So much for a hot start changing any minds, huh? The crew responsible for the power rankings over at ESPN.com 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