Nate and Chad were joined this week by Seth Shaner (@shanerbomb) to discuss his new interview show on the Riverfront – Redleg Roundtable! For his first episode Seth interviewed former Reds catcher Eddie Taubensee. Tune in to find out more about Seth and see who his next guest will be!

After catching up they guys covered the news of the week before diving into how the Reds outfield stacks up compared to their NL Central counterparts. Is it good enough for a playoff push? The gang has some thoughts – let us know yours in the comments!

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57 Responses

  1. LDS

    No, not even close, unless they dramatically overperform.

    • Rednat

      I agree 100%. We need a lot of help

    • MuddyCleats

      Agree; it’s one reason why I see Elly n CF. Elly’s biggest asset on Def is his arm strength & Speed. Really didn’t notice him making a lot of plays n the hole or up the middle @ SS, but I do remember a couple of relay throws! At 6’5”, he seems to struggle getting down & staying down on SOME ground balls? Not like team doesn’t have other options at SS now & n the future. I’d really like to see them add Cody Bellinger too, but ….. Reds need a legitimate LHH w/ some pop. Bellinger can play all 3 OF spots, 1B & certainly DH. He can also grab a bag when needed. Enough excuses & empty promises, Reds need to make a trade or 2 & make a commitment to go deep n the playoffs.

      • greenmtred

        Friedl was one of the best centerfielders in baseball last year.

      • Oldtimer

        LOL. ELDC will be SS or 3B. He has never played CF.

        The Reds screwed up Senzel by moving him to CF.

      • DaveCT

        Moving your best player off of his best position is ludicrous. And just dumb. This argument would be best left to fade away in peace and quiet. Sorry, it’s lingered far too long. Literally the entire country us laughing hysterically at this suggestion.

    • Greenfield Red

      I’m confused my negative friend. I thought they needed pitching, pitching, and more pitching. After all, they didn’t get any pitching at last year’s trade deadline.

      • LDS

        They do need pitching. Everything about the upcoming season is potential. The Reds are like a lump of coal – lots of potential but can they convert the potential. We’ll see.

      • MuddyCleats

        Tend to agree w/ LDS. Everything I’ve read has said the young SPs should b ready to go. Well, we thought they were ready last yr too, but the big 3 came up injured so there’s that. Lower extremity injures turn into arm injuries IF NOT HANDLED CORRECTLY. Montas has had his issues w/ arm injuries as well. Issue isn’t so much just another SP, rather a quality SP who can anchor the staff around the healthy young guys.
        It’s all interesting to consider & speculate. ST right around the corner; we ll know so enough. Maybe the extra relief pitchers will b just enough to get them n the playoffs ?

  2. Stock

    Ignoring Fraley’s 2nd half because he took one for the team and tried to play with a broken toe they did extremely well last year.

    wRC+

    Friedl 116
    Steer 118
    Fraley 122
    Benson 128

    For Comparisons sake lets compare it to the superstars on best Reds team of all time. The 1975/1976 BRM

    Concepcion: 91/105
    Geronimo: 93/123
    Bench: 140/112
    Perez: 126/117
    Griffey: 126/144
    Rose: 138/144
    Foster: 139/150
    Morgan: 176/184

    Does the current team match up to the BRM? No. But it isn’t because of the bottom half. They just don’t have anyone who can compete with Joe Morgan.

    As you can see from above Griffey and Foster took a big step forward in 1976. The Reds need the following to be within 1 step of the 1976 Reds (the better of the two offenses).

    1. The Reds need 3 players to take a step forward as Griffey and Foster did. My picks would be Benson, McLain and Marte.
    2. They need Fraley to duplicate his first half. I think this is the limit of who he is.
    3. They need Steer and Friedl to duplicate their full season. I think this is the limit of who they are.
    4. The need ELDC to cut down on his strikeouts or head to Louisville.
    5. They need Candelario and CES to improve a bit.
    6. They need Stephenson to get back to 2021 output.

    Is this asking too much? Maybe. But they are all realistic goals.

    And by the way in 1975 the Reds OF averaged 119.3 in wRC+
    Fraley/Friedl/Benson averaged 122 in wRC+

    Of course the difference was the BRM had Morgan at 2B and Rose at 3B. The Reds have unproven Marte and McLain. Additionally there was this guy named Bench behind the plate that was pretty good too.

    • LDS

      I love made up metrics. It adds “credibility” to meaningless comparisons. Objectively, there isn’t anyone in the Reds outfield that one would choose over Foster, Griffey, or even Geronimo. “Analytics” is not doing baseball any favors.

      • Doug Gray

        Every stat is made up. Literally all of them.

      • LDS

        Actually, Doug they aren’t. For example, average (mean) has specific underlying definition that is applicable in any number of fields, from baseball to physics. You can call that “made up” if you choose. The difference is that one has an established statistical foundation and meaning while others such as wRC+ do not.

      • Doug Gray

        Except in baseball the average is calculated by doing what? By taking the number of hits (which is subject to an official scorer), divided by the number of times a player steps into a batters box and results in a non walk, non hit by pitch, non catchers interference, non sac bunt, or non sac fly. Somewhere, someone, decided that’s what batting average was. It’s entirely made up of subjective things to try and tell a story of success or failure.

        It’s made up. Just like wRC+ or ERA or xFIP or whatever else. They’re all just mathematical formulas that try to tell a story of success/failure that somewhere along the lines someone made up.

      • Oldtimer

        Doug is correct.

        The Reds were successful in 1961, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976, and 1990. Six NL pennants (and three WS titles) in my 72 year lifetime.

        The Reds were almost successful in 1973, 1979, 1995, 2010, and 2012. Five times NL division champs but not NL pennant.

        The Reds were deprived of success in 1981 (split season due to strike) and 1994 (cancelled season due to strike).

        The ultimate stat is whether they win the last game of the season or not.

    • Stock

      Just because you can not understand metrics doesn’t mean you should dismiss them.

      But let’s do it your way. Lets use Runs and RBI. These metrics have been around since the invention of baseball (maybe not RBI).

      Using the time frame above (1975 Foster/Geronimo/Griffey only) 2023 (Fraley/Friedl/Benson only) For every 10 Plate Appearances

      1975: 2.56 = (Runs + RBI)/PA
      1976: 2.76 = (Runs + RBI)/PA
      2022: 2.66 = (Runs + RBI)/PA
      Projected 2023: 2.88 = (Runs + RBI)/PA

      2022 outfield was better than the 1975 OF.
      My projected 2024 OF is better than the 1976 OF.

      The question is how did I get my projection.
      Plate appearances: Friedl same as 2022. I don’t see his role changing. Fraley and Benson I choose 80% of 650 PA. I choose this because I think they will both sit regularly and estimated they sit 20% – 25% of the time.

      Production: Runs + RBI. I have Fraley and Friedl being equally as productive as in 2022. Will they be better? Maybe but I don’t think it will be too much.

      Benson. First, if you exclude April Benson’s productivity goes up 7%. Griffey and Foster were both 13% more productive in 1976 vs. 1975. I used this 13% because I think Benson will improve by at least as much as Griffey and Foster did. However, if you want to say Benson improves by only 7% the 2024 projection only drops to 2.84 which is still better than the 1976 Reds.

      • LDS

        They aren’t particularly hard to understand. Can I quote the formula off the top of my head? No, it’s not that important. Let’s try this a different way. Do you acknowledge that these are descriptive statistics vs. predictive? Leaving aside the fact that nearly every site has a different model/result, all these really tell you is that for that one season, this particular player had a higher wRC+ than another. It doesn’t mean the player in question is better or that he’ll repeat that performance. Too many here and in baseball generally act as if they do.

      • MuddyCleats

        I admit, I Luved watching the young guys play & succeed. They were fun & exciting, but I don’t see them being enough long term? Likelihood is Reds won’t spend any extra $$$ so it’s what they’ll have to work w/ ?

      • greenmtred

        Of course they’re descriptive. So are the traditional stats.

      • LDS

        Exactly @greenmtred, but no one here says player X hit .297 last year so the Reds need to sign them. But, they will say things like the Reds OF last year had a higher wRC+ than the ’75 Reds. Again, who would you rather have in your OF. BTW, a player such as Candelario’s career .243 average or Fraley’s multiyear inability to hit LH’ers is more meaningful than last year’s OPS+, wRC+, etc.

      • greenmtred

        Given their respective ages, I’d definitely rather have the current outfielders. (Sorry) I don’t know much about metrics, so I’ll deal with one I understand: OBP. There is evidently a strong correlation between getting on base–whether by getting a hit or a walk or a HBP– and scoring. There are differences in the value, particularly with runners on base, but it’s clear to me that OBP is a more complete indicator of a batter’s value than BA is. And while both BA and OBP are descriptive rather than predictive, wouldn’t you agree that that a player who hit well last year is probably (not absolutely) a better bet to hit well this year than is a guy who hit poorly?

      • Oldtimer

        LOLOLOL. “Better than the 1976 Reds”

        LOLOLOLOLOL.

      • Oldtimer

        1976 Reds had SEVEN All-Stars in letup. The only one who wasn’t was Geronimo, who batted 8th. He had .307 BA and finished 25th in MVP voting.

        “Better than 1976 Reds” LOLOLOL.

        PS the Reds SWEPT the playoffs. The number of other teams to have ever done that is listed below:

        None. Zero.

      • greenmtred

        He really didn’t say that the 2024 Reds are better than the 75 or 76 versions. What he said was that, by some statistical comparisons, the 2024 outfielders at least hold their own. Different eras, different game, and the greatest stars on the BRM were the infielders and, of course the catcher.

      • Oldtimer

        Yes, he did. Several times. Wrong every time.

        LF Foster CF Geronimo RF Griffey 4th OF Rettenmund or Bailey 5th OF Crowley or Lum ARE BETTER than the 2024 Reds OF.

        Check their OPS+ numbers. 1975 or 1976 >>>>>>> 2024 Reds OF.

      • Oldtimer

        Since you probably won’t, I did it for you. Reds 1976 OF included:

        Foster LF led NL in RBI, 2nd in MVP voting, 150 OPS+
        Geronimo CF .307 BA, Gold Glove, 25th in MVP voting, 125 OPS+
        Griffey RF .336 BA (runner-up in NL), 8th in MVP voting, 140 OPS+
        Bailey OF 148 OPS+
        Armbrister OF 125 OPS+
        Lum OF 91 OPS+

        I rest my case. 1976 Reds OF >>>>>>> 2024 Reds OF.

    • Greenfield Red

      If Friedl, Steer Fraley, and Benson are healthy enough to accumulate 2000 plate appearances combined, I think they will be fine. Let’s not forget Hinds and Dunn could push them too.

  3. Chad A Donnell

    Spencer Steer in LF makes this a steady and deep OF. It can be very versatile. Could Barrero make this team as the 5th OF/backup CF? He needs one helluva spring training to make it so. That gives them a little more speed. India’s future may ride on Barrero’s Spring Training.

  4. Brian

    You’re almost always gonna have quite a few question marks when you have such a limited budget. The outfield hitting isn’t going to keep the Reds out of contention by the trade deadline. Young teams are going to have a continuous evaluation going on, the same can be said about the infield and the starting rotation. This team should have enough talent to stick around in this division. Let some things work themselves out and trade for what you need at the deadline, if needed. Young team= show some patience.

  5. David

    As this mean next to nothing (but I thought I would bring it up just to provoke more discussion), after the 1974 season, where the Reds finished behind the Dodgers in the NL West, a lot of baseball pundits said the Reds were getting old and fading, and probably would not be that competitive in 1975.
    I think they started the year 20-20 or 21-20, then John Vukovich, who had been playing third (and not hitting) was benched and Rose came in to play third, with George Foster then being the everyday Left Fielder.
    From that point, they went something like 88 – 34 the rest of the season.
    Don Gullet probably would have won 25 or more games that year, but got his finger broken trying to catch a line drive bare-handed, and was out for 8 weeks (he still won 16 games).
    Just saying, you never know quite what is going to happen. Some guys will over-perform, some guys will underperform, some will produce near their career average.
    I think the 2025 Reds have an adequate line-up to win and score runs, but I have no clue as to how their pitching, especially their starting pitching, will perform. If their starting pitching is good (in the upper third of the league ERA), they will likely win OVER 90 games. Conversely, if their starting pitching is lousy (near the bottom of the league in 2023), they will struggle to play 0.500 ball.

    Lastly, I saw a lot of the 1975 Reds team. That and the 1976 team could WILL themselves to win if the game was important.
    The present 2024 Reds team does not have that much self-confidence yet. That will only come with time.

    • David

      That’s 2024 Reds, not 2025. We’re not playing that far into the future yet.

    • Brian

      I think Gullet won 15 that year. It sticks out in my head as I used to listen to the 75 album “And this one belongs to the Reds”. You have a good point about starting pitcher, it’s probably the most important part of any team. It may be the Reds weakest area too.

  6. Eric Mason

    LF – Steer/Benson
    CF – Friedl
    RF- EDLC
    3rd- Marte/Candelario
    SS- McClain
    2nd- India
    1st- CES/Candelario
    DH- Candelario/CES/Matte
    Trade Stephenson and Fraley for a top defensive catcher that calls a good game behind the plate and can ACTUALLY frame a pitch. The overworked pitching staff as a whole had a lot of strikes taken from them and innings extended because of a lack in framing properly. Then before the break, trade India/Williamson/Spiers for a top of rotation starter. Then move McClain to 2nd, and call up Arroyo to SS.

    • Jason Franklin

      I agree on the idea that Stephenson really is not a very good catcher. He does not frame a pitch well and maybe doesn’t call a good game, but I am not sure how much wiggle room he has from the calls that come from the dugout. The Reds probably should have focused more on improving the catching. For the past few years, it seems like they just have missed the boat on it. A catcher who can call a good game, frame well and throw out runners at a good clip, is something the team lacks. Stolen bases will just be going up this year and we need someone who can handle the throws to 2nd.

    • greenmtred

      I know little about pitch framing, but it seems to be nearly universally held that it isn’t one of Stephenson’s strengths. But the umpiring–particularly ball and strike calling–was horrendous this past season. Many of those lost strikes were due to that and the same misfortune regularly befell the Reds’ opponents. Tyler started to get his hitting together late in the season. Maybe due to continued healing? He has the potential to be one of the best and most consistent hitters on the team. I’d be wary of trading him.

  7. Fanman

    EDLC is athletic enough to play CF. He needs to play in the middle of the field. SS or CF. Wasting his athleticism and speed playing 3b. Marte played a great 3b with a cannon. CES needs to play regularly at 1b/DH. Candelario is going to play. With a logjam on the infield, Steer and EDLC should see plenty of time in the OF. McClain is ideal at 2b, however he and Marte can slide over and cover SS when EDLC sees time in OF. India can DH and fill in at 2b.. McClain is long term answer at 2b. Arroyo is future SS. EDLC is future in CF. Nothing against Friedl. Pitching is going to be dominant. Sky is the limit! World Series contender. Over/under 82 wins is a joke

    • TR

      With spring training on the way, there’s a lot of question marks as to where to play the young guys, especially EDLC. As the old saying goes, time will tell. Who will occupy shortstop and third base is a crowded field.

  8. RedsFanInFL

    Gullet had 65 wins by age 23. I remember reading that he was one of the youngest pitchers in MLB history to get to the 60 win mark. Unfortunately, because of injuries, he only had 44 more wins (109 total) and was out of baseball after his age 27 season

    • Brian

      There was a 3 or 4 year period where he was one of the better pitchers in baseball. He was a decent hitter for a pitcher too. He had some back luck with injuries.

      • Oldtimer

        Arguably, a six year timeframe. Gullett was topnotch SP from 1971 through 1976 despite injuries.

      • Brian

        The “great eight” get all of the recognition for 75 and 76. The Reds had some very good pitching those 2 years that always seem to get overlooked. Nolan, Norman and Zachery were really good starters during that time. They also had a couple of top notch relievers. Granted, they don’t have the long term success of the “great eight” but they played a huge role in the championships and would love to see them get more credit.

      • Oldtimer

        The Reds had six good (or better) SP in 1975 and 1976.

        The Reds had four (or more) top quality RP in 1975 and 1976.

  9. Eric Mason

    Bundle Stephenson and Fraley for a top notch defensive catcher that calls a great game behind the plate and can ACTUALLY frame a pitch. The overworked pitching staff had many strikes stolen and innings extended because of an inability to frame pitches.

  10. Greenfield Red

    Let’s also remember that 2024 is not the only team of the future. The Reds are set-up for years of success… perhaps a decade Let’s also remember that this team of youngsters is so talented that they won 82 games last year… a year with tons of injuries and a 70 or so win expectation.

    Let’s enjoy it

    • Oldtimer

      The team was also lucky. It won 12 games in a row during one stretch. It had ONE All-Star. Its SP rotation was meh.

      • Greenfield Red

        Agreed OT. If you take out the win streak, they still won 70 which was pretty close to the expectation. Even with that, the leaders were supposed to be Votto and Myers. Those two were terrible. Greene, Lodolo, and Ashcraft were supposed to lead the pitching with mixed results that were mostly injury related. Toss in that India and Stephenson battled injuries, and it was a remarkable year because of McClain, Steer, Benson, and many other youngsters all of whom are still here.

      • Oldtimer

        Votto was not terrible. His OPS+ was 99. He was average. Myers did not do well.

        I never saw projections as low as 70 W. More like 75 to 80 W. Pythagorean W-L was 77-85. The Reds were about 5 W more than expected.

      • Greenfield Red

        OPS+ of 99 combined with bad baserunning and fielding + my negative opinion of JV = terrible.

      • Oldtimer

        By definition, average. Not terrible.

    • TR

      I’m ready for the season, but first we have to get to the Super-duper Bowl and then see who comes out ahead in March Madness. Spring training should be more interesting than usual.

  11. Mauired

    The outfield is going to be fine. TJ Friedl surprisingly became one of the best players on this team last year. I think a lot of people are still sleeping on his talent. It’s been awhile since Reds have had a true table setting leadoff hitter. Steer was also a great bat last year and looked pretty good in LF for his 1st time there. Benson led the team in OPS for much of the year. Fraley was on pace for a 20/20 season until he got hurt in the second half (as a platoon bat). Barrero has ton of potential as the IF/OF utility man like Steer was last year. India might get moved to OF as well. And the entire AAA starting OF will probably play in Cincy next summer. Hurtubise had a huge year hitting .330 and 45 steals. His on base was .479! Love to see players get on almost half of at bats. Hinds finally put it together last year. He’s basically a right handed Benson. Huge and athletic with a great arm. Had a 20/20 season in AA. And Blake Dunn’s not on the roster yet but definitely the next man up. 23 homers and 54 steals with .947 OPS. A couple guys will regress but some will surprise too.

    • MBS

      “The outfield is going to be fine” That is the answer to the article/podcast title. It’s not going to be great, but if things go well we are a playoff contender.

      Benson, Steer, Friedl, Fraley, Dunn, Hurtubise, Hinds

      That’s a pretty deep group. It’s kinda like our pitching staff, deep, but no stars. Benson, Dunn, and Hinds all have the capability to become one.

  12. jj

    Once again the Reds management has hopes that everything gels, they acquired pitching that is “possibly good “, but not a solid outfield bat. This team is still very young and hopeful, speedy and daring. A lot of things have to go right for success, they can’t get behind like the Bengals and hope for a miracle, every game counts like the 2 they came up short on at the end of the season last year, Go Reds

    • greenmtred

      Certainly a reasonable summary, though it’s also true that every single team requires luck, mainly against injuries, to have a successful season.

    • Old Big Ed

      I still contend that there were no “solid outfield bats” out there that made any sense for the Reds. Soler and Teoscar Hernandez can’t field, and if the Reds do need an outfield bat, it has to be a RH hitter who can play right field. Randall Grichuk may have worked, but does he really move the needle over what they already have?

      Some of it depends on how Rece Hinds develops. If he keeps his SO rate as low has he maintained after June 1 of last year, then he will be in RF in Cincinnati by the end of the year. And I expect Blake Dunn to be ready by the end of the year, too.