Opening Day is tomorrow afternoon. While there will not be an Opening Day parade on the streets of Cincinnati tomorrow, there will be 12,000 or so fans at Great American Ballpark to cheer on the Cincinnati Reds for the first time since September of 2019. The Reds will be looking to make the playoffs again this season after reaching them in 2020 for the first time in more than half of a decade.

Over the weekend we asked some of our writers and contributors here at Redleg Nation to predict the final record for the Reds this season, and share what they believe is the key to the season.

Jim Walker

Record: 78-84

Key to Season: Starting Rotation

The  2021 Reds team is unsettled up the middle of the field. The catching is making a generational transition. The shortstop and second baseman are both new and lack experience with each other. The center fielder has yet to clearly establish he can stay healthy and be a solid everyday player at the MLB level.

Additionally the bullpen has been revamped.

The team must have a solid foundation of stability to allow the middle field bullpen situations to settle in and find their way. This can only be provided by the starting rotation.

Tom Mitsoff

Record: 79-83

As much as I want to be optimistic for this team’s chance to be in the playoffs again, I just don’t see it.

The 2021 Reds don’t have any player who, in my opinion, can put the team on his shoulders like a superstar can. Trevor Bauer was close last year, and he is of course not back. I don’t have faith that any of the starting position players are going to break through to this level of performance. Last year’s dismal offensive stats may be clouding my outlook, and I very much hope I am wrong.

Nick Krall was handcuffed this offseason with no budget to work with. He worked around that limitation by finding former top-pick pitchers who he hopes the team’s unique pitching development staff can elevate. Potentially this could be a breakthrough strategy. If the team can bring one or two of José De León, Brandon Finnegan, Carson Fulmer and Jeff Hoffman back from has-been to dominant at the major league level, that would be amazing. It would be a low-cost initiative that would be copied around baseball.

Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray should continue to be a top one-two punch in the rotation. I hope Tejay Antone gets slotted in at three when he recovers from injury. Beyond that, spots four and five will be in flux for at least the early part of the year. Michael Lorenzen has to prove it before he gets anointed as a starter, in my opinion.

In a weak division, I think the Reds could hang close enough to the top to keep us hopeful for much of the season. It’s my guess the Reds will be very close to .500 again, perhaps 79-83. That could change if ownership decides to give Krall the resources to get some help prior to the trade deadline, but I don’t anticipate that happening.

Doug Gray

Record: 83-79

If I had to pick one key to the season besides the roster staying relatively healthy it would be Eugenio Suárez playing enough defense at shortstop to remain there. His ability to play shortstop is huge. If he can remain there and not just be a total fish out of water defensively, the lineup is so much stronger for it. It creates a spot for Jonathan India, who has always been able to get on base, and in the last year has shown that when he’s healthy he can hit for some power (though we don’t exactly have a ton of stats to back that up given that he started showing that at the alternate site last year, and continued it this spring).

With all of that said, the defense is still a big question mark for the Reds. With more strikeouts than ever, and better information to better position your defenders than ever, defense is a little bit less important than ever before. But it still does matter and it’s clearly the biggest weakness of the three aspects of the game (offense, defense, pitching).

The error bars on the Reds record seem pretty big to me. The team has some talent on offense and the pitching staff. With Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray at the top of the rotation the team can match up with anyone. Offensively they aren’t going to be confused with the Dodgers, but you don’t have to squint too hard to see an offense that could be above-average. And there’s a wild card pitcher in Tejay Antone, who I honestly believe you can argue has the raw stuff to match up with a Castillo or Gray. Obviously he’s not on their level yet because the track record isn’t there, and right now he’s starting in the bullpen, but if he winds up in the rotation and his stuff carries over that could be a game changer.

Still, there are some things that need to go right for Cincinnati to push their win total into the upper 80’s. And there’s plenty that could go wrong in a believable scenario that pushes their win total into the mid-to-upper 70’s, too. Big error bars. But in a division where no one truly sticks out, they should be competitive all year, and I believe there’s some upside.

Jason Linden

Record: 85-77

I think the Reds will win 85ish games this year. Why? Because that’s what I expected last year. Something everyone forgets is that this team SHOULD have hit better and we didn’t expect them to pitch quite so well. So, the pitching comes back to the pack a bit, the hitters do what they should and we get about 85 wins. That’s the whole key. Everyone does what we should expect them to do and the Reds are at least in contention for the most mediocre division in baseball.

Richard Fitch

Record: 87-75

You can’t talk about predictions without talking about injuries. So, let’s put that aside as a given.

Never forgetting it’s a team game, I’m going to focus on two players: La Piedra and Nick Senzel. Luis Castillo is more than capable of delivering back-to-back Cy Young awards to baseball’s oldest franchise, a feat that would be remarkable considering the award had never worn a Reds’ uniform before 2020. Should he continue to develop into an elite starter, it will close the pitching gap that widened when Trevor Bauer left for bluer pastures. If another pitch in his arsenal elevates to go along with the devastating change-up, the Reds will be almost guaranteed one win every week.

It’s officially go-time for Nick Senzel. He’s the beginning of the payoff for all that rebuild losing, and while Jonathan India is the shiny, new dime, I say the Tennessee Volunteer is the anchor of the next everyday eight.

If Nick and Luis make the jump to lightspeed, they can carry the Reds on both sides of the ball. That, and a little bit of health.

Nick Kirby

Record: 87-75

The biggest key for the Reds is pretty simple: health. The Reds don’t have great depth this year. The good news is that most of the NL Central also has the same problem. The two players that I believe will be the biggest keys are Nick Senzel and Tyler Mahle. I feel pretty confident in most of the lineup and the rotation (even Lorenzen) with what level of production they will give, but both Senzel and Mahle have a high degree of variance in what their production could look like. If you look at the final numbers for those two players, you might have a good sense of how this season went for the Reds.

93 Responses

  1. Aaron B.

    Those last three predictions are so overly optimistic it borders on the comical. Not one national expert sees the Reds as an above 500 team. Votes is a hot mess at first base. He can’t run or play defense and probably can’t stay healthy anymore. Half the pitching staff is suspect. This team will be fighting the Pirates again for last place. Not getting any value for Iglesias is the nail in the coffin for me, management threw in the towel. You don’t think they want to unload more salary at the deadline when they are out of contention? That’s almost guaranteed.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      The Pirates are projected for 61 wins by the PECOTA system at Prospectus. The idea that somehow the Reds are closer to 60 wins than 85-87 wins is far more comical. The Reds are projected around .500 everywhere.

      My prediction? 82-80.

    • Doug Gray

      Who are the experts you are looking at? Can you provide multiple links for this? Nearly every projection system out there has the Reds as a .500 team. If a team is “.500” in the predictions/projections, that means that saying an 85-87 win season is very much within the realm of “realistic” expectations because a few things go your way in a 1-run game one time a month.

    • citizen54

      I was going to say the same thing. The White Sox, a much better team than the Reds are projected to win 86 games. The Reds are a 78 win team on paper so the most likely result is something between 75 and 81 wins. 87 wins with the current team is just laughable. The only thing going for the Reds is that they play in the NL Central and the top team is projected to win 81 games.

      Williams left Krall with a mess and bailed ship at the right time. Last season was probably the best year the Reds are going to have for the next couple of years.

      • doofus

        Krall was the GM under Williams correct? GM’s build the roster. So how exactly did Williams leave Krall with a mess?

        I believe the reason for Williams leaving was that he had enough dealing with Bob Castellini and his meddling.

      • citizen54

        Williams is the one who made the free agent signings and gutted the team for last year’s 2 game playoff appearance. Krall was just along for the ride. Maybe Krall had some input but Williams was responsible for most of the moves.

        I don’t understand people can complain about Castellini when he opened up the checkbook last year. Castellini wasn’t the guy who traded a bunch of prospects for guys with one year of control left. Ya Castenlini may have meddled too much in the past but he seemed to have allowed Williams to do as he pleased. Perhaps, if he had put his foot down last year the Reds would be in a better spot right now.

      • doofus

        Williams “gutted” the team? What are you talking about?

      • citizen54

        May bad I meant to say farm system. Unless some of India, Senzel, Stephenson, Greene and Lodolo turn out to be all stars, this team is going to be battling for the basement in the coming years. I’m sure you’ll be blaming Castellini for meddling or being cheap though.

      • doofus

        What? You admitted on 3/31/21 that Castellini “…meddled to much…”

        With respect, why do you seem to talk (write) in circles?

        Why do you call out seasoned writers, proclaiming that their opinions are “laughable?”

    • MFG

      I think the Reds will be better than most experts predict but not if Votto is still an every day player. He needs to be a platoon player at best. His bat is too slow and he can no longer be an every day player.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        Is this the same Joey Votto who once he returned to a more upright stance put up an OPS of .941 last season?

      • Aaron B.

        It’s the same Votto who refused to score the winning run in the first game of the playoffs and instead dove back to second base on a base hit to left field that would have scored the winning run. Votto is a coward pure and simple. He is afraid to get in front of a ball, he is afraid to run aggressively, he is afraid to strike out swinging. He had a fine career but is aging poorly and has always played with fear in his heart from the get-go with his anxiety attacks and what not. I know I am being highly critical of a borderline hall of fame player and I couldn’t even be good enough to shine his shoes, but I call it the way I see it. Signing him long term was a huge mistake and definitely put this frugal franchise behind the 8 ball.

      • Doug Gray

        You may call it the way you see it, but I think you need to go get your vision checked.

      • Matt WI

        @Aaron B. Your comment is everything wrong in the world with how people view mental health and create unrealizable expectations of other human beings. Coward? Fear in his heart? Shame on you.

      • Aaron B.

        Ah the truth hurts I guess. I am sorry he doesn’t have true baseball instincts he is a Canadian that played in a ridiculous league. He admits he basically fooled them in his tryout because he couldn’t handle a fastball he smoked a change up because that was the speed he was used to saying. I said he has had a great career, but a winner he is not nor a leader that can lead men into battle and win tough games. Prove me wrong. I hope he proves me wrong. He refuses to get in front of a groundball and tries to sidestep it everytime. Why? Technique? He dives back to second base afraid of being doubled up and cost the Reds their chance at winning the playoff game. Someone needs to be held accountable for the dysmal performance and he is collecting the most salary. I am not going to blindly root for a guy that is quickly losing his ability to play. And why per se was he choked up so much on the bat in a weird crouch until he was finally benched? You know why. He is afraid to take a full swing with two strikes and K and he sacrificed all power in the process and was totally mediocre and it took 2 and a half years to figure that out. I don’t possess even 1% of his skill but I have an eye and I see things exactly the way they are unlike certain bloggers who think this team is capable of 87 wins. I admire your optimism but check back with me in 3 weeks and let me know who was more accurate in their predictions. This team will struggle to stay out of the cellar despite having some good talent. They lack leadership confidence guts and fire. Bauer showed some of that but it still wasn’t close to enough to make this team anything but easy pickings in the post season. I am sorry I am not drinking the Red Kool Aid this year. I hope to eat crow I really do.

      • 2020ball

        This is a make or break year for Votto in my eyes. I, like others, did see him adjusting last year and noticed the success he had doing so. Really interesting year for him to prove if he can sustain some success through his older years. His adjustments last year turned him into a completely different hitter – not something you see very often. I see no reason not to give him at least a chance to see how the adjustments treat him this year. Writing him off, which I see a lot of people doing, just seems shortsighted even if it turns out to be true. Just my opinion of course.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Now I don’t agree with you, I do believe you are right about the last 2 at 87 wins being maybe a bit optomistic, but I have to take issue with you on Joey, he is not a hot mess and has been one of the very best Reds players in and for a long time. He deserves a chance to show what he can do, even at 38.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Joey Votto is a coward? Give me a break. You can say almost anything on the internet, but that is just plain outrageous.

    • jonryker

      Nobody should assume that a TEAM that hit .212 last year is a good offense. No one should assume that a team with four third basemen and two first basemen in the staring lineup will defend even close to adequately……and no one with sense believes this team will pitch like last year’s team, which didn’t pitch well enough to matter. Are they recruiting soccer fans as commentators to go along with their desire to appeal to soccer fans as a fan base?

      • 2020ball

        No one is assuming anything, and it seems you’re “assuming” the offense will NOT be good. Everything you just said could just be flipped to the negative POV. I don’t really care how they do to be honest, I just want to watch some baseball.

        Moderator: Don’t avoid the swear filter. Just don’t swear. Thanks.

  2. Klugo

    Well, one things for sure. I’m glad we are playing 162 game, because the health bug is already showing it’s ugly head.

  3. Greenfield Red

    I mentioned my prediction the other day. 67-95. I’m sticking to it.

    • Doc

      And how much are you betting, actual skin in the game, to back up your prediction?

      • Jimbo44CN

        Exactly, how much would you put on that prediction.

      • Greenfield Red

        I don’t bet on Sports. I’m simply going to say the pitching will be much worse than last year, the defense will be worse than last year, and the offense will be only slightly better than last year. Yes they added India to the line-up. But, there is 0 evidence of any change in hitting philosophy. Anyone who believes last year’s bad luck on BABIP was not watching the same team I was.

        I’ll be interested to see how the season really goes, and I will stand by my prediction. If I am off by more than most on here, I will own it.

  4. JB

    I’m going with Fitch and Kirby. The hitting cant get any worse than last year and I like the young guys providing some youthfulness to the starting 8 and lifting the vets up to the level they need to be. I think the bench is the best I’ve seen in quite some time as well. Starting 5 isnt as strong as I would like but i think they will surprise us this year and i think the bullpen will come around and be strong. 87-75. The Brewers will be the team to beat although I’m not sold on their starting lineup. Cards and Cubs dont have great starting pitching and Cards outfield isnt scaring anybody. Pirates? Looks like those fans will get alot of outdoor chores done this summer.

  5. Redsfan4life

    You have to think the hitting will be better. The pitching will almost for sure take a slide. If guys like DeLeon and Dolittle struggle. I hope they don’t wait long to pull the trigger on a Dolittle release.
    Senzel’s health and India and Stephenson getting off to good starts would really give the offence a boost.
    I expect a big bounce back season from Castellanos.
    I will go 82-80. I would imagine 86 wins would be enough to win the division.
    Not likely they win the division but if they stay healthy and have a couple guys bounce back and get help from the young guys not impossible.

    • Doug Gray

      Health certainly is a big key for every team every year. Some injuries of course are worse than others, and who winds up injured matters a lot, too.

      As for how many wins it’ll take to win the division….. that is a fun question. Fangraphs, for example, says the Brewers will win the division at 81-81. Baseball Prospectus has the Brewers winning it at 88-74. ESPN’s projection system (I’m not sure which one they are using – maybe it’s their own, or maybe it’s another publicly available one) has the Cubs at 91 wins (but for some reason ranked behind the 83 win Cardinals and Brewers in the same article’s power rankings).

      My take: 85 wins takes the division. Who gets there among the top four? Whoever remains the healthiest.

      • Fanman

        Agreed Doug. Starting rotation should be strong. Castillo Cy Young candidate. Gray is dominant. Mahle threw perfect game in minors. Lorenzen will provide consistency. Best hitting pitcher in NL. Antone, after winning several games out of bullpen, will slot into rotation eventually and be a force. Miley, an experienced veteran as fifth starter. Hopefully, DeLeon can dominate like he is capable and reign in his wildness. Bullpen has some good arms. Stephenson adds another bat in lineup. Power. Lineup will be improved. Defense is suspect. Suarez may not have range, does possess rocket arm. Prefer to have more team speed. Disappointed Strange-Gordon released. Pitching will put us in position to return to playoffs. Especially, if Greene and Lodolo can contribute at some point down the stretch.

      • JayTheRed

        The Article has them listed at 6th best actually. Unless I have gone completely blind.

  6. Optimist

    The big fear is they don’t get aggressive at the trade deadline and grab one of the rental star SSs available. Given the division, it’s unlikely they’re out of contention, but if the Suarez switch to SS is working out OK, it’s their excuse to do nothing. Doubtful that it works wonders and they’re well over .500, but budgeting could keep them in contention for a wild-card, while the rental could push them ahead.

    • Doug Gray

      I’m just talking out loud here, and don’t take this is me calling you specifically out here, it’s just the one I’m responding to, but I keep seeing people talking about how the Reds won’t make a move at the deadline and that’s why they won’t be good. Did everyone forget about the entire division spending like $20M total in free agency this offseason? There’s no reason, at least right now, to think that any of the other teams in the division are going to be buyers at the deadline if the concern is over money, right? I mean, the Cardinals committed money, maybe, moving forward in future years to Arenado, but this year and next year all of that money is covered by Colorado.

      • Optimist

        That’s not calling out at all. My point is basically the same. Namely, the whole division may act similarly and not do much at the deadline. If so, the team that acts gets the advantage. The Pirates don’t matter, but of the others I wonder if the Brewers will be most likely to make a move. They seem to have been most creative across the board the past few years.

        I expect the the Reds to have their chance but wonder if they can pull the trigger. Hope so.

      • Mark Berninger

        A good point Doug, the “fly in the ointment” as I see it is attendance at games this year. I believe, as the year goes on, we’ll see a loosening of the attendance restrictions. The relaxation itself won’t be significant, however, it will make ownership here, and elsewhere, feel better about the overall health of the game (and country, pun intended). If the Reds ownership group feels an addition or two, at the deadline, is what’s needed to put the team over the top, they will act. I’m an optimist and I like this team going forward, the last few years have been painful to watch and I think a corner has been turned, Go Reds! (FWIW, 84-78 is my call)

      • JayTheRed

        I could have swore I heard the owner say they held some money back so they could make a move if they needed to on that audio interview he did just like a few weeks ago.

        I actually believe that they would make a move to improve the bullpen or perhaps somewhere else. I know I am in the minority here on this belief though.

      • Colorado Red

        Just a minor correction Doug, All of Nolan’s salary this year (35 mil if I recall) is paid by the Rox. Then 15 Mil of next years.
        So the first two years, they pay about 10 mil per year on Avg.
        Then they are on the hook for a while.

      • Doug Gray

        If he stays and doesn’t opt out they are on the hook for a while. That said, I can’t imagine him opting out….

  7. Tom

    The biggest key this year will be SS. Senzel and Suarez. If the Volunteer can stay healthy and perform up to his talent level and if Suarez can handle SS, the Reds are a decent team. However, I still see them as a +/-.500 team. And because, they just don’t have anyone to carry them and their pathetic offense, I will take the under .500 with 78 wins. Injuries to the pitching staff could take that much lower. Not seeing them above .500. I hope I am wrong.

  8. MBS

    81 – 81, I think they are a .500 team as they sit today. Moving Suarez to SS got me there, i was 77 – 85. Hopefully we’ll have an X factor that positively changes this team into something more.

    • Greenfield Red

      They were a .500 team last year with the Cy Young award winner. He’s gone. 2/5 of the starting rotation can’t start the year. The only new bright spot in the bullpen is C. Perez. Hitting may be slightly better.

  9. west larry

    If they can stay healthy, and if Suarez can play at nearly average shortstop level, I think the reds can win 82 or 83 games. Once Lorenzen and Antone get into the starting rotation, I think the reds will have a very good starting rotation. The long and short relief pitchers have to sort out, but I think they have pretty good candidates. Go reds!

  10. jim walker

    Only 9 games separate my lowest win prediction total of 78 and Nick’s high total of 87. That works out to a game and 1/3 a month over the 6 month season.

    Why did I pick the low end of the range? First off, with a normal season of games on tap, the Reds are not going to miss the top teams such as the Dodgers, Padres, Mets and Braves. They represent 25 games, plus or minus a couple, against teams probably tougher than anyone the Reds faced in the abbreviated 2020 season.

    Secondly, there are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the Reds. Beyond the potential issues I cited in above in my prediction, the corner infielders are on the downside of their careers and subject to age related decline and also more likely to miss time with injury. Where is the depth at these spots? And what happens if Sonny Gray or Luis Castillo end up making 20-25 starts versus 30-33 starts with the depth at starting pitching already being stretched on opening day?

    Looking at the entire picture, my sense was that the Reds are more likely to lose a few more games than they win; but, they are not a historically bad team such as we’ve seen 2013-2019. In fact, if the injury gods smile on the Reds and a few balls bounce to their favor the Reds could well reach .500, maybe even a game or 2 better.

    So, I picked 78 wins as my number because I see that as a midpoint between where the Reds could end up if everything goes their way versus a scenario where lots more goes against than for them.

    • jim walker

      Oops
      This:
      they are not a historically bad team such as we’ve seen 2013-2019.

      Was meant to be 2015-2019.

      Sorry,

    • JayTheRed

      I think we have plenty of guys who can cover 1b or 3b if we needed to that will still produce relatively well. I’m more worried about 2b and SS, If someone goes down there I am very worried about who can cover there.

  11. Rednat

    with the reds style of play, i just feel the best they can finish is .500. they rely so heavily on the homerun that it will be hard to go on any major winning streaks. the scariest thing is a lineup of Winker, Castellanos, Votto, SUarez, Moustakus. Yes, they can hit homeruns and you may have some high scoring performances but none of these players can consistently score from second base on a single. so days that things are “going the reds way”. a couple of bloop hits or a couple of walks and a hit batsmen still may not generate any runs or wins.

  12. JayTheRed

    Ok I honestly feel like the above predictions are definitely on lets be positive side of things. I do believe they could be around .500 if things go well. I don’t think they will win over 85 though. If for some reason they do though everything must have gone right and HOPE was a strategy that worked. Kinda doubting it though.

    My predictions – 72 wins – This is worse case
    78 wins – If some things go right this season
    84 wins – If a lot of things go right and what we hope will happen

    There predictions are not based on potential new injuries or if current injuries somehow get worse.
    Disclaimer – If covid strikes it’s ugly head again and there is another surge and players are taken out because of it. Anyone and everyone’s predictions are put in the trash.

  13. Melvin

    The David Bell factor makes everything impossible to predict.

    • JayTheRed

      Why did you think I made 3 projections above lol..

  14. Chad Jones

    I’ve got us going 84-78 and winning the NLC. As stated, the hitting was historically bad. I mean we were one of the unluckiest teams in MLB history. Next, the pitching won’t be as good as last year, but won’t be bad either.

    • jim walker

      What if I said that in 2020 the accumulative sums the OPS of Suarez, Castellanos and Moose was .002 better than their accumulative sum career OPS prior to 2020?

      Unless I fat fingered something punching in the query on Fangraphs, that’s the case. I had trouble coming to terms with this myself so I went over to BBRef and did the same queries. Got some slight rounding differences in the .00X position, but nothing significantly different.

      Before 2020 2020 2020 Difference
      Suarez .817 .781 -.036
      Castellanos .797 .784 -.013
      Moustakis .751 .798 +.047

      The hope of this Reds team is the new blood, India, Stephenson, a full productive season from Senzel and Winker staying healthy while producing like he did in 2020.

      • citizen54

        You’re not wrong. People like to act like Castellanos and Moustakas had horrible years but the fact is Moustakas had an above average year for him while Castellanos was slightly below his career norm. Suarez is the only Red starter who had a significant down year.

        Now if Stephenson, Senzel and India can overperform their projections, which could happen since they are still young, the Reds might have a shot. But that’s a lot of “ifs.”

      • Old Big Ed

        The OPS numbers you cite are a bit deceiving. Each of the three started in MLB at age 22 or earlier, probably a bit sooner than they were really ready. Moustakas, for example, in his age 22-25 years progressed as follows: .675, .708, .651 and in his age 25 year, .632. It was .845 in 2019 at Milwaukee. Suarez was .652 in his age 22 season in Detroit, but .892 and .930 in 2018-19.

        Castellanos and Suarez had off years, compared to what they could reasonably have been expected to do last year. Moustakas had an OPS bolstered in 2020 by a career high Walk Rate, which is a good development.

      • jim walker

        @Big Ed
        Suarez and Castellanos are will both be in their age 29 seasons. Moustakis his age 32 season.

        Moustakis is a candidate for age related regression. The other two guys most likely are in a plateau situation. Yes 2020 was a strange year but both were so near their career level OPS in 2020, it seems more likely to me that is who they are and about where they will stay until age regression sets in. So, for both .800 OPS give or take 15-20 points seem reasonable.

        Zips projections on Fangraphs have Suarez projected at .835 against a career .815, Castellanos projected at .812 vs .796 career and Moustakis projected at .814 vs a career .753. So the early career argument seems to hold more water with him. However all 3 are projected relatively flat vs last season. Solid everyday offensive players but not world beaters.

      • Jon Ryker

        People don’t seem to understand how genuinely bad this offense is…..you seem to be pointing that out, so I appreciate that.

        Senzel’s first healthy season will be his first.

        India has very few minor league AB’s….counting on him is not rational.

        Winker can hit, but hasn’t been durable either, and should be playing first base.

        Stephenson is intriguing, but a lot of his AB’s will go to Barnhart.

  15. Wanderin

    I predict Reds have best pitching over rest of league by far, with a large amount of injury devastation across the league. Depth wins the race this year and this team has a competitive advantage in depth, I believe. Brewers and Cubs go off rails due to injuries, and Cards are only competition left once July rolls into gear.
    I like this team’s chances, but expect a lot of attrition across the board. It will be a good time to be ‘just a call away’. Because of this, I expect the arrival of Greene, Lodolo, and Garcia, with no looking back for each.

    • Wanderin

      Best in division, not league. 81 wins is the floor, 91 is the ceiling. This team will be both fun and frustrating to watch this year. Expect a roller coaster, but enjoy the ride!

  16. MK

    One thing overlooked about Suarez, with the shift against lefties he has been playing shortstop or at least middle infield for the past two years.He seemed to handle that well. I hope there will be patience with the starting pitching. Mahle and Hoffman need to feel they can have a poor outing and not be in jeopardy of losing their jobs. DeLeon showed what he could do this winter when comfortable. If they can be close to .500 at the All Star Break I think they can make a playoff run and end up 3 to 5 games over .500.

    • Doug Gray

      Hoffman/Miley/De Leon are probably pitching for one spot. Once Gray and Lorenzen are healthy they are in the rotation according to the team.

    • Doc

      In general, the shift is over balanced to the pull side of the hitter, which is typically also the power side of the hitter. Therefore, I think being the lone wolf on the left side of the infield in a shift is over-rated as a factor in assessing whether Suarez can handle SS. As the lone wolf he was not getting the hot shots that really assess the range and arm. He was getting weaker hits to the non-pull side.

      If I recall, the fact that he came to camp more fit and 15# lighter is what started the conversation about him moving to short. I don’t recall that even being mentioned as a possibility until he showed up at camp, and certainly not as a result of his play in the shift.

      • Doug Gray

        Nick Krall mentioned the other day that it wasn’t really even a thought for them until they started seeing videos of him in mid-December trimmed down, and started talking to him about the weight he had been losing. At that point they at least started thinking about it if he showed up in camp in that kind of shape that maybe it could be possible. Then he did, and they saw how much more athletic he was at the lower weight.

  17. SultanofSwaff

    Offense—I think this team has upside and a high floor as a whole. Among the starting 8, to a man their BABIP last year was nearly 100 points below their career norms. A 162 game schedule will smooth out these aberrations. When you also consider the bottom 3 of Senzel/Stephenson/India might produce as much as the middle 3, last year’s three outcome offense fades from view. Ok, maybe not the strikeout part (looking at you, Geno.).

    Pitching—Castillo, Gray, Antone…..Sims, Garrett, Lorenzen. No one in the division can stack up 3 at BOTH ends of a game like the Reds. There’s also depth to weather injuries.

    The key IMO is Bell. You’ve got a ‘set it and forget it’ lineup here for the most part. If he saves his mental gymnastics for the pitching staff, we’ll be fine. Divisionally last year only the Cubs were an outlier offensively, while the Reds were the outlier pitching-wise. To my core I believe the Reds would’ve won the division by 6 games if they played a full 162. The pitching is still very solid and the offense can only go higher with a full season and the emergence of our future core.

    88-74

  18. TR

    If Castellanos and Moustakas can lead the offense along with Suarez, India, Votto and others, and they eschew the concept of homerun or nothing, and get runners on base and across the plate,
    the Reds can finish at .500 or a couple games above. The pitching is there along with an outstanding pitching coach who I hope the Reds can keep.

    • Daytonnati

      It might be easier to poll on the over/under at 81 wins … I’d say under and hope I’m wrong.

  19. Indy Red Man

    I’ll go with 82-80

    If Mahle is their #2 for any extended time then I reserve the right to go with 75 wins. Castillo, Gray, Antone, Mahle, and Lorenzen would give them a pretty decent rotation. The offense has to be better then last year. Too many guys in their prime that have good track records!

  20. Indy Red Man

    Its kind of funny. I’ve been saying for years that they should try Suarez at SS. I starting called for Castellanos atleast 3 years ago. I made a pitch on here for Gray as well. I even said something on RLN a few years ago about taking a shot with Hoffman. He has a good arm, but never clicked in Denver. I remember him shutting down the Cubs in Wrigley about 3 years ago and his stuff looked great. The Reds might stink, but the front office does seem to mine for gold as much as anyone. They make an effort to not suck and that means something!

    • TR

      I was in the chorus the last few years calling for Suarez at shortstop and if it works out, the Reds will benefit. After giving Castellanos and Moustakas generous contracts a few years ago, I’d like to see them lead the Reds offense to the NLC title and beyond. It’s very important for the Reds to go at least .500 or more in April for a good start.

  21. Matt WI

    76-78ish wins. And for those that have asked the question above in the thread, yes, I have put real money on the under of the win total when it was set at 81. I figure if I’m right, I make some cash, if I’m wrong, I’m happy about that and $ is an acceptable cost.

    • Indy Red Man

      I’m showing 81.5 for the Reds. Cubs at 78.5? Wow

      • Matt WI

        Indy… get your over in on that Cubs line if you can.

      • SultanofSwaff

        I dunno. If the Cubs don’t make noise early in the season, with so many free agents the selloff/rebuild will be swift and severe and the win totals will plummet.

    • Daytonnati

      Exactly! I do that on Ohio State games sometimes to ease the pain. If they win, great! If they lose, it hurts, but it hurts a little less 🙂

      • VaRedsFan

        That’s the golden rule…..Never bet on your favorite team to win. If they lose, then you are doubly mad.

  22. Kevin Patrick

    My prediction isn’t worth a whole lot… but it might be nice to have the opportunity to look smart at the end of the year…no? It’s going to take some serious luck to remain in contention by the All-Star Break. If the Reds aren’t in it, they will unload players. Looking at the schedule, if the Reds can go on a winning streak May 10th through May 16th and stay within a game or two of 500 until that point…then I think things will look good. If the Reds fall behind by more than 4 games and don’t dominate those away series against the Rockies and Pirates…then I think we’ll know pretty fast where things are headed. Other teams will unload players too… the Reds might just be able to pick somebody up that can do a little something. Imagine a scenario where Lindor doesn’t sign soon in New York and the Mets way underperform….

  23. 2020ball

    I’ll be the only one to say it: 90 wins.

    • Wanderin

      Somebody in this division is gonna feast, might as well be the good guys!

  24. Aaron B.

    Maybe coward was too strong of a word. But he lacks guts. I know his father passed away when he had his anxiety attacks… yet those magically vanished when the Reds paid him more money. He plays a position that demands top offensive performance for the salary he is collecting. It’s not my fault the front office has no common sense and signed him to a ridiculous contract, but if Joey was a true team player he would have admitted he hasn’t been earning that salary and offered to take a cut to surround him with more talent so he has a better chance of winning. Instead he is going to milk this contract and bore us to death with yet another losing season. No chance he stays healthy and/or produces numbers even close to what should be provided for the money spent. Yea yea I say the same things on Facebook where my identity is known, I am not hiding… if he wants to call me up personally and convince me he is playing with confidence I am happy to accept the call and hear him out. Until then I am a disgruntled fan stating my opinion. By the way I never had a father or mother, I am adopted and no one ever gave a damn about me. I weighed 105 pounds in highschool and couldn’t afford a lunch and no one cared. I was ridiculed on a daily basis. So yea I might have a chip on my shoulder when I see people that were basically coddled their whole lives who make crazy money and think its fine to lose while disappointing people who spend hard earned money hoping to watch winning baseball.

    • Doug Gray

      Yes. That’s what it is right there in the middle of this post: You are a disgruntled fan. You are blinded by your hatred of something here because much of what you say isn’t based in reality.

      “Prove to me he’s not a winner” “Prove to me he can’t win tough games”

      Baseball is a team sport. A single player can’t do the things you seem to think they can do. This isn’t basketball where the best player on the court can almost carry a team by himself. This isn’t football where the quarterback holds so much value that they can largely dictate whether the team is good, bad, or ugly.

      You are very mad at him over his contract. It comes through in you continuously bringing up how much he’s not “worth it”.

    • Melvin

      Votto feels like he was relatively underpaid early in his career. I agree. It’s just evening out now…..and I still think he has more in the tank the most people realize.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Saying he is a coward and lacks guts is the same thing, also, the crack about his depression magically going away due to money is total BS. Clinical depression is a real illness. You are an angry disgruntled fan and seem to be taking out all on Joey. As Doug said, it’s a team game.

  25. LDS

    The Reds open the season with a 6 game losing streak. Having been swept by the the lowly Pirates prompts Bell’s firing. A new manager informs Votto that his playing time will be reduced and he elects to retire. Stephenson and India exceed expectations. The Reds win 90+ games, the division, and make it back to the playoffs. Castellini sells the team while it’s on an upward trajectory. Hey, we all have imaginations, mine is just a bit out there tonight.

    It’s more likely that they go 2-4 in the first 6 games and Bell gets a 5 year extension before the month is out. And I become a Dodger fan.

  26. IndyRedsFan

    I hope someone is printing this out/saving this for the end of the season so we can all come back and see who was close to being right and who was wildly wrong.

    I’m predicting 84-78

  27. Don

    I would love to say 90+ wins. I have not seen or read anything that makes me think the 2020 Reds will be a playoff caliber team.

    NL Central Division winner will be 90-72 and will win 17 of their 20 games vs the Pirates while the other 3 teams will have 10-12 wins vs the Pirates which will be the difference for the team that wins the division.

    Reds players have the talent alone to win 81 games with an average MLB manager.

    The starting players need to get a lead early in the 1st 4 innings of 3+ runs so that Bell does not make all the 5th to 7th inning double switches which put players in poor strategical positions in the 8th and 9th inning.

    My opinion is that Bell is a -10 WAR manager so my 2020 prediction is a 71-91 record assuming Bell is the manager for the entire season.

  28. Votto4life

    It’s nice to see so many optimistic predictions. I would love to see the Reds finish over .500 and win the NL Central.

    I don’t see it happening though. I think they will win 74 games this year, which should keep them out of the basement.

    They could surprise me and win more. At the same time, I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if the wheels come completely off and they end with fewer than 70 wins. Right now though, I’ll stick with my prediction 74 wins and a 4th place finish.

  29. TR

    A good start is needed with series wins over the Cards and Pirates.

  30. RedFuture

    The Reds have a chance to be good, but I need to see it show up in the first 12 games. These games entail the first home stand and first road trip. The first 3 games are tough vs Cardinals but then they get 9 games vs Pirates, Dbacks and Giants. They need to come through that with a 7-5 record not the debilitating start of season failures of the last several years. That mediocre start would fuel a lot of confidence in me and the team themselves I think. That increased confidence should help in the next 12 game block where 9 games are vs Indians, Cardinals and Dodgers. Those games are followed by 8 more toughies vs Cubs, WhiteSox and Indians before getting a 2-week breather. A lot falls on Senzel, India and even Stephenson to show that they can make better than average contributions. That will allow the others to be back of the baseball card players, which means Votto will have his best year since 2017. I think the “benching” caused him to put run production higher on his list of priorities as in like .300/25/100. Antone and Lorenzen are huge and need to get to rotation quickly.

  31. TXRedLeg

    Wow prediction time. Reds struggle to win 72 games with a season marred by a carousel in the 3-5 starting pitching and virtually every player playing out of position and collecting atrocious fielding stats, at one point the roster will feature 6 right fielders. Votto has moments, we love Votto. Castillo, Barnhardt and Suarez traded for questionable talent. We’re left with overpaid and regressing veterans Moose and Shogo, Reds bite the bullet, release Miley and swallow the contract. Bonus: Barnhardt makes a start at SS.
    Love the Reds – but it won’t be pretty until some contracts are dumped and a more rational build up is made.

  32. Matt WI

    Uh, when are they going to announce something about Joey’s status? Seems like that should be known 5 hours before first pitch.

    • Matt WI

      And he’s in the lineup! Play ball

  33. VaRedsFan

    Season predictor 76-86

    The 4th and 5th starters, though not permanent, but will still count towards their record, are going to be a hard handcuff towards their overall record. If these are the depth pitches, the real rotation better not have any more setbacks, which is highly unlikely. I am not a believer in Lorenzen as a starter (although he is even worse as a reliever) He and Antone have both pitched 7.2 innings in Spring, but yet Antone is the one pigeon holed to the bullpen. I’m a big fan of Antone…he throws strikes and doesn’t waste pitches.
    Gray and Castillo have to win 4 of every 5 starts. Possible if Bell doesn’t yank them out of games and hand it to the bullpen. Mahle and Miley aren’t .500 pitchers, but they need to over achieve for the team to succeed.
    I don’t think Suarez can play SS. Not making the great plays is one thing, but it will be the routine plays that will cost so many runs…extra pitches for the starters. The long wind up to throw, won’t be counted as errors, but will be infield hits instead. I do like that it gives India a chance to play. He needs to hit the ground running…minimal growing pains.
    Amir Garrett can be great, but was a lot like Wandy Peralta the last few seasons. If he can carry Spring results into a full season (not just a month or two), it will be a huge help. I’m not a Doolittle fan, but relievers seem to always be hit or miss. The rest of the bullpen is decent, as long as Bell doesn’t over abuse them.
    Votto will need to be league average, and I think he can, as long as he stays away from the crouch, choke ups, and check swings.
    Offensive Team MVP will be Castellanos.
    Best pitcher will be Antone.