The Cincinnati Reds won 62 baseball games in 2022. It was their worst season in four decades and one of the worst seasons in the history of the franchise. 100 losses was only topped by the 1982 squad. The .383 winning percentage was only topped (or bottomed?) by six teams (and matched by another one). Those 1930’s Reds teams were baaaaaad (1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, and 1937 all had a lower winning percentage than the 2022 Reds, and the 1932 team was only slightly better with a .390 winning percentage).

ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle doesn’t see the Reds pulling a 1939 just yet (the Reds lost the World Series that year). Utilizing the Steamer Projections and adding in his own projections for playing time, he ran simulations to come up with what the 2023 season would look like and things were not good for Cincinnati. His projections came up with a 60-102 record for the Reds. That was the worst record in baseball (43 wins worse than the New York Mets who were at the top and two wins behind the Rockies for next worst record).

If you want some hope, there is a little bit. But don’t get too excited, because the hope isn’t something that’s going to likely generate enough wins to truly be competitive.

I, as I am sure are many Reds fans, am very much looking forward to the eventual ascension of shortstop Elly De La Cruz. He’s not alone in terms of future Cincinnati hopes, but he’s on the 40-man roster and he’s exciting.

While Elly De La Cruz is the organization’s top prospect, as Doolittle notes, he’s not alone. And if there’s one thing that projection systems tend to miss on is rookies having good years. These systems are built around past performance and when you don’t have much of any experience in the big leagues, or any at all, they don’t tend to project you to be a difference maker. Now, it’s also fair to say that most prospects don’t become difference makers out of the gate, if ever.

Still, when there’s a real chance that half of your lineup could be rookies by July (De La Cruz, Spencer Steer, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and maybe a Matt McLain or Michael Siani in your outfield), it’s possible that the team projection is a little worse off simply because of how the non-big leaguers are projected.

With that said, ZiPS also projected Spencer Steer to be the Reds best position player as of a week ago (Wil Myers had not yet been signed and is thus missing from the projection, so it’s possible that this is no longer true). Steer’s 20 home runs to go along with a .756 OPS and solid defense was enough to put him at the top of the projections.

But a guy like Christian Encarnacion-Strand may be underrated here. He’s projected as the second best hitter on the team with a .255/.309/.482 line with 27 home runs if he’s given a full season of playing time (he almost assuredly won’t get that), but he is massively dinged for his defense. On the surface that makes sense given that he’s posted an .893 fielding percentage at third base in his two professional seasons. That likely leaves the projection systems with two beliefs: One, if he winds up playing third base he’s going to be atrocious and the system dings him massively there. Or two, he slides to first base or designated hitter and loses tons of positional value on the defensive side of things.

There’s a reason to believe that he’s a much better defender than his statistics suggest. There’s no denying that he’s been very bad overall in his minor league career at third base. It’s impossible to try and suggest a guy with an .893 fielding percentage has been good in the field. But things flipped over night in the middle of 2022. As I wrote at RedsMinorLeagues.com earlier this winter, on June 17th Encarnacion-Strand made an error that dropped his fielding percentage to .827 on the season at third base. Over the next three days he didn’t play in the field. From June 21st through the end of the season he posted a .976 fielding percentage at third base over his remaining 35 games he played at the position.

That kind of improvement that’s unseen could mean a few things. First is that it likely improves the overall value projection because the systems in place probably didn’t break down his game-by-game fielding stats to see that there was a massive improvement at the midseason point that makes it far more likely he could remain at third base. But secondly, with those improvements – assuming they continue moving forward – means that it’s likely he arrives in the big leagues sooner because there’s not a glaring weakness in his game that must be improved upon before he can be placed into a big league lineup. That could get a true power bat into the lineup more frequently, and in Great American Ball Park…. well, sometimes that can make things far more interesting.

At the end of the day, what these projections tell us is that the Cincinnati Reds are going to be bad. That doesn’t surprise anyone. The team was very bad in 2022, traded away most of their quality big league talent at the trade deadline, and replaced it with…. Wil Myers and hope.

With sports gambling legal in the state of Ohio in 2023, if a sports book puts the over/under on wins for Cincinnati at 60, I’ll sprint to place a bet on the over. It’s certainly not impossible to squint and see that the team does finish the season with 60 wins, but it also doesn’t feel likely. That’s not to say that they’ll win 78 games, either. Injuries always come into play, and while there does seem to be enough depth in the minors on the positional side that they could not only weather some injuries but even see some improvements in the second half if and when some of the top guys arrive, the pitching depth in the minor leagues may not be there. Health on the mound could be a big factor – as it always is, but even more so when your depth is mostly guys who are AAAA types rather than prospects with upside who need to take a step forward in some particular area.

That’s not to say the cupboard is bare in the upper levels, but it does appear to be limited in scale as of right now. Four of the Reds top 25 prospects are pitchers who should start in AA or AAA in 2023, but none of them are coming off of a particularly strong season. Three of them showed real control issues with high walk rates, and the other one had an ERA of 4.75 in 91.0 innings in AA last season. Each of them has enough going for them that you can see a big league future, but all must take at least one step forward (and in one case, a huge step forward) if they’re going to pitch in the big leagues with success in 2023.

Still, keeping guys like Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene healthy – both of whom project very well according to the Steamer Projections (both are above 3.0 WAR) – could be the difference between watching a team with a solid pitching staff and one that is painful.

80 Responses

  1. Gonzo Reds

    Reds are sitting at the bottom of a deep well watching the Pirates and Cubs try to climb out of the well. The Brewers are teetering at the top edge trying not to fall back in. The Cardinals? They are standing at the top doing more important things like trying to figure out how to get to the mansion at the top of the hill.

    Don’t worry Reds fans Bob and Phil are dumping a steaming pot of um… gruel down to those stuck at the bottom of the well.

    I think Mary Beth could write an entire article about the symbolism between baseball and deep wells so I’ll leave that to her. 😉

    • Mark Moore

      Yeah … I’m thinking you are correct, Gonzo. It ain’t gonna be pretty.

      • Melvin

        Winning doesn’t sound likely but watching Votto, hopefully EDLC, and our young starters should be fun. The bad news is I don’t think they’re going to sign anyone to an extension. The good news is I think they are going to sell. 🙂

  2. Kevin Patrick

    Eovaldi just went to the Rangers for 2 years 34 mil. This is the kind of pitcher the Reds need, but at that price I guess I don’t mind them waiting. But if you wanted to have a chance to go to the playoffs, I think the Reds would need 2 Eovaldis. Nobody has a crystal ball that sees which young player plays to that level…and no matter how much I polish my crystal ball, I can’t see which pitchers in the Reds organization step up to major league level beyond Overton and Cessa. That isn’t encouraging if you hope for a chance at playoffs… Let’s imagine Gutierrez has a bounce back year and perhaps takes a step forward. Could he pitch 140 innings around a 4.00 ERA? That’s not impossible…or likely. If guys like Gutierrez, Overton, and Cessa have incredible first halves, and you get close to what you expect from Greene, Lodolo, and Ashcraft…I don’t know…maybe the Reds bring in somebody else. I just think it is as likely that Greene, Lodolo, and Ashcraft have setbacks. If that happens, 60 wins is about right.

    • Doug Gray

      Gutierrez might not pitch in the big leagues at all in 2023…. He definitely isn’t pitching at all in the first half.

      • Kevin Patrick

        I was mistaken in my impression that Gutierrez had his surgery earlier in the year. Do you think the Reds would be more likely to keep him starting in the minors when he returns or stick him in the pen?

    • DHud

      If I had a crystal ball…I’d say the reds use this season to sort through the upper end of the farm system depth and then next offseason go after a pitcher like they did with the Latos and Bauer deals (granted Bauer was mid season, but it was looking ahead to competing in 2020)

  3. CFD3000

    If most of Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Stephenson, Votto and India are mostly healthy, then 60 wins is a ridiculously low estimate. In that case the rotation, bullpen, and offense will all be better than 2022. I expect some of Barrero, Steer and the flying F’s to improve, and the catching situation will be better even if Stephenson is no healthier than this past year. The bullpen should improve as well, again assuming that Diaz, Sanmartin, and more importantly Antone and Sims are reasonably healthy.

    The 2023 Reds are likely to be bad in that they’re not playoff contenders. But I just don’t see another 100 loss season. I’ll be in line behind Doug to take the over if the line really is 60 wins. Right now I’m guessing 71-91. And hoping for a lot better than that.

    • Redsvol

      I agree with you CDF. But I will also say that wins aren’t everything at this stag of the rebuild. – I want the team to be more watchable. Last years tram was unwatchable for large stretches. Between tj zeuch starts and the horrific 1st half bullpen performance and bottom of the order at bats it was hard to see the future.

      Now we have some youth getting majority of at bats, 3 super young pitchers figuring it out and EDLC likely playing by June.

      We still need better starting pitcher and bullpen depth but it’s likely going to be minor league deal guys and that’s ok if we have some decent health this year( fingers crossed)

  4. SultanofSwaff

    Trolling by ESPN. For starters, everything that could go wrong last year did…..primarily health. I mentioned before the Reds in total missed something like ~2600 games from injuries, with the MEDIAN from other teams being like 1300 games (Cleveland was unbelievably blessed with good health and was nearly half the median). So with just average health the Reds are a 70 win-ish team. Beyond that, yes, a lot of guys will have to outperform what they’ve shown so far, but those core guys are all very high floor players and young. Like, would it surprise anyone if Stephenson/Greene/Lodolo put up 5 WAR each next year? Me neither. So in that sense I don’t feel the bottom will drop out in 2023 since there’s no on left to trade and those who are left have untapped upside.

      • JB

        Doug any updates on Barrero un PR league?

      • Doug Gray

        He’s currently hitting .257/.354/.314 through 20 games. He had been going through a little bit of a slump, going 0-9 in three games, but went 1-3 with 2 RBI last night to break out of it.

        After walking 9 times in the first 11 games he has not walked once in the last 9 games (and has 7 strikeouts in that span).

  5. SultanofSwaff

    The Sean Murphy extension should be the template to work out a long term deal with Tyler Stephenson. Extending home grown talent is my litmus test whether this franchise even cares about competing. If they’re smart they’ll do it before he goes out and has an all-star season…..he was well on his way last year before getting hurt.

    • old-school

      Thats certainly a litmus test. Even broader, who, when, and how much is the Reds first new money contract in 2024+? Is it a current player extended, a trade for a controlled arb eligible player not in the organization currently or a FA next off-season? Krall has been pretty methodical the last 2 years cleaning out Reds financial commitments beyond 2023. At some point in calendar year 2023, that changes.

    • DHud

      Would love to see the reds buy out India, Stephenson, Greene, and Lodolo like they did Suarez

      • JB

        Same here and it would be smart by them because they might take that 12 mil a year.

      • Gaffer

        Because that worked out so well? The owners asked for arbitration as a way to NOT have to sign players to multi-year guarantee contracts, why would you give that up? Teams have payed way too many guys to go way on guaranteed contracts, at least with arbitration you have the choice to pay for good performance. If they have too good of a year, you can trade them!

      • DHud

        Suarez produced 4.1 WAR last season for $11mil. Every single MLB franchise will take that in a heartbeat. In the 4 seasons he played for the Reds since signing his extension, he produced 9.5 WAR. 2021 was his only down season and the reds in a pure salary dump moved on. So yes, to your first point, it actually did work out well

        And to your second point, you do that because 1) you set a ceiling price on arbitration salaries if they do, as you say, “have too good of a year,” and 2) you extend your competitive window as a small market team by keeping talent that would otherwise leave to chase larger contracts via free agency

        In this scenario, you buy a few more years with India and Stephenson in the lineup to allow prospects line Collier, Marte, and EDLC to establish themselves as competitive major leaguers

        As always, some contracts will work and some will not – that’s business

  6. LDS

    60 wins will be enough to get Bell another contract extension, probably before season’s end. Without a lot of luck, 55-65 wins is probably the best Reds’ fans can expect. If they hit 70 wins, then miracles will have happened.

    • Reaganspad

      55 wins? Did you watch the 1982 Reds? Yes, they had 3 good starters in Soto, Berenyi and Frank Pastore but they had no offense as the great Paul Householder only hit 211

      Yes Myers plays Dan Driessen in this remake, but this doesn’t account for Stevenson or India. Interesting that 83 brings on Redus and my all time fav Nick Esasky who was the Reds Jersey I had to have.

      70 wins is a given for this team. I see Barrero breaking out and increasing that number (nothing like Barrero in 82)

      • LDS

        To paraphrase your namesake, “there you go again”. With the team as constructed currently, 70 wins seem like a huge stretch. Lack of everything across the board, particularly pitching.

    • Tar Heel Red

      As the team shapes up right now, I would say that 55 wins is very possible. I’m hoping Stephenson doesn’t open the season on the IL and I’m expecting Votto to. I have zero confidence in Barrero’s ability to hit at the major league level, but it probably won’t matter cuz Newman will be starting at shortstop. The outfield is still thin, even with the addition of Myers.

      The thing that really scares me is the starting pitching. So far they have about half the starters they are sure to need in Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft…and that’s assuming all three remain healthy all season. After those three who pitches? Cessa and…? The Reds have several young pitchers in the minors but few are considered ready at this point

  7. MBS

    My only prediction is we will not lose 100 games. A lot will have to do with how quickly some of the youth are ready to join the club, and I’ve got no idea on that.

  8. Roger Garrett

    Not about wins for me but rather seeing the young guys play.Hopefully they get enough chances that one or more step up and become solid major league players.I imagine though as in the past Bell will move everybody all over the diamond and script days off in advance to insure players stay fresh.Not trying to be negative but Bell would not be the guy for me if I was wanting to take a long look at younger players in a year that is obviously meant to do just that.Would be wrong not to have 4 or 5 younger players get 400 at bats or more IMO

    • DWR

      How can it not be about wins? Why even play the season? The Reds should try to win every year like the Cardinals do. I’m so sick of it. Didn’t go to a game last year for the first time in 38 years, and I won’t go this year either. They aren’t even trying. Tired of the excuses.

  9. William

    I think the Reds will probably lose 90-95 games. I have confidence that the three young starters will keep them from losing a 100, unless injuries occur. I only count India, Stephenson, Myers, and Votto as adequate positional players. Votto should be better this year. Senzel better start hitting, or he is history after this season. Better days are coming, but not in 2023. If the Reds do not include spending in their plans in 2024, they will not be competitive. The young players will not be enough without spending on good veteran players. The big market teams are spending over 200 million, and it will take about 120 million spent by the Reds to be competitive, even if De La Cruz turns out to be a superstar.

    • Colorado Red

      Not sure Votto will be better this year.
      Old man age is undefeated, and Joey is in his sights.
      I think Myers will be fine, and traded at the deadline.
      Stephenson and India will be better.
      The starting 3 should be good, but the Pen is still a question (outside of Diaz).
      I am thinking they are about the same as last year 89 – 102 loses.
      Hope I am wrong, and we see some breakouts.

  10. JB

    Way to early to have a prediction fir the season. I’ll wait until spring training is over with and the roster is set. One good thing is Moose is gone and he isn’t blocking a young guy trying to get reps in. I like all the young guys playing and the sorting that will go on this year. I like the Myers pickup and not so much of the Newman. I think the Reds have talent and youth and can win more than 60 games. There were alot of injuries last year and I don’t care what you say, that team was tanking. If they go with Overton or Cessa or Williamson , fine. Just don’t waste money on some has been like Minor. I have no interest in watching the game when they pitch.

  11. redsfan4040

    There’s a lot that would have to go right in 2023 for it to be a “good year” from a standings standpoint. But, based off of 2022, you have to like your chances if Greene, Lodolo, or Ashcraft has the ball. They should at least keep you in the game.

    Offensively, full years from Fraley, Friedl, Fairchild, Stephenson will let the Reds know what they have in them. Myers taking at bats from Moose is a great step up. A healthy Votto is a huge wildcard.

    Above all those though, I think is the bullpen. What are Antone, Sims, and Santillan going to bring now that they’re hopefully healthy? Is Cruz what we saw at the end of 2022? Does Diaz repeat his dominance? If all those are yes, that’s a heck of a 5 member bullpen, and then you can fill the other 3 out as needed.

    • JB

      If Sanmartin can give us what he did last year an Buck Farmer I would be happy. I think they both tired at the end but I was impressed with them.

  12. Bdh

    There’s a reason less and less people take ESPN serious each year. Just lazy work here

    • Doug Gray

      I have to ask – what exactly was the lazy part here? The guy used a widely available projection system, adjusted it for what he believed the playing time would work out for (because the systems don’t do that – they just project full seasons for everyone, including guys who will never see action on the field), and ran simulations for those outcomes.

      • Bdh

        I’d love to hear how the A’s or Nationals (just the first two that came to mind) have more talent on their rosters and then if you can find a way to do that explain how the gap is large enough that they avoid more losses than the reds while playing in the AL West/NL East compared to the reds playing in arguably the weakest division this year.

      • Doug Gray

        So the basis of “this is why they lazy” is because the Nationals and A’s are projected to win 2 and 3 more games than the Reds?

        Looking at the ZiPS projections, which are different from the Steamer projections and don’t include the Reds releasing Moustakas or signing Curt Casali and Myers (which likely makes a very, very small difference), the A’s and Nationals are both 1 win better than the Reds. The Reds have the best rotation and bullpen, but are last at catcher, 1st base, second base, shortstop, left field, right field, and designated hitter. They are second at third and in center. The Reds probably move up to second in right field with the addition of Myers.

        All three teams are terrible, by projection.

      • Bdh

        In your words he took a widely available projection system, added his own opinions on playing time, and then ran a simulation. That’s a pretty lazy way to make a power ranking but I expect nothing less from espn.

        I personally think the reds at this moment are better than 6-7 teams but Again I will ask how you can honestly think just the two I brought up before are better than Cincinnati. Make a case that isn’t laughable and then explain how the reds still have more losses than them while playing in the nl central.

      • Doug Gray

        So what would be a “not lazy” way to make a power rankings?

      • Bdh

        Not one ran by a simulator. There’s a portion of posters here that could probably put together something with more thought and research.

        We can just agree to disagree. You can continue defending the guy slotting the team you cover in last because of a simulation he ran. I’ll continue thinking it’s lazy and continue being annoyed by the fans who take this and run with it on social media bashing the franchise.

      • Doug Gray

        I just want to be clear: Going through 30 organizations and trying to figure out the playing time for 50 players-ish in each organization, and then setting up a simulation to run 10,000 times and give the results of that is in no way lazy at all. You might not like how he went about coming up with the information, but it wasn’t lazy. Lazy would have just been winging it based on his gut.

      • Bdh

        Trying to figure out the playing time = making it up as he goes along

      • Doug Gray

        Well at least your mind was made up the second you saw ESPN.

  13. MBS

    I know Krall said they’d have to be creative to sign more guys, but I hope he can figure out a SP Cueto contract, and RP Fulmer deal. Neither should be very expensive, and it would give the team more length on the pitching side of things.

  14. Michael B. Green

    What I would like to see are contending teams in the Reds’ farm system. We really need young players to know how to win and experience winning. That is not going to happen with the big league club for at least another year.

    • Greenfield Red

      This I agree with. We all think the Reds have a good farm system. However, a huge red flag is another year (2022) where the farm system was dozens of games below .500. It’s been going on far too long.

  15. Michael B. Green

    Part of the process in making ESPN eat crow and not losing 100 games:

    Improve IF defense. Have had the 3rd lowest defensive assists in the NL over the past 2 years. Start and turn more DP’s.

    Improve SB defense. CIN has allowed the most SB in the NL over the past 2 years. Maile and Casali can help with that.

    Address WP’s. Third most in the NL over the past 2 years. That’s part catching and part pitching philosophy. Walks and wild pitches need cured this year – even if it means losing 110 games.

    Dead last in the NL over the past 2 years in catcher’s ERA. That needs fixed.

    Range Factor is in the bottom 3 in the NL over the past 2 years. Need athletes. Outs above average (OAA) is at the bottom too. If India cannot play 2B at least at league average, move him to 3B or LF. Votto needs to DH. Fraley should not play CF (or really, RF).

    No reason that CIN cannot have a decent defense this year. Failure at coaching level if it happens (again).

    • David

      Those are very good points. A Major League athlete can WORK at being better defensively. Poor defensive play indicates
      1) poor preparation
      2) poor coaching
      3) lack of doing enough defense drills, etc. in Spring training to emphasize fundamentals.

      Even the pros need to work on their fundamentals all the time.

    • Roger Garrett

      Moose and Farmer are gone and if Votto will agree to DH the defense gets younger and better in the infield.Senzel in center along with Myers are good enough and left field doesn’t matter too much.Behind the plate with the addition of Casali to back up Ty Steve will be good as well.India is better then he has shown and we know about the guys at short in Barrero and Newman.Walks will remain because of as you said pitching philosophy of throw as hard as you can knowing Bell will just let you go 1 inning any way regardless.

  16. Klugo

    Wasting Away in the Queen City. Feel bad for the talented, young guys.

    • TR

      That’s not what Kyle Farmer said on his recent departure from the Reds to the Twins.

  17. Kevin H

    These analysis or simulation are silly to me. Alot to do about nothing. Who knows what can happen. I mean heck if we go by projections Bengals were only suppose to win 8 or 9 games. Seriously just wait till spring training and see what happens.

    • David

      You know, I get what you are saying. But most of the baseball “experts” now subscribe to the new baseball metrics. Meaning, WAR, bWAR, dWAR, etc., etc.

      You either have to have a team of players that has a lot of “WAR” or go out and sign players with a lot of “WAR”, or your team brings up a bunch of young guys and they develop a lot of “WAR”.
      What do the Reds have? Not a lot of players with “wins above replacement”. So using the now accepted baseball metrics, it’s not too hard to see how ESPN (and others who do this stuff for a living) come up with these sort of numbers (wins) for a team.
      On paper, the Reds, frankly, look pretty lousy. I think they are better than that (how much??), but again, games are played on the field, and not on paper. The Reds’ ownership has not spent enough money on free agents to go get WAR (and a constant same criticism from most commenters here), so ESPN and other think poorly of them. No real surprise here
      And despite all the money they have spent, the Yankees have not been in a World Series in quite a spell.

    • TR

      These predictions are to keep us fans baseball occupied during the winter. I’ll take notice in passing on Feb. 25 when spring training games start, and then things will begin to count on Mar. 30th. and thereafter. Until then it’s just opinion. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

  18. Droslovinia

    I still maintain that the 2022 Reds we’re the all-time worst, especially taking into account that the last team that lost so many games did it at a time when they didn’t get to play multiple games against other 100-game losers.

    But the 2023 team might have what it takes to go all the way. Cleveland Spiders or bust!

    STTB

  19. Stock

    This team is not as good as the team that won 62 games in 2022.

    2022 Outfield: Pham, Senzel, Naquin, Fraley, Friedl and many others.
    2023 Outfield: Myers, Senzel, Fairchild, Fraley, Friedl and others.

    Myers may be an upgrade over Pham but if so minimal.

    2022 Infield: Votto, India, Farmer, Drury and others.
    2023 Infield: Votto, India, Barrero, Steel and others.

    Farmer is much better than Barrero. Drury is much better than Steel. Big downgrade.

    Overall offense: Big downgrade.

    2022 SP: Mahle, Castillo, Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft and others.
    2023 SP: Dunn, Cessa, Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft and others.

    Dunn and Cessa are a huge downgrade from Mahle and Castillo.

    The bullpen should be better than in 2022 if they can stay healthy but history tells me that this is a big if. Even if the bullpen is improved it will not make up for the loss of Castillo and Mahle.

    The pitching is worse than in 2022 as is the hitting.

    If Myers has a good first half he may be traded. If India has a good first half he may be traded.

    Don’t count on the Reds bringing up EDLC, CES or any other prospect that did not make it to Louisville last summer.

    Finally the Reds schedule just got more difficult. The balanced schedule means they don’t play the Pirates 19 times this year. The Cubs are improved. 60 wins may be a reach.

    • Rednat

      great post Stock. i agree, I think we are entering a real dark era for the reds and baseball in general. there are going to be a lot of ridiculously low win totals for the bottom feeders like the reds in the years to come. The nba type schedule will produce nba type win totals for the worst teams in the 40s and 50s.. we are going to have to play the yankees, redsox,, blue jays… etc… 3-6 times a year. I don’t like it at all.

      the only glimmer of hope is the rule changes which may make speed a bigger factor in the game,which would help low payroll teams like the reds. But this may take years to really make an impact

    • Kevin Patrick

      Definitely a half empty guy is Stock. It may be foolish for me to assume anything about Votto, but the rule change on shifts is going to benefit Votto tremendously as long as he is healthy. While I liked Farmer quite a bit, the shift rule change is going to put more value on defensive shortstops with greater range. I fully expect India to have put in work on his defense. If he hasn’t demonstrated more consistent defense at second, things could get interesting at third and second. Having Stephenson bat every day is much more promising than watching Aquino bat as often as he did on the right side. While I hope Spencer Steer is unrelenting with his play to hold a starting spot, I will not be surprised to see Senzel or India slot in at third. All it takes is some young shortstop to hit enough and Newman moving to 2nd, and the infield defense with the improved catching makes the defense…dare I say…impressive? I also think the odds of having another injury plagued season to the extent of last year unlikely. So much depends upon the “hope” of an improved bullpen. I can’t speak intelligently on what the Reds can expect there, yet I do feel there are reasons to be hopeful. One of the biggest differences between this year and last I think will be opposing pitchers not having such an easy time finding the glaring holes in the Reds line up and pitching around anyone who is a threat. No, the Reds don’t have anyone who is scary, but looking at these players, I don’t see anyone who can be completely shrugged off…the way Moustakis, Aquino, and even Votto were last year. I’ve watched Joey Votto for years now…if his body works…he will do something good. The real test will be convincing the entire team to not try to pad their stats to get a better contract on another team, but to play team baseball and get runs in.

      • MBS

        Without any legit spending aren’t we just arguing on how bad a bad team is going to be? Anything short of 81 teams is a bad team, and 81 wins isn’t in the reach of the $80M 23 Reds. To have a good team we need to actually spend money on FA that can fill the holes on the 23 roster. There are still FA’s that could make a difference on the 23, and 24 teams. We just need Bob to let Krall spend up to the team’s capabilities. Sadly that isn’t happening.

      • Greenfield Red

        I keep coming back to this: Somebody, anybody explain to me how 70 wins is better than 60 or even 50? They need to prepare for the year they an hit 90. Any big spending on 23 is fruitless. Even when FA contracts do work out it’s rarely for more than 1 or 2 years. Why sign anyone to 3 or 4 years unless you want a repeat of the last batch (3m, Akyama, NC).

        While we’re at it, anybody please tell me about the value of signing ANY 30 yo to a 10 year contract. The last two have resulted in exactly 2 playoff game wins. 2.

        One never made the playoffs and the other didn’t perform at all when he got there.

        I couldn’t care less about ownership profit. But why set good money on fire to watch it burn?

        I would have less respect for ownership if they signed even 1 4 year contract given the current situation.

        There is already 40 million wasted on 2023.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        70 wins is better than 60 or 50 because the goal is to win the most games possible. Some of us want to watch the team try to win and be competitive most nights. Some of us don’t want to be miserable.

        And do you really think that the money the team isn’t spending is just going to be used down the road on payroll? I don’t and I’ve seen no reason to believe that would or has ever been the case.

      • Greenfield Red

        Frankie, I guess your goal for the Reds and mine are different. My goal for the Reds is to win the World Series. Signing 1 or more multiyear free agent contracts might win a few more games this year, but does nothing for the ultimate goal.

        I have no interest in watching a bunch of low effort out of shape retreads win 70 games. I don’t think you do either. Wouldn’t you rather watch a bunch of young hungry guys busting their back sides, hustling, and competing than an out of shape guy who doesn’t care about the team or the city (3M)?

        How about a guy who never should have been given a ML contract (Akyama)? Or how about a guy who gives a lot of effort just to impress a contender so he can opt out (NC)?

        I just do not see it that way at all.

      • Greenfield Red

        Frankie, MBS, and others, let me put it another way:

        I recently read or heard how the 75 Reds were on the verge of being dismantled. They had success throughout the early 70s and were close to winning it all. However, they were beginning to get older, they were more expensive than the previous years.

        In game 7 of the WS they were behind, and it was getting late. A certain number 14 was on 1st base with 1 out in the 7th inning (may have been the 8th). A sharp ground ball was hit to the middle infield. Number 14 went in to 2nd base hard to break up that double play. And he did. The inning continued and the winning run was scored.

        My point is, it’s the little things that make difference.

        So let’s say the Reds fork up 4/64 for some FA outfielder. He will automatically be in the line up nearly every day he is healthy taking at bats from some younger guy. What if that younger guy had found his stroke and become a star in 2023 had he had enough at bats but, sadly, had been left on the bench most of the year because of the FA?

        Yeah, the FA outfielder helped the Reds go from 62 to 66 wins. They are still 18 games out of the Wildcard. With the young guy, they stayed at 62 or even 60 wins in 23. What does it matter? With 62 wins, they likely will get a higher draft pick in 24. With 62 wins they know more about a young guy who can be a key contributor in 24 and beyond.

        Sometimes it’s about the little things. Watching 3M, or any other FA, play in 23 or 24, does nothing to help with the Reds chances of winning the WS in 25 or 26 or 27. Watching that young guy get his game to a higher level, might really help the Reds in some future year.

      • MBS

        @Green, I think we already came to an agreement that our biggest difference is, I’m upset that the Reds won’t spend in 23, and your OK with it. A bad team in my books is a team that’s not competitive enough to be .500. An organization should do what they can to not be a bad team. That isn’t a goal, that is a minimum bar that a team should have.

        So long story short, I don’t see much of a difference between 55W’s or 70W’s, they are both embarrassing and should never happen.

      • Old-school

        @MBS

        How bout spend more money but through trades acquiring controllable proven arb eligible guys who will be here awhile?

        News today is San Diego needs to clear positional roster and 26 yo 2 time GG cf trent grisham
        Is available. Lefty bat with elite reads and defense and not a FA till 2026. Reds could bat him 9th and have their CF for 3 more years in his prime.~ 2.6 mil this year estimate arb1 year and add affordable arb years in 2024 and 2025. Reds could focus on corner OF going forward
        In roster construction.

        Trade simulator approves a trade with Grisham for Siani/Sims/McClain and reds 2023 comp balance pick.

      • MBS

        Yes, trades are crucial to us getting a complete OF for 23 – 25. I’ve said we probably need 1 trade, 1FA, and 1 prospect moving positions to field a good OF. We are extremely poor in OF prospects. If you read RML Doug has Siani as a decent option if his hitting picks up, but if not a viable 4th OF. Hinds has the tools, but not the AB’s, he just can’t stay healthy, and anyone in A ball is years away.

        I saw that same blurb on MLBTR, he had a decent year followed by a bad year, so it would depend on the deal. I don’t think he’s worth a top 100 prospect, but Siani and another prospect in the 10 – 15 range would be fair. I did use a simulator, so that’s just a gut feeling.

    • Tom Diesman

      The Reds outfield is definitely improved with the absence of Naquin, Pham, Almora, and Aquino. Naquin is the only one that may be missed. It will improve even more once they cut ties with Senzel and stop wasting development PAs on him. The increased playing time to Fraley, Fairchild, and Friedl is alone enough for a big improvement. Myers addition will help but probably not as much as most believe. I believe the improvement in the OF will be at least 3 additional wins for the Reds next season.

      • Jim Walker

        I agree about the OF. Fraley has an118 OPS+ in 2022 looks but like he needs a RH platoon partner. Fairchild posted a 116 OPS+ for 2022 and was essentially handedness neutral. Freidl came in at 101.

        Just send those guys out to play until they show they can’t maintain or even better those stats.

    • Redsvol

      Stock – remember Castillo and mahle didn’t pitch much for us in 2022 and lodolo and Ashcraft didn’t have many starts either. So you’re really comparing the 5 you listed for 2023 against the likes of th zeuch, chase Anderson, and glad Gutierrez. If healthy, the 2023 starters are better.

      I agree the offense stinks. But remember Stephenson barely played, votto played injured and our defense was atrocious last year. I went to 3 games and saw India and farmer blow 2 plays apiece. The infield defense will be better. And votto won’t play much in field – Stephenson and myers at first base. And the catchers last year were woof. Even with this, I do worry about the offense. Until edlc arrives or Someone distinguished themselves in the outfield mix, we will struggle to score 4 or more runs.

    • earmbrister

      This team is better than the team that won 62 games in 2022.

      2022 Outfield: Pham, Senzel, Naquin, Fraley, Friedl and many others (read Aquino).
      2023 Outfield: Myers, Senzel, Fairchild, Fraley, Friedl and others

      Myers with a career OPS+ of 111 is a big upgrade over Pham who had an OPS+ of 88 last year. Friedl is a swap of 101 OPSs with Naquin. Fraley is a huge upgrade on OPS+ over Aquino (118 vs 63). We’ll miss AAs D.

      2022 Infield: Votto, India, Farmer, Drury and others (read a largely hurt Stephenson and SIX other catchers). Yes, catchers are part of the infield.
      2023 Infield: Votto, India, Barrero, Steel and others (Newman, Stephenson, Casali, and Maile for starters).

      It could be argued that Newman is as good as Farmer, with Barrero representing a possible upgrade. Newman seems to hit well in GABP, but that might be selective memory on my part (although GABP is certainly a better hitter’s ballpark than PNC). A full year of Drury is much better than Steel? Did we get a full year of Drury? No, we got 385 PAs of Drury before he was traded. I’d say that a full year of Stephenson, who had an OPS+ of 130 last year, is better than 2/3 of a year of Drury’s 128. And the offense from the second and third string catchers should be much better than that of the SORRY SIX who provided OPS+’s of 81 (Kolovosky, the PB guy) as well as a 38, a 24, a 7, an 11, and a 17. Upgrade.

      Overall offense: Solid upgrade.

      2022 SP: Mahle, Castillo, Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft and others.
      2023 SP: Dunn, Cessa, Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft and others.

      Much like the discussion of the offense, you have to consider the time spent in a Reds uniform. Castillo missed the first month of the season and was traded at the deadline. Thus his starts spanned 05/07 thru 7/27. Is Castillo better than any pitcher on the current roster? Heck yes. However, he only provided 85 IP. Likewise, Mahle only provided 104 IP between his injuries and his trade. So you’re only looking to replace 189 IP.

      How are you replacing those innings? Lodolo only gave the Reds 3.5 months last year. Will he be healthier in 2023? Who knows, but 103 IP seems like a floor, hardly a ceiling. And Lodolo visably grew as a pitcher in his short time in the bigs. Hunter Greene had a 6.01 ERA on 7/4 and 8 starts later (he lost most of August to injury) his ERA stood at 4.44. It seems like he was figuring out how to pitch, not throw. Greene gave us 125 IP. It hardly seems a stretch to expect better pitching, and MANY more innings, from Lodolo, Greene, and Ashcraft (105 IP in ’22).

      Now we do need to replace Mike Minor’s 98 IP of 6.06 ERA ball. That’s more innings than Castillo’s 85 and just less than Mahle’s 104, BTW. Considering the modest innings pitched by Castillo and Mahle, as well as the (welcomed?) departure of Mike Minor, I’d say that

      the starting pitching in 2022 will be no worse, but probably better in 2023.

      The bullpen returns a young Diaz, and promising pitchers in Farmer, Sanmartin, and Gibaut. Antone and Sims are two legit relievers who should be healthier in 2023 than in 2022. Huh, six decent relievers – looks like the 2023 BP will be much better than 2022.

      Now, I haven’t said a word about any prospect who might break through. Diaz broke through in 2022. Would it be unrealistic to likewise assume ONE prospect breaks through in 2023?

      I’ll concede that the schedule MAY be more difficult. I’m tired of typing …

      In short, we shouldn’t be comparing the 2022 lineup (which didn’t include Castillo to start the season, and certainly didn’t include Castillo, Mahle, Pham, Drury, Naquin to end it) to the full season 2023 lineup. And we will all miss the contributions of Mike Minor, 3M, Hunter Strickland, Chase Anderson, TJ Zeuch, et al.

      In addition, I don’t understand the 55 win predictions, but today’s social media is all about the shock value, the truth be damned.

  20. Steven Ross

    60 Wins? That’s ridiculous. Reds will win at least 65 next season. If it’s a really good year, 70. Good times.

  21. Old-school

    I get people like to pile on but 2022 was a perfect storm of epic futility and the record showed that with 100 losses. Barring epic injuries, the Reds wont lose 100.

    1.) The start of the season: the Reds started 3-22. After the Braves 2-2 series split, they lost 20 of their next 21. Thats an impossible feat and the 2023 Reds wont be 3-22 after 25 games. On may 1 of 2022, Joey Votto was hitting .122, Moose was hitting .186. Hunter Strickland had an ERA pushing 8 and SP Revier SanMartin was 0-4 with a 13.78 ERA. Thats not happening in 2023.

    2.) mid season- injuries and brutal vet performance. Stephenson and India were non-factors and the bullpen was horrific. Mike Minor was awful and Moose still stunk and Votto wasnt good.

    3.) post-trade deadline- reds in 2023 will be better post deadline than 2022 Reds.

    The risk in 2023 is depth and Krall isnt building a bullpen or rotation to tolerate injuries.

    • Jim Walker

      Keep in mind the scheduling changes which take away about 5 games versus each other divisional foe and have them playing at least 1 series against every MLB team. That’s 15 fewer games versus the Cubs, Brewer, and Pirates which could make total wins lower given the posture of those teams.

      Here is a link
      https://www.mlb.com/reds/schedule/2023/fullseason?opponentTeamId=109

    • Redsvol

      Well put old school. A lot of us forget that it wasn’t all young guys failing for the reds from opening day to mid may. It was mostly the veteran offensive players and young – but not rookie- pitchers.

      Ashcroft didn’t even start pitching until mid may and Lodolo not much until July 5th. Then we basically ran out of starting pitching for 4 weeks in the summer due to injuries. Between the horrible starts by Gutierrez and San Martin and the 4A pitchers who pitched for us in the summer we had 32 starts with > 6.3 ERA. That’s got to be really hard to do if you’re trying much less not trying to give up over 6 runs a game.

      Perfect storm it was. To your point, I hope we aren’t done adding starting pitching arms and bullpen help. It killed us last year not having enough pitching depth. Even if on minor league deals we need more, much more.

  22. Harold

    I was thinking maybe 50 so we might be better than I thought. We may not even have anyone to dump at the trade deadline this year. I’m sure we will enjoy the bobbleheads, concerts and other things around the ballpark. Looking forward to baseball in the Spring. Nice ballpark and teams coming into Cincinnati. New ownership down the line?

  23. Redsvol

    I’m on an optimistic track here- but I just looked and we’re basically eliminating 1600 plate appearances of inferior offensive performance from last year to next year.

    Between Aquino, moose, senzel, almora, and the catchers hole, we had sub .640 ops. In the major leagues that is considered an easy out. So sub 1600 plate appearances from Stephenson, Myers, casali, Steer and a healthy Votto and I believe we will average much better OPS in those at bats.

    We should also be better at defense= run prevention. If Senzel doesn’t start much better then I doubt he will get 200 plate appearances. Between him, moose and the catchers position – when Stephenson was out- that was 1/3 of the lineup that was terrible offensively.

    Also, I’m looking forward to young players who are still capable of improving, can play average or better defense, and move much faster on the base paths. Give me Frayley, Friedl, Fairchild, Steer and Barerro any day over the players getting those at bats last year from April to august.

  24. redfanorbust

    2023 can be anywhere from 60-80 wins depending on #1health, something they had very little of last year and young players growing up early. For me a lot will tell after 2023. Votto and Moustakas $ come off the books. The young guys if they are going to be good will already be good or soon will be. Question is with the miniscule budget in 2024, will ownership spend any or enough to augment the young talent with real bonifie MLB talent to fill in the gaps? Total payroll should be about 60M including arbitration. Ownership knows they are no thin ice with the fans. Cheap out on this rebuild and watch the few good players we have rot on the vine with 75-80 win teams and they better get used to 10-15k fans a game.