Baseball Prospectus released their PECOTA player projections earlier this week. They’ve followed that up with the projected standings for the 2023 season. These projections will change a little bit before the season begins due to trades, injuries, and to a small amount – signings. The Cincinnati Reds don’t get much love from the projections here, much like they haven’t from anywhere else. PECOTA projects the Reds to finish in last place in the National League Central at 67-95. That’s only better than the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies within in the National League. If we look at the American League there are three teams with worse projected records: The Kansas City Royals, the Detroit Tigers, and the Oakland Athletics.

Within the division the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals will battle it out for the top spot according to the PECOTA projections. As things stand today it’s the Brewers that would come out on top at 88-74. The Cardinals are well within striking distance at with an 86-76 projected record. The Cubs are in the middle between the top two and bottom two with a 77-85 projection, while the Pittsburgh Pirates are just ahead of Cincinnati at 71-91.

News and Notes

Another game added to the television schedule

12 days ago we learned that Bally Sports Ohio would be broadcasting seven games from spring training. But there would be opponents that would broadcast games beyond those seven that would be available on, too. Not every team had their regional sports network release their expected television schedule at that point, nor had MLB Network released theirs. The latter has updated their schedule through March 3rd and a new game is now on the schedule for the Cincinnati Reds. MLB Network will be carrying the game on February 28th at 3pm ET between the Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The game against the Dodgers on March 12th will be broadcast on, too. Cincinnati’s game on March 14th will be on at 4:05pm against Oakland. It’s possible that others will be added as some teams still haven’t had their schedules announced.

Roster Management

There are six players on the 40-man roster who are out of options: Curt Casali, Luis Cessa, Buck Farmer, Ian Gibaut, Luke Maile, and Lucas Sims.

45 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Sat eating at a local joint last night and saw another patron wearing some Reds gear. I remarked about being ready for what comes in 2023, especially trying to beat the dismal start that rocketed us toward the triple-digit loss category. We both laughed and said we hoped that wouldn’t happen.

    I’m not surprised PECOTA puts us below the Pie-rats, but it’s very close. The Stupid Cubs fans have to be frustrated that they look to languish in the middle of the pack, below the even water mark. As much as I hate to admit it, the Dirty Birds have once again shown they understand how to run an MLB club, even if it is in a “small market”.

    Less than 100 losses will feel incrementally better, though my focus will still be on how the young guys play and shake out. I just want this team to be fun to watch again. I really do. And that’s a pretty low bar, much like the latest rounds of win predictions.

  2. DataDumpster

    I never thought about MLB veterans being “out of options” but this is an fairly important group of players. Not that any of them are high leverage proven entities but rather “strategic pieces” that are being counted on to a great degree (2 catchers, a 4,5,6th starter, and 3 bullpen projects that each had a brief time in the sun). I don’t think any of these guys would be released since there will probably be a lot of “not quite ready” guys on the Louisville bus that could fill in along with many others on the 40 man with plenty of options. However, it is interesting this is mentioned since it does highlight another possible weak spot in roster construction.

  3. MBS

    This seems to be the most realistic preseason prediction I’ve seen. I’d love it to be a gross underestimate by the end of the season, but 67 seems right. Lets hope Krall get a larger budget in the future, because I like the moves he makes, he just needs some more payroll flexibility to put out a good team.

    • Brad Legg

      67 would be absolutely high end of their win total. I see between 60 and 67.

  4. GreatRedLegsFan

    I’d say Gibaut and Maile are the most likeliest guys to be DFA’d by opening day.

    • DHud

      Gibaut yes.

      All indications seem they’ll be carrying 3 catchers this season though

  5. Mike

    I’m thinking they’ll do a little better than 67 – you have to figure Votto, India and Stephenson will have better seasons this year than last. The big question will be how the Outfield performs. They should have 3 decent starters in Greene, Ashcraft, and Lodolo. Of course it’s spring training and I’m probably overly optimistic.

    • Tar Heel Red

      I disagree with you Mike. I do look for India and Stephenson to bounce back, but not Votto. IMO, he is done and no longer worthy of starting, except maybe at DH when he comes off the IL. What worries me most, though, is the pitching staff. If even one of the “big three” goes down to injury the Reds will be in a world of hurt. That is also assuming each can give the team 30 starts, which none of them have ever done before. The bullpen is already suffering with Antone, Santillan and Sims expected to open the season on the IL. I hope I’m wrong, of course, but I think they will be hard pressed to match last year’s 62 wins.

      • earmbrister

        And I disagree with you THR. The pitching staff is actually slightly better than last year’s. Yes, none of the big three provided 30 starts last year (24, 19, 19), which is the norm for rookies. It’s hard to imagine a scenario wherein none of them reach 30 starts, or a situation where the three combined don’t give them more starts than last year (barring a substantial early injury). Mahle likewise only gave them 19 starts of 4.40 ERA ball. And Castillo only provided 14 starts due to injury and his trade. I’ll submit that they should be able to replace Mike Minor’s 19 starts.

        The bullpen was injury riddled last year, as was the team in general. As in an historically bad year of injuries. Having India and Ty Steve healthy will be a great boon to the lineup.

        And, as I have said before, the Reds have only had TWO 100 loss seasons in the last 50 years of 162 game play. It’s incredibly hard to lose 100 games, and last year’s 100 loss season was propelled by a disastrous injury year.

        The 67 game win projection is more realistic, but I’m seeing 70 plus wins. Greene and Lodolo are going to be dominant.

    • MK

      Don’t care about predictions I’m rooting for 162

      • TR

        Ho Hum regarding predictions, including another player signing a minor league contract with invite to spring training. Get through the 2023 season until 2024 and thereafter when (we hope) positivity will return to the Reds.

  6. Colorado Red

    I think that is optimistic.
    Votto is done. the BP stinks.
    The Reds are not as good as last year, I am thinking 60 and 102 next year.

  7. CFD3000

    “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.”

    It all comes down to health, but I will be surprised if the Reds don’t win at least 70 games. I think Tyler Stephenson will have an all star level season, along with at least one of Greene and Lodolo. I think at least one Red will get some ROY votes at year end. And I think the “Votto is done” crowd will be proven wrong. I actually expect a fun year with some developing talent. No playoff run, but significantly better than 2022, and enough better to warrant valid optimism for 2024. Go Reds!

  8. LDS

    I think last place is right. 67? Probably too optimistic. I don’t see how anyone can argue that the team is better now than the start of last season, or the end for that matter. Maybe they will be healthier. But pitching as it stands now is an unknowable abyss. And some players, including Votto may not bounce back, even to last year’s levels. A lot of things have to go really right for the Reds to improve and right now that’s not obvious.4

  9. JB

    I’m going to enjoy the year whether it’s good or bad. Young guys fighting it out for a spot and guys knocking on the door in the minors. I would rather watch the young guys over Minor , Strickland etc. Does anybody know if T-Mobile is going to give it’s customers free mlb again this year?

    • Doc

      Strickland just re-signed by the Reds, per MLBTR. That should bump the 67 up to 68….or down to 66.

  10. Bdh

    Cubs are a good example that handing out a bunch of money doesn’t equal a good team. Projected 8 games under .500 with over $100 million more spent on payroll than the reds currently. I’d be willing to bet the record gap between the two won’t even be as wide as what’s projected here either.

    Also, the Reds will be better than the pirates. Their rotation isn’t as good as Cincinnati’s, Reynolds wants out, and when he’s moved their lineup is only a couple of 36 year old league average players different than it was on last years team that had the same record as Cincinnati without the injuries.

    • Doc

      Tampa Bay also shows you can be competitive with a payroll lower than the Reds had last season. Hoping that Krall is setting a pathway for future success, knowing he can’t do it all in one or two seasons.

      • Bdh

        In my opinion he’s off to a good start. He’s about to have nothing on the books with some already solid young core pieces + top farm system to build around.

        If a couple of the prospects or Barrero pan out this year then a couple signings even at the Myers level will have them competitive in 2024 with a lot of payroll flexibility and deep system still in tact.

    • JoshG

      I think the reds finish in front of the cubs and pirates, between 69 and 74 wins

  11. Votto4life

    I can’t think of one single area where this team has improved. Injuries happen every, single year with this crew. Balanced schedule is not going to help.

    I am thinking 58-62 wins. I’ll split the difference and call it 60 wins. I can see it being worse though.

    • Tar Heel Red

      Sadly, I agree with you Votto4Life. Injuries happen every year to every team, but most teams can at least cover injuries with a “next man up” approach. Right now the Reds have very little in the way of replacement players available when the injuries come. They are an injury or two to key players (Greene, Lodolo, Stephenson, etc…) away from complete and utter collapse.

    • LDS

      As do I V4L The folks that keep accusing me of being negative about everything the Reds do, have yet to tell me in what way the Reds are going to be better this year. Other than fantasy and wishful thinking that is: Votto will be like 2017, Greene & Lodolo starting, India & Stephenson bounce back, all those injured pitchers are suddenly like Eckersley, etc., etc.

      • Harry Stoner

        I was going to add that no Minor and no Strickland (and thankfully I’ve forgotten the names of some of the other stiffs Krall and Bell ran out there) would in itself be enough for +10W.

        But now they’ve resigned Strickland. Resigning Minor suddenly doesn’t appear like an impossibility.

      • Votto4life

        LDS, I think it’s mostly wishful thinking. People want to buy into the fallacy that Nick Krall is playing three dimensional Chess.

        I love the comments “there is no way this team will go through a 3-19 stretch again”. Really why? They went through two such stretches last year and haven’t improved the team. It’s very likely this team will go through similar stretches in 2023.

        I also like the comment, “It’s unlikely a team will have 100 loss seasons in back to back years”. Again why? The only way to avoid it is to improve the team and the Reds clearly haven’t done that.

        We may have talent in the farm system, but that’s only because we are devoid of talent at the major league level.

        People like to pretend they in the know and understand “the plan” when the truth there is no plan except keeping payroll low.

        I listened to the Baseball America podcast yesterday and the hosts were discussing the Reds and their farm system. I have to tell you it was one of the most depressing things I have ever listened to. They really didn’t have anything positive to say about the Reds, except that EDLC is a good prospect but he has major holes in his swing.

        I think the Reds only hope is a change in ownership. If the Castellinis are really losing money, then they should be eager to sell the team. The fact that they haven’t, tells me they are not losing money.

      • earmbrister

        V4Life, you write:

        “People like to pretend they in the know and understand “the plan” when the truth there is no plan except keeping payroll low”.

        Aren’t you doing the same thing by pretending that you know that there is no plan?


      • Votto4life

        Earmbrister – I suppose, but the only place I ever see a plan mentioned is here on Red Leg Nation. Those in the Reds office certainly doesn’t talk about a plan.

        The only plan Nick Krall has ever mentioned, to my knowledge, is a plan to avoid “Peaks and Valleys” and a plan “to align payroll with resources”.

        I never heard Nick Krall make statements about a plan to put a winning product on the field. In fact, to go by what Phil Castellini has said publicly, the Reds have no chance at all of winning.

        So please, if I missed it, direct me to the source within the Reds organization, who speaks of this plan that I keep reading about here on RLN.

      • JayTheRed

        I honestly am hoping they only win like 8 games total the first two months. Maybe just maybe Bell gets fired and MLB does something about Castellini.

      • Earmbrister

        V4Life, I think I had this conversation once before with you or someone else here. Why would the Reds share any plan they have in a public forum? Particularly if their strategy had changed from years past. In fantasy football I don’t openly discuss my strategy/plan with the other owners. They are my opponents. The less I say the better.

        The lack of public proclamation of a plan does not approve the lack of existence of a plan. At least in my mind.

      • old-school

        Krall has been very clear on his plan. Draft and acquire and develop players to maintain a pipeline of talent that can “graduate” into MLB players as Reds. Krall maintains the Reds have to develop young pitching specifically as the number #1 part of the Reds plan and also have a deep farm system that churns up young talent. They appear to have made some good trades that re-establishes some young Latino talent in the lower minors and signed some players in the international signing period the last 2 years with the young SS and this year the Venezuelan C.

        Last year Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, and Diaz were the first graduate class of young pitching talent and did very well. We will have to see if Steer and Siani and Williamson and EDLC and CES and others can make that final step in 2023 as well as the next wave of players navigating the lower and mid minors.

        Very early news out of camp is that Brandon Williamson is throwing more like top100 2021 pitcher rather than the one who regressed in 2022 and struggled with command and he gave several quotes that indicate he is ready to make a big impression in spring training on his readiness to be an MLB starting pitcher.

        Why I agree with @OBE that this is a very interesting season moving forward.

  12. Melvin

    I would not be shocked to see less than 67 but would be shocked to see much more. Unless of course the young guys turn into superstars overnight. lol Even if, and that’s a BIG IF, somehow the Reds were competitive for a short time everything would have to work out perfectly to sustain that.

    • JB

      Exactly. The Reds are toeing the line this year with a lot of Ifs.

  13. Optimist

    That’s an optimistic prediction!

  14. Michael

    I understand being realistic but there sure are some grumpy fans on this site. Some of them might want to consider changing their screen names to reflect their doubt. As far as my predictions, I see a range of 65-74 so 68 sounds about right but that is considering some positive rookie impacts bats and on the mound. If they hit major injury problems again, it’s 100+ losses easy. 110 would not be out of the question if Greene and Lodolo are the ones bitten hard by the injury bug.

    • Melvin

      “If they hit major injury problems again, it’s 100+ losses easy. 110 would not be out of the question if Greene and Lodolo are the ones bitten hard by the injury bug.”

      That’s probably pretty accurate. “Backup” talent is very thin. I could see 110+. You have to remember playing every team in the majors this year is not going to help the Reds either.

    • Rednat

      I think it is perfectly reasonable as a reds fan to be grumpy, negative, pessimistic .the league just seems to slowly be passing us by year by year with no real end in sight

    • Votto4life

      I think everyone here want the Reds to win. I am more cynical than grumpy. The Castellinis have been in charge for a long time haven’t really got the job done. I don’t think they likely ever will.

      Some here believe they are on the right track. It is simply a difference of opinion.

      In my personal view, is something happened in 2019-20. I think the Castellini resented having to hire Dick Williams. My guess is they fought him tooth and nail until he finally wanted out.

      My opinion is around the same time, the Castellinis decided they didn’t want to be an obligated by long term contracts. I may be wrong but I don’t believe they have signed a true multi-year contract since.

      We can all think of examples where multiple year contracts have failed miserably. Maybe there shouldn’t be guaranteed contracts. But as long as the rest of the league is offering guaranteed contracts, it really doesn’t matter what the Castellini’s think, because they are not going to be able to compete for free agents or be able to sign their own to extensions.

      I guess they are trying to make a point, but it doesn’t seem to be paying off in terms of wins and losses.

  15. William

    The Reds are going nowhere in the future, if they do not guarantee con×tracts. Game over if that is the case. They need to sell the team to a smarter group. I am following the Texas Rangers as a backup. Texas has problems, but they do guarantee contracts. The Reds have to spend some money, or their future is not good. They need to take into account the additional fans they will have, if they have a competitive team on the field. They are a profit group. Nonprofit is a lie.

    • Michael

      Well all contracts are guaranteed. I guess Phil is telling us he does not want to do anything more than 1 year contracts in the future. If that is true, that means there is virtually no hope that we can sign an impact free agent or even extend our young players.

  16. William

    One evidence of how serious this group of owners will be is whether we see Stephenson contract extended with guarantees. Trading him in two years is the road to nowhere land.

  17. AMDG

    Projecting 67 wins means they expect 8% more wins from a team who is replacing Castillo& Mahle by patching up a rotation with string and a wad bubble gum.

  18. Tom Reeves

    Let’s hope the lack of shift really helps Votto hit for average. I only want to see two things this season. 1) for all the young players to make progress individually and come together as a team. 2) for Votto to play so well he temps the Reds to keep him another year. I don’t care about the number of wins. Unless the team is capable of reaching the playoffs, they should focus on developing low cost talent.