bell. Three of us (Steve, Clay and John) picked Jim Riggleman. Jim Walker picked Riggleman or John Farrell.

Bell and Riggleman are coaches on Price’s staff. Farrell is the former Red Sox manager who was just hired by the Reds as a scout.

Who will be the Reds manager at the start of the 2019 season? 

It should be noted that these answers were submitted before Barry Larkin’s tacky campaign commercial for the job was posted.

Our answers reflect a lot of uncertainty.

First the inside candidates. Four writers stuck with Bryan Price (Jordan, Ashley, Nick K. and Jackson). Five of us (Nick D. Chad, Bill, Steve and Clay) chose Barry Larkin. Nick Carrington picked Farrell. Chris chose Riggleman.

A few of our writers felt the Reds would go outside the organization and out of character. Wes picked former Astros manager Bo Porter. Matt Wilkes likes former Yankee manager Joe Girardi for the job. Grant did a random Google search and came up with Chris Woodward, one of the LA Dodgers coaches. John Ring predicts Joe Espada, coach of the Astros.

Matt Habel has started beating the mustache drum for Corky Miller.

***

So there you have it Nation. The collective wisdom of our authors. How would you answer these questions? And no waffling.

23 Responses

  1. Ken

    Three picked Billy Hamilton to big the biggest disappointment? That says a ton, seeing how expectations are incredibly low to begin with. Maybe folks are expecting him to start betting on baseball or something?

  2. scottya

    18′ Reds Record 77-85; NL Pennant: Dodgers; World Champs Cleveland;
    Biggest Dissapointment: Jose Peraza.
    9/1/18 Nick Senzel call up date (& I don’t like it.)
    SS position Senzel will play when called up.
    19′ opening day starter: Luis Castillo.
    Brian Price will be the manager at the end of the year.
    Barry Larkin will be the manager on opening day of 19′.

    • scottya

      Side note: Mahle’s fastball was flat as a pancake last night. I was highly disappointed. His fastball earlier in spring training had really good movement. Hopefully he was only throwing a four seam fastball. Anyone else notice?

      • TomN

        He’s won at every level after an initial setback. I’m thinking he’ll ‘get it’ pretty soon. Seems to be a quick learner.

    • scottya

      I overlooked the biggest surprise: Scott Schebler with an ops north of .850 and war above 3.

  3. wkuchad

    who wants to fess up for picking Hamilton as biggest surprise? 🙂

    • scottya

      If Price will bat him left handed only and use him as a pinchrunner, late inning defensive replacement… I could see it happening = 2 war in about 400 ab’s. But that’s never going to happen so Nah.

  4. TomN

    18′ Reds Record 78-84; NL Pennant: Nationals; World Champs Astros;
    Biggest Disappointment: Jose Peraza.
    5/14/18 Nick Senzel call up date
    SS position Senzel will play when called up.
    19′ opening day starter: Luis Castillo.
    Bryan Price will be the manager at the end of the year.
    John Farrell will be the manager on opening day of 19′.

  5. David

    I am amused at the Scooter Gennett dislike generally visible here. He had a great Spring, and also hit lefties well. But no, let’s trade him. A great young pitcher for him, yet we NEED to trade him. Right. Because people expect him to tank, yet…we must trade him.

    I understand the need to play Senzel, but really.
    Wins could be 81-82 victories, if a lot goes right.
    I actually expect the pitching staff to look different on July 1 than it does now. Also the 25 man roster.

    I think Price will bat Billy 8th or 9th in the regular season, and Winker leads off, when he plays.

    Senzel plays 2nd base, but is then going to play SS when he comes up? of course, the ways of the Reds do mystify me.

    • Jim Walker

      The situation the Reds have with Senzel is not unlike the situation the Cubs faced with Kris Bryant 3 (or was it 4) years ago. Senzel will play nearly every day when he comes up because of his offense. Fortunately it looks like he is good enough defensively to play at least passably at several spots. Where he “ends up” may depend on how others progress, who the Reds can trade for the best return (exclusive of Suarez at this point) and the like.

  6. Tom Mitsoff

    I wish I wasn’t as pessimistic as I currently feel about this year. I know spring training results don’t mean anything, but when you have the worst record in the National League playing against teams that are also competing on the same basis (looking at talent, getting pitchers “ready”), in my mind that says something. If everyone’s on a level playing field and you’re last after five weeks of games …

    That being said, I think the bullpen will be better, and the starting pitching has to be better. Without looking up the stats, the Reds had the worst starting pitching in the bigs the past couple of years. This year, there are some teams like the Marlins and the Padres that you don’t have any idea who the heck they’ll be running out there on the mound.

    I think the biggest surprise will be Scott Schebler. He’ll hit for a much better average and even more power than last year.

    The bench will be surprising. Don’t forget that in each game, you’ll have two pinch-hitters available from a group of Mesoraco, Barnhart, Duvall, Hamilton, Winker and Schebler.

    There will be a Louisville shuttle on the pitching staff in the early weeks, as guys come off the disabled list. As I check the online roster at 4:53 p.m. Central time, none of the pitchers currently with the team show up as being on the DL. Almost certainly we’ll hear about DeSclafani and Lorenzen going there, with possibilities for Hernandez and Finnegan.

    Despite the pessimistic tone, I’m always pumped for the beginning of a new season. Because you never know until you actually play the games.

    • Jim Walker

      I feel the lack of depth is a real concern with the starting pitching. It can be spun a lot of ways; but, the fact that Stephenson and Reed are at AAA and Mahle is in Cincy says the organization has decided it is better served to burn Mahle’s service time at MLB in search of his ceiling than to see what either of the former two might develop into if given the ball every 5th day at the MLB level. Consider that Mahle has made a grand total of 14 AAA starts compared to ~40 for Stephenson and ~35 for Reed. The org’s apparent preference to use Amir Garrett(~25 AAA starts) out of the pen indicates they are about in the same place with him. So where is the immediate depth for this year and next wave?

  7. big5ed

    I predict David Ross as 2019 manager.
    Schebler the biggest surprise; Duvall the biggest disappointment.
    Senzel plays centerfield the most.

    • Bill

      David Ross is my pick too. If only t happens. Would like to see Brian Bannister as pitching coach.

  8. DRE

    I’m really hoping the Reds can win 71 this year but it will be tough. I’m hoping we can finish ahead of Pittsburgh. There’s literally zero chance of beating anyone else.

    • BigRedMike

      The Reds schedule may present a challenge, 63 games against the Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, and Indians. The Reds are likely at the same level as the Pirates, another 19 games.
      The Reds starting pitching appears to have some potential, but, there is downside there as well. Ramano, Garrett, and Mahle have not proven anything at this level, that is 3 of the 5. Bailey is a question as well.

  9. nicolecushing

    Reasons for optimism: no geriatric (or journeyman) free agents in the starting rotation, so at least Jason Marquis Syndrome has come to an end. Some positive free agent acquisitions in the bullpen. Winker and possibly Senzel may become factors at some point in the season. The much-vaunted “sorting process” may progress. Their interleague play schedule includes slightly more matchups against struggling teams than with dominant ones

    Reasons for pessimism: Billy Hamilton leading off. Billy Hamilton pushing thirty and possibly nearing (or already past) the peak of his trade value.While Castillo is solid, other pitchers on the staff are likely to be inconsistent. While the Reds have made improvements, these improvements are not enough to keep pace with those of their competitors in the division. They’ll get clobbered on a regular basis by the Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers. ,Outside of Joey Votto (and possibly an on-the-hot-seat Bryan Price), little sense of urgency to turn things around.

    Predictions: while the Reds are moving in the right direction, other teams in the division (and out of it) are moving in even BETTER directions. Success is a moving target and “not sucking quite as much” is unlikely to yield significant results in this environment. Look for a fourth or fifth place finish, with the only glory coming in seeing the hated Pirates in the cellar. Final record: 72-90. Bryan Price ousted at the end of the season. John Farrell replaces him.

  10. Jeff Reed

    The only solid starting pitcher capable of throwing a complete game is Luis Castillo. The rest of the starting staff will more than likely need relief help by the 4th. or 5th. inning which will exhaust the relief corps by mid-July. The leadoff position has not been clarified by Price so I’m sure Hamilton will be leading off in at least 75% of the games. I also doubt Winker will be a regular in the lineup. The Reds will avoid 90 losses by winning 73 games. Price will be let go at the All Star break and replaced by Riggleman on an interim basis. I have no idea who will manage in 2019.

  11. Lee Carter

    Ron Wotus would be a huge hire and make things very fun in Cincy. Mix of old and new school regarding both Bochy and Wotus. Both great people.

  12. Indy Red Man

    I think they go 75-87. Losing Disco really hurt. They were also counting on Stephenson, Lorenzen, and Finnegan for depth and they’re all shaky. It seems like Stephenson is always bad early in the year. Hopefully he’ll come back and have a good 2nd half like last year.

    Most disappointing….Homer

    Most surprising….Duvall. He’ll maintain the .840 ops he has in mid-August every year thru the whole season now that they’ve figured out he needs no more then 425 atbats or so.

    Scooter and Iglesias will both get traded to the Yankees for 26 yr old reliever Chad Green and lefty starter Jordan Montgomery.

    Scooter/Iggy will also be WS champions as they beat the Cards in 6. We really should’ve made a play for Ozuna!

  13. The Duke

    84-78, missing out on the last playoff spot by 2 games.

  14. Bill Moore

    80 wins
    The Indians win the World Series
    The Cubs win the NL
    Hamilton will lead off the most
    Gennett gets traded first
    Pereza has a surprise year
    Price manages to make it to the end of this season
    Farrell is the new manager