Cincinnati Reds 2017 Team Preview

2016 Recap: 68-94, Last in the NL Central. The Reds are in the middle of a complete rebuild and last season was not pretty in the Queen City. This offseason saw them finally deal Brandon Phillips as well as cashed in on a career season from Dan Straily by dealing him for some prospects, but the Reds stayed relatively quiet outside of that. The cupboard is not completely bare for Cincy, however as they have several young players on the big league club as well as in the minors to look forward to watching this season.

Offseason Moves:

Significant Additions: RHP Drew Storen, RHP Scott Feldman, OF Desmond Jennings, INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara, OF Ryan Raburn

Significant Subtractions: 2B Brandon Phillips, RHP Dan Straily, OF Tyler Holt, INF Ivan De Jesus

Projected Lineup and Breakdown:

  1. CF Billy Hamilton
  2. 2B Jose Peraza
  3. 1B Joey Votto
  4. LF Adam Duvall
  5. RF Scott Schebler
  6. SS Zack Cozart
  7. 3B Eugenio Suarez
  8. C Devin Mesoraco

This Reds lineup actually has the potential to a pretty fun watch this season as Joey Votto is still one of the best hitters in all of baseball and the duo of Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza will likely be running wild on the bases again this season after combining for 79 steals in 2016. Under the radar players Adam Duvall (33 homers in 2016), Eugenio Suarez (21 homers), and Scott Schebler (9 homers in 282 plate appearances) all have pop in their bats to support Votto while former All Star catcher Devin Mesoraco looks to bounce back after injuries have limited him to just 72 games over the last two seasons. Although there is a path to this being a top half of the league offense, the Reds will likely need top outfield prospect Jesse Winker to come up and make immediate impact for that to happen.

Projected Rotation, Bullpen, and Breakdown:

Rotation –

  • RHP Anthony DeSclafani
  • RHP Scott Feldman
  • LHP Brandon Finnegan
  • RHP Tim Adleman
  • RHP Robert Stephenson

Bullpen –

  • RHP Raisel Iglesias
  • RHP Drew Storen
  • RHP Michael Lorenzen
  • LHP Tony Cingrani
  • RHP Blake Wood

The good news for Reds fans is that most of the pitchers currently on their roster will not be on their roster when they are a competitive team again. The bad news for Reds fans is that this is the pitching staff they will have to suffer through in 2017. Anthony DeSclafani (3.28 ERA in 2016) and Brandon Finnegan (2.93 ERA in the second half of 2016) have the potential to be bright spots this season, but the rest of their future is currently in Triple A with lefty starters Amir Garrett and Cody Reed who made 10 starts for the big club last season. Veteran Scott Feldman was brought into eat innings while their kids are still developing, but don’t kid yourself, these will be some of the ugliest innings anyone will throw in the bigs all season. Former Nats closer Drew Storen was brought in this offseason to help stabilize a young and inexperienced bullpen. I expect Storen to end up closing as young flamethrower Raisel Iglesias appears to be much better suited for a Betances-like multi inning role out of the pen.  

Fantasy Analysis:

Stud: 1B Joey Votto. You just can’t get a much more stable player on your team than Joey Votto. Votto has hit .300 or better in 7 of the last 8 seasons and has led the league in on base percentage in 4 of the last 6 seasons, making him a borderline first round pick in leagues that use OBP. Votto’s RBI numbers have fluctuated over the last few years as the talent around him has slowly eroded, but the elite batting average that Votto brings to the table makes him worth a second round pick in most drafts despite being in a worse than most situation for a top end first basemen.

Sleeper: SP Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan is currently going as the 95th starter off the board in drafts meaning he may not even get drafted in your league. However if you look at what Finnegan did last season, especially in the second half of the season he is well worth a flyer late in drafts as he could end up becoming a key part of your fantasy team’s rotation quickly. Finnegan came on the scene in 2014 after being drafted out of TCU and helping the Royals during the postseason. He quietly struck out over a batter an inning in the second half of 2016, lowered his walk rate from 4.71 per 9 innings to 3.95. Now that rate is still high, but it’s improvements like that in a 23 year old which could signal a break out is on the way. Finnegan will need to keep improving his walk rate to maintain his success, but if that trend continues he will become a must own in all leagues.

Bust: 2B Jose Peraza. Peraza has gone from potential sleeper this offseason to someone who I feel is currently being way over drafted. The hype train is going full speed right now. After Brandon Phillips was traded to Atlanta, it secured a full time position for the soon to be 23 year old speedster. Peraza’s ability to steal bases is not in question, what is in question for me with Peraza is his ability to hit for a high batting average consistently. Peraza walked just 2.7% of the time in 2016 which could spell trouble over the course of a full season. When you consider Peraza was just recently named the starter and his ADP is already as a the 12th second basemen and is just outside the top 100 players at 125, it should tell you his current draft price is way high for someone who has never done it over a full season and provides very little power. Don’t be the one that reaches for Peraza in your league.

2017 Record Prediction: This is not a good baseball team. They are not going win a lot of games this year. They do however have several young players that will be intriguing to watch over the course of the season and even though they are currently behind the Phillies and Brewers in the rebuild process, the Reds still might not be to far off from competing in the NL Central once again. 66-96, Last in the NL Central.

-Randy Haines

Check out our other 2017 team previews here.

Photo Credit: Baseball Essential

Statistics are courtesy of Baseball reference and Fangraphs

Projected rosters are courtesy of rosterresource.com and accurate as of 3/6

Fantasy ADP data courtesy of STATS.com and The NFBC

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