It’s that time of year again where Dan Szymborski starts releasing the ZiPS projections for the next year. You can check out all of the projections over at Fangraphs, but we’re going to take a look at a handful of the projections here. It’s worth noting here that the projection system itself isn’t adjusted for expected big league playing time. There are some players – particularly minor league players – in the projections that have full season playing time but will not see a single inning in the big leagues. The depth chart image at the link is, however, scaled toward expected playing time.

The Pitching

This is where the Reds can have some hope, both now and in the future. Starters Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Graham Ashcraft all come out with ZiPS projections as slightly above-average to above-average pitchers in 2023. Looking at the depth chart projection, Lodolo and Greene are sitting at 3.3 and 3.2 WAR, while Ashcraft is at 2.2 WAR (your league average player is generally at the 2.0 WAR mark).

The ERA projection for Lodolo is 3.89 and for Greene it’s 3.92. For Ashcraft he’s about half of a run back of those two at 4.45. There are some other starters in the projection, but without knowing who those spots will be going to after the three second-year guys it’s not worth spending a ton of time looking at it.

The only other pitcher in the organization with an ERA projection under 4.00 is Alexis Diaz. ZiPS forecasts a big step back in ERA from where he was at in 2022, but his 3.68 ERA projection is the best on the club.

The Hitting

There’s a lot of bad in the team projection here. Cincinnati’s best projected hitter is Jake Fraley with a projected .250/.346/.439 line – good for a 106 OPS+. That’s just barely above-average. The next best projected hitter hasn’t even played in Triple-A yet. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Minnesota in the Tyler Mahle trade, is projected to hit .255/.309/.482 – good for a 105 OPS+. Among the rest of the players in the organization only Nick Solak and Joey Votto project to be league average hitters, with several others just below the 100 OPS+ mark. Cincinnati’s new shortstop, Kevin Newman, projects as the 29th most valuable hitter in the organization.

The Surprises

Tyler Stephenson’s projection is certainly one that’s tough to wrap your head around. He’s got 605 big league plate appearances and has hit .296/.369/.454 in that time. That’s a 115 OPS+. His projection, however, is for a .262/.332/.413 line and a 96 OPS+. That’s good for a catcher, but it’s a far cry from where Stephenson has been in his career.

Not necessarily a surprise in terms of projection, but more of a surprise in terms of just seeing a good comparable pitcher is the top pitching comp for Alexis Diaz. ZiPS has former Reds reliever Scott Williamson as the #1 comparable pitcher for Diaz.

To Close It Out

This paragraph from Dan Szymborski near the end of his breakdown of the offense summed things up well.

And, in something that’s good for fans since the team’s not going to be ambitious in free agency, all the most interesting players are young and cost-controlled for a very long time. It’s a long way from corn kernels to cornbread, and hopefully by the time this team’s ready to compete, fans are blessed with a new owner that’s up to the challenge of maintaining a quality contender in the Queen City. Until then, it’s going to be painful.

59 Responses

  1. JoshG

    the starting pitcher numbers might be close, but that Tyler Stephenson projection makes me call BS on the whole thing… lost all credibility as far as I’m concerned

    • Colorado Red

      He has be healthy for it to improve.
      Spent a lot of time of the DL last year, with a bad star t.
      But that being said, the projection is low.

  2. Doc

    Did they actually have credibility to start with?

    How about an article comparing Zips projections at this time one year ago to what actually happened in 2022. Perhaps that would be informative as to whether they have demonstrated any past credibility at all, or whether they were close enough to cause one to stroke one’s chin whiskers as though deep in thought while contemplating this year’s projections.

    • LB

      I think any “how have they matched up with actuality” conversation quickly devolves into a fool’s errand.

      ZiPS (and other projection systems, for that matter) is meant to reflect the 50th percentile outcome, and by the nature of probabilities, the odds of a guy playing to his 50th percentile outcome are quite low. You’d basically need to aggregate large numbers of player projections and large numbers of actual outcomes to get a real feel for how the system works (and my assumption, given that it has been refined over about 18 years, is that in the aggregate, ZiPS aligns pretty well with reality).

      One thing to note here is that I’m fairly certain that OPS+ makes use of the park factors over at Baseball Reference, which sees GABP as dramatically more hitter-friendly than FanGraphs’s park factors do (as reflected in the typical gaps between Reds players’ OPS+ and wRC+), so it makes sense that the projections are just a bit lower than you’d otherwise expect across the board. The slash line Stephenson is projected for would have been way higher than a 96 in terms of wRC+, for instance.

  3. CFD3000

    I expect the Reds will have at least four hitters above average next year – assuming they stay healthy. Stephenson, India, Votto and at least one of the F’s (Fraley, Friedl and Fairchild). On the flip side, it seems a lot to ask for all three of the young starters to stay healthy and productive all year – though if the Reds have any hope of being competitive that’s exactly what they’ll need.

    But the biggest shortcoming of these projections IMHO is the sorting that will inevitably happen on a young club. Players doing well will get more playing time, those who don’t, won’t. One or two young guys will undoubtedly emerge. What were the Zips projections for India for 2021? I’ll choose to ignore this info and remain a little more optimistic than “dismal”.

    • Colorado Red

      Agree, except for Votto. Joey, is head to be well below average.
      Old Man Time, is till undefeated.

      • Luke J

        Old Man Time is undefeated, but let’s not pretend he hasn’t been pushed back for a few years a time or two. Votto is certainly not past the age where many other players have performed well. I don’t know what to expect from him and his surgically repaired shoulder/arm, but I think it’s premature to claim he will automatically be below average because of his age.

      • CFD3000

        If it was just a matter of time, I’d agree. But he’s rehabbing from a pretty serious injury, and we know he’ll put in the work. I think he will have a good year. Not forever of course, but in 2023. In any case I can’t wait to find out.

    • Chris Holbert

      If the starting OF is the three F’s, that would seen to be the grade the FO should receive.

  4. DataDumpster

    The use of “basic injury data” and the comment about Stephenson needing more time as the DH seems to figure in to the formula. I was also surprised to find out that minor league stats are also used for their “similar” players comparisons. (Not so sure about that).
    Despite all the effort put into this model and a reasonable rationale given for the Stephenson “anomaly”, most armchair fans would have come up with a similar outlook on most of the players. Maybe when the depth charts and projected playing times are computed, the TEAM outlook can be set down as a pretty good mark in the sand.
    Still kind of surprised that little to no projections or metrics exist for managers. The simple Pythagorean W/L might be a small start but a lack of imagination and/or effort seems apparent to me.

  5. Redsvol

    Zips is useless. Gives us something to talk about in the cold off-season I guess. What would ZIPS say about Elly De La Cruz? Probably that his OPS+ would be 120 in his first year – and that ain’t happening. But he will be exciting and can’t miss watching regardless of his OPS+.

  6. old-school

    listened to interviews with Mo egger with Tejay Antone and Jon India last few days.
    Antone says he was throwing 93-95 mph in his bullpens at the end of the year and he anticipates breaking ST with the Reds to Cincinnati and is willing to do anything they ask him, including starting. He also agreed with the emergence of Diaz in the pen the Reds could have two elite arms at the back of the bullpen in 2023. A healthy Antone with Diaz could be a 1-2 hammer.

    India states his goal is to make the All star team. He likes getting rid of the shift as a hitter to open up the field more and paraphrasing, said at 2b he is up for the challenge of playing 2b without a SS and is working now to be ready 110% by the start of camp.

    A healthy India, Antone, and Stephenson are big reasons this team could be better in 2022 and with the emergence of the Big 3 and the best position prospect since Jay Bruce lurking in AAA-and a Joey Votto last lap around the track, there’s plenty of positive storylines to watch this team in 2023.

    Jon India will take a big step forward in 2023 and reclaim his identity as a cornerstone of the post Joey Votto Reds era.

    • SultanofSwaff

      You have to wonder if extending India and Stephenson now would be smart financially. I do.

    • MBS

      My #1 must acquired piece is a closer, but that’s because I don’t believe Antone is going to be healthy. A legit healthy Antone is a game changer. Diaz, Antone, and SanMartin is a good back of the pen group. Farmer, Cruz, and a healthy Santillan would give us a nice middle as well.

      @Sultan, either should be very cheep to extend if they are willing to sell themselves on such down years.

      • David

        I am glad to hear T.J. Antone is throwing with good velocity. Two-time TJ surgeries are…..problematical.
        I hope he is handled carefully in the 2023 season. Don’t warm him up, sit him down, and warm him up again. Control his usage, at least during the first part of the year.

        Yes, it would be a smart thing to lock up India and Stephenson, and Diaz with contracts that take them through …AND BEYOND! their arb years. But this is the Reds. Don’t count on it.

      • Steve

        Closer certainly wouldn’t be at the top of my list to acquire for these Reds. This team isn’t going to be in a position to need a top end closer anytime soon, I would be perfectly fine putting Diaz in that role and seeing what he can do.

      • BK

        This year, the Reds will likely only bring in a long-term free agent if they believe they have found a bargain and a good multi-year fit. A high-leverage bullpen pitcher could undoubtedly fit that mode. A challenge during a rebuild is to avoid conditioning our young players to find losing tolerable. Adding to the bullpen would improve the team’s record and help rebuild a winning culture.

      • MBS

        Do only “good” teams need closers? A closer isn’t the finishing piece that you only add once you’re good enough to deserve one. If we closed games at the same percentage as the Mets, we would have had 7 more W’s. That’s a lot of W’s we pissed away over the last few years because we didn’t have a closer.

        Diaz can close, he showed that with the chances he had last year, as he converted 10 of 14 save opportunities in his rookie year. He also had 27 inherited runners while only gave up 4 runs. The Reds need to be able to use Diaz when we need him, and not worry that we don’t have anyone to finish off the game. A healthy and productive Antone would give us the flexibility of not needing to bring in a closer.

      • Optimist

        Rather than acquire a #1 piece as closer, maybe they should avoid having 3 or 4 potential bombs in the pen. You expect any reliever to have a few bad days each season, but after Diaz the next best pen ERA was 3.83. (Cruz was good, but only in 14 ip). That’s pretty bad, but if it were a 6-way tie it would just be pretty bad. It drops off from there straight to miserable.

        The Bucs were better, the Cubs quite good, and just for looks, the Rays were stellar.

        Sure, there’s luck and uncertainty involved in bullpen depth, but even a slight emphasis here would get them noticeably out of the basement.

      • MBS

        @Optimist, why not do both? Also I think you’re sleeping on SanMartin. He had a sub 3.00 ERA as a reliever over 41 innings, so not a short sample size.

      • Optimist

        Cost too much for a true closer – they could get much more value just going from waiver wire/MiLB deals to 2-4M/year for 2 or 3 relievers. Too many “we might find value” guys, not enough “we expect an OK performance” guys.

        I continually rethink the Minor/Cueto decision last year, and wonder if the pen would have been any better if the rotation had been that much better. Possible.

      • Melvin

        @BK “A challenge during a rebuild is to avoid conditioning our young players to find losing tolerable”.

        That’s exactly right. Getting good players in a rebuild does not necessarily translate into winning. There are no guarantees. To quote Michael Jordan when discussing the Bulls doing a rebuild, “The Cubs have been rebuilding for over 40 years”.

  7. SultanofSwaff

    You can’t underestimate the effect injuries had on these projections. As a team the Reds were far and away the most snakebit (or poorly conditioned?) team in baseball. I was reading that something like 2630 games were lost to injuries. By comparison, the MEDIAN for all teams was around 1350, with the Guardians staying the healthiest at around 700.

    I’m optimistic that better health alone will be worth an extra 8 wins. From there, to get to 90 and the potential for October baseball, is where things will have to fall into place perfectly. Not only do Greene/Lodolo/Stephenson need to step up into the 4WAR echelon, guys like India/Votto/Diaz/Ashcraft need to put up 3WAR, and maybe most importantly guys like Barrero/Steer/Fairchild/Friedl/Fraley/the rest of the bullpen need to be at least league average 2WAR. The wild cards are EDLC, CES, and Marte….if two of them could surprise and give 2WAR each then you’re knocking on the door. All of this is a very tall order, but the 2015 Cubs made that huge leap forward when everyone thought their youngsters were still a year away. I’d like the Reds to make one splashy FA signing and accelerate this rebuild so as not to waste a year of control over the young pitching. The money is there, don’t let them tell you otherwise.

    • Reaganspad

      Thanks for listing Barrero here. 2 years ago, he was the closest thing we had to EDLC. Tore up the minors, played in the futures game and Homer’s inthat game. Thengets rushed to the major leagues before he is finished. Everyone calling for EDLC to break with this club or be there mid year should just take a long look at Barrero.
      That said, I hope Barrero can just flush the stank of 2022 completely. I don’t know how you recover the confidence of a rushed prospect, but that guy has tools. If AAA to start the season would jumpstart his career, I think they should consider investing 2 months of AAA SS starts to JB. I know EDLC et all are on their way but we have to prove we can develop and finish this talent

      • MBS

        @Reagan, I think that might be the smart way to go with not only Barrero, but Steer as well. Let Newman, Lopez, and Reynolds cover 2B, 3B, and SS. Let India join the OF tiro of FFF, and Solak can be the utility guy. The aforementioned infielders are guys who can easily step aside when Barrero, and Steer get their promotions.

      • Optimist

        +100 with this, and MBS’s comment, and add there’s a hope they let Lopez play a lot to start the season, see if he can post good enough numbers to make him a deadline trade candidate. He could be a very useful piece for the second half for a borderline contender, and if they could get someone to overpay it would be a win.

      • Chris Holbert

        Reply to MBS. Votto, Newman, Lopez, and Reynolds, in the IF. That has them all shaking

    • TR

      More than my desire for Reds change in ownership and field manangement, this offseason, is the signing of a better than average free agent, preferably an outfielder, to stimulate and get the Reds out of the doldrums. It makes no sense to waste another year of our young starting pitching core just because we’re in the middle of a rebuild and waiting for the maturity of prospects which there is no guarantee will happen. The ‘hot stove’ has gone lukewarm with this ownership.

  8. LDS

    It’s the offseason, we all need some comic relief. The 3 F’s aren’t likely to hit league average numbers any more than Votto matching his 2021 output (which was lousy against LH’ers). That the Reds will be lousy again this year isn’t a surprise to anyone. The rest is just some guy “Lost in Math” (apologies to Hossenfelder).

    • Jim Walker

      I don’t understand the general skepticism about the F Troopers. All 3 have a sizeable body of work at AAA which suggests they could maintain offensively what they have done to date at MLB. Superstars? No. League average or better outfielders, why not?

      Play them at MLB while sorting out at AA and AAA who among the shortstop army is bound for the outfield or (more likely except for EDLC) traded for an MLB outfielder with a higher ceiling than the F Troopers. When the younger comers beat the F Troop out for spots, the Reds can trade them or perhaps hang onto one or two of them and have real bench depth.

      • Votto4life

        Jim my only criticism is why should they have to convert infielders into outfielders? They should have been developing outfielders. People complain the 2019-2020 team was poorly constructed but this emerging team is just as bad. Mediocre outfield, 26 middle infielders and until a few days ago only one catcher on the major league roster.

      • MBS

        @Votto, I don’t disagree about developing OF’s. They’ve tried and failed miserably over the years. Winker, Siri, Trammell, and Aquino were our future, but only Winker has accomplished anything, and he was a platoon hitting, poor fielding guy. Hendricks, Allen, Hinds, Cerda are the next group, but I don’t see a bright future for them either.

        We need a combo of FA’s, and infielders transitioning to the OF to field a more complete team over the next couple of seasons.

      • old-school

        I agree with you. Not that you cant take an infielder who has a big bat and plug them in LF to get their bat in the order, as LF defense isnt that crucial. But CF and RF need to be bonafied outfielders who trained as outfielders. Sure, Billy Hamilton was a SS but he had years and years of CF in the minors. Perhaps Siani can be that next CF with his elite defense. I dont see an everyday RF anywhere in the picture- cannon of an arm, power bat, speed and good glove. Aquino had all the tools but couldnt hit. It’ s looking more and more like EDLC is going to stick at SS per an article today by Bobby Nightengale.

      • BK

        Shortstops are almost always the best athletes on the team. As such, the success rate for moving them to other, less demanding defensive positions is relatively high. Reggie Sanders, Eric Davis and others already mentioned made the transition pretty well. Like Billy Hamilton, Davis and Sanders logged lots of time in the OF before arriving at the majors. More recently, Adam Duvall and Senzel did so. While Senzel is slightly below average defensively, his defense is playable. As far as having a realistic chance of moving players to fill potential outfield holes, they are in a far better position than they were two years ago. We had all seen that Suarez’s athleticism was below average, no surprise that the move to shortstop failed. Winker lacked the athleticism to play LF well–no surprise he couldn’t handle CF or RF well.

        Getting back to Jim’s point, Friedl, Fraley, and Fairchild did well in 2022 and had solid AAA track records. Fraley needs a platoon mate–Solak or others can provide that. Siani is close and is excellent defensively. Fairchild is excellent defensively. Fraley is solid in LF. I’m not sure our OF is as dire as some project. But if it is, there are several athletes in the pipeline to fill those spots. I agree transitions at the MLB level should be avoided.

      • Votto4life

        Yeah, I think in general, it’s a bad idea to draft by position, but hopefully there will be a stud outfielder available when the Reds make their selection next summer.

      • LDS

        Fraley is strictly a platoon bat, a poor man’s Winker. Friedl, despite being LH’d, actually hits LH’ers better. Maybe Friedl should be Fraley’s platoon partner, though Bell doesn’t look at the numbers, only the handedness. Both are approaching 28 yo, Neither are particularly good defenders. Neither have a lot of power although Fraley did better last year. Fairchild is about a year younger, has better defensive metrics and more power. His splits are more balanced, though in the .230s. So, metrically, Fairchild deserves an extended look. The other two don’t have anything in their numbers suggesting anything more than warm bodies. And Senzel isn’t the answer either. Nor is ruining a bunch of infielders by trying to convert them. Sometimes that works out, but often it doesn’t. Spend more money and sign someone or start these guys and shoot for a 100-loss season once again. As for Votto? Lots of wishful thinking but he hasn’t actually hit a LH’er in a number of years. And age and a nontrivial surgery doesn’t bode well. Will the Reds get lucky? Maybe, but don’t bet the farm. Either the Reds are going to be “analytics” focused and look at the metrics or continue the Bell approach and waste more player’s careers. I think we know the answer.

      • Jim Walker

        @V4L & others. The Reds shouldn’t need to always be converting infielders to OF but that is the situation they seem to have painted themselves into by glutting on middle infield prospects.

        I will cut Krall some temporary slack by presuming he dealt for the best overall prospects he could land. However, now he has to turn some of these guys into outfielders; and there are 2 options; 1) flip them for young MLB/ MLB ready OF or 2)convert them into OF. Virtually all the talk and posturing we’ve seen and heard from the Reds suggests it will be option #2.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Don’t discount how much of a benefit the shift ban will do for Votto. He’s one of the most ‘penalized’ the last few years.

  9. Votto4life

    You can argue with the individual projections, but his overall take away is the Reds are bad, they have a cheap owner and things won’t change until he is gone. While not earth shattering, that assessment seems spot on to me.

    • doofus

      Agree, simply put, bad ownership is the cause of the vicious loop that causes the Reds to be a bad team. I hate to say it, but all our theories on what the Reds should do is moot until the Reds first resolve the Castellini Curse.

      • redfanorbust

        Hi doofus. I have always wondered about this. Castellini owns about 15% of the Reds making him the majority shareholder, so in turn I guess the mouthpiece for the group. The rest of the shares are split amongst many. He has a responsibility not just to his wallet but to a bunch of
        others as well. Are his hands tied by how much he can spend in this scenario? Are most Reds fans angry at him when they should be angry at the group as a whole?

  10. Jim Walker

    I am wondering if the computer that crunched the numbers had been into some whacky tobacco on some of these projections.

    I keep reminding myself WAR is a counting stat so a guy with greater a number of PAs can have lower rate stats than someone else and still have the same or greater WAR.

    What I haven’t figured out why some of the OPS+ numbers are well below guys’ real world OPS+ numbers.

    For example, one of my guys, Fairchild, has a career OPS of .751, good for an OPS+ of 103. These projections put him nominally lower on OPS at .738 but drop his OPS+ projection all the way down to 93. This is all the more puzzling to me because Fairchild’s real world numbers for 2022 were OPS .800 and OPS+ 116.

    Meanwhile, Fraley has a career OPS of .724 and OPS+ of 100 and with a 2022 OPS of .812 and OPS+ of 118 is projected at .785 OPS good for 106 OPS+, virtually identical to Fairchld’s 2022 numbers which got his OPS/OPS+ projection for 2023 hosed.

    • Jim Walker

      The auto editor was working over time and butchered my last paragraph above. It should have read:

      Meanwhile, Fraley has a career OPS of .724 and OPS+ of 100 and with a 2022 OPS of .812 and OPS+ of 118 is projected at .785 OPS good for 106 OPS+. Yet his 2022 numbers were virtually identical to Fairchild’s 2022 numbers which got Fairchild’s OPS/OPS+ projection for 2023 hosed comped to his career numbers`.

  11. Bill J

    Jim, remember the computer is just an imitation of the human mind.

    • Jim Walker

      Yeah, please don’t remind me. 😉

      Once upon a time when I was decades younger, I wrote line after line of database programming quickly with errors few and far between. Anymore, I sometimes struggle and take forever to write a coherent paragraph or 3.

      • doofus

        Fear not Jim. Phil Castellini has proven that he cannot speak a coherent sentence without turning an entire fan base against him.

        If I buy the team would you become the team spokesperson?

  12. Mark Moore

    Meh … projections are just that. And they’re fine for stats baseball. That being said …

    We all realize we won’t be all that good. The young stud pitchers will be fun to watch. I’m thinking TySteve will be back and healthy. Joey may push Father Time a bit, but that’s just because of how hard he tends to work.

    It’s December 1st. Hope used to spring eternal right about now. Instead, we’re all just waiting to see if current ownership makes any truly bonehead moves next week. I for one don’t expect anything splashy.

    His point about needing new ownership is spot-on. I think nearly all of us agree on that point.

  13. redfanorbust

    Speaking for myself I did not need a zips or zaps or whatever to make these projections. As far as Stephenson goes he has no business being a catcher. Most catchers are built like tanks for a reason. He is our best hitter. He is 6’4″ a great 1B height and poor for a catcher, just more area go get a bad foul ball or whatever. His injuries to date should make moving him a no brainer The league has what maybe three above average hitting catchers? So get someone like like Barnhart, have Stephenson 50/50 with Votto at 1B and DH. Votto’s bat sure could use the rest at his age not playing the field for 140 games.

    • DataDumpster

      Our #2 catcher for the time being, Mr. Luke Maile, measures in at a robust 6’3, 225. More body to get hit with the foul ball, more time to get out of the crouch, and hopefully doesn’t stick his bare hand out even with his glove…but the Reds aren’t apparently concerned. I guess their is are contrafactual metrics (or manager) associated with that observation.

      • Jim Walker

        The Reds seem determined to have a large frame behind the plate. They claimed Papierski on waivers then we did not work out, Kolozsvary, probably the best handler of pitchers, got the bum’s rush for Chuckie Robinson. Now they have Maile.

        Is it too much connecting of the dots to presume don’t see moving Stephson from behind the plate anytime soon and want a similar frame from the backup for continuity?

      • redfanorbust

        Hi Data. I did not know that Maile was pretty much the same size as Stephenson. Only difference is Stephenson can probably hit over 270 while Maile will be luck to hit his weight. Therefore Maile is much more expendable. Go get Barnhart and start him with Maile as backup. Stephenson is a key piece of the future. Why take unnecessary risks with his health? Reds are going nowhere next year with or without him behind the plate. Votto leaves after 23 so 1B would be Stephenson’s alone. Anyway that’s how I see it. Here’s guessing the Reds will play him till he get another concussion or season ending broken bone.

  14. Votto4life

    The 2023 season is going to be difficult. A roster full of AAAA players, while the real talent is still percolating in the minors.

    I am going to do my best to enjoy Joey’s last season. Otherwise, for me anyway, there won’t be much reason to tune in. I am for one don’t want to see any of the prized prospects, in Cincinnati, until they are actual ready.

    In the other down years, I have tried to enjoy baseball for the sake of baseball. I’m not sure why, but it’s more difficult for me to do that these days. Maybe I am just older, or the game is just not as entertaining or I am just feed up with the current ownership. Maybe a combination of all three. I do hope this team will somehow win again while I am still around to see it.

    • Jim Walker

      I certainly understand where you are coming from. I have had some of the same feelings at times over the last year. However, I believe the rule changes are going to make games in general more interesting to watch.

      For example, Theo Epstein says don’t look past the impact of the pitch clock. He believes pitching against the clock will result in pitchers not being able to put as much mental or physical effort into every pitch as they have in the past. The clock is also going to impact the ability of pitchers to hold runners on at 1B which in turn should allow runners to get larger leads and better jumps be that to steal or go 1st to 3rd on a single or score from 1st more often on a double.

      Then there are the shift rules. How will they impact pitching patterns to left handed pull hitters? Will defenses try to game the rules with fielders in motion on the pitch attempting to get as nearly as possible to the same spots they were before the rule changes? If defenses do play games, will hitters try to hit behind defenders?

      All of these things aren’t necessarily make the Reds more competitive but they should make games more interesting to watch.

  15. Redsvol

    Zach Eflin just got $40 million over 3 years from the Rays. The cost of established major league starting pitching is just ridiculous. Normally this insanity would come from someone like the Rangers, but the Rays….really?

    Young players and draft picks just got even more valuable.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      $13,000,000 a year is not expensive at all when we consider that the top pitching contract in the game is more than 3 times that (Scherzer) for one season.

      There is a whole lot of money in the game. Every team just got another $30,000,000 in cash from the sale of what was left of Bamtech.

      • redfanorbust

        I did not know that. Well not sure what a Bamtech is. LOL. Anyway not exactly fair if each team gets $30M. Why give the Dodgers, Mets and Yankees of the baseball world the same amount when bottom feeders like the Reds, Pirates, Orioles and Guardians payrolls are many times less?