Reds Fantasy Roundup: Week Three


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Last week was pretty unpleasant for Reds baseball. After routing the Cardinals 13-4, they dropped all 4 of their next 4 games for the week. Going 0-24 with RISP in their last 3 games doesn’t help much at all, not to mention the fact that they’ve gotten bit by some bad luck. Sean Marshall was placed on the DL this week and Sam LeCure has been dealing with soreness, leaving the Reds with  a bit of a bullpen shortage. Although, it’s hard to argue that their bullpen is short when Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapmanhaven’t pitched in almost a week…

When I predict a team to go 5-1 in a week, and they respond by going 1-4 in their first 5 games for said week, that leads most of my predictions to be off by a quite a bit. I made some good sit calls with Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake, but my recommendations to start Todd Frazier were pretty fruitless. Nonetheless, we’re back with a batch of fresh projections.

April 15th: PHI @ CIN — Cliff Lee vs. Bronson Arroyo

April 16th: PHI @ CIN — Kyle Kendrick vs. Homer Bailey

April 17th: PHI @ CIN — John Lannan vs. Mike Leake

April 18th: MIA @ CIN — Jose Fernandez vs. [Johnny Cueto/ Tony Cingrani.]

April 19th: MIA @ CIN — Ricky Nolasco vs. Mat Latos

April 20th: MIA @ CIN — Wade LeBlanc vs. Bronson Arroyo

April 21st: MIA @ CIN — Kevin Slowey vs. Homer Bailey

Position Player Recommendations:

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1. Brandon Phillips

Brandon Phillips has absolutely been on fire this week. So far in 2013, he leads the Reds in home runs and RBI, all while maintaining a batting average over .300. He’s crushed 3 homers on the road this year, which equals his road total from 2012, so this might be a sign of things to come for Phillips. Could we see Phillips return to a 20 homer player? Only time will tell. The Reds face some seriously tough pitching this week, with Cliff Lee, on fire phenom prospect Jose Fernandez, and Ricky Nolasco highlighting the bunch. Benching Phillips, however, even with the unfortunate death of his grandfather, is not advised at this point. He was the Reds hottest hitter last week, and he should continue to produce.

Week 3 Line Prediction: .300 average, 2 homers, 5 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Start.

2. Todd Frazier

Wow, was I wrong about Todd Frazier last week or what? Entering play that week, he was on top of the MLB’s WAR leaderboard while hitting .480 with 3 homers and 9 RBI. To say that his luck neutralized a bit would be an understatement, as he struggled literally all week. He hit a miserable .059/.304/.059 last week with no homers and a piddling 2 RBI. After the week he had, Frazier is definitely not an automatic start anymore. Frazier has limited experience every pitcher the Reds face this week, but he’s 1-3 against Cliff Lee with a walk. He’s hitless against Kendrick, and has one single against Ricky Nolasco in 3 at bats. The matchups are a bit unclear. I would advise giving Frazier another chance this week, though, as he could bounce back and hit like he did in Week One.

Week 3 Line Prediction: .280 average, 1 homer, 4 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Start.

3. Zack Cozart

Is this it? Is this the week Zack Cozart breaks out of his funk? He definitely looked sharp last night against Jeff Locke and the Pirates, but is that just a one game apparition? Well, I think we all know that Cozart probably isn’t going to hit .175 for the rest of the season, so he’s due for a big week. Last night’s game, where he hit for 3/4 of the cycle (minus the triple), could provide some much needed confidence to the Reds’ shortstop. Going off of the numbers, he, like Frazier, is 1-3 against Cliff Lee, and is 3-4 off of Ricky Nolasco with a home run.  He has a good history against 2 of the pitchers the Reds face, so the matchup numbers are in his favor. I think that inserting Cozart into your lineup is a calculated risk. This could be the week that his luck neutralizes and he makes up for his dismal numbers so far this season, which would pay huge dividends for your fantasy squad, or he could keep doing what he’s done so far. It is interesting to note that Cozart, while his average has been terrible, is doing much of the same as he did last year in terms of his hits. While he only hit .240 last year, a good amount of his hits were doubles and homers. Of his 7 hits so far this season, 4 have been of the extra base variety. Just an observation…

Week 3 Line Prediction: .300 average, 1 homer, 2 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Start.

Pitcher Recommendations:

1. Johnny Cueto

I think this is needless to say, but whether or not you should start Johnny Cueto this week has little to do with his actual expected performance, but how long this injury will keep him sidelined. It’s reasonable to expect that Cueto would dominate the pathetic Marlins, as he did last year on opening day, but will be get that chance to pitch? Johnny Cueto was removed from the game last night with a sharp pain in his right tricep. This could be something as meager as a cramp, or it could be something very serious. The Reds mentioned that Cueto was removed for precautionary reasons, so that’s a bit of a positive spin to this whole thing. However, I think it’s more likely than not that Cueto will miss at least one start, if not two or three.

Week 3 Line Prediction: N/A

Final Recommendation: Sit and pick Tony Cingrani up off of the waiver wire.

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2. Mat Latos

Like Cueto, Latos take the mound against the hapless Marlins. Unlike Cueto, however, he struggled against the Marlins. However, one of those 2 starts was on his first appearance as a Red, so it’s reasonable to assume a period of adjustment. However, he was just as bad in his next start. Current Marlins players have teed off of Latos for a collective .341/.391/.585 statline. Yes, the AAAA Marlins have teed off of Latos like they were the next coming of the Big Red Machine. With this being said, though, I would give Latos the benefit of the doubt. The Marlins have been pathetic, as anticipated, this season with a 2-9 record. Sitting a guy as talented as Latos against a 2-9 team full of AAA players (and Giancarlo Stanton) is pretty foolish. Just don’t expect him to be quite as dominant this week as usual.

Week 3 Line Prediction: 1 win, 0 losses, 6 IP, 5 Ks, 2 ER, 3.00 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Sit.

3. Bronson Arroyo

Arroyo has dual-start eligibility this week! Yipee! He’s still not a fantasy relevant pitcher, though, and last week’s implosion doesn’t change that.

Week 3 Line Prediction: 0 wins, 1 loss, 11 IP, 5 Ks, 7 ER, 5.73 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Sit.

4. Homer Bailey

Wow, I was about as wrong about Bailey last week as is humanly possible, eh? He got absolutely blown up last week, surrendering 7 ER to the Cardinals. However, he’s not pitched very well at Busch Stadium, posting a career ERA of over 10 there. He should have better luck against the soft hitting Phillies and Marlins next week (dual start eligibility!) He struggled against the Phillies in his 2 starts last year, posting a 5.25 ERA against them, but pitched pretty well against the Marlins. Starting Bailey at home is definitely a risk, but with the Marlins, I think it’s a risk that can be taken with relative ease. Just don’t be too surprised if he doesn’t pitch great against Philly.

Week 3 Line Predictions: 1 win, 0 losses, 13 IP, 10 Ks, 5 ER, 3.46 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Start.

5. Mike Leake

The bad news- Leake is still terrible. The good news- if Cueto needs to miss time, Tony Cingrani has a chance to impress the Reds at the major league level. If Cueto misses 2-3 starts, and Cingrani pitches well there, could we see a changing of the guard in the Reds’ No. 5 spot? Possibly.

Week 3 Line Predictions: 0 wins, 0 losses, 5 IP, 2 Ks, 4 ER, 7.20 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Sit. Drop.

6. Aroldis Chapman

Chapman pitched one inning last week. One. This is probably due to the fact that the Reds hardly had a lead to protect after a miserable week last week. Things look to improve this week, however, with a return to the friendly confines against 2 below average teams. His stats are too ridiculous to sit, though.

Week 3 Line Predictions: 0 wins, 0 losses, 3 IP, 3 saves, 7 Ks, 0 ER, 0.00 ERA

Final Recommendation: Start.

Week 3 W/L Predictions:

April 15th (PHI @ CIN) — L, 8-1

April 16th (PHI @ CIN) — W, 7-5

April 17th (PHI @ CIN) — W, 6-5

April 18th (MIA @ CIN) — L, 3-0

April 19th (MIA @ CIN) — W, 5-2

April 20th (MIA @ CIN) — W, 8-4

April 21st (MIA @ CIN) — W, 5-2

Week 3 Projected Record: 5-2

Thanks for reading! Comments are appreciated!