The 2018 season was tough for the Cincinnati Reds. Major League Baseball’s toughest division may be the National League Central. In 2019, Cincinnati will have to go a lot better than they did in 2018 if they want to make noise in the division.
We are one month out from the first game of spring training in the Cactus League, which will be on Saturday, February 23rd. The Reds will host the Cleveland Indians at the Goodyear, Arizona facility that the two teams share and we’ll get our first peek at the teams on the field in spring training. There’s still time this offseason for Cincinnati to make moves, and it seems like they are still trying to do just that. The Reds have been listed with a season wins total of 77 games and we are rapidly approaching days when we can bet on our favorite teams, so don’t forget to check out this sportsbetting.ag review and other shops to make sure you have the best advantage possible.
In 2018 the Cincinnati Reds won just 67 games. In short, that means that the odds-makers see the team getting a lot better. The new additions to the team have added 10 wins to their projected win total over the previous year.
Sonny Gray was just added to the roster, and extended into the future, too. He adds depth to the Reds rotation that has also added left-handed pitcher Alex Wood, and right-hander Tanner Roark to help stabilize the rotation. Luis Castillo will be returning to join them, with Anthony DeSclafani likely taking the final spot. While it probably won’t be confused with the 1995 Atlanta Braves staff, it should be a massive improvement from the past few seasons.
Gray, as was written about the other day, signed a long-term extension with the Reds through 2022 for $30.5M. That also includes a club option at $12M for the 2023 season. The contract has plenty of upside in it if he can return to any sort of form like his old self prior to what he was in the 2018 season in New York. The Reds front office, and new pitching coach Derek Johnson seem confident that it can happen for the righty and he will perform well in Cincinnati.
Alex Wood, who posted a 3.68 ERA last season with Los Angeles, may be the opening day starter. Among the group he’s coming off of the best season. Tanner Roark profiles more towards the back of the Reds rotation, but his 4.34 ERA from 2018, if repeated, is a massive upgrade from what was there last season. The rotation not only improved, but bringing in the improvements also provided depth in both the rotation and bullpen. Some of the starters from 2018 will find themselves in Triple-A waiting for their shot, while others could slide into the big league bullpen. This should lead not only to improved starting pitching, but improved pitching everywhere.
Matt Kemp & Yasiel Puig
It’s not just the pitching that improved, though. The Cincinnati Reds were able to improve their offense by adding sluggers Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to the lineup. It seems like Puig will play every day. Whether that’s going to be in right field, or in center, or a mix of both is unclear. But he certainly looks like he’ll be in the lineup nearly every day. His .820 OPS in Los Angeles probably improves a bit moving to a hitter friendly ballpark in Cincinnati. Likewise, the same can be said for Kemp, who posted an .818 OPS for the Dodgers in 2018. He, though, could see less playing time in a crowded outfield. As the lesser valuable defender, he could see more of a platoon situation.
No matter how the outfield shakes out with the new additions, the offense for the Reds will likely be improved. Not as much as the pitching staff, but the offense was already roughly league-average for the National League last season. It should be even better in 2019. Cincinnati won’t be playoff favorites, but the team should be playing better baseball. They should be playing competitive baseball. And if things go just right, who knows where they could wind up?