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March 4, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart (2) hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks during a spring training game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

My 2013 Cincinnati Reds Stat Predictions: The Starting Lineup.

Jun 27, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) hits a double during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park.  Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Every year before the season starts, I try to devise a stat prediction sheet for the Reds’ upcoming year. These stat predictions are mainly informal and just for fun, but they do usually seem to be at least somewhat accurate. This year, I wanted to do it a bit more formally- I’m going to use projections made by professional sources in order to help create mine. Now, this isn’t to say that I’m going to  just look at those projections, take an average, and call it an article. I’m going to use those projections, in conjunction with other information including past stats (both standard and advanced), age, environment, and, of course, my gut feeling. I’ll also be doing some research to see if I really can rely on projections (I’ll tell you now, I don’t agree with most of the projections on Aroldis Chapman, for one.) I will be taking my protections from a wide array of sources- Bill James, CAIRO, ZiPS, Steamer, Davenport, and ESPN will all be factored in.  I’ll start with the starting lineup.

My Starting Lineup Predictions:

Player AVG. OBP. SLG. OPS. HR. RBI SB
1. Shin-Soo Choo 0.285 0.380 0.450 0.830 19 65 20
2. Brandon Phillips 0.275 0.325 0.420 0.745 13 75 12
3. Joey Votto 0.315 0.430 0.560 0.980 30 100 5
4. Ryan Ludwick 0.240 0.315 0.430 0.745 19 70 0
5. Jay Bruce 0.250 0.335 0.505 0.838 35 100 6
6. Todd Frazier 0.245 0.305 0.445 0.750 19 69 8
7. Zack Cozart 0.280 0.340 0.435 0.775 19 60 10
8. Ryan Hanigan 0.285 0.360 0.380 0.740 4 35 0
TOTAL 0.271 0.348 0.453 0.801 158 574 61

Where I disagree with the projections most:

1. Joey Votto

The average of the projections that I’m using have Votto slated as a .308/.423/.544 hitter, with 27 home runs and 93 RBI. I’m a bit more optimistic on Votto than that. Even when you consider his abnormally high BABIP, he still hit .337 last year. While I don’t think he’ll hit that high again, due to BABIP regression and such, I do think he’s better than a .308 hitter. I’m also a bit more optimistic about his power. His home run in spring training, as well as his decision to go ahead and play in the WBC for Canada have me convinced that Joey is back.

2. Ryan Ludwick

I’m not a believer in Ludwick just yet. He did help carry the team when Votto went down, and was one of the Reds’ best players after the All Star break. However, I’m not really convinced we saw the real Ludwick last year. It also doesn’t help that he’s getting up there in age. While I don’t think that he’ll be terrible, I don’t think he’ll put up the .255/.328/.450 (w/ 20 HR and 73 RBI) that the projections expect him to. I think he’ll be more of the hitter that he was in San Diego, albeit with a bit more power.

3. Shin-Soo Choo

For some reason, these projections really seem to hate Choo. They peg him as a .276/.369/.446 hitter, with only 17 HR ad 64 RBI. I really can’t understand this. The last healthy season that Choo had where he hit less than .280 was…well, never. I don’t really think it makes sense to have him hitting this low, when the environment he’s coming to should be beneficial. He’ll also be hitting in a Reds lineup that is a lot better than the 2012 Indians lineup he hit in last year. I also think he’ll flash some more of his power, and come very close to 20/20.

4. Zack Cozart

I’ll admit it, I might be reaching here. The composite of these projections peg Cozart as a very similar hitter to last year- .252/.300/.402 (14 HR, 52 RBI.) I wholeheartedly disagree with these projections. When he wasn’t forced to hit in an uncomfortable position last season at the leadoff spot, he hit an incredible .324/.378/.490 in 118 ABs. Small sample size, I know. However, when you look at what Cozart did in 2011, you really have to believe that Cozart is not a .250 hitter. I also think he should improve his power next season, considering he hit 9 home runs away from the friendly confines of Great American Ballpark, and only 6 at home. Granted, he had nearly 50 more ABs on the road, but the numbers should work out. Cozart is a solid player with good pop and extra base ability.

For fun, let’s take my 2013 Reds projections for the starting lineup and place them against last year’s and compare them to the MLB leaders from 2012.

Team AVG OBP SLG OPS
2012 Reds 0.251 0.315 0.411 0.726
2012 Leaders 0.274 0.338 0.453 0.790
2013 Reds (Proj.) 0.271 0.348 0.453 0.801

Now, this is not to say that I think the Reds will have a better OBP, SLG, or OPS than any team did in 2012. Bench players will more than likely bring these numbers down. However, I think we can all agree that the Reds had a down year offensively last year. With the moves they’ve made this offseason, I think they are in very good shape for 2013.

Up next: My 2013 Cincinnati Reds Stat Predictions: The Starting Rotation.

 

 

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