30/30 BRKDWN – Cincinnati Reds

Scott Hoyt
MLB Analyst

The 2021 MLB season will be here before we know it. Pitchers and catchers reported on time, Spring Training is underway and we might have a full 162 game season with fans — hopefully. Between now and Opening Day, we plan to BRKDWN each team’s offseason reviews and what to look forward to this upcoming season. Next, the Cincinnati Reds.


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Key Additions

RHP Carson Fulmer (Waivers)

OF Tyler Naquin (Free Agent)

LHP Sean Doolittle (Free Agent)

Key Losses

RHP Trevor Bauer (Free Agent)

RHP Raisel Iglesias (Trade)

SS Freddy Galvis (Free Agent)

2020 Look Back

31-29 (.585) W% Finished 2nd in NL Central and got swept by the Braves in NL Wildcard Series

Runs: Nick Castellanos (37)

Home Runs: Eugenio Suarez (15)

Avg. Joey Votto (.226)

Slg. Jesse Winker (.544)

ERA: Trevor Bauer (1.73)

K’s: Trevor Bauer (100)

WHIP: Trevor Bauer (.79)

Opp. Avg. Lucas Sims(.146)

Projected 2021 Season

The Reds got a little taste of the postseason last year and will look to take a bigger bite in 2021. Losing the NL Cy Young award winner will make that job a lot more difficult, but it’s not out of the question. This team is flying under the radar due to the fact that they practically did nothing but lose significant players in the offseason. Losing your Cy Young pitcher, Closer, and starting shortstop is not a recipe for success, but the Reds believe they have the pipeline to fill those gaps. This team still has Sonny Gray, who is getting better every season since leaving New York. He will need to continue to elevate his game if this team is going to take the next step. The next guy who needs to take the next step is Luis Castillo. His stuff is electric but he lacks consistency from start to start. This team is now in a position that needs him to win close to 20 games if they want to make it back to the playoffs. The loss of their closer Raisel Iglesias hurts, but I think they have a few pieces that can step up and fill that role. They now have some prospects like Nick Senzel and Jonathan India who are going to be relied upon at the major league level and their success will have a major impact on what kind of season they have. All in all, I believe this roster is still built to contend this year and will make another sneaky run to the playoffs.

They are at +3500 to win the World Series, +2000 to win the N.L. Pennant, +350 to win the NL Central, and O/U 83.5 regular season wins

*odds via Draftkings

Projected Lineup

OF – Shogo Akiyama

OF – Nick Sentzel

3B – Mike Moustakas

OF – Nick Castellanos

SS – Eugenio Suarez

DH – Jesse Winker

1B – Joey Votto

2B – Jonathan India

C – Tucker Barnhart

Projected Rotation

  1. Sonny Gray
  2. Luis Castillo
  3. Tyler Mahle
  4. Wade Miley
  5. Jeff Hoffman

Offense

390 Runs (30th Last), 90 Home Runs (7th), .212 Team Avg. (30th Last), .403 SLG (18th)

This team put up some pretty bad offensive numbers in 2020 as you can see above. Despite that fact, they managed to make the playoffs. They didn’t really lose much from last year on the offensive side of things, so I don’t think their stats will be much different. Joey Votto is a veteran presence in this lineup, but is a shell of what he used to be with the bat in his hands. This team should mash a bunch of home runs like they did last year, as they play in one of the more hitter-friendly parks. I do like how this lineup is built as it is not solely reliant upon hitting the long ball. They have guys that can get on base and have quality at bats throughout the lineup. If Jesse Winker can take the next step in his development, this team could be a sneaky threat in a weak NL Central. He has been really hit or miss over the past few years so developing consistency will be huge for him. Jonathan India is an under the radar prospect who looks to take advantage of an opening in the infield. Depending on how he handles the bat will determine how long he holds onto that spot. I expect this line up to be better and put up a decent amount of runs.

Pitching

3.84 Team ERA (7th), 615 K’s (2nd), 1.22 Team WHIP (5th), .215 Opp. Avg (2nd)

It’s evident that this pitching staff carried this team to the playoffs. If it wasn’t for the dominant Dodgers pitching staff, this unit would’ve led the league in a lot of categories. Taking Trevor Bauer’s insane Cy Young year out of the equation definitely shakes things up, but they still have pieces there. Sonny Gray seems to be shaping into an elite pitcher, but is now being relied upon to stay healthy for a full 162. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of Rasiel Iglesias, so I don’t think losing him is as big of a deal as people are making it out to be. I think Amir Garrett has the stuff to step up and step into that closer role. I also like a few of their other bullpen pieces that they can use to match up with other lineups late in the game. While I don’t think this pitching staff will put up the same numbers over a longer season, I think this unit will be a strong point for this team. They are also in a weak division, so they should have their chances against lesser opponents. Look for veterans like Wade Miley to have an impact on their up and coming young guns. I would feel good if I was a Reds fan about where this pitching staff is at even with the departure of Bauer.

Top 10 Prospects (via MLB.com)

  1. Nick Lodolo LHP ETA 2021
  2. Hunter Greene RHP 2022
  3. Austin Hendrick OF ETA 2024
  4. Tyler Stephenson C ETA 2021
  5. Jonathan India INF ETA 2021
  6. Jose Garcia INF ETA 2021
  7. Michael Siani OF ETA 2022
  8. Rece Hinds INF ETA 2023
  9. Lyon Richardson RHP ETA 2022
  10. Tyler Callihan INF ETA 2023

This Reds farm system has some arms that are making their way to the MLB level that I think are going to make a huge impact. Hunter Greene is one of my favorite prospects as he has some of the most electric stuff i’ve seen. They don’t want to rush him and make sure his body can hold up over a long season, so don’t expect to see him anytime soon. Nick Lodolo, on the other hand, should get a shot at the major league level this year and looks to make a splash. Jonathan India is also another prospect that is going to be relied upon this 2021 season. A lot of their top prospects are ready for the major league level, so it will be interesting to see how this organization balances playing the young guys and trying to compete for a playoff spot. Young, controllable starting pitchers are at a premium these days, and if the Reds are sellers at the deadline, they could make some big time moves with the prospects they have. It also would be wise to hold onto the pieces they have as their major league roster is only a few pieces away from being considered a contending roster again. 2021 will be a pivotal year for the Reds farm system.

Moves That Need To Happen During The Year:

1. Trade for a quality middle infielder/SS

The one hole this lineup has is at the middle infielder/SS position. Eugenio Suarez isn’t a long-term, viable option at that position so they will need to add a piece there. Depending on if they promote from within or add a piece from the outside, some move needs to be made here.

2. Move on from Jesse Winker

Winker is a fan favorite in Cincy but I personally think this team should move on from him. They have plenty of outfield depth at the major league level and have help on the way (see Top Ten prospects above). Winker has a good amount of pop, but strikes out a ton and doesn’t have a good OBP%. They could potentially move him for a major league middle infielder, or look to add prospects. But I think it would be a win/win for both parties if they went in different directions.

Final Thoughts

You can make an argument that this team is built to make another sneaky playoff run, and you can also make the argument that this team needs to make some major overhauls. Depending on how this team is doing by the All-Star Break should give people an idea of the trajectory of this organization. A healthy farm system is something that this organization can use to their advantage in the process of bridging the gap. They are counting on a lot of players to take the next step in their development and will be crucial for this team’s success. If the Reds are buyers at the trade deadline, I can see them being right in the mix for a wild card spot. I can also see a few injuries completely derailing this season. It wouldn’t shock me to see this team add some pieces during the season and make another run. The pitching is there, they have a decent lineup, and their front office has shown that they are willing to make a move to better the team now (see Trevor Bauer trade). If they can make another deal like that to get a bonafide ace, I think the Reds will find themselves in a similar situation to 2020 and make an under the radar playoff run.