So much for a hot start changing any minds, huh? The crew responsible for the power rankings over at got together and rated the Cincinnati Reds as the 19th best team in baseball despite their 5-1 start. On one hand, of course one week of games shouldn’t change much about how you felt about a team before the season began. On the other hand the start, particularly by the offense, wasn’t just some good start – it’s been near record setting. The team isn’t just off to a quick start. They are off to a dominant one. All that going 5-1 in dominant fashion did for the folks at ESPN was move them up one spot from where they were before the season began.

The Reds might be the biggest early surprise in all of baseball. They looked awful in spring training, but their offense has come alive this month. It’s a year later than many predicted, as they’re being led by a couple of newer players in right fielder Nick Castellanos (second year with the team) and left fielder Tyler Naquin (first year). Naquin has already reached his 2020 home run total, hitting four in the team’s first six games. The Reds might not have staying power on the mound, but right now they are the cream of the NL Central.

The question about the Reds not having staying power on the mound is certainly an interesting one given that they’ve got two of the best starting pitchers in the National League on their team in Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, plenty of depth, and arguably the best pitching coach in baseball in Derek Johnson…. but hey, old habits die hard I guess and Cincinnati’s been without pitching for much of their existence.

How about the rest of the National League Central? Well, the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs are rated 13th and 14th – with the Cubs jumping up three spots by going 3-3. The Brewers are down to the 16th spot, down three spots while also going 3-3. And then there’s the Pirates at the very bottom, still holding onto the 30th spot in the rankings at 1-5.

We aren’t ready to put the Reds above the Dodgers at this point because of their hot start, but it certainly doesn’t feel *right* that the Cubs go 3-3 and move up three spots, the Brewers go 3-3 and drop three spots, while the Reds go 5-1 in absolutely dominant fashion and move up one spot, either.

Speaking of team records, with no game today that means there’s no game preview. And with no game preview it means we couldn’t post the standings and updated playoff odds, and since both of those look great right now we absolutely are going to post them here.

Playoff odds via Fangraphs

Team Wins Losses GB Playoff Odds
Reds 5 1 0.0 40.2%
Cardinals 4 2 1.0 21.6%
Cubs 3 3 2.0 16.2%
Brewers 3 3 2.0 43.8%
Pirates 1 5 4.0 0.1%

60 Responses

  1. Daytonnati

    So, I can hear one Pirate saying to another “So, they’re saying there’s a chance!”

  2. CFD3000

    What’s the point of the power rankings if they don’t actually reflect performance on the field? Even if you want to hedge your bets it feels like the Reds have to be in the top third of the rankings based on a dominant week. Disappointing but ultimately it’s meaningless. Keep winning. Let the pundits say whatever they want. They can explain in October how the Reds “shouldn’t” be in the playoffs even though they are. Won’t keep them from playing in the postseason will it? If it motivates the team to be dissed like that, so much the better. Go Reds!

      • Tom Reeves

        Well, to be fair, the Reds have three players, one of which is a rookie, batting over .400. Two other players are batting over .300 (one of whom has been perennially injured in his career and is a backup OF). None of those performances are sustainable.

        I’m not saying we should be very excited about this team. But part of the power rankings are based on the expected performances of players and, right now, at least 5 players are insanely exceeding their expected performances at the plate.

  3. KDJ

    The other Power Rankings I have seen are based on how teams played in the past week. This one is clearly not based on performance.

  4. Jimbo44CN

    First off, ESPN, East Coast Sports Network
    Secondly, if you watch MLB Network, which I do quite regularly, they are talking about the Reds, but mostly as an afterthought after they spend way more time talking about the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Phillies, Cubs, and then maybe the Padres, but now that Tatis is hurt and possibly out most of the year, not saying much about them. They just don’t believe what they are seeing yet, and I agree it’s a small sample size, but after that first game they annihlated the Cardinals in the last two and whooped up on Pittsburgh. Russo said today that remember they were playing the Pirates, which he made out to be the worst team ever to play the game. As I said no respect, and Doug, I don’t want to get banned, so I won’t say what I think should be the Reds slogan this year from Major Leagues Manager Lou Brown!!!

  5. B-town fan

    Why do the Brewers have higher playoff odds than the Reds?

    • Doug Gray

      Because it’s taking into consideration the projected record for the remaining games, too, and the Brewers are still projected to win more games overall.

  6. Indy Red Man

    The Diamondbacks have gone scoreless in atleast 13 straight innings in Coors. They just put Ketel Marte on the IL. They’re almost guaranteed for last in the NL West from what I see. The Reds need 2 of 3 minimum and thats with little to no confidence in Hoffman and DeLeon overall.

    Rankings don’t matter….just go out and win your series. The Reds usually struggle to scrape together two 5 game winning streaks in a season and they’ve already got 1 out of the way! Keep it rolling!

    • Dennisperper

      I don’t think that the diamondbacks are the team that hasn’t scored in 13 innings in Coors.I think you are confusing them with the Rockies

      • Doug Gray

        AZ was shut out last night in Colorado. They then didn’t score for 6 more innings today, which pushed it to 15 scoreless innings before they plated a run in the 7th and then two more in the 9th.

  7. RojoBenjy

    As Matt Foley, motivational speaker might say, “ESPN’s opinion and fifty cents will get you a cup of JACK SQUAT!!!”

    • Doug Gray

      I wouldn’t take my advice from a guy that lives in a van down by the river, but that’s just me.

      • jim walker

        But suppose it was a river flowing down a mountain side and the van was parked up stream from town so it was a van up by the river 😉

    • Indy Red Man

      That and a nickel will get you HALF A CUP OF JACK SQUAT)))

      Chris Farley was the best!

      • DaveCT

        His interview with Paul McCartney was classic

      • Indy Red Man

        Barney the Chippendale owned Patrick Swayze too! He was robbed!!

      • DaveCT

        Barney, as near obscene as anything ever! Fight me.

  8. Nick in NKY

    If a small market team in the Midwest signs a reptilian extra-terrestrial from next galaxy over to be their next starting pitcher, it would still take ESPN 3 weeks to talk about it.

    As far as I’m concerned, I hope every Reds player gets that story as an alert on their phone. Let the chips grow.

  9. Wayne Nabors

    I haven’t watched espn since mlb network came out and I don’t really watch that now either since I got mlb t.v

  10. Don

    Have not read for multiple years and only watched Reds playoff games last season. This just reinforces that I am not missing anything

  11. Optimist

    One of these years the Cardinals are going to flop miserably, and this may be the year. Haven’t read any Cardinal fan sites, but I expect there are some serious negative opinions surfacing. Legacy and front office strength can only carry you so far. I’m old enough to remember when the Yankees had a truly miserable stretch, and it still took a few years for the media to ignore them.

    • Grand Salami

      Wainwright as their #2 looked scary. Reminded me of watching Bronson when the tank was empty. All smoke and mirrors.

  12. B-town fan

    Well as for rankings how about this, as of now the Reds are # 1 and ahead of the Dodgers and Astros in Runs, Home Runs, RBI, Team Batting AVG, SLG, and OPS and if Suarez would have not let that ball get under his glove and turned the double play in the first inning on opening day and Garret wouldn’t have given up the grand slam in the 9th inning last night the Reds would be much higher up the team pitching stats.

  13. DaveCT

    These pundits have to justify their positions of yesterday let alone a week ago.

    Nick C., Moose, Joey, and Nick S. are playing as if the chip in their shoulders will last more than week one. The bullpen and starting staffs are largely following suit. Guys like Miley, Doolittle, Bedrosian, Fulmer, Romano, even Lorenzen have much to prove as well. Even India getting bumped out of the Top 100, I suspect, is adding to his determination.

    So yeah, ESPY, proceed as always. I wouldn’t dig in, though, if I can make a suggestion. These guys throw hard and inside.

  14. Private Gripweed

    Guys. What if this is actually a slump???

  15. Dick Paterson

    I hope the Reds continue to be ranked 19th until it becomes too obvious. Nice chip on the shoulder to anyone who believes. The big media markets will only reluctantly acknowledge this team for what it is. The Reds won’t keep up their current pace, but they will keep up. This will be fun.

  16. RichwoodRed

    I love being the team getting dissed. That puts fire in your belly. The boys have had swagger already. Let ESPN ignore the Reds. You know guys like Castellanos pay attention to this stuff.

  17. LeRoy

    I am thrilled at the Reds start but you can’t anoint them after 6 games. Nick C. had a very hot start last year and is hot now as well as India and a few others. The pitching looks good, but its only six games! The comments after game 1 were terrible and many of those nay sayers have now jumped on the wagon. It is great to watch the way the Reds are playing but its just too early to feel too high or low. Enjoy your team but nothing is certain in baseball.

    • Ludwig

      Well the Reds swept the Pirates, not the best competition, so I can understand why the Reds aren’t ranked terribly high yet. We will see if they keep winning against the better teams, let’s wait thirty games and debate the team. Six games isn’t nearly enough to judge the Reds’ staying ability at the top of the NL central, but the team does seem red-hot at the moment.

  18. Mark Moore

    I blame it on Keith Law. It’s in his contract to hate us.

    • Doug Gray

      He hasn’t worked for ESPN for a while now.

  19. DD47NYReds

    How bout we don’t worry about rankings and just keep winning ball games

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Fans don’t get to play in the games and have no say in the outcome so we just go along for the ride. As such we can also look at the rankings and feel slighted.

  20. Indy Red Man

    Why did we let Kevin Gausman walk again? He’s made 12 starts for SF since last year and has a 3.19 era. Granted pitching in SF and gabp is night & day, but he’s always had a very good arm! I think he was their opening day starter? I’m afraid it could unravel pretty quickly if we have to count on Hoffman, DeLeon, and Miley for much.

    • Indy Red Man

      I’d start Antone in Tampa mode and let him work up from 2-3 innings. It can be a bullpen day. His stuff is that superior to the other guys. Its insane to have them throw 10 innings every 10 days while he throws 2 innings?

    • Old Big Ed

      The short answer is money and risk. The Braves released him in early August 2019 with a 6.19 ERA, albeit with a plausible FIP of 4.20. The Reds used him for 22.1 innings thereafter, with all but one appearance in relief. I, too, believed he could have been protected, and I am sure that the Reds were negotiating with him. Because the Reds were concerned that Gausman would get more in arbitration for 2020 than they were willing to pay, he was non-tendered in late 2019.

      He ultimately signed with the Giants for $9 million, and accepted a roughly $18 million qualifying offer for 2021. The Reds already had Bauer, Gray and Castillo for the 2020 rotation, signed Wade Miley for $6 million for 2020, and likely figured that one of Mahle, etc. would emerge as younger pitchers. I don’t think it was a bad decision at the time for the Reds to not risk $9 million on Gausman.

      In hindsight, Miley got hurt and Gausman flourished. On the other hand, Gausman likely needed to be on a team like the Giants that was unlikely to contend and could thus give him a full set of starts. The Reds were going for it, and they would probably have primarily used Gausman out of the bullpen, for which $9 million was too much. Plus, if Gausman had stuck with the Reds, then he would have likely been used in the spot of Tejay Antone, so letting Gausman leave opened the door for Antone, who costs about $17 million less than Gausman this year.

      I think it was a win-win for both sides for Gausman to go to the Giants.

    • Earmbrister

      Answer: $

      Why did the Braves waive him?

  21. Frankie Tomatoes

    Nick Castellanos is going to make them realize quickly that they messed up.

  22. Steven Schoenbaechler

    That’s simply a statement from a small sample size, as well as half our games coming against the Pirates, aka “strength of schedule”. Give a couple of more weeks. If the reds are still doing this good, we will definitely move up.

  23. GreatRedLegsFan

    I still don’t get the hype on the Brewers, the Cards and even the Cubs look like better teams. Reds have a couple of easy weeks ahead until they visit St. Louis on the 23rd, then we’ll see.

    • JayTheRed

      Yes I was looking at April and May actually our schedule overall seems not too tough for these two months. A couple harder series but overall seemed somewhat an easy schedule overall.

    • 2020ball

      I see the all the teams in the central as pretty equal TBH. All the major league teams anyway.

  24. Jim

    Lol ESPN’s power rankings are almost always a joke

  25. Jim t

    Love the reds being in this spot. Go play the disrespect card and prove them all wrong.

  26. TR

    ESPN is centered on N.Y., L.A., Chicago (St.L.) & Boston. For a smaller midwestern team to be noticed, they just have to win like the BRM did fifty years ago. But, you cares? MLB gets it done.


  27. Steven Ross

    I’m with Chad: the second I saw ESPN, I pretty much tuned out. I never watch them anymore. Who cares what they say.

  28. CI3J

    Eh, it’s too early to care about things like this. It’s even too early to care about standings.

    The old baseball adage is “Stats and standings don’t matter until after Memorial Day.” It seems to be mostly true. Granted, it’s always better to start hot than not, but it’s simply too early for it to matter much.

  29. Rball

    6-1 is a great start, but you can’t just jump the gun and put them up the rankings just yet. I agree with the cautious approach. The offense will most likely cool off. I dont think they can keep this pace. Starting pitching is solid, but the bullpen looks flimsy. If not for the offensive explosion they have had, they could easily have lost half these games. Dominate wouldn’t be the word I’d use to describe it. Pilling up runs in blow outs doesnt hid the holes for me. I’m not sold on the sustainability, and I dont blame media personnel for taking the wait and see approach. If they keep winning they will get credit in time.

    This is a team with no playoff series win since the mid 90s, and only a handful of appearances since. Factor in an 8 year drought which was broken in a short season…. yeah not sold. It’s not crazy or BS to want to see it to believe it. Talk to me at in mid to late May.