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.