It’s PECOTA week over at Baseball Prospectus and this morning they released their projected standings for Major League Baseball. Scrolling on down to the National League Central and you’ll see that Cincinnati Reds are projected for a 78-84 record, which would put them in 4th place in the division and eight games back of the St. Louis Cardinals and five games up on the last place Pittsburgh Pirates.

Within the projections are the runs scored and runs allowed for each team. Last year the Reds outperformed their pythagorean record by five wins. Cincinnati scored 783 runs and allowed 821 runs on the season, which would put their pythagorean record at 77-85, but they actually finished 82-80.

So what does the PECOTA projection have in those columns this season? 795 runs scored and 829 runs allowed. If you’re still following along with me, that means that PECOTA is saying that the Reds offense will get slightly better this year. That makes some sense given that for the first two months of the season the club was still running out some guys who were performing poorly and eventually lost their jobs to the rookie crop that’s going to be back now and also helped fuel the turn around last summer.

BUT, and all of those letters are capitalized for a reason, it’s also projecting the Reds pitching staff to give up more runs than they did last year. You’re going to have a hard time selling me on that one. Last year the club saw Nick Lodolo miss almost the entire season. Graham Ashcraft went through one of the worst 10-start stretches in baseball history (though he was absolutely dominant outside of that stretch). The group of Luke Weaver, Ben Lively, Luis Cessa, Connor Phillips, Lyon Richardson, Connor Overton, Brett Kennedy, Levi Stoudt, and Carson Spiers combined for 57 starts and an ERA that pushed somewhere near infinity.

While injuries can still happen, and some of the guys are going to have worse years than last season, with the additions of Nick Martinez and Frankie Montas, the club is going to likely have much better depth in the rotation than last year. They won’t likely be giving multiple starts to multiple players who were pitching in the Atlantic League in April. The bullpen has also added depth, and solid depth at that.

When looking at the individual PECOTA projections for players it’s fair to say that they don’t really think anyone is going to be good, but that most players won’t be bad, either. Only Christian Encarnacion-Strand and TJ Friedl are projected to hit over .250 among anyone expected to get real playing time, and neither is above the .255 mark. That just seems incredibly unlikely. Only one player is projected for 20 home runs, and that’s the top on the team – 20 home runs. That also seems very unlikely.

With the pitching, there’s a lot going on. In the rotation the best ERA is 4.25 and the worst is 4.85. While factoring in the Great American Ball Park tax, basically it’s projecting the rotation as mediocre overall, with no one being good and no one being real bad. The bullpen projections are bad, though. Real bad. Nick Martinez has the best ERA projection from the group at 4.13. Alexis Diaz, who had a 1.84 ERA as a rookie and a 3.07 ERA last season, is projected for an ERA of 4.52. Many of the guys you expect in the bullpen fall into that mid 4’s range with their ERA.

Projections tend to find the middle ground between “if everything goes right” and “if everything goes wrong”. And that makes sense because in most cases, those situations represent the rarity, the unlikely, etc. But some of the projections just seem off. Like they are missing some data points. Alexis Diaz is a big example there. If you could put the over/under on his ERA at 4.52 and take bets on it, the chances you’d get bets on the over could be counted on one hand.

At the end of the day they play the games out on the field. Projections are fun, and there’s some value in them. But for this specific team, it’s real tough to look at the projection and say the pitching will be worse than last season and the offense is only going to score two more runs per month than they did last year.

109 Responses

  1. Klugo

    The NL Central will be tough and will only be getting tougher. I like our chances this year, but it’s a razor thin margin for error.

    • RedBB

      Not sure about that. I see a weak conference. Only consistently good team the Brewers lost their 2 best pitchers. Cubs have failed to resign their best player. StL may bounce back and did sign Gray but also lost Montgomery and Hicks.

      Reds on the other hand lost no one worth mentioning and added Montas,Martinez, Pagan and Jeimer. They also get back several injured starters like Lodolo and Ashcroft.

  2. MK

    I certainly am not purchasing World Series tickets yet but this should be the worst projection we see from any of the so-called experts. I expect to see a little regression from some of the second year guys but I also expect some improvement from the 3rd year plus guys.

    • Rex

      I have $15 on the REDS, pays $780

      just for fun

  3. Rob

    I agree Doug. Depth seems much better and 2nd year experience should be more pluses than minuses. The absence of Votto should significantly improve team speed and team BA. am not ready to buy the hype or overhype around Greene, Lodolo, and Ashcraft until I see it for a season. I am prepared for another year of 120 innings and 4.50 ERAs from these guys. I really love your comment around the 57! starts from nobodies …….but we didn’t need pitching to hold off the Dbacks.

    Overall, I think 88 wins is realistic with a ceiling of 95 and a floor of 80.

    • Shannon

      I agree with the assessment of Greene, lodolo & Ashcraft. They are 4.5 to 5 era pitchers until they are something different. Don’t expect anything other than that out of them. The key I feel will be montas. If he pitches like he did with the A’s then I see a ceiling of 87 wins and if he pitches like he did with the Yankees then we still are no better than 14th best starting rotation in the NL ahead of the Rockies like we were last year with a floor of 83 wins. The former gets us in the post season and the later doesn’t.

  4. DataDumpster

    Agree it is difficult to make much sense about nearly all of the data points Doug has brought up. But, when the simulation only projects a difference of 7 games separately for the top four teams, I wouldn’t be surprised if each individual team projection is wrong by an average of at least 7. Does the PECOTA people published that statistic?
    They could be correct in that the horserace will be very competitive and the Reds will falter in that scenario. That’s kind of a feature of the last 5 years. Still, its hard to NOT think the team will be better with the roster additions made and overall maturity.

  5. Rut

    Wonder how “accountable” these various projection systems are year to year.

    Figure by now some of the more dedicated math nerds would have dug into the weeds and been able to show which have higher rates of being correct year to year over others.

    If all sort of cluster in the middle, then my assumption would be these are more of a crap shoot than anything to actually be concerned with.

  6. Optimist

    This is surprising, but not shocking until you get to player particulars. Yes, the pythagorean for last season was probably accurate in that they won a few more than the should have, and I’ll take this projection as the floor for what they’ll do this year.

    Without offering any wagers, though, they may be more likely to lose 68 games than 78, especially considering that among all those mediocre player projections there’s a very low chance they’ll be stuck with a poor performer for more than a month (compare to last season) and an extremely good chance than 2 or more players substantially outperform. Even a good chance 4 or more players outperform. That’s what depth and youth can accomplish.

    Can’t wait to see the RLN post of the group’s projections for this season.

  7. CFD3000

    I’ve railed about the value of Pythagorean win-loss calculations before and last year is a perfect example of why those aren’t a good basis for forward projects. The Reds were a very very different team last year before Matt McClain opened the floodgates for new, talented regulars. The early season team that got outscored (by a lot) and had a losing record is not the same as the team that finished the year or will take the field in two months (!), and I’m just not buying that the 2024 Reds with a full year of McClain, EDLC, CES, (the good) Wil Benson, Noelvi Marte, and Andrew Abbott along with a healthy(er) Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft plus a stronger Abbott and more depth for the rotation and the bullpen will somehow be WORSE than last year. I’m projecting 86 wins based on a highly scientific analysis conducted over the last 50+ years of actually watching baseball and following the Reds way more closely than any adult should. 78 wins would be disappointing indeed. And even with the balanced “play everybody” schedule, the Reds get to play a lot of games against four teams in the NL Central that are no better or only slightly better than last year with the possible exception of St. Louis who have nowhere to go but up. Pecota Shmecota. Pitchers and Catchers next week, then onto a winning 2024!

    • Daniel Kals

      Yep. If EDLC is able to get back to playing anything like he was playing during that magical two-week winning streak last year, there is simply no way this team wins less than 80 games. Imagine if the light comes on and he puts it all together. EDLC on the basepaths is enough to implode the entire pythagorean wins concept.

  8. VaRedsFan

    -sarc on-
    Maybe these projection systems have been able to fully incorporate the “Bell-Tax” into their systems, as a reason for the 4th place projection?
    -sarc off-

    • greenmtred

      They were evidently mistaken about the effect of that tax last season.

      • VaRedsFan

        You’re correct about that…in a big way GMR. With competent field management they are most likely a 92 win team last year.

        Or to use an analogy you like to use, Sparky would have won 96-98. 😉

      • greenmtred

        You seem to have missed my point. Nobody thought the Reds last year were a 92 win team. The rookies didn’t arrive until the season was well underway, and not so long after they did, the pitching staff was decimated by injuries.

    • Stock

      Is it possible that the difference in last year’s pythagorean win total and the actual win total is Bell’s quality management.

      The Reds seemed to have a lot of games where the bullpen came in and pitched 5 innings, gave up zero runs and won the game. In the first half of the season they didn’t lose a game when they were winning after 7. Was the bullpen that good or was management prepared and inserted relief pitchers into the game where they had good matchups?

      A bullpen of FA cast-offs did extremely well last year. Did this group suddenly acquire talent? Maybe, just maybe everyone on here under rates Bell and DJ.

      • DaveCT

        Yes, it is very possible.

        The front office hired and extended manager with a certain philosophy and strategy.

        They built a club around those things.

        Bell managed the club toward certain desired outcomes, i.e. utilizing each individual’s strengths.

      • greenmtred

        I also agree that it’s possible, Stock. By many accounts, the players support him and like playing for him, and that could be telling. MLB players are by and large highly competitive, else they wouldn’t be MLB players. If they thought he was as bad a manager as some fans think he is, would they like playing for him despite the diminished chances of winning? I doubt it.

      • Shannon

        A lot of people knock bell. I actually like him. From my POV he is the 2nd best manager in the division behind the brewers (now cubs) and this is the reason. Run differential = wins & losses and if you look at bells record over the last 5 years is should be much worse based on run differential. We get blown out too often but win more than our fair share of one and 2 run games. We also win a bunch games late 7th thru 9th inning.

        Do I agree with everything bell does over the course of a game? Absolutely not but neither did I agree with everything dusty did and he is likely going to be in the HOF as a manager. When I look at the run differential and our record at the end of each season though I have to give credit to bell.

  9. Tom Reeves

    Very few Reds players have enough data to project. Some of the young players will play better than expected and some will be worse. The success of the Reds will be determined based on which mix of players does better than expected or worse than expected. And no one knows that or can know that right now. I think the projections for 2025 based off 2024 should be a lot more accurate.

  10. redfanorbust

    Not sure how they got almost 5 ERA for Diaz. With the depth we have added his arm should not be overworked this year. Places I have looked so far show anywhere from high 2’s to low 3’s ERA. As far as the rest of the predictions go this is a very young team and we have yet to see how many of them preform over a full season with expectations being making the playoffs from day one. I imagine this factors into PECOTA’s numbers. Reds payroll was about $82M last year and that was with Votto and Moustakas contracts. Both contracts basically gave back little to nothing in the way of performance value. Sports track website says payroll for 2024 is about $113M. When I take away Votto/Moustakas’s salaries $47M that leaves net productive salaries of $45M in 2023. So in essence Reds have added about $68M in productive salaries this year. Sure hope that money nets us more than four less wins than the previous year as PECOTA projects.

    • Brian

      Diaz fell off incredibly hard in the second half last year. Some of these projection systems weight recent performance more heavily. My guess is the system expects him to look like the 2nd half Diaz that got rocked more than the 1st half Diaz that was a shutdown pen ace. And pitching in GABP inflates everyone’s ERAs.

  11. Frostgiant80

    I am the most optimistic I have been about the Reds chances this year then I have been in a long time. Evientally, Reds fans are the only ones. It has been crazy to the talking heads projections of the Reds. I guess the Reds are going to have to prove it first. I feel like this team would relish the idea of being the underdogs though.

    • JayTheRed

      Yes, if teams don’t want to take the Reds seriously that is fine by me. Let’s shake the world this season and shove it in their faces with around 88 to 90 wins.

      If the manage over 90 wins that will be quite impressive. If they don’t have a winning season, I am guessing injuries probably hurt us again.

    • Redsfan4192

      I believe the Reds will have a 90-72 record this season. There were several additions that they have added that I think will play a key part in this. If their record is worse, I believe it will be based on key injuries. If they have a better record, then the additions and the younger players are better than expected.

  12. LDS

    It’s not just one projection system though. It’s the odds makers, etc. The off-season acquisitions stabilized the floor perhaps but didn’t really raise the ceiling. Last season the Reds overperformed, particularly in June and early July, then underperformed in the 2nd half of the season. Expecting the rookies to deliver a division winning team could happen but it’s not the most likely outcome. And adding and inviting to ST players like Josh Harrison isn’t going to change the projected outcomes.

    • MBS

      @LDS, “The off-season acquisitions stabilized the floor perhaps but didn’t really raise the ceiling.”

      That might be the most concise, accurate description of the offseason.

      • greenmtred

        It might be, but it’s a guess, so it might not be. The second half fall off may have been due in good part to rookies playing more and with more intensity than they were accustomed to. If that’s the case, much will depend upon how well they adapt. As for the new guys not raising the ceiling, Candelario being among the league leaders in extra base hits might not , by itself, require the addition of a second storey on the edifice, but when you add an effective long man for the pen, it might be time to set up the scaffolding. We don’t know yet. Neither do the oddsmakers.

      • MBS

        @Green, If we are to improve, it’s going to come from guys like EDLC, McLain, Marte, CES, etc. The FA vets should help prevent us from regression, but they aren’t “impact players”. Obviously anyone could have a career year, and that would be great, but it’s not something that you should count on.

      • BK

        @MBS, you are demonstrating that the Reds could have done more to raise the ceiling, not that they didn’t raise the ceiling.

      • MBS

        @BK, The ceiling hasn’t been raised. I’m not sure why you’re disagreeing with me when you agreed with @Stock below. The FA’s are similar in talent to the people they are displacing. The real victory of the offseason is the depth that the team has, hence the floor has been raised.

        The ceiling of the team is the best case scenario for the team. That hasn’t changed, as good health is apart of the ceiling calculations. Since poor health is apart of the floor calculations, the added depth improves our floor. Having a higher floor will result in more wins since the best, and worst case scenarios are unlikely to occur.

      • greenmtred

        You can’t count on anything. Actually, if the Reds’ pitching staff just suffered normal attrition from injury instead of last season’s conflagration, it would go a long way to making them contenders. The acquisitions probably don’t need career years to help though, as you say, that would be nice.

      • BK

        As Stock says below, at the very least, the bullpen should be better than last season’s bullpen–that raises the ceiling.

        Otherwise, we’re just crossed up on semantics. My perspective is that the best-case scenario is that only minimal injuries occur. Even in the best-case scenario, depth raises the ceiling because the team is prepared to deal with even a few injuries. I can understand a theoretical argument that no injuries happen; thus, depth doesn’t raise the ceiling.

        For the ceiling to be raised, every FA that the Reds brought in would have to be no better than the player they replaced. I disagree with that statement. Candelario will likely be better than either Fairchild, Barrero, Martini, or whoever would have been position player #12 on the roster–that raises the ceiling because everyone will play. In fact, I expect him to be better than India, too, which also raises the ceiling.

        Again, just sharing my slightly different perspective.

      • MBS

        I also think we are in a semantics battle, as we often do. So I guess there’s no point belaboring it. I think we both agree that we are better off today than we were before Krall signed the FA’s.

        I am surprised PECOTA hit us at 78 W’s. I think gaining 4 W’s is more likely than losing 4 W’s.

    • BK

      This is a catchy slogan, but it ignores the evidence you used to support your conclusion. What problem plagued the Reds in the second half of the season? Injuries. What did the Reds do to address the problem? Add quality depth across the board.

      The floor (and ceiling) was raised by the quality of players that replaced the bad ones that began the season on the Reds roster. The offseason acquisitions were designed to ensure that production is sustained when injuries hit (and they will), which raises the ceiling and the floor. Signing top tier may have raised the ceiling to a greater degree, but the moves to date should be expected to do both compared to the 2023 season.

      • LDS

        @BK, this was not the Reds first 2nd half collapse. If the Reds were serious about contending they wouldn’t have overpaid for Montas nor signed a career .243 on the assumption that he’ll be better in GABP.

      • BK

        I’m not sure what last season’s swoon has to do with prior seasons since most of the players had changed. Also, I don’t understand how this is on point with the discussion of floor and ceiling.

      • Justin t

        @bk Most of the players have changed during these 2nd half collapses you are correct. What hasn’t changed in that dugout though? As long as that stays the same the results in the second half will too.

    • DataDumpster

      @LDS. Krall had a good offseason and probably pleased ownership immensely because he did with better than average skill what they wanted (i.e. your statement). Well done.

    • Shannon

      I agree. I know depth is great for injuries but I would have preferred fewer top quality signings than more. I would have rather signed 2 top free agent pitchers say gray and Rodríguez instead of candelario, Martinez, montas and pagan and for $7 million less per year overall although more years.

      I really liked the sutter signing because we needed another left handed relief pitcher and he is a good one cheap. Talk lately has been on Tony kemp but I think Duvall would be a better platoon option with benson in right field. I could see us as a playoff type team with a move like that.

  13. Justin T

    Take the 12 game winning streak away last year and we are having different discussions and possibly a new manager. As far as projections for this year, like someone else said, there isnt enough data on the young guys. I do worry about the starting rotation, there are 5 question marks there in terms of health. Every team has question marks but the Reds do not have a single guy on their staff that has been healthy through a big league season. Maybe Montas, but he is older and coming off 2 injury filled seasons.

    It could be a really good year or a bad year I dont think anyone would be necessarily surprised. I think a really bad year would be surprising. The floor has been raised. Im not all the way convinced the ceiling was raised by the off season moves.

    • Doc

      Take away 12 losses and the discussion would also be different. They did, in fact, win those 12 games.

    • Optimist

      The ceiling wasn’t moved much at all by the off season. They’re counting on the youngsters progress to raise the hitting performance, and the depth to raise the pitching performance.

      It’s a bit counterintuitive, but they may have raised the floor to 85 wins, which is right in wild card placement. I’d be very surrpised if they come anywhere close to matching the worst 300 IPs, or least productive 1,000 ABs from last season. Neither the rotation nor the bullpen should be severely stressed before the AS break, and it will be up to management (insert scoffing here) to cut or adjust underperforming hitting quickly – they have the depth to do so.

      Seems like they are set to be slightly above league average all over the diamond – hence 85 wins.

    • greenmtred

      Conversely, take away the injuries to almost the entire starting rotation and Mclain and the second half swoon becomes less likely.

      • Justin T

        Bringing back nearly the same starting rotation is going to fix that? Maybe I need to look harder but I cant remember a time when a staff was comprised of guys coming off injury like this one. What do they do? Sign a guy coming off 2 years of injuries. We have 5 starters who have no history of being healthy for a full big league season.

      • greenmtred

        That’s one of the reasons why predictions have very limited value. That and the youth and inexperience of many of the Reds’ most important players. As for the pitchers, injuries to MLB pitchers are very common. The Reds’ projected starters are talented and mostly young. It’s much too early to assume that they’re injury-prone or that they won’t become more effective. Signing Montas was a gamble, certainly, but a gamble without a forgone outcome, and they simply weren’t going to spend the money or prospect capital to get a pitcher of his quality without an injury history. And even if they had, the guy could still get injured. A gamble no matter what.

      • Optimist

        Justin has 1/2 a point here -who do you count on from the staff to pitch a full, effective, healthy season? But, it’s no longer 5 question marks. The added depth makes it 6 to 8 question marks, and much better ones than last season. Add in Martinez as 1/2 a question mark, and they are in a much better position to average 100-110 effective innings per pitcher. Unless they lose 3 or more to long term injury, that should be enough for a very effective staff.

        The upside is if any 2 or more of them remain healthy AND improve from last season.

  14. SultanofSwaff

    With Burnes out of Milwaukee, it’s now a 2 team race with the Cubs……and if they don’t ink Bellinger I will have no problem telling my Cub fan friends the Reds are the favorite (and backing that up with a little $).

    • TR

      It appears, for the coming season and for the next few years, the intensity of the Reds/Cubs series could take over from the traditional Cards/Cubs rivalry. That might mean 30,000 plus at GABP even for mid-week games.

  15. Steve H

    PECOTA has historically loved name players with long history of good stats, and has historically hated players who had injuries the prior year. Most, if not all if the Reds established rotation players are coming off injury plagued years. The projection is not a surprise, even if it is unrealistic.

  16. Amarillo

    For the people wondering how accurate these are: last year PECOTA was off by 10 or more games for 15 teams, off by 15 or more games for 7 teams, and off by 20 or more games for 2 teams.

    • Amarillo

      It predicted 7/12 playoff teams correctly.

      Roughly, Pecota is about as accurate as a generally knowledgeable baseball fan guessing.

      • VaRedsFan

        Good info.
        Perhaps these guys help predict the weather too???

  17. JayTheRed

    I don’t know why anyone pays attention at all to projections. They simply are a educated guess based on what someone did a year ago and sometimes that is not even accurate. I honestly put more into spring training games than what these computer / professionals guess at.

    I can predict that Spencer Steer is going to have another strong season but maybe not. Maybe he gets hurt maybe pitchers have figured out a new way to get him out. Sure, it’s not likely that he will have a poor season, but it’s possible. You know why? Because anything is possible in baseball. Nobody thought the Mets wouldn’t make it to the playoff’s same thing with the Padres. Look what happened.

  18. Melvin

    A pretty LOW bar to set. If that’s the case then Big Bob & Son along with their manager can basically do no wrong. Another two games over .500 will be another great year exceeding expectations. Personally, in my view, with the talent on this team, the record SHOULD be a lot better than that. We shall see if it will be. By the way no way this year’s pitching gives up more runs than last year. lol

    “it’s also projecting the Reds pitching staff to give up more runs than they did last year. You’re going to have a hard time selling me on that one.”

    I concur.

  19. Jimbo44CN

    I am fine with them and others predicting a 4th place finish. Let the other teams think what they will. Knowing this should light a fire under this young team to make them prove the so called experts wrong. I love it.

    • Greenfield Red

      One more point many aren’t considering: The rebuild that started in 2021 and including the trade off of all positive assets for high end young talent meant throwing in the towel on 22 and 23. Last year’s 82 wins was icing on the cake. 82 wins in 24 was a more likely outcome than 82 in 23.

      24 is the first year, the first of many years, of the new Reds. That’s different than the past. If they win 82 again, that’s acceptable. I hope for 92 or even 102.

  20. Oldtimer

    85 W give or take a few. Players must be healthy. SP must improved. Bullpen must be deeper.

    • Shannon

      Seems right to me. Only thing I can go by is what I saw from the offense last year because most were rookies. I expect the offense to be good not great maybe top 5 in the NL. Starting pitching I have seen most for 2 years now and expect them to be what they have been which is bottom 2 of the league.

  21. CFD3000

    One other comment. I will be flabbergasted, gobsmacked and bewildered if the Reds team leader in home runs hits 20. Have you seen CES, EDLC or Wil Benson hit? I’ll take the over on that one and the under on the Diaz ERA.

  22. Stock

    LDS said something above that intrigues me: “The off-season acquisitions stabilized the floor perhaps but didn’t really raise the ceiling.”

    Is Montas an upgrade over Williamson or Abbott? Probably, but not by much. So in this regard it doesn’t raise the floor because coming out of ST (assuming everyone is healthy) either Abbott or William,on will be in Louisville. Not a big upgrade, on the surface. But once a SP goes down then the change in the floor is more evident. Because of this the floor did go up.

    Is Candelerio so much better than India that he is raising the floor offensively? Again no. But once injuries start occurring and once players start needing a day off, Candelario is a big upgrade from Barrero, Fairchild or whomever else the Reds have. If the Reds have no injuries, Candelario does little to raise the floor. But injuries will happen and therefore, acquiring Candelario raises the floor for the Reds.

    This years bullpen is much more talented than last years version. Huge fan of Suter in Cincinnati. I like Pagan and do not know for sure about Martinez. I think the bullpen got better this year because of the acquisition of these three. The bullpen is very deep.

    • Redsvol

      We need another high leverage bullpen arm. And surprisingly, they are still available. I like Suter but I wouldn’t want him closing games for us.

      Nick Krall should be planning for an Alexis Diaz injury. With Phil Maton only getting 6.25$M on a 1 year contract with the Rays, we should be in the market for 1 more high strikeout relief pitcher. That would be the icing on the cake.

    • Optimist

      A quibble here Stock – “Is Montas an upgrade over Williamson or Abbott?”

      As for raising the floor, the better question is whether Montas is an upgrade over Weaver, Lively, and Cessa? – that’s 211 ip of starts last season. Or, raising the floor, is it better this season that Williamson, Abbott or Lodolo begin in MiLB compared to last season? Or, is Martinez a better starter than Richardson, Overton, Kennedy or Spiers – the spot starters they used last season.

      Add in Pagan and Suter, and a full year of Moll, and the acquisitions they’ve made improve the rotation, if Montas is at all healthy, and by shoring up the bullpen they even avoid letting starters simply hang on into bad situations.

      Contra Oldtimer, I believe they add 4-6 wins simply by not having a Weaver (or Minor) trotting out there every 5th start.

      Finally add in any less lost injury time, and any improvement at all from the young pitchers, and they’re vastly better on the mound.

      • Oldtimer

        Was Minor on 2023 team? I thought 2022.

        Reds won 12 of Weaver’s 21 starts. To remain equal, the Reds need to win 57% of his replacement’s starts. Weaver gave up 4 runs or fewer in 16 of his 21 starts (averaging close to 5 IP per start). That is a so-so ERA but 4 runs halfway through the games allows the Reds offense to caych up and pass the opponent.

      • Stock

        I think that is exactly my point Optimist. When you look at the SP Montas replaces it doesn’t really raise the floor. However, when you look at the big picture the floor is raised. Prior to Free Agency the Rotation was probably Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Abbott and Williamson. Phillips and Richardson were options 6 and 7. Now Phillips is option 8.

        The floor was raised not because Montas is an upgrade over Abbott or Williamson. It is raised because Phillips went from option 6 to option 8. Maybe 9 if Suter starts.

      • Optimist

        Hello Oldtimer – IIRC Weaver had some combination of stats that was the worst of any starter in the modern era. Your clinging to the win % is impressive, but nonsensical. Correlation does not imply causation. Even with slightly better performance it’s still pretty clearly league worst. He had a bad season. It happens.

        I put Minor in parens since he was the 2022 version of Weaver. The point is they have neither this season – that may be the biggest factor in raising the floor, and substantially so.

        I think Stock and I agree that the other substantial factors are that adding Montas also pushes everyone else one spot further down the rotation. Add to that full seasons from everyone, and statistically likely fewer injuries, and they can even weather some underperformances.

        The upsides are upsides for everyone, and if Montas is anywhere close to his better past performance that, too, is a big floor raising. Either way, his addition helps, as well as the subtraction of all the poor performances.

        Of course the most hilarious outcome is if the Yanks unlock Weaver’s obvious stuff and he goes on to post a losing record with excellent stats, largely due to poor offensive support.

      • Oldtimer

        Here is the one and only stat that matters. The Reds WON 12 of the 2 games he started. That’s 57%. All the other starters COMBINED started 141 games. The Reds won 70 of those. That’s 49%.

        He gave up 4 or fewer runs in 16 of his 21 starts. That gave the Reds the chance to win most of those games, and they did. 57% of them.

        Fourth grade math. The higher % is better. This ain’t hard to grasp.

      • BK

        @Oldtimer, to argue that one doesn’t need to understand HOW they accomplished a feat is total nonsense.

        If one’s plant meets its production quota (note: production = win) but burns out multiple pieces of equipment to meet quota, one has not been successful. One should expect to lose their job … like Weaver did.

        Are you arguing that if your child forgot to do his or her homework but that the teacher neglected to collect it and chose to give every child full credit, you would encourage your child to stop doing their homework? After all, the final grade is all that matters, and learning is secondary to your logic.

        It is ridiculous to argue that context doesn’t matter. The cost of accomplishing a task is certainly as relevant as the outcome.

        Moreover, Weaver’s record with the Reds was two wins and four losses. The TEAM won twelve of his starts; Weaver was an underperforming part of the team by any measure as his record, by your logic, indicates.

      • Optimist

        Take a look at Weaver’s game logs for his 21 starts. In 5 games he gave up 2 or fewer earned runs, and the Reds were 1-4 (20% winning percentage) in those games. Clearly, he needed to give up even more runs. Have I got that right?

      • Oldtimer

        The Reds have to win 57% of games started by Weaver’s replacement break even. His replacement has to give up 4 runs or fewer in about 80% of his starts.

        Fourth grade math. It ain’t hard.

      • Redgoggles

        I couldn’t believe “the 4 runs or less in 16 out of 21 starts” line, so I brushed up on my 4th grade math and discovered this to be true. In those 16 of his “best” starts he ended up giving up 46 ER in 75.2 IP, for a crisp 5.51 ERA. That was Weaver at his BEST in 2023.

        Ironically, in his 5 WORST starts, the team had a 5-0 record. They missed a clear and simple solution. Retain Luke Weaver and start him more often! No offense OT, but it’s not a hill to die on.

        If the team doesn’t perform as well in starts replacing LW in 2024, it will be due to the offense and/or bullpen not bailing him out. Not because he wasn’t that bad. He was so bad they literally cut him when they were deperate and had no other options.

    • Oldtimer

      If healthy, Montas has Ace potential. Abbott and Williamson are both good but not Aces.

      Yes, 2023 Candelario is an upgrade over 2023 India. But not 2021 Candelario over 2021 India. It depends.

      Bullpen is deeper. Most of the Reds bullpen had OPS+ numbers well above 100, hence above average.

      • Optimist

        Agree with this on the offense, and would add that the combination of Candelario and Harrison make India much more tradable. Don’t want it to happen, but they cover all the defense, and some of his offense, and the spot in the lineup.

      • Justin T

        The Luke Weaver argument you cling to is basically what alot of Reds fans are becoming, cherry picking stat heads. We watched him pitch so how that projects moving forward is between him and his new team thank goodness. A town can only have so many losing seasons before the smarter fans start to find other things to do.

    • Grand Salami

      Plus a full year of Moll who was one of the few bright spots as everything began to slide.

    • Shannon

      Here is the thing…does candelario raise the floor or ceiling from Marte? Because that is who he takes at bats away from if everyone is healthy out of spring training. I read on a different site last week that Marte is going to start the season in Louisville. If he spends half the season in Louisville then I will be upset that we didn’t trade him at the deadline last year for starting pitching help which would have put us in the post season.

  23. BK

    The problem with the projection systems is the “confidence” with any individual player is low. In other words, they have very large margins of error for individual players. When players are younger and don’t have much MLB time, the margins of error are even higher. When all of those margins of error are amalgamated into a team projection, it delivers predictions close to the average–notice there is less than two games difference between 2nd place and 4th place in the Central Division. In statistics, low confidence levels tend to overestimate regression (increase or decrease) toward the mean (81 games in MLB).

    Notice that Baltimore is expected to lose 15 more games this year than last season–another very young team where the projection sees a ton of regression toward an average team. What happened to Baltimore’s team that should cause such a large drop in expected production?

    Similarly, the veteran-laden St. Louis Cardinals that finished in last place last season is projected to improve by 14 games–the projection expects the veterans to regress (in this case, improve) back toward their career norms. What moves have the Cardinals made to warrant a 14-game improvement?

    In short, these are great for conversation and perhaps informative for drafting players in fantasy leagues.

    • David

      Nolan Arenado might have tipped over, based on his age. He is 33 going on 34. He may not have any “great” years left in him, and he has had some great years. And really, he did not have an awful year last year.
      Same with Paul Goldschmidt. He did not have an awful year last year. Where is the big offensive improvement coming from (he is 36, even more a candidate to tip over)? Lars Nootbar? Nolan Gorman?
      Sonny Gray is a great guy, but he is also 34 years old. He may have a couple really good seasons left in him, but the Cardinals really are rolling the dice with him.
      And that’s where the Cardinals were really hurting in 2023, in their pitching.

      The Reds Pythagorean says they should have lost more games last year, but again, the point was made (CFD3000) that the team that played middle to the end of the season was NOT the team that started the season.
      The Reds have a bunch of high – ceiling guys, but the question is ….will that stuff show up in 2024?
      Stay tuned, Spring Training is almost here.

    • DataDumpster

      @BK. That was my first notice also by way of PECOTA. Seems like the “model” overemphasizes the so-called sophomore slump…and then rewards the Cardinals because of their mid 30s guys??? These projections make about as much sense as the appropriation of one of the most famous mathematical formulae (a^2 + b^2 = c^2) to the game of baseball. However, this post has brought out quite a surplus of sublime comments and observations. Excellent discussions.

  24. Stock

    I don’t buy any projection for less than 85 wins.

    Lodolo and Greene have some of the best stuff in the majors. If they can stay on the field that is a great 1-2 punch. Ashcraft is bound to avoid the ten game stretch he had last year.

    I can’t help but think Montas and Williamson/Abbott will be better than Weaver and Parra.

    Pitching will be at least 30 runs better this year

    Offensively, I would rather have 6 months of McLain over 3 months of McLain. I would rather have 6 months of Friedl over 5 months of Friedl and one month of Barrero. I would rather have 6 months of Benson over 4 months of Benson and 2 months of Myers. I would rather have 6 months of the 2024 version of EDLC over 4 months of the 2023 version of EDLC and 2 months of Newman. I would rather have 6 months of CES/Candelario/Steer at 1B vs. some who played 1B in 2023 (Votto/Myers/Vosler). You will not be able to convince me that the 2024 offense will not be much better than the 2023 offense. And this says nothing about Marte, whom I think underperformed in 2023.

    The offense will be at least 20 runs better this year.

    • Oldtimer

      We often have different views but not here. 85 W (or more) if all stay healthy. Lineup goes 10 to 12 deep. Bullpen is strong and deep (like last year). But SP must improve. Greene needs to get closer to his potential. Lodolo also. Montas needs to become an Ace again.

      The best Reds teams of my lifetime (1961, 1962, 1964, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1990 and others) had strong SP rotation backed up by strong and deep bullpen.

      • Shannon

        Yes around 85. If montas or anybody can be an ace type we can get to 88 and if 2 can be we can get to 92 but don’t count on it because montas has not pitched in a year and half and the others have never been close to an ace in 2 years now.

        If you go back to the 1960’d you are older than me. I was a kid just watching baseball during the machine days of 1975 & 1976. Born in 1968. As a kid then I thought one of the best lineups in history but as an adult look back at the pitching and that is really what made those teams so good. Had they had any health at all Gary Nolan and Don gullet were as good as Tom Seaver & Nolan Ryan when healthy. Pitchers like billingham & Zachary were the back of our rotation and as good as most teams front end. The big red machine teams pitching never did get enough credit. Probably would not have won back to back World Series without them.

  25. Eddiek957

    I wonder what record they predicted for Baltimore last season

  26. Eddiek957

    Thanks BK. I was reading the MLB Trade Rumors chat transcript. There was a poll on who will win the NL Central. The Reds edged out the Cubs. Over 1,000 votes were cast. As I have posted before predicting baseball is a fool’s errand

    • BK

      It’s certainly the most unpredictable of the major sports in the US. That’s also part of its charm. Just think, if there was better parity, how crazy it would be. For example, in college baseball, the 2021 and 2022 NCAA Division 1 National Champions (Mississippi State and Ole Miss) finished in the bottom two in their conference the following year and missed their conference tournaments. Nobody would have predicted that outcome, but that’s baseball w/parity.

  27. LeRoy

    I don’t know how good the Reds will be next year. But this year they have at least 8 starting pitchers who can compete in any game. They have more talented infielders than they have positions with a chance several of them being special. They have at least 4 solid outfielders and some outstanding prospects looking for a chance to play major league baseball this summer. The Reds should also have a much better bullpen this year with a lot better depth in the minors. The Reds depth in all areas this year is much better than last year and the young players will get to play a whole season at the major league level instead of just a few months. When someone is injuried there will be replacements waiting for their turn to play.
    I think the main key to winning this year is if the energy and hustle and the excitement of the way they think and play continues this year. I think this will continue because the whole team has good chemistry plus they have a coach they will play hard for and he will see that they all are important keys to helping Cincinnati be a winner in 2024. This should be an even more exciting and fun team to watch this year.

  28. LeRoy

    I don’t know how good the Reds will be next year. But this year they have at least 8 starting pitchers who can compete in any game. They have more talented infielders than they have positions with a chance several of them being special. They have at least 4 solid outfielders and some outstanding prospects looking for a chance to play major league baseball this summer. The Reds should also have a much better bullpen this year with a lot better depth in the minors. The Reds depth in all areas this year is much better than last year and the young players will get to play a whole season at the major league level instead of just a few months. When someone is injured there will be replacements waiting for their turn to play.
    I think the main key to winning this year is if the energy and hustle and the excitement of the way they think and play continues this year. I think this will continue because the whole team has good chemistry plus they have a Manager they will play hard for and he will see that they all are important keys to helping Cincinnati be a winner in 2024. This should be an even more exciting and fun team to watch this year.

  29. Indy Red Man

    So McClain won’t hit .250. Riiiiight. Who sang Too Much Time On My Hands? I crunch numbers daily too, but you can’t pick and choose what numbers you enter to begin with. Complete waste of time and energy

  30. Old-school

    Projecting the Reds is laughable

    Its not like the braves or dodgers or phillies with known commodities

    Its 2nd year players and first year players and under 26 guys. There isnt a projection system for that.

    Reds will succeed or fail based on growth of Greene Lodolo Abbott Ashcraft Diaz McLain Elly Marte CES and progress of india stephenson steer bullpen and new guys.

    Sign me up and see how it goes

    • Jim Walker

      Agree. And I also agree with LDS in the thread above that the Reds have reinforced the floor (which by the way would have gotten them to the playoffs last year) but have not overtly raised the ceiling. As you said OS, it is largely on the kids to raise the roof. Hopefully, they do.

  31. Kevin Patrick

    Here’s the thing about this projection that many of us may be forgetting. Looking at the schedule, I believe the Reds’ most difficult stretches are in the first half of the season. The Reds will not be in a position as say the Padres were last year where if they start poorly, that they will weather the current roster the rest of the year without trading what looks to be strong bullpen arms. If the Reds stay close to .500 by the break, I think our hopes of an 85-90 win season are reasonable. If they are 6 games under, there isn’t enough to believe that they wouldn’t unload easy contracts. Without a strong bullpen, the Reds will be very vulnerable. I think Diaz probably won’t replicate his great season last year. Yet, I find it completely plausible that the Reds could have a big surprise in…Barrero… I think Harrison takes his opt out in the spring. Barrero will make it hard to justify not playing him over somebody we currently hope to see do better. Would anyone really be surprised if he hit about 7 or 8 spring homers? I mentioned in this forum that I wished that the Reds flipped India for a near sure thing catching prospect. Barrero would look great…perhaps better than India…in a swing role. This General Manager is building for a future beyond 2024. They will quit on 2024 if they have a rough first half…which is certainly possible.

  32. Oldtimer

    (Clipped from MLB.com article)

    5. Young Reds will experience more growing pains

    What PECOTA says: Reds finish with 78 wins, in fourth place in the NL Central and five games out of the postseason

    Why it’s notable: No National League team took a bigger leap forward last year than the Reds. Their 82 wins were a 20-game improvement from 2022. Only the World Series-winning Rangers had a better year-to-year jump. Cincinnati was atop its division into August and fell just two games shy of a Wild Card spot. With all of its tantalizing young talent — Hunter Greene, Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Andrew Abbott, Noelvi Marte, Christian Encarnacion-Strand and more on the way this year — there is a sense that this club is only scratching the surface. Plus, the Reds have invested more than $100 million in veterans this offseason to boost their offense (Jeimer Candelario), starting rotation (Frankie Montas, Nick Martinez) and bullpen (Emilio Pagán, Brent Suter).

    However, PECOTA sees all of this resulting in a step back, giving the Reds a 78-84 record. That leaves them eight games behind the aforementioned Cardinals and five games out of the Wild Card hunt. There is not a clear front-runner in the NL Central, and there is a realistic scenario where all of this goes wrong. Maybe the electric De La Cruz doesn’t cut down his 33.7% strikeout rate. Perhaps Montas doesn’t regain his previous form as a frontline starter after losing nearly a full year because of right shoulder ailments. And many of the players Cincinnati is depending on this year have experienced fewer than 100 games at the big league level. That makes the Reds’ range of outcomes admittedly wide, but these projections are too heavily discounting their immense upside.

    — Brian Murphy

    Spring daydreaming: Reds

  33. Scott

    I thought the Reds were going to spend some money and pick up a star player like Cody Bellinger..Or a stud pitcher.. Same old owners won’t reach in there pockets.. especially the money they’re saving with Joey votto

  34. Marto'sReds

    The Reds won a lot of come-from-behind games last year. Probably won’t happen this year.

    But I expect our starting pitching to be better. A lot better.

    Still unclear about our offense.

  35. Indy Red Man

    Four predictions:

    1. CES does 30/100
    2. Candy hits .260ish with 60+ extra base hits. This will be the first hitters park in his career. Even Wrigley’s only a launching pad 2 months+ a season.
    3. Nick Martinez with a solid 3.70ish era over 110-120 ip. If he’s not starting then just getting 6-9 outs helps save the pen.
    Critics say Bell burned out the pen, but never gave any alternatives? Starters out in the 4th-5th semi-regularly then guys will get burned out. That’s reality
    4. Lowder cruises through AA and he’s ready by July. Reds won’t be ready, but Lowder will be. Far far more ability then Leake ever had

    • Oldtimer

      Lowder is already behind O’Toole, Maloney, Nolan, and Gullett.

      O’Toole signed in 1958. AA that year and Reds in 1959.

      Maloney signed in 1959. Reds in 1960.

      Nolan drafted in 1966. A that year and Reds in 1967.

      Gullett drafted in 1969. A that year and Reds in 1970.

      • Optimist

        Alas, Oldtimer, a completely different era, completely different conditions. If only it were not so.

    • Old-school

      Agree indy

      CES has power. Guy doesnt hit fence scrapers. He hits bombs. Put him at 1b/DH 145 x a year in the 5 hole. Your guy Adam Duvall comfortably cleared the fence as well as an extra base hitting machine

  36. Stan

    The key to this season is getting off to a good start and not being under .500 by the end of April which rarely seems to happen in the last decade

  37. The Duke

    And what did they project for us last year?

  38. Mike

    GREAT discussion and info! I’ve been watching them play for 60 years, been to several World Series, invited Bench to our wedding, have a 6’ Mr. Red in our foyer and store the 1919 replica uniform Votto wore in my office. My son and grandson are now 3rd and 4th generation Red’s fans. My gut tells me our team wins 90 and our division — and that’s what I’ll continue to believe until it’s mathematically impossible. Except for not being a Bell fan, we are sooo excited for this team to start playing real games in 7 weeks. If we didn’t live 2,400 miles away we’d catch 50 games in person. As it is I watched 155 games last year. Let’s Go Redlegs!……Proud Fan Mike