The ZiPS projections for the Cincinnati Reds are out and things are a bit interesting in what they are suggesting is to come. Of note – things could change slightly between now and when the season begins with these projections, but they’ll likely be pretty close if they do.

The Hitters

For the most part, ZiPS likes the Reds hitters – as noted by ZiPS designer Dan Szymborski within the article. The best projected hitter on the team is newcomer Jeimer Candelario by the slightest of margins over Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand (using OPS+). Matt McLain, Will Benson, TJ Friedl, and Jake Fraley also join those three players as above-average hitters (according to their OPS+ projections).

The best overall player projection is for Matt McLain. While he’s not the best hitter – he’s close – and his defensive and baserunning value push him ahead of the guys who project to be slightly better hitters.

Five players are projected to hit at least 20 home runs, with Christian Encarnacion-Strand leading the way with 28 of them. Elly De La Cruz is projected to steal a team best 39 bases.

One interesting note for the hitters is in the player comps for Luke Maile. All three of his comps are former catchers of the Cincinnati Reds – Curt Casali, Ryan Lavarnway, and Alex Trevino.

The Pitchers

In the words of Szymborsi: “ZiPS likes a lot of Cincinnati’s hitters, but it’s less enthusiastic about the pitching”.

I am speaking in generalities here, but it’s not so much that ZiPS thinks the pitching will be bad, but that it doesn’t really think that anyone is going to be real good.

The best starting pitcher by the projection is Hunter Greene (by ERA) and he’s coming in with a 4.31 ERA in 133.2 innings. Frankie Montas has the same ERA but in two fewer innings, and Andrew Abbott is within shouting distance, but with 9.1 more innings pitched.

The only pitcher on the entire staff with an ERA that’s projected below 4.00 is Alexis Diaz and he’s projected at 3.90. Nick Martinez is close at 4.04 and that also comes along with a handful of starts and just over 100 innings pitched.

When it comes to some of the player comps, there were a few fun ones in there. Andrew Abbott’s top comp is former Red Tom Browning. His second comp is CC Sabathia. Hunter Greene’s comps are Jack Flaherty, Johnny Rigney (who I had to look up – he played from 1937-1947), and hall of famer Dennis Eckersley.

What about the team?

The disclaimer here is that the time between today and Opening Day can change things. Free agency is still happening and there are difference makers out there. Trades can still take place. And of course there’s the dreaded injury issue. And that applies to the Reds as well as their opposition. The division improving via those routes would negatively impact the Reds record, and they may do that.

With all of that said, Szymborski notes that “if the projections are to be believed” then the Reds are “about a .500 team”.

Does that make sense?

Last year the Reds finished 82-80. They very clearly have gotten better via free agency, and these projections don’t have Nick Lodolo basically missing the entire season, either. So how does that lead to a team that’s “about .500”? Without asking Szymborski that question directly, it probably has to do with the fact that Cincinnati’s Pythagorean Record based on runs scored/runs allowed was 77-85. A “.500 team” would, on paper, be a 4-win improvement over the team from 2023. That’s a decent improvement and seems to be sort of in line with what they’ve done in the offseason so far. If you want to play with the “about a .500 team” and say they’re an 82-80, or 83-79 win team on paper, then you’re looking at a five or six win improvement. That’s actually a pretty big improvement, even if at first glance saying so doesn’t quite add up based on the actual record of the team in 2023.

Your mileage may vary on a lot of the individual projections. I know that some of the ones I looked at had me scratching my head a little bit. As things sit right now, I believe the team is better than projected here. You never know how things are going to work out, but the pitching depth is massively better and that should provide dividends throughout the year that the club simply did not have last year when guys went down.

103 Responses

  1. RedBB

    2.3 for the entire Bullpen? Garbage and worthless….

  2. Oldtimer

    I think back to the 1970 and 1971 Reds. 102-60 then 79-83. All because of an injury to Bobby Tolan. And a few other things.

    Nope. The Reds regressed in 1971 except for Lee May. George Foster replaced Tolan in CF. Swap out May and Helms for Morgan and Menke (all were two time All-Stars at that point) and the Reds bounced back in 1972 with Tolan returning to CF.

    • doofus

      I thought Cesar Geronimo replaced Tolan in CF in ‘72?

      • sboldman

        Geronimo did come in 1972. in 1971, when Tolan was injured, CF was manned by Foster, Buddy Bradford, and others.

      • Oldtimer

        Nope. Geronimo played RF in 1972. Tolan in CF.

      • Tom Reeves

        With the starting pitchers being so young, this projection doesn’t surprise me. I think it’s always been the case that the success of this team requires the young pitchers to take huge steps forward. Will Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, and Abbott solidify into a top-notch rotation? If so, look out. If not, a tad over .500 is probably realistic.

    • Reaganspad

      Thanks Oldtimer, you had me go back and look at those 72-74 teams. Man those were good teams

    • David

      Jim Merritt won 20 games in 1970. Jim was 1 – 11 in 1971, and then pretty much out of baseball. His arm was shot.
      Wayne Simpson was 14-3 in the first half of 1970, hurt his shoulder, and was never the same again.
      Gary Nolan, statistically, was probably better in 1971 than in 1970, although he won 18 games in 1970. A lot less run support.
      Jim McGlothlin was good in 1971 too, but again, not much run support.
      Basically, the 1971 team scored a lot fewer runs than the 1970 team. And of course, they missed Bobby Tolan.
      Tony Perez hit 40 HR and 129 Rbi’s in 1970. Hit 25 and barely over 90 RBI’s in 71. And a much lower batting average.
      Johnny Bench his 45 hr and 148 RBI’s in 1970. Hit 27 and a lot fewer RBI’s in 71. He hit 0.295 in 1970, and 0.237 in 1971
      Lee May carried them a lot, but it was not enough, in 1971.
      Don Gullet, 20 years old, won 16 games in 1971, but not enough.

      Regarding the 2024 Reds, I think a lot of the young guys are going to have breakthrough years, but there is not a lot of statistical folderol in Zips making that projection, until it happens.
      And that’s why the games are played on the field, and a lot of this pre-season prognosticating, despite the pseudo-scientific jargon tossed about, is just that. A guess.
      But it gets people talking, which I suppose is the point

    • Justin T

      @oldtimer

      My dad to the day tells me Dave Collins was the fastest man in baseball for a short time in the 70s/80s can you confirm this?

      • greenmtred

        I can’t confirm it, but he was fast.

      • Matt McWax

        I think Willie Wilson had him by a bit during Collins prime, though Collins was established earlier. They tied for 4th in steals in 1980 (LOL) with 79 each. Wilson had 7 or more triples 11 straight years, 11 or more 6 times, and 21 triples in 1985.

        Of course, you had Rickey Henderson burst on the scene and swipe 100 or more in three full seasons (strike season in ’81). One thing I didn’t remember was that in 1980, Rickey’s first season with 100 (26 CS) in 158 games, Ron LeFlore took 97 in just 139 games with just 19 CS. Moreno also nabbed 96 to take the third spot. Catchers must have had to throw with their opposite arm that year.

  3. Amarillo

    It needs to be reminded every year that the primary input to these projection systems is past MLB performance. That means it’s wildly innacurate for and typically underpredicts players in their first 3 MLB seasons which is pretty much our entire team.

    So take these projections with a 100 pound package of road salt.

    • MuddyCleats

      Yes, but young guys r also prone to regression – the sophomore slump – if u will. Right now, this team is a bunch of puzzle pieces, but I’m not sure they make a complete picture? Likewise, SPs all have injury concerns: Hunter’s hip, lower extremity injuries to Lodolo & Ashcroft, Montas arm issue & Abbott fatigue. Leg issues have a way of causing arm injuries if not corrected. It will b interesting to see what SPs are ready to start the season.

      • Amarillo

        Most of the Relievers are not young, and this predicts all 12 regress. Some of last year’s Rookies may regress, but it’s pretty unlikely they all do.

    • TR

      A 100 pound package would be tough for me to handle at this age, but I will take the projections as informed or not informed opinions, and look forward to the Reds games being played.

  4. Klugo

    When I was a kid, I used to spend hours doing projections in all sports. That’s way back when it was child’s play. Now grown ups are making a living do it. I think I chose the wrong career.

  5. CI3J

    Funny, I would say that I like the Reds’ pitching but am less certain about their hitters, which is the opposite of what Szymborski says.

  6. LDS

    These projections are in line with the bookies and other projection systems. The Reds haven’t done anything that flashes division winner. They have a lot of potential but that’s it. Last year is as likely a fluke as not. I know many here are salivating about how good the Reds are going to be this year. And maybe they will be. Then again there’s always the chance that the odds makers are right. In the long run, they always are. They should have won the division last year or at least made the playoffs, but in the end, Bell Ball triumphed.

    • Harry Stoner

      As a reminder, the LDS projection for the 2023 Reds was <70 wins.

      • Pete

        I really appreciate LDS but I would suggest whatever he protects as the number of wins in 2024 you take the over.

    • LDS

      @Harry you’re betting on lightening striking twice and it may. But it’s not a bet I’d be willing to make. I prefer sound strategy and investment, which thus far the Reds haven’t exhibited. The Reds made their decision last July when they made no moves other than extending Bell and then near the end of the season promoting Meador and Krall. In other words, they rewarded the insiders for a good year financially. Have they spent this off season? Yes. However, none of the acquisitions are really game changing and they (and we) are still counting on the young guys staying healthy and producing as well or better than last year. And that’s a huge bet.

      • Earmbrister

        The acquisitions don’t need to be game changing, they just need to improve the team. The guy (Candelario) that you and others belittled as just being average (using merely one stat, his career BA) is projected to be the best hitter on the team in ‘24. He is expected to improve the team. The pitching acquisitions are widely expected to improve the team. There is very little chance that they will be adding pitchers from the independent league to pitch for the Reds this year. They have a very deep rotation, a very deep bullpen, swingmen of which they had none last year, and multiple lefty relievers.

        Compare the expected opening day roster in 24 to the opening day roster last year. The roster is demonstrably better. No team in the NL Central has had that big of an improvement in their roster over the past 12 months. Good luck with that fourth place finish projection.

      • LDS

        Right Candelario is projected as the best hitter on a 4th place team, big deal.

      • BK

        You may want to recheck the odds–three different services have the oddsmakers betting that the Reds come in third. One service has them four games behind the Cards. The other two I checked had the Reds one game and a game-and-a-half behind the Cards. In short, the Cards, Cubs, and Reds are in a dead heat, according to two sites.

      • Reaganspad

        Hard to understand how a team with 90 wins will be 4th in the NL Central. I have not done the math to know if it could even happen

      • wkuchad

        Just treat it like a drinking game. Every time LDA mentions Reds and 4th place, take a shot.

        Caution: you’ll be taking a shot for every article that Doug posts.

      • MuddyCleats

        Yep; agree w/ u. Want to see all the guys succeed, but they’re young so I don’t count or expect it. Luv Candelairo; he should b able to protect some of the young guys. However, I think they need another veteran bat; probably a left handed bat due to # of RHH n the lineup?? Still think they need a #1 SP too. Organization has planned a run at it n 2024, yet they’re being very reserved w/ improvements IMO.

      • Harry Stoner

        @LDS I’m not betting on anything.

        I’ve stayed away from these kinds of predictions as a matter of course.

        You’re not really replying to my reminder of your way off base predictions for 2023, simply trying to attach some other argument to me, which I haven’t made.

        Not going to work.

        The strategy you deploy of making lowball predictions in terms of the # of Reds’ wins, and then when they beat your prediction returning with “Well they should have won more….” is gaslighting, plain and simple.

      • LDS

        I did reply @Harry – lightening striking twice. The Reds are a fun team to watch, may even be a better team, but even in a weak division, I’m not expecting them to win it. Too much unproven talent. And Bell/DJ have proven they aren’t up to the task. I’m getting old waiting for the Reds to be competitive. It’s like waiting for the US to go back to the moon. Just keep kicking that can down the road.

      • Tom Reeves

        You mean like San Diego’s sound strategy?

      • Optimist

        ” . . . lightening striking twice . . .” Stretchng a metaphor a bit there – last opening day’s lineup included Vosler, Myers, Barrero, and the abysmal start for Benson. Game 2 added in Newman and Casali in assigned roles. I suppose it could be different lightning striking this season, but it’s a very different team this season, arguably a completely remade team.

        What would you do differently than what they’ve done this offseason? Who would you replace on the 26 man roster? What would your projected opening day lineup include? Sign Sonny instead of Montas, Bellinger instead of Candelario?

      • LDS

        @Optimist, I posted last season that the Reds should have gone for Bellinger while he was affordable. He’s too expensive for them now. They should have found a trade partner and moved Fraley. Montas is at best a roll of the dice. Maybe it works out, maybe it doesn’t. But it’s expensive to find out – you don’t give a guy who didn’t pitch last year a massive raise. Pagan is known for as a fly ball pitcher and subject to allowing HRs. Not a good fit for the Reds. Candelario may have a banner year in Cincy but then again maybe not. Still the Reds didn’t need more infielders and Candelario doesn’t need to play “some 2nd base”. That’s just Bell being Bell. Utility and platoon players aren’t a strategy, at least not a winning one. DJ has more blown arms to his credit than success stories. Bell and Johnson have proven they aren’t the answer. They should have been fired. I could go on but many if not most here would disagree. Far too many are thrilled that the Reds did anything. So, we’ll wait for the season’s outcome and see. Maybe the national writer that said these signings made sense if you infer that the Reds don’t see a window of opportunity until 2025 or 2026. Otherwise, they are unfathomable. Or they had an infielder trade lined up that fell through and now they have a surplus.

      • Justin T

        @LDS I think your 100% on this. Fans on these sites are looking for blind optimism and its just not reality. As long as they trot David Bell out there, they will only get so far. He incompetence cannot be overstated, he has had 5 seasons and it hasn’t even “sort of” improved.

        Until the Reds move on from him we will go in circles. They will get you excited until mid to late August then Bell ball takes over. You simply cannot give him a bunch of puzzle pieces and hope he makes a puzzle from them, the actually played to his weakness this offseason. David Bell reflects the front office’s priority in terms of winning. Its secondary.

        For fun go back all the way to his minor league managing career. Just not good results at every level.

      • wkuchad

        Now I’m just confused. So did they ‘play to Bell’s weakness this offseason’ or ‘Bell-proof the lineup’??

      • greenmtred

        Just out of curiosity, LDS, but have you actually compared DJ’s percentage of “blown arms” to those of other well-established pitching coaches? Or is this just you being expansive
        ? There is, of course, the question of how much blame a pitching coach should get for a pitcher’s arm trouble. I don’t know and neither do you, though you certainly believe that you do.

    • JB

      I love you Eeyore(LDS). I know people on here get irritated with you and I might say I do as well at times, but you never waver in what your thoughts are . I applaud that in you. In this day in age ,where people aren’t entitled to state what they think if it doesn’t agree with the majority, you keep to your guns and plod on. That I admire about you. Carry on Eeyore. Don’t let them change you.

      • greenmtred

        No worries about that, JB. LDS is steadfast. LDS is consistent.

      • LDS

        The privilege of age. Thus far, while many disagree, I have Bell in my back pocket. He’ll screw up as if it was his religion to be mediocre. Until we have a black swan like event in Cincinnati, I think I’m on pretty solid ground. Though, I’d like to see a black swan sometime soon.

      • greenmtred

        The privilege of age is chronic illusion. Oh, yeah, and chronic inflexibility. Grumpiness, too.

  7. RedFuture

    At least Zips last evaluation has Matt & Elly with the most gain in all of MLB.
    1. Matt McLain, Cincinnati Reds
    2024 WAR: 1.8 preseason, 3.7 midseason (+1.94)
    2024 wOBA: .323 preseason, .350 midseason (+.027)

    McLain was one of the biggest positive outlier picks in the ZiPS Top 100 Prospects, ranking 31st, easily the highest of any source I’ve found. It’s not like he didn’t have credentials, as a two-time first-rounder coming off an .800 OPS in his first full professional season. McLain quickly made ZiPS look good by cranking up the turbo early in 2023, hitting 12 homers in six weeks for Triple-A Louisville and earning a quick promotion. Hitting .299/.364/.505 with no burning questions about his viability at shortstop, he’s looking nearly as promising early on as another young middle infielder that ZiPS went out on a limb for a decade ago: the 26th-ranked Mookie Betts. (Though don’t call him the next Mookie quite yet!)

    2. Elly De La Cruz, Cincinnati Reds
    2024 WAR: 1.0 preseason, 2.8 midseason (+1.79)
    2024 wOBA: .310 preseason, .340 midseason (+.030)

    McLain may have the edge in the Rookie of the Year voting, but De La Cruz has caught the imagination of the public in a way that his less-flashy teammate hasn’t. He’s certainly raised Ell at the plate, slugging nearly .500 in the majors, and his wonderful baserunning aggression shows a real feel for the game and a situational awareness that is rare among even baseball’s speediest. But he’s still not quite as polished as McLain, and there are still some skills to be honed: he can be a little too aggressive at the plate at times, his contact rates could use a bit of a bump, and there are still questions as to what position he’ll end up at long-term. Regardless, De La Cruz is one of the most fun players to watch right now; the Reds knew what they were doing when they gave him Eric Davis’ number 44.

  8. RedFuture

    Caveat: Sorry but that article was dated July of 2023……..

  9. CFD3000

    The Pythagorean projections from last season were, I suspect, skewed by the early season run deficit. Not only did the Reds score more runs after the youth invasion, but they were also a fundamentally different team. Unless injuries decimate the pitching staff the 2024 Reds should be better than the 2023 version. Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft should be collectively healthier. Abbott will be stronger. Williamson will continue improving. And there is significantly more depth behind those five including of course Montas (a health gamble of course) and Martinez but also perhaps Lowder, Phillips and Petty. Of course the loss of Ricky Karcher may loom large (jk). So with a full year of McLain, Marte, CES and EDLC, Benson and a healthier Stephenson the offense should be better than 2023. And the pitching, including improved bullpen depth, also better. I wouldn’t be shocked if the 2024 Reds don’t win 80 games – but if so I’ll expect a tough year for injuries. I also wouldn’t be shocked if the Reds compete for a division title. You can guess which option I’m rooting for!

  10. Scotly50

    I quit paying any attention to the Zips projections when the years the Royals went to the World Series, Zips projected the Royals to be last in their division both years.

  11. Doc

    It is often mentioned that the Reds won something like 12 of Weaver’s 21 starts. If their fifth SP this year duplicates Weaver’s production game by game, I believe the odds of their winning at the 12 of 21 pace would be extremely low. There could be an 8-9 game swing from 12 wins to maybe 3 or 4 wins.

    That said, looking at the upgrades to the rotation, one needs be confident going in that all five rotation positions, no matter who is filling them, will be better than Weaver’s performance. If the Reds match their Weaver starts 57% win percentage in the fifth starter position, they will be pretty good, but there is a wide range of possibility.

    • Reaganspad

      That was the testament to the 2023 team. They were able to comeback time and again. They had to in weavers starts.

      And those games destroyed our pen. So it is not about duplicating those 12 wins, but how many other games did we lose because our pen was out of gas?

      Now we have improved starting pitching that can go more than 4+ innings that our fifth starter went last year. The difference between 4 and 6 innings by a starter is life and death for the pen.

      We also have improved the pen with relievers who can go multiple innings when needed. We were not able to do that last year.

      We also are not starting a RF and 1B who hit 200. And while I like India, McLain is a much better 2nd baseman.

      We have improved every facet of this team except for management. I actually think Bell may relax a bit this year with the riches that he has in talent. The players like him and there is a lot to be said for that when you are going to be this good for the next 5 years.

      No reason to Billy Martin this team with unnecessary drama.

      Now, to take this 82 win team into the 90s and beyond

      • Oldtimer

        The 1960 team won 67 games. The 1961 team won 93 games.

        Several reasons but Jay, Coleman, and Freese had career years.

        One example of several in Reds lore.

      • Justin T

        David Bell has shown he will tax his bullpen by August every year he has been here. Thats my biggest concern and all Reds fans who watch the games. If he stays out of the way it could be a special year.

      • greenmtred

        Absent any context, that sounds bad. But there is context: who were the available starters? Who were the available relief pitchers? Who was available at AAA?

    • Shannon

      Here is the thing. Last years deadline I did an exercise where I set a filter on one of the stats sites. 18 starts since the start of 2022 thru July 2023 The idea was to get the entire careers of Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Abbott & Williamson. 220 such pitchers, era & whip with exception of Abbott ranked around 30 & Williamson ranked around 120 of 220, the three 2022 rookies were close to weaver ranking 140-170 and weaver around 180.

      I am probably overvaluing our hitters and undervaluaing our starting pitchers but all we can really go by is what a player has done in the past. Sure rookie hitters like McLain & steer can regress and our pitchers might pitch to their potential but seems like to me the way McClain hit last year as a shortstop could get MVP votes and Friedl & steer are all star caliber. Based on what our pitching has done last 2 years though we will have a better rotation than the Rockies and that’s it. We will be near the bottom in starter era like we were last year.

      Overall prediction is 85 wins. This will make earmbristor upset so I will upset the rest of everybody else on this site. David bell is a good manager. Based on runs allowed vs runs scored we should have finished last season 3 games below .500, more than half our wins were 1 run games and we won close to 2/3 of extra inning games. All 3 are signs of a good manager and it has been that way every year bell has been here. Not as good as the manager the cubs are paying $8 million a year but has been and still 2nd best manager in the division.

  12. RedsGettingBetter

    I think the xW-L based on the runs scored against runs permitted is not a solid stat to based a team projection on… The roster team obviously have been improved this offseason so if we consider the fact of health being “good” on an “average” number of injuries and hoping some rookies now at AAA could contribute along the season , this team should be winning at least 87-90 games this season. We must remember the 2023 projections about the Reds after that offseason putting the team at 69 wins as the best but, of course , didn´t count on the McLain, Abbott, EDLC, CES and Marte additions along the way that carried the team to win 82 games despite the big amount of injuries…Even the Reds may be buying at the trade deadline to finish addressing the holes still pending

    • David

      Actually, I think that the so-called Pythagorean calculation of W-L based on runs scored and runs allowed is a pretty valid metric. However, as someone else above noted (CFD3000), at a certain period of time, the team of 2023 actually changed quite a bit, so what happened the first 30-40 games was not really representative of that the team is capable of doing.
      This Reds team is a team in transition. But…as LDS has said above, it is also going to be difficult to bet the ranch strictly on youth and HOPING that they all simultaneously get better. Some will get better, someone will probably have a great year, somebody will regress and disappoint. That’s baseball, played by real people.

  13. wkuchad

    Besides Fernando Cruz, it’s projecting every single ‘main’ bullpen pitcher to have a worse ERA next year. That seems odd. It’s not like we’re running out a bunch of old guys at the end of their careers.

  14. Ron

    My early projection:
    If the Reds stay healthy, they’ll win 85 or 86 games and make it to the postseason.

  15. jj

    Reds have put together a solid group of pitchers, no # one’s but lots of 2 3 4s who could be ones, this could be the yr someone or a few make the plunge, bullpen has improved, base speed, walks, timely hitting and’s team camaraderie will be king

  16. Optimist

    It sounds about right, and seems to level off almost everyone. Without looking I wonder what the projections for Luke Weaver were last season and are this season.

    The upside is some one, or ones, will outperform these lines, and perhaps hugely. That adds a win or two. Conversely, is anyone going to undeperform, and will the Reds allow them to do so for weeks or months? Very doubtful – that’s what the depth accomplishes.

    Contra LDS and the bookies – could they finish in 4th, certainly in a division full of 82-80, 81-81, 79-83 teams. Will they do so with a 72-90 record, almost certainly not.

    They’ve filled in the valleys, and we shall see if anyone peaks.

    • MBS

      @Optimist, I like the comment “They’ve filled in the valleys” We didn’t get Bellinger, Yamamoto, and Hader, but we did strengthen and lengthen our roster.

      The Reds probably played a bit over their heads last year. I can see why Zips doesn’t like us favor us as much as we do. I’m more bullish than they are, but I’m not ready to predict a 90+ W team.

  17. Mark Moore

    Somewhat fun to read; always fun to discuss here on RLN; but …

    It’s all crystal ball stuff until the season plays out. Injuries, hot streaks, unexpected performance … my gut says we’re better than the team we finished with that barely missed the playoffs, but that’s gut and opinion. I also think the Stupid Cubs overpaid for a lesser Japanese pitcher and that won’t end up pretty for them.

    Regardless, it’s getting close to “time” for things to ramp up. with college football done, no interest in the current pro sports, and limited interest in college basketball these days, I need something to fill the void. RLN definitely helps.

    +1,000,000 pre-season to spread around to y’all! 😀

  18. J

    I’m not going to bother doing it, but it’s tempting to go look at last year’s projections and see if Benson, McLain, Abbott, CES, Fraley, Friedl, Steer, Marte, and Gibaut were expected to be among the most useful players, if Myers was projected to be so terrible that he’d be cut early, and if there would be a legitimate question as to whether Maile or Stephenson would be more valuable. I’m guessing the projections missed a few of those things.

    • AllTheHype

      And pretty much all of the relievers overproduced. Zips did not like the Reds bullpen at all going into 2023. It far exceeded those projections.

      Guess that says something about their pitching projections.

      • Jason Linden

        If you can point to any system that effectively projects relievers, you could make a lot of money. Relief pitchers are substantially less predictable than midwestern weather.

  19. Jason Linden

    I think the ZiPS projections are really interesting, but I also think some in the comments need to remember what they are. It’s a computer basically looking at every player ever and using that information to make a best guess.

    There’s a huge range, especially for the younger guys. If you go look at the post on FanGraphs, you can also find the 80th and 20th percentile projections.

    I also think it’s REALLY important to remember that although some of the kids are likely to really have great years, others are likely to take steps back. Remember India two years ago, for instance.

    Personally, I worry about Benson and Marte. I LOVE Will Benson, but man, that BABIP doesn’t look sustainable. Neither does Marte’s. On the other hand, I’m pretty optimistic about CES. His statd matched his expected stats almost perfectly last year.

    Anyway, that’s not the point. The computer is always going to miss some context, but it’s kind of like having a super knowledgeable person who does not care about the Reds a bit telling how how good it looks like the team will be. This Reds team, I think, has a fairly high ceiling and a relatively low floor. We’ll see what happens.

    • Doug Gray

      Those last two sentences are what I’ve been telling people: I think this is like an 86 win team, but the error bars on that are huge. I wouldn’t be surprised if they won 90 or if they won 77 (without experiencing a whole bunch of injuries that decimate the team). Nearly everyone has questions, but a lot of those same guys also have plenty of upside they could reach, too. Like, looking at the 80th percentile for Elly De La Cruz makes me laugh out loud. There’s no possible way that’s truly the 80th percentile for him. But the system hasn’t actually seen him play, just looked at the numbers.

      • Optimist

        Just got around to looking at the projections, and yes, EDLC 80% is, um, interesting. The .286 BA is plausible, but if he hits .286, have to believe the WAR is 5+. Also, EDLC at that level is likely an AS, and anything above 90% makes him top-3 MVP. Essentially, his 80%+ projection should be the full season of Aquino’s POM performance, if not better.

        Sure the projections are all over the place, but EDLC and Joe Boyle remain league leaders in the “all or nothing” category, though EDLC probably graduates by Memorial Day.

        Now, off to find Boyle’s projections . . .

    • Pete

      I expect the competition on this team is going to be fierce. Last year I projected 81 wins, this year I’ll go with 90. Whatever LDS comes up with, that will be my floor.

      • J

        Congrats on making me literally LOL, and for all the right reasons.

      • AllTheHype

        Yeah I LOL at the too. But true.

    • BK

      All good points Jason. I would add that the projections are designed to look at the players as individuals, not at the team as a whole. A young team like the Reds will have a lot of variance for each individual player. Statistically, that makes almost any analysis based off of ZiPS that attempts to extrapolate into a “team” score very unreliable. That’s simply not what ZiPS is trying to accomplish.

  20. Kevin Patrick

    I just think its kind of interesting that Strohman and Weaver are now…Yankees. Who is that is playing with the most question marks? The Red Sox don’t seem like their usual selves. The Giants are still whimpering someplace licking their wounds. The Dodgers spent a bazillion dollars on a full time DH. The Cardinals…well…I still worry about them. But even they are throwing some guys out there that nobody really knows if they can cut it. I’ll take my chances with this group of Reds. Let’s just say I’m not going to cancel my tv provider for the Reds. I think the Reds just need to start an aerial bombardment of Truist Park in the hopes of taking out the competition. Such a cruel world.

    • AllTheHype

      Good point, The Dodgers spent $1B on a couple question marks. Albeit question marks with big upside.

  21. Redgoggles

    The fact that 90% of the free agents still remain unsigned adds a layer of skepticism to the team W-L conclusions for me…..

    I think the team did overperform its collective parts last year*, which gives be a tiny bit of pause going into this year. They could – and should – be much better in areas, but could end up regressing in others* resulting in a similar W-L record.

    *Regression in the bullpen, Abbott, EDLC, Friedl/Benson/Fraley would disappoint, but wouldn’t surprise me.

    But this is why they play the games, and for me contributes to the fun.

    • AllTheHype

      Kinda surprised by this, thought it would be Legumina. Duarte had better peripherals overall, but struggled more with command. Guess it was that.

  22. Brian

    Maybe they factored in Bell for about 4 games?

    • greenmtred

      So they would have predicted that the Reds would be four games under .500 with a different manager?

      • Brian

        I’ve never bought into the theory that every single manager only nets 1 or 2 wins or losses a season. I think that managers can have bad tendencies and that Bell is one of those. Maybe the whole “ eliminating peaks and valleys” is really just “Bell proofing” the team.

  23. Mark A Verticchio

    This team will win 90 plus, book it. There is so much competition that players are going to work very hard.

  24. Oldtimer

    If healthy all year, I’d guess 85 to 90 W.

    • Reaganspad

      Not a bad call Oldtimer, but I am looking a little higher…

      If healthy, they would have won 85 last year.

      Hello 90’s even with a few injuries in 2024

      The reason, this year we have all the depth

      • Oldtimer

        Reds had health issues, true, but OVERALL the Reds were lucky in 2023. Pythagorean W-L record was 77-85. Real W-L record was 82-80.

    • Brian

      Lodolo and Montas, will both stay healthy? If so, is there rust? Are there lingering issues that change movement from a serious injury? How many innings can they pitch? 125? There is depth there but that can evaporate quickly. I think 4 of the 5 starters missed games with injuries. I’ll guess 80-85 wins based on the overall innings that the starting 5 will probably go.

  25. Rednat

    The pitching is there to compete. I do worry we didnt do enough to strengthen the offense. Senzel and Votto are bigger losses than people think. They provided consistent offense last year that we havent replaved really.

    • AllTheHype

      2023
      Votto/Senzel combined 572 PAs, 91 OPS+
      Candelario 576 PAs, 119 OPS+

      ??????

    • Reaganspad

      Don’t forget Myers and Weaver…

      How will we replace them?

  26. redfanorbust

    Reds won 82 games last year with lots of injuries to key players. They also threw out at times the likes of Luke Weaver, Votto, Casali, Harrison Bader, Jose Barrero, Luis Cessa, Ricky Karcher, Brett Kennedy, Will Meyers, Kevin Newman, Hunter Renfroe, Michael Saini… you get the idea. None of those players with the exception of Barrero who is seemingly hanging on by a thread are still with the team and all have been replaced by upgrades. I think Reds chances of getting to the playoffs last year would have been much better if the Guardians had not snatched up Giolitto, Lopez and Moore on waivers before the Reds could have because our real need was pitching. So yeah if the Reds get really unlucky again and have multiple injuries to key players and the young guys all regress then we probably miss the playoffs but I guess you could say that about most teams. I like our chances.

    • Oldtimer

      The Reds won 12 of the 21 games pitched by Weaver. That’s 57%.

      The Reds won 79 but of 141 games pitched by others. That’s 49%.

      Now YOU get the idea.

      • wkuchad

        Oldtimer, you keep mentioning this over and over and over. But you always fail to mention that of those 12 wins, Weaver was credited with exactly 2 of them.

        Shouldn’t that tell you he had very little to do with earning the win, expecially considering his ERA and how rarely he pitched even somewhat deep into games and how overall terrible he pitched for the Reds?

      • Oldtimer

        The point is that IT DOESN’T MATTER who gets credited with the W. The Reds won 12 of his 21 starts.

        He allowed 4 or fewer runs in 16 of his 21 starts. That allowed the Reds a chance to win the games. He averaged 4.5 IP per start. Others Reds SP averaged 5 IP per start,

  27. Tim

    If my count is accurate the Reds lost 27 games by 1 run. With the new pitching staff and especially a deeper pen, are we really thinking that the Reds won’t pick up a significant amount of those, particularly when you consider the other 8 positions have only improved this season.

  28. Melvin

    ” Elly De La Cruz is projected to steal a team best 39 bases.”

    hahaha I’d say it’s more likely double that provided he can get on base enough. All this is just something to talk about when there’s nothing else to talk about in baseball. lol Bring on Spring Training.

    • Melvin

      Anyone else still having problems getting email updates after an initial post?

  29. JB

    I predicted 87 wins last year and I believe they would have achieved that if they didn’t have the injuries they did. I think they reach 90 this year with the upgrades in free agency and all the youngsters are a year older and hopefully wiser. The rest of the division hasn’t done much to upgrade themselves and some have regressed. Krall has covered this team with plenty of depth this year in case of Injuries. Long gone are the AAAA career players trying to make the opening roster. It was fun watching the kids play last year and I would take that anytime over watching the Myers,Voslers etc. Spring training can’t get here fast enough.

    • Justin T

      What did you see that made you predict a 25 game improvement last year from the 2022 and their 100 losses? That starting lineup they rolled out on opening day looked like the worst team in baseball. Curious to know what made you think they would improve that much.

      • greenmtred

        He mentioned the injuries in 2022, but it was, at least for pitchers, worse this past season. There was a lot of enthusiasm for Greene, Ashcraft and Lodolo and speculation about EDLC and possibly CES and McClain arriving sooner or later. You’re right about the opening day lineup (though we might reasonably have expected Myers to be reasonably productive).

  30. AMDG

    The Reds seems to have a solid 4 starters with Greene, Lodolo, Abbott and Montas, and even Ashcraft is good at moments.

    Assuming that is the rotation, Zips is projecting that crew for a collective 4.36 ERA.

    Last year, the Reds’ top 5 starters produced a 4.90 ERA.

    That’s almost a 1/2 run per game difference, and would project the Reds to enough wins to be a playoff team.

    • greenmtred

      Ashcraft was good at the beginning, had a bad stretch, then was pretty dominant. Like other commenters, I think he has a real chance to be a terrific starting pitcher.

  31. Daniel Kals

    Last year I bet $350 on the Over 64.5 wins. It paid $685 at year’s end.

    Because I am human, a fan, and have a bit more of a feel for the team than a computer, I was absolutely 100% confident that the Reds would not suffer only their fourth sub-65 win season in their history (of 162 game seasons). Not to mention they would have had to suffer *back-to-back* sub-65 win seasons, and almost impossibility. With a historically bad 3-22 start to 2022, it was blatantly obvious a sub-65 win season would not be repeated in 2023. It was the easiest money I’ve ever won.

    Why do I bring this up? To contrast to this year, when I am absolutely NOT betting a significant sum of money that the Reds will top their Over 83.5 wins odds (Caesar’s, BTW). Do I think it’s possible? Yes. I would probably guess 86 wins. But with this starting pitching staff, anything could happen. I have faith in the position players, they are 5 deep in the outfield (Steer, Friedl, India, Fraley, Benson) and 6 deep in the infield (CES, McLain, EDLC, Candelario, Marte, India), – any of which, if you squint, could possibly, theoretically, have the potential to make an All-Star team. But the starting pitching is a complete and utter crapshoot. None of them, besides Mantas, has shown the ability to be a quality starter for a full season. I have hopes and dreams, but I won’t be putting my money where my hopes are.