In just over 24 hours the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves will kick off the 2022 season on ESPN2. The Braves are where the Reds want to be – the defending World Series champs. There’s a wide array of opinions on just how close the Reds can get to making that happen in 2022, though everyone and every projection system seems to be in agreement that it’s an absolute longshot.

With that said, it feels that the trading (and flat out giving away of) some players, while not fun at all to watch happen, may have caused some overreaction in terms of what that meant as far as the won/loss outcomes from a portion of the fan base. The team isn’t – on paper at least – a world beater by any stretch of the imagination. But the idea that they are on par with the Pittsburgh Pirates, which was something that was espoused quite a bit, just doesn’t seem to be based in reality.

PECOTA, Baseball Prospectus’ projection system, has the Cincinnati Reds finishing in second place in the National League Central division with a record of 80-82. That would put them a game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals, but 13 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers. PECOTA thinks the Reds offense will be good – scoring the 5th most runs in the National League, with only the Dodgers being truly ahead of them in that area. But the pitching doesn’t stick out here, either.

Over at Fangraphs their projected standings look a bit different. The Brewers are still on top of the division by a wide margin. But the Cardinals and Reds have flipped spots with St. Louis finishing in second and Cincinnati in third with a 75-87 record.

Those projections shouldn’t be confused with the ZiPS projected standings that are also at Fangraphs. They are quite a bit different on the whole from the previous two. ZiPS has the Cardinals winning the division at 88-74, finishing a game up on the Brewers. The Reds are projected to finish in 4th place at 74-88 and six game up on the last place Pirates (who are projected to be the worst team in the National League).

Over at ESPN they have released their power rankings. Within there is also a projected record for each team that doesn’t line up with the rankings. Somehow the Cubs are higher in the power rankings by three spots despite the fact that whatever projection they are using for the teams record has the Cubs three games worse than Cincinnati. Only Milwaukee has a projected winning record among the Central. The Reds are projected to finish in 3rd place at 77-85.

Depending on where you look the Reds could be looking at a second or third place finish. That, however, seems to be more due to the fact that everyone likes the Brewers and the rest of the division just isn’t that good – at least on paper. They’ve still got to go out there and play the games and sometimes doing that makes the predictions and projections look really, really bad.

57 Responses

  1. Steve Schoenbaechler

    They definitely aren’t as good as last year’s team. However, last year’s team going into the season I believe many considered a lot like this. The biggest surprises to me being India and the offense of Nick C and Winker. That’s why they still play the game.

    I have to agree, many talking so down about these Reds, you would think the Reds would be in last place, being beaten by the Pirates by 40 games or something. I definitely don’t see that.

    They are a younger team. Younger means we could see some surprises again, like Winker, Nick C, and India. Or, they could tank even further. Statistics-talk, it means a high standard deviation from the mean.

    I’m like many; I see them anywhere from a 70-80 win team. If we get some pleasant surprises, I could see a winning record easily. I could also see potentially struggling to keep out of triple digit loss record.

    I’ve never minded the players who were “moved out”. I always said I wanted to see who “comes in”. I wasn’t impressed with who they brought in. That coupled with the execs saying we are in a better place now, and nothing else, I can’t help thinking, “Better place? For what?” Winning the division? That’s too hard to see. Playoff baseball? That’s hard to see. What’s the better place?

    Based on their decisions, I can only consider the execs are looking to build the team from the ground up, aka develop the minor league system, like Krivsky and O’Brien wanted to, aka the Rays or A’s. I have no problem with that. Just tell us that. So, not necessarily a “rebuild” but a “redesign”. But, that’s the problem I see. They had a design that was doing pretty good. You don’t tear that down. I mean, we had players on other teams talking about how much they would like to play on the Reds team last year. Seriously. And, you are going to change that?

    As for having a winning team this year, I believe it’s on the huge shoulders of Senzel and the young starting pitching of Mahle, Greene, Lodolo eventually, Vlad, and even Tony S. It’s asking an awful lot from a lot of youngsters. I mean, 1 or 2 may show up all season. But, more than that? I just don’t see it.

    • Mark

      Reds ownership have caught the Mike Brown virus! Be just competitive enough to sell merchandise, but not keep the stadium open after the last day or the regular season. The fire sale at the end of last season proved that fact. Sad thing is Votto deserves better. He should have a ring by now.

  2. Redsvol

    I would say 3rd in the division behind the brewers and cardinals. Maybe 75 wins if team is fairly healthy. Young guys gotta be allowed to learn this year. That means some nights we will not be competitive. Other nights it will be real fun. It will pay off in 2023 and 2024 if we support them and let them take their lumps. Barerro, Greene, lodolo, San Martin and Stephenson need to play and play a lot.

  3. Jenyns

    I think this will be a better, quicker and younger team, if everyone stays healthy especially pitching, we might be pleasantly surprised, lots of hit and run, not so many HRs

  4. Votto4life

    I think some of those projections are wildly optimistic.

    Other than maybe, outfield defense, I can’t think of any single facet that has been improved upon from last year. Obviously, there are some facets (e.g. RH Power), where this team has taken a significant step backwards.

    I think the 2022 Red will finish closer to 70 wins than they will to 80. Overall, I see them finishing in 4th place with a record of 69-93.

    I think there will be more positives in the second half, as some of the younger players become more established.

    The Reds all-star representative will be either India or Stephenson. I will also predict Shogo will be picked up by the Phillies with the Reds picking up most of his salary. I doubt he will be very productive though.

    I truly hope I am wrong about this team. We will soon find out.

    • LDS

      If the Reds finish above 4th place, we fans will have to consider it a good year. A younger, less experienced team with the same lousy manager and front office, not to mention owner. I think 69-72 wins will cover it.

  5. citizen54

    79 wIns. I like where the team is heading though unlike last year.

  6. Hanawi

    Low 70s in wins, mostly due to the starting pitching. I like the long-term potential of Greene and Lodolo, but not sure if they are ready just yet. Minor is replacement-level or worse, Castillo struggled at times last year, Mahle was not great at home, and I frankly have little faith in Guiterrez, who never really put it together in the minors. He’s a 5th starter/long man at best. Also, the OF isn’t great to begin with, but I could see the starters being ok. Not sure all of Naquin, Pham and Senzel can stay healthy though.

    They could surprise if Indian and Stephenson build on last year, Votto repeats his resurgence and they get something from Moose, but it just seems a lot of things need to go right for them to finish above St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee.

  7. Old-school

    Reds have zero margin for error or injuries. Bullpen is vastly overrated. No good lefties anywhere!
    Starting pitching isnt giving 30 starts and 175 innings for any pitcher other than mahle and Pitching wins divisions.

    That said – if moose votto india stephenson and Senzel play to their potential and stay healthy- offense will be fine

    I think its comes down to pitching and the early road gauntlet of braves dodgers padres in April

    Pitching lets them down and its 74- 89.

    If they are .500 at Memorial Day and Pitching is solid then they have potential.

    • Jim Walker

      “Reds have zero margin for error or injuries..”

      This is says it in a nutshell. I threw the whole mess into the air and the leaves landed at most likely is 74-77 wins. Maybe a 10% chance for better than .500 and a similar chance for 70 or fewer wins.

      The wild card is ownership. If they are inconvenienced by a strong result through July like last season, do they remain hands off again or do they step up and try to help. Or conversely, if things are not going well do they flush everybody flushable who is older than India and Stephenson.

  8. Kevin Patrick

    So many times…I have seen Reds relievers coming out of Spring Training and thinking these guys are awesome. I’ve learned to temper my hopes. I think April could be absolutely brutal for our poor Reds. But if the Reds can avoid getting swept and eek out 9 of the first 21…I’ll get really optimistic really fast. I think it more likely they start 7-14. Castillo always pitches poorly in the cold anyway so I’m not worried about him starting later in the year. I just don’t see how the Red’s starters are going to be able to give enough innings early. They really aren’t that deep anymore.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Unless a team really blows a lot of money on relievers, I believe the bullpen is just a gamble anyhow.

  9. Mark Moore

    As usual, the wide spectrum of statistical projections makes for a complete crap shoot. Regardless, we are in Atlanta tomorrow and playing baseball. I would have bet against that not all that long ago. Playing ball and my annual “gift” from my cell carrier of, I’m ready to roll.

  10. Jeffrey Oakley

    So are you saying that this is good? Since when are we thinking being third or second is good. This still doesn’t address the problem. The Castellinis have lied to us and continue to lie to us. Now they are trying to use the Bengals as the smoke or the mirrors. They cannot afford to own a MLB team plain and simple. Until they are gone you can expect this mediocrity along with the old flin flam man that might as well tell you to be patient, he has a plan…oh wait he did say that…Hey I have some swamp land if you are interested…The Castellinis have lied to you and told you in so many words that you are too stupid to figure it out. Now in desperation they have no shame and turn to the Bengals to try to sell tickets…it says something when their team can’t stand alone to even sell out opening day…Hello, Bob can’t you hear that, it is us fans telling you we are done. SELL THE TEAM. YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE ANYMORE.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Third is mediocrity? Hardly.

      • Wallyum

        When that’s all you’re aiming for, yes, it is.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Well considering a definition of mediocre would entail “of only ordinary or moderate quality, neither good nor bad” then finishing 3rd out of 5 in a division would seem mediocre, right? And to me, that’s the upside of the projections, and they’ll have to hold off the Cubs for 3rd place.

    • Tom Reeves

      Sell to who? Almost anyone who buys the team will want to make profits and profits mean things are worse than they are now.

  11. CFD3000

    Assuming all the teams stay reasonably healthy, I can’t see the Reds beating the Brewers in the NL Central. That puts 2nd, 3rd and 4th place in play. No way they’re worse than Pittsburgh. Best case, the starting pitching is a pleasant surprise and the Reds win 86 games. Worst case several starters struggle, Moustakas doesn’t rebound and Senzel, Votto, and/or Stephenson miss a good chunk of the year. That team probably won’t win 70 games. I’m going to choose optimism. 83-79, 2nd place and a wildcard slot. Go Reds!

  12. SultanofSwaff

    With such mediocrity in the division, wins are there for the taking. The pirates are trash, the Cubs are simply accumulating assets to trade midseason, and the Cardinals pitching is worse than ours. 82 wins and a second place finish to me is the floor. The ceiling depends on whether the youngsters collectively break out.

    • Jeff Halcomb

      I totally agree. I’m always optimistic at the beginning of the season. I think staying healthy is the goal.

  13. BatsLeftThrowsRight

    I’ll stand by my 75 win prediction. I believe Senzel and Stephenson will take huge steps forward and be their most productive position players. They have the least holes in their swings.

    I’m hoping Lodolo is a big surprise and Art Warren continues to make strides in the bullpen.

    Like I said before, this is a 75 win team. If they avoid a 9-16 start to their first 25 difficult games, I’ll reassess after that.

    But how can you win a division when four of your five starters will probably max out at 140-150 innings? Will we simply forget about the last part of August and all of September?

    Bell will have tons of excuses this year, not just a poor bullpen.

  14. Tom Mitsoff

    I always want to be optimistic. But so many things have to fall in place perfectly for this team to finish above .500. The grind of a killer opening-weeks schedule could bury them very early, particularly with inexperienced pitching. If they can get through April somewhere close to .500, then hopes will be raised.

    I think that the first-few-weeks period will be an audition for Greene, Lodolo, Sanmartin and Gutierrez. When Castillo and Minor return, two of the four will have to go to Louisville.

    Same goes for the overloaded bullpen. I hope the front office will be as willing to part with underperforming veterans and their contracts, if needed, as they were to say goodbye to Akiyama.

    Again, if they can get through April hanging near .500, things could be fun. But the Reds face 14 of their 21 April games against the Dodgers, Padres and Braves, with 13 of 21 in April on the road. The potential is there for them to be crushed into irrelevance by Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you).

    Having Stephenson in the lineup more days than not will be a major upgrade over 2021. I certainly hope Barrero recovers and shows that he can hit big-league pitching. Not having an everyday DH masher is an overlooked major hole not only for the Reds, but for most NL teams. Pham is a huge key — Bell seems intent on him batting third, but his performance in the past couple of years doesn’t match that of someone who bats third for a strong offense. He’ll have to perform better offensively, and with Votto hitting behind him, he should get some pitches.

    • Jim Walker

      Until it happens Tom, for me it is IF Castillo and Minor return. Otherwise I am on board with you.

    • Old Big Ed

      The Padres aren’t any good. They finished 4 games behind the Reds last year, plus they will be playing the Reds without Tatis.

  15. Oldtimer

    I’m guessing somewhere around 75 wins (give or take a couple, either way). Spring training was pretty decent except for injuries. The results (W or L) don’t matter but the Reds played reasonably well in ST.

  16. MBS

    82 – 80 I’m an optimist, at least at the start of every year. I do have reasons for being optimistic.

    Last year we spoke a lot about square pegs in round holes. That is not an issue with this team. We got players that fit the holes. We were bad against LHP, we got Donnie Barrels, and Tommy Pham.

    We had too many 3B’s now we have 1. We had 0 SS, Farmer has became that guy late in the second half of the year. Plus our top prospect is a SS, and should make an impact in 22.

    We are also adding the 2 great pitching prospects to the rotation, and If i were a gambling man Johnson hand picked Minor to join the Reds. If that’s the case I’d defer to his judgement.

    Our bullpen is being reshaped. Last year we found out a lot about Santillan, Warren, and a little about Morretta. Those 3 added to Cessa, Strickland, Wilson, and Sims seems to be the makings of a solid pen.

    Votto did his best Tom Brady impression last year, and I think he takes it up a notch this year, moving him into GOAT status.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I really think Santillan may be on the brink of a late-inning setup or closer role.

  17. Jeff Morris

    I would say 74-88 is the Reds record this year. Reds are on a rebuild, so there will be growing pains. Not sure how long Greene and Lodolo will last in the majors leagues this year, there is a big jump from and learning experience from minor leagues to major leagues, so there will be growing pains from Green and Lodolo, along with the rookies in the bullpen. Also, Jose Berrero, growing pains from him, when he gets in the startling lineup.

    I don’t think owner Bob C realizes, if the Reds are around 4th place in their division all year, the attendance at GABP will be low. Therefore, he will not be making much money. Which means not enough money to get any real decent players. Therefore, the Reds will be in a class above minor leagues, but not have the players there are good at playing in the major leagues. Therefore, they will be a AAAA team.

    • Rednat

      i agree. I ,for one, cannot go through another 2014-2018 rebuild. Just too painful. call me a fair weather fan but going down to gabp with 15,000 cubs to watch the reds lose 15-0 to Chicago doesn’t appeal to me very much. I did it once but I won’t do it this time. Especially considering the fruits of the rebuild only produced one playoff series where we got shut out.

      i usually attend about 20 games a year. this year i will be much more strategic. i may go to a few reds – pirates games but that is about it.

  18. GreatRedLegsFan

    Very hard to tell, there’re so many question marks that can go either way: rookie starters performance (Green and Lodolo), healthy/comeback years by Moustakas and Senzel, newcomers Pham and Fraley, Barrero eventually taking over SS, etc. I guess the only sure things are the expected production from Votto, India and Stephenson, as well as a good one-two punch in Castillo and Mahle.

  19. Rednat

    last Sept/october still bother me. 12-17 with the opportunity to make the playoffs. just seems like the team stopped playing for Bell. Castellanos is gone and it seemed like he and india were the only guys playing hard at the end.

    I predict about 72 wins unless Bell can really motivate these new guys which seems unlikely

  20. AMDG

    Where will the Cincinnati Reds finish the 2022 season?

    Hopefully in Cincinnati.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Hope they are still here too.

  21. Klugo

    I just dont have a good feeling about this year. I think our Reds will show some life, but end up closer to last than first in the division.
    It’s the hard knock life.

  22. Melvin

    It’s the beginning of the season so I time for optimism. Right now “the skies the limit”. 🙂 The 1990 team as we know went wire to wire after finishing 5th the year before in the NL West with basically the same team. Stranger things have happened. 🙂

    • David

      Not really…”the same team”. In 1989, most of the starters got hurt around mid-season.
      Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Hal Morris…

      Actually, Eric Davis was about the only starter to last the season, and he had a pretty good year for a 5th place team.

      • Melvin

        I know. They also had a manager named Lou but that probably is just a coincidence since “managers don’t matter”. lol I’m TRYING to be optimistic here. 🙂

      • 2020ball

        If Bell had Sabo, Larkin, morris and especially Davis, id like his chances, and thats to say nothing about the pitching.Are we really using the 90 Reds to trash on the manager??

    • Votto4life

      The 1990 team had a terrific bullpen and I think that helped them get off to a good start. The season was delayed that year as well. The 1990 Reds were not really a great team, but it was such a fun season! It was the first year I was married and the first season my late wife became a Red’s fan. I remember cautioning her at the time “Don’t expect a world championship every year”. It was the only one she saw.

      • Melvin

        Sorry for the loss of your wife buddy.


    The Reds seem to be paper thin at every position. If any player struggles or gets injured the fill in will be any number of players that are there to fill out the minor league roster. Perhaps this season will be interesting only to the extent of seeing if anyone is a diamond in the rough – it would be nice to cheer for another India on the team (I’m thinking Friedl). I’m thinking the race with the Pirates will be tight.

    • Votto4life

      I agree with you. I think there a far greater chance the wheels come completely off than there is for this team to be in the race.

      I’m not sure why there seems to be a consensus this team is better than the Cubs and Pirates.

      When Cincinnati fields a team like this I just try to enjoy baseball for the sake of baseball. This team reminds me of the Red’s team from the mid 2000s. Some promise but a rough road ahead.

      Seems every time this organization rebuilds the window for winning gets shorter and shorter. Five years of misery for maybe two years of slightly over .500 ball. Then tear it down and start again.

  24. TR

    Ready for Red’s baseball. I think they’ll struggle to finish around .500 and edge out the Cubs for third place.

  25. Hotto4Votto

    I think we’ll be battling the Cubbies for 3rd place. Wins in the low-mid 70’s.

  26. Jeffery

    Curious what comments would be during the 1971 season

  27. Hotto4Votto

    Last season I predicted 78 wins, and the Reds beat that by winning 83. While there were certainly things that went wrong/poorly for the Reds that I did not predict (Suarez imploding, Senzel being a complete non-factor, Moose not productive, Castillo’s poor start) most of the rest that went wrong was fairly predictable for the season like the bad bullpen, defensive issues, and minor injuries keeping players out weeks-month at a time (which should be factored in every season).
    On the flip side, a lot went right as well. India and Stephenson being ready for prime time immediately were huge boosts. Votto’s resurgence. Castellanos and Winker playing up to All-Star type levels, Farmer playing an average SS (and out of his mind for a month), Naquin having a career season, Mahle taking another step forward and Gutierrez stepping into the 5th starter role, Santillan and Warren excelling in the bullpen, and the trade acquisitions solidifying the bullpen down the stretch to name some. A lot of those were unknowns, question marks, or reached the higher end projections leading to the slight overachieving of their projections.

    Can history repeat itself? Will Votto continue his renaissance? Will India and Stephenson take another step forward? Can Moose regain any of his past performance at the plate? Will we have OF’ers step up to cover the offense we lost in the corners? Can Farmer repeat or better his last season (his best yet), or can Barrero finally break through? Can the rotation replace all that we lost and step up? Does Gutierrez, Santillan, Warren, Cessa, etc take the next step forward? Is the bullpen any better? Will the lost leadership of Barnhart hurt us? Can other guys come out of relatively obscurity and make a difference like Naquin did last season (maybe guys like Fraley, Drury, Garcia…)? All interesting questions that will get answered over the course of the season and will ultimately effect their record.

  28. Jeffery

    All we had was Marty and Joe….wich was far more than we have now as far as predictions

    • David

      In 1971, it was Al Michaels and Joe Nuxhall.
      In 1970, it was Jim McIntyre and Joe Nuxhall. Jim and Joe on the radio.

      Marty came along in 1973, after Al Michaels accepted a job with the San Francisco Giants that allowed him to do “network” broadcasting with ABC. And the rest is history.

  29. AMDG

    In 2021 they won 83 games.

    From that team they’ve lost Sonny Gray and Wade Miley and are adding rookies Greene and Lodolo. The rookies will go thru growing pains, but hopefully each can contribute 1.0 WAR. Unfortunately they lost 10 WAR from Gray & Miley.

    So that is -8 WAR from the rotation.

    The bullpen should be a little better, without Hembree, Garrett and Doolittle.

    So, let’s optimistically add +2 WAR from the bullpen.

    Offensively they lost Winker, Castellano, Shogo and Suarez, who combined for about 4 WAR (with Suarez & Shogo being negative WAR contributions). Shifting that playing time to guys like Pham, Drury, Solano and Fraley does nothing beneficial, but is probably no worse than Suarez & Shogo, so the WAR is unaffected. Assuming Senzel stays healthy and returns to his 2019 form, we can hope for a 0 WAR instead of his recent negative WAR contributions. So perhaps +1 WAR vs last year? Replacing Barnhart with Stephenson adds to the WAR, but with a worse backup, it’s probably a wash.

    Offensively that’s -3 overall

    Adding up the pitching and hitting WAR contributions they seem to be around -9 WAR as compared to the 2021 season.

    Taking 83 wins and subtracting 9 wins, results in a 74 win team.


    • Tom Reeves

      That assumes each player would have played like they did in 2021.

  30. JB

    When a team has a lot of “if” players, that is not a good formula for success. They all need to stay healthy and have good years. Hitting, starting pitching, fielding, base running and most of all bullpen needs to be at least average to great.
    My mind says 72 wins but my heart says 84. I would love to see some of these guys breakout like India did last year. As much negativity I give Aquino , I would love to see him figure it out and have a great year. Hope he gets regular playing time to see if he can.
    Hope Moose has a comeback year as well. Reds need it from him.

  31. D Ball

    I think given the extra playoff spot this year and that the Reds finished 7th last year in the NL there is reason for optimism. With the DH rule, they needed to offload some hitting given how bad the bullpen has been. Between Naquin, Moustakas, Pham, Aquino, and Stephenson available for DH I have to think the hitting won’t drop off as much as people think. And they are going to need the extra arms when they face NL teams with the DH.