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Cincinnati Reds

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Projected WARMarket Value

16.2 146


9.3 84


2.8 25


Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market

Projected Team

  • Billy Hamilton, CF
  • Jesse Winker, LF
  • Joey Votto, 1B
  • Eugenio Suarez, 3B
  • Scooter Gennett, 2B
  • Jose Peraza, SS
  • Scott Schebler, RF
  • Tucker Barnhart, C
  • Homer Bailey, RHP
  • Luis Castillo, RHP
  • Sal Romano, RHP
  • Tyler Mahle, RHP
  • Amir Garrett, LHP
  • Bryan Price

Health Check

“It’s taken 136 seasons of professional ball to work their record to 246 games over .500, which becomes a more pertinent reference point when placed side by side with the 96 games under .500 the Reds have been since 2014. The Reds, of late, have done copious amounts of losing, a stretch of cellar-dwelling rivaled only by their putrid run in the early 1930s.

It has been largely calculated and deliberate. In more than one way, it has been been exhausting, the turnstile of players in nonstop rotation. The hope is, however, that the 2018 season becomes the first berm against that flood of losses, and that the young core put together after a years-long teardown will finally start to score more runs than their opponents.

The 2018 Cincinnati Reds have a lot of talent, which is something that merely looking at their previous records and offseason transactions wouldn’t really tell you. There are also precious few position battles going on in camp, something that also doesn’t usually jive with a team that’s been on the losing end of so many games for so long. That, too, is by design, as GM Dick Williams and the front office have been adamant about letting the young players they’ve brought in through their litany of trades take their lumps and mature at the big league level. The hope is that the patience will pay off with incremental improvements year by year.”

—Red Reporter

Key Player

Joey Votto has led all of Major League Baseball in wOBA (.423) since 2015, yet the Cincinnati Reds have been a whopping 86 games under .500 in that time. The man’s a future Hall of Famer and one of the best hitters of his era, but he needs help in the biggest way to get the Reds finally out of the NL Central cellar.

Luis Castillo just might be that help. The 25-year-old bounced from the San Francisco Giants’ system to the Miami Marlins while coming up, and he even was shipped to the San Diego Padres before being returned as part of the Colin Rea injury fallout. He also spent much of his first few MiLB seasons exclusively as a reliever, and has only 460.1 IP of minor league pitching under his belt — none of which has come at AAA, even. That led to him being largely under the radar throughout his development, and despite never once cracking a major Top 100 prospect list, the Reds actively sought him as the centerpiece in return for trading Dan Straily to Miami after the 2016 season. So far, that looks like quite the savvy move.

The righty’s 97.5 average fastball velocity was the second best in all of baseball among pitchers who threw at least 80 IP in 2017, and with a change-up that’s a full 10 mph slower, he’s got a devastating strikeout pitch to match it. That, paired with a career minors walk rate of just 2.4 per 9 IP, gives hope that his breakout rookie season in 2017 is just the beginning, and that the 3.12 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 3.41 xFIP he produced last year is replicable in a larger sample going forward. If so, he is absolutely the keystone around which the Reds will hope to continue building, and he’s worth watching every single time he takes the mound.

—Wick Terrell, Red Reporter

Best Case

The Reds finished in last place in the NL Central in 2017, despite Joey Votto having another MVP-caliber campaign and the lineup, in general, being around league-average. The issue was the pitching. Not a whole lot of progress was made toward changing that outcome this offseason, other than hoping that the slew of pitchers in their 20s can improve on what the likes of Bronson Arroyo and Scott Feldman managed. If Luis Castillo, Robert Stephenson and Co. can do just that, though, then 2018 would have seen some success for the rebuilding Reds.

Worst Case

Another year where the negatives outweigh the positives, where Billy Hamilton just can’t get his offensive game together, and where that doesn’t actually matter because none of the Reds pitchers can stymie the opposition enough for what Hamilton does or doesn’t do to be the reason why games turned out the way they did.