My 2013 Cincinnati Reds Stat Predictions: The Starting Rotation


September 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the second installment in this small series of articles pertaining to my stat predictions for the Reds in 2013. In case you missed the first article in this series, which detailed my expectations for the starting lineup, you can find it here. Again, I’m going to use a composite projection made up of projections from Bill James, CAIRO, ZiPS, Steamer, Davenport, and ESPN to guide my predictions. I’ll also use other stats, such as FIP and xFIP, non-quantitative issues, as well as my gut feeling on the matter in determining these numbers. For starters, here is the Reds’ rotation from last year, with their 2012 numbers:

As we can see, this rotation had a miraculous run of health in 2012. In fact, the starting 5 started every game of the year except for one, which Todd Redmond, now a member of the Baltimore Orioles farm system (that Paul Janish trade worked out pretty well, didn’t it?) and this wasn’t due to health- it was due to the fact that the Reds had a doubleheader that day. Simply put, this can not be expected to happen again. It’s incredibly rare when it does happen (the Reds were the only team to accomplish this feat in 2012) and is really unlikely to happen again. The projections that I am pulling from do account for missed starts, however, so this shouldn’t be a problem. In the case of Chapman, Bill James and CAIRO seemed to have not gotten the memo that he’ll be starting, so they will cut from his prediction. With all that being said, let’s look at my 2013 prediction for the starting rotation:

Where I disagree most with the projections:

Photo by Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

1. Aroldis Chapman

I’ve already outlined my thoughts on Chapman here pretty extensively, so I’ll keep it brief here. Not accounting for Bill James and CAIRO, again, these projections place him as a 3.50 ERA pitcher, who will post about 10 wins. I think the wins are a pretty good estimate, but I don’t think he’ll post that good of an ERA. This is for the reasons that I have outlined in detail in the article I linked- simply, he’s struggled whenever he’s started, and I don’t think there’s too much of a reason to expect a huge change in 2012. I think that Chapman has the potential to be a staff ace, but he won’t reach that potential this year. Reds fans need to realize that this is a transition, and shouldn’t expect instant results.

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2. Homer Bailey

Bailey is a petty tricky case. If he didn’t pitch in Great American Ballpark half of the time, we could be looking at a potential Cy Young candidate. Seriously, he had a 2.32 ERA away from GABP last year, which was the best road mark by a pretty big margin. His 5.16 ERA at home , however, held him back. It’s worth noting that his FIP and xFIP, while still slightly higher than his ERA, were still good numbers, and were below 4. The projections that I am looking at have him slated as a mid 4’s ERA pitcher again. While I’m not one to usually be a believer after one strong year, Bailey has had the talent all along and has just needed to better utilize it. I don’t think he’ll quite put up the numbers he did last year (I expect his road ERA to rise), I don’t think he’ll be as bad as the projections have him. With a reasonable rise in road ERA, as well as a fall in home ERA (let’s assume neutral luck), I expect his ERA to be in the high 3’s.

Even though I think that the Reds’ starting rotation will take a step back next year (health reasons, as well as some reasonable regression), I still think they’ll have a good pitching staff. I believe that this regression in the pitching staff will be offset by an increase in offensive output. The Reds are in good shape heading into 2013.

Up next: My 2013 Cincinnati Reds Stat Predictions: The Bullpen.