The Cincinnati Reds are coming off of a three game sweep of the hapless Chicago White Sox over the weekend where they outscored them 27-5. That dropped the White Sox to a league worst 2-13 and the Reds moved to 9-6 and remain in a tie for third place in the National League Central – where the division has four of the six teams in the NL with a winning record.

The folks at MLB.com updated their Power Rankings this morning and while Cincinnati should have beaten up on the White Sox and their depleted team, their dominance was rewarded as the Reds moved up in the rankings from where they were a week ago. Today they moved up to the #12 spot and Nick Lodolo got a shout out for his brilliant return to the mound on Saturday.

Fangraphs also updated their MLB Power Rankings today. Cincinnati also moved up on their list, and they moved up five spots. But that 5-spot bump only put them at the #17 spot. Lodolo got another nod here for his performance, and Elly De La Cruz and Spencer Steer also got some recognition for what they’ve been doing so far in 2024.

Late nights out west

The Cincinnati Reds are out west tonight and won’t have their first pitch against the Seattle Mariners until 9:42pn ET. The 42 of the 9:42 is in honor of Jackie Robinson, on Jackie Robinson Day. He made his Major League Baseball debut 77 years ago and changed the game as we know it. The official record today shows a different story because in December of 2020 MLB added the Negro League statistics from seven leagues from 1920-1948 to the official record books as Major Leagues. So when you look at Robinson’s page on Baseball Reference, for example, he’s credited in 1945 with the Kansas City Monarchs as having played in the Major Leagues.

Cincinnati announced the starting pitchers for the series in Seattle and Nick Martinez was nowhere to be found. When Nick Lodolo was set to return, manager David Bell said that the team would be going with a 6-man rotation for the time being and that eventually they’d go to a 5-man rotation but who would be moved out was not yet determined. Martinez was set to pitch on Thursday, but that game was rained out. Rather than start him on Friday, they skipped over him. And now he’s also not listed among the starters in Seattle. While it makes sense that he would be the odd man out of the rotation at this point, that’s not quite official. Fankie Montas, Hunter Greene, and Andrew Abbott will be Cincinnati’s group of starters before the team heads back home for a new series on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels and Mike Trout.

48 Responses

  1. David

    Martinez will remain what he was hired to be, a long reliever. And there is no guarantee that Nick Lodolo will bounce back 100% after his first start this year. Not trying to hex him or criticize, but he does still have a little to prove.
    There is no telling who in the rotation will get clobbered early this week (if anybody), and Nick Martinez is there and ready.
    Maybe 3 weeks from now, TJ Friedl is back.

    • Optimist

      Yep – I commented yesterday that Lodolo and Martinez make up the 5 1/2 man rotation for the next few weeks. If so, it avoids any AAA callups until June. If there is no IL time by then, Williamson should be getting into shape. I suppose we see Spiers again for a 1 game special, but they will be doing much better than last season if they make it into July without SP tryouts.

      • Mauired

        What happens with Gibaut? Do the Reds have to call him up soon due to his rehab assignment ending?

        I don’t know who would go down or released to make room because everyone has been pretty good besides Sims and Diaz and they aren’t going anywhere.

      • Doug Gray

        Gibaut doesn’t have to be activated (or sent back to the injured list) until May 5th. Lots of time to see what happens and make a decision.

  2. Mauired

    Jackie deservedly gets recognized for his contribution of being the 1st black player in the modern era. But I think he doesn’t get enough credit for how good he was on the field. He was arguably the best player in the NL during his career.

    • Doug Gray

      He averaged like 6 WAR per season for his career, which for the most part took place after his 20’s. Very Ichiro-like in just how good and productive he was when he was likely just past his prime at the start of his career.

      • Mauired

        Some people might be surprised that he was a great college QB too. Looking at old videos from almost a century ago, he looked like Lamar Jackson on the gridiron. Special athlete.

      • Oldtimer

        Jackie Robinson starred in Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Track & Field at UCLA. Baseball was probably his worst sport of those four.

        Arguably the best athlete in UCLA history. And THAT’s saying something.

    • Daytonnati

      I happened to be at Game 2 of the 1972 World Series where Jackie made his last public appearance throwing out the first pitch.

      • David

        And Joe Morgan made a point of going over to Jackie’s box seat at field level and shaking his hand. I wasn’t there, but did watch it on TV.

        I always wondered what Joe said to Jackie Robinson?

    • greenmtred

      There’s a photo of him successfully completing a straight steal of home. Probably my favorite baseball picture.

  3. Rednat

    I’m happy so far with the new “Ray’s Way” era after 15 games.
    Someone on this site described the reds as “cheesy entertainment “. I honestly would take that over the brutal Griffey and Votto eras. But I actually think we are close to being a good team.

    We have a lot of enigmas on this team. CES,ELDC, India,Stephenson,Mclain, Friedl. Can they hit , can they stay healthy? Only time will tell.
    The strength of the team seems to be the starting pitching. We can safely assume that in the vast majority of games this year we will either be tied ,ahead or within striking distance of the opponent going in to the later innings. And as a fan that is all you can ask for.
    The baserunning has improved from last year. Defense at time is spectacular, at times… not so much. The bullpen .. solid so far.

    This has the best I have felt as a reds fan in quite some time

  4. The Duke

    My prudent side says that Steer is just having a hot start and his numbers are coming back down to earth shotrly, but……

    Part of me wants to say lock him up for the next 6-9 years at solid prices that will be deals by the time he is making big money. One of the hottest bats in baseball to open the season.

    • Mauired

      His first game in the cleanup spot didn’t go well. A couple weak groundouts and a k on a slider in the dirt. He did have a couple walks. Just one game but I hope he doesn’t put too much pressure on himself.

      • Indy Red Man

        I think he hit cleanup all weekend. 1-3 run, 1-3 w 3 rbis

    • MK

      2 or 3 analytically proves to be the most important batting lineup positions. 4th is pretty old school.

  5. The Duke

    Playing the White Sox will tend to cure what ails you.

    • David

      Yeah, sadly, they are a pretty lousy team this year. Does not speak much for “parity” in baseball. I have no idea what their farm system is like, but the team they put on the field (White Sox) this weekend was pretty lousy by ML standards.

      • Mauired

        Outside of Noah Shultz and Colson Montgomery, Sox don’t have a top 100 prospect. So they don’t have much on the way. Shultz is a 20 year Lodolo like tall lefty in a ball. Montgomery is a Corey Seager clone from Indiana currently in AAA that will probably be on the team pretty soon though.

        *Reds took McLain 5 spots ahead of Montgomery in 21 draft. I’m a huge fan of McLain but Montgomery has big time potential.

    • SultanofSwaff

      I was at 2 of the games this weekend. The White Sox are a AAA team at best…..really really bad. Reminded me of the 2015-18 Reds. The south siders are in the middle of their 3 year, 66 win stretch imo.

    • DW

      To be fair, they are down arguably four of their top five or so players in Robert, Jimenez, Moancada, and Clevinger.

  6. DaveCT

    Hitting the road down to Seattle and T Mobile Park for today’s game. It’s a journey, that’s for sure. Ferry (one hour) I-5 (two hours), into the city and parking (up to one hour).

    Excited to see EDLC and Julio, as two very young stars, not to mention the rest of both teams. Could be a lot of K’s facing George Kirby, who is very good. I’m half expecting a fair number of long fly ball outs. It’s a beautiful, beautiful park, but also quite big. Great seats, five rows up behind the home dugout, at a very fair price, 66.00 each.

    I’ll attempt some video though my phone is certifiable at times. As is its owner, of course. Aren’t we all?

    • Optimist

      Park at Northgate and take the link – not worth fighting traffic all the way in.

  7. MBS

    (Martinez) “And now he’s also not listed among the starters in Seattle”.

    I wouldn’t read too much into that yet. If they do plan on keeping Martinez in the rotation (for the time being) they could just be doing a bit of a rotation shuffle.

    If he was still listed as the 3rd starter, we’d have Abbott, and Lodolo butted up against each other in the 4th, and 5th spot. They could just be looking to separate the LHP’s.

    In reality I don’t want Martinez as a starter, but the 6 man would reduce the workload on Lodolo, Montas, and Greene over the course of a full season. I’m still hoping we get Williamson back soon, but I haven’t heard any updates about him for a while.

  8. SultanofSwaff

    12 feels about right, but this is easily a top 10 team with McLain and Friedl. What I like is that there are legitimate options for every matchup on both sides of the ball (save for Espinal and Bubba for now). That depth and versatility will keep the team fresh over 6 months. And yeah, all teams are gonna lose 5 or 6 in a row, but the Reds are gonna incrementally win a majority of those in-game battles which compounds over time. I’d like to see them defend better, but nothing I’ve seen so far has dissuaded me from thinking this is a playoff team.

  9. old-school

    MLB network had their 50 top plays of the week countdown before the Reds played Yesterday and Saturdays games werent included Reds had 4 of the top 15 plays with Elly ITPHR 15, Fairchild leaping catch 9 or so, CES diving catch over the dugout tarp top 7 and Fraley catch against the fence friday top 10 too.

    That didnt include the great catches by Steer, bubba, and Fairchild on Saturday.

    Overall, young entertaining team to watch. Gotta clean up the K’s and fix the infield defense. Great article from C trent basically saying the Reds outfield defense on flyballs is great and leads MLB on converting fly balls to outs percentage wise and Reds infield defense worst in MLB on conversion of ground balls to outs. I think most would agree OF defense good, infield defense not. He gets into OAA but Fairchild and benson have been 2 OAA and Fraley 1 with Elly at -3 and India and Espinal -1. All with sample size warnings.

    There’s 3 areas Reds need to clean up to be a good team
    1.) infield defense
    2.) K happy offense
    3.) poor RH lineups against lefties

    Maybe thats all a function of not having Friedl and McLain and Marte, but needs to improve regardless.

    • mac624

      #1 and #3 are greatly affected by the absence of those 3 and it’s hard to fully judge if moves need to be made on top of those 3 returning. #2 fits all and it doesn’t matter who is playing. There’s likely some pressing going on with the 3 players mentioned out the lineup, so hopefully they settle down some. I like aggression, but getting the K rate down needs to be the primary focus for the rest of the season and beyond.

  10. RedsGettingBetter

    It’s impressive that Reds hater Fangraph recognizing some good about the team. It’s interesting to see the Reds at the middle of the Power Rankings, hopefully the will climb other positions this week…
    Jackie Robinson deserves all the tributes MLB may honor in his name…

  11. Roger Garrett

    Hats off to Krall for stocking the Reds with young players.No doubt we are much better with Friedl,Little Mac and Marte but the depth the Reds now have still enables Bell to put a Major League team on the field that is young and exciting.The moves they made in the off season helped.Was hoping they could acquire a young outfielder with some pop but well they don’t grow on trees and well you have to give something to get something.Never have enough pitching and its better to discuss who is the odd man out vs where do we get another starter.Long season and injuries will happen so we will just ride it out and see what happens.Good thing is young players can improve with work in all aspects.Not as good as several teams and may not be any better then last in the Central but the upside is there

    • CFD3000

      Roger, I don’t want to be too hard on you but “may not be better than last in the Central”? As a literal minded engineer yes, that’s a possible outcome. But it’s as small a likelihood as we’ve seen in many years. Choose a little optimism! How about “might not quite be a playoff team this year”? At the very least put me in the “I’ll take that bet” column on their last place chances. Go Reds!

  12. Klugo

    What should happen when you play the ChiSox this year. Cant wait to get Freidl back!

  13. JA

    Next three series are tough enough to calibrate Reds performance:
    Mariners (v)
    Angels (h)
    Phillies (h)

  14. Mauired

    It will still only be 15% of the season by the end of Phillies series. So far the pitching has been very good for the most part and the offense has been predictably inconsistent because it is injured and shorthanded.

  15. Nick in NKY

    Reds outfield defense has been an enormous pleasant surprise. Without Friedl, and with Steer being new, I didn’t give them much consideration, but at least a couple data tracking outfits have them among the best in baseball. Great for flyball pitchers.

    Infield though, has been among the worst. Not so great for groundball pitching which has been prioritized. I will reiterate my belief that the next Reds dynasty will have EDLC and Friedl in center and right (either or), Arroyo at short, and MM at 2nd. But that’s next year at the earliest, maybe not till ’26.

    Regardless, the power rankings are nice sign of gathering respect among media types. Hopefully the team shows out.

    • MBS

      The whole future of the defense comes down to 2 things for me. Is McLain healthy, and will they move EDLC off of SS when he is. There’s a lot of different ways the Reds could go if both answers were yes. Unfortunately McLain isn’t back until Aug at the earliest, and probably not until next season.

      EDLC 3B? He’s proven he’s very good there, I’d say GG potential. CF? He hasn’t proved he can read a fly ball right at him, but he’s show he can track balls over his head.

      Maybe EDLC can become a good SS, but I don’t think he’ll ever be as good as McLain already is, much less as good as Arroyo.

      • Nick in NKY

        Elly definitely looked solid at 3rd last year. The arm plays up there just as much as at short too. It’s always a shame when a guy gets hurt, but the ‘beneath the surface’ gut punch for me this year was Arroyo going down for the season. I think he might have really made some noise in AAA.

        I’ve always thought that based on build EDLC was destined for the OF. The height and the straight line speed seem like they really shine tracking fly balls more than stooping to pick bouncers off the dirt. Course, build ain’t everything, and I’d know. Time will tell I suppose, but I just can’t see him sticking at SS if Arroyo’s bat reaches major league levels of competency. And that of course, all goes without mentioning McLain.

  16. Mauired

    Defense gets a lot of flack. But looking position by position there’s not much to change. Outfield has been very good. Steer is the weak link but getting better day by day. Catchers are both average but not bad. CES and Candy have looked very good. Elly has been looking better. That just leaves India who has been bad at 2nd for a long time. I think he should be an OF/DH but that would probably require Steer coming back to infield and Reds probably want him to stay in left. But one terrible defensive player in 8 spots is not bad.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Terrible? Come on. For a long time? he was a rookie 3 years ago. He may not win a gold glove but he’s not terrible. Geez

  17. Optimist

    Park at Northgate and take the link – not worth fighting traffic all the way in.

      • Robin

        In the MLB rulebook it states that the first hit has to be a clean hit, in other words not touched by a glove or bobbled. It looked like it wasn’t a clean hit to me. Therefore he had a no-hitter going.

  18. Mauired

    3 years is a long time in baseball. He’s the worst 2nd baseman I’ve seen watching the Reds. I haven’t seen him make a highlight play outside the occasional flyball outside of the infield. And I’ve seen him boot a ton of balls and show statue range for a middle infielder. Maybe your definition of terrible is different than mine. But I think 3 years is enough to master a position and India is not a master at second.

  19. RedlegScott

    Every team’s power ranking goes up after playing the White Sox, Doug. lol

    • CFD3000

      Funniest and best comment on this thread!

  20. Jim

    If the Reds can avoid auditioning AAA free agent starting pitchers until September this year, they will be over a 500 team.

  21. Jim Walker

    This ump has been consistent that he likes that borderline low outside pitch to LH batters.

  22. Tim Johnson

    Didn’t seem to hit in Seattle . Hitting and 2 of 3 good pitchers were wasted by year thuough horrieindius offense