Reds Fantasy Roundup: Week Five


David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Ouch. Watching Reds baseball over the past 3 games has not been a pleasant experience. After getting subsequently 1-hit for the first 2 games of the homestand, a Reds modern day record, they lost a fairly hard fought (and somewhat hard luck) game 6-3 to the Nationals in Washington.  This is one of those games that bothers me because, had they been playing in GABP, it would have likely been a multi-homer game for the Redlegs, and they likely would have won. Great American Ballpark worries me a bit to be honest- I’m worried that Reds hitters are hitting home runs in the comfortable confines that would be weak fly balls in most other parks, and that they’re swinging for the fence a lot of the time, only to be rewarded by a lazy fly ball. Their .125 winning percentage so far on the road doesn’t exactly help disprove that theory. However, it’s not like they’ve been playing against a bunch of stiffs on the road either. The Pirates, Nationals, and Cardinals have all had excellent pitching so far this season. The problem also has to be with Dusty Baker‘s insistence on not touching the lineup over this 4 game offensive skid (6 runs in 4 games.) Zack “The Eraser” Cozart has proven so far that he is not the answer at the 2 hole, yet he continue to bat there routinely. I also don’t know in what universe it makes sense to start Corky Miller twice in one series, especially when offense has been the main problem (Homer Bailey pitched a gem, yet the Reds couldn’t muster ONE run to save him the loss.) Sorry for the ramblings, it’s just been a bit of a bad week in Reds Country. It’ll be difficult to right the ship against Adam Wainwright(who has been the best pitcher in baseball so far in 2013) and the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, but here’s to hoping.

April 29th: CIN @ STL — Mat Latos vs. Adam Wainwright

April 30th: CIN @ STL — Bronson Arroyo vs. Jaime Garcia

May 1st: CIN @ STL — Homer Bailey vs. Lance Lynn

May 3rd: CIN @ CHC — Mike Leake vs. Scott Feldman

May 4th: CIN @ CHC — Tony Cingrani vs. Carlos Villanueva

May 5th: CIN @ CHC — Mat Latos vs. Jeff Samardzija

Position Player Recommendations: 

1. Brandon Phillips

Talk about a fall from grace. After starting off the year as one of the hottest players in baseball, Phillips has cooled off in a big way. Before yesterday’s 3 hit performance, Phillips was 2 for 22 on the week, which amounts to a .090 batting average. Even with the 3 hit game, he still is sitting at .192 with no homers and 2 RBI on the week. Phillips will have some tough pitching to face this week as well- Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, Carlos Villanueva and Jeff Samardzija have been excellent so far this year. Honestly, when Phillips gets into a rut, it’s usually bad. Maybe not on a Jay Bruce level, but he has his ups and downs. It also doesn’t help that Phillips hit a measly .200 at Busch Stadium last season. With Phillips already being in a rut this week, as well as the Reds facing some tough pitching in unfriendly environments, I’m actually going to advocate sitting Phillips for one of your bench middle infielders. Someone like Kelly Johnson, Chris Getz, or Jedd Gyorko is bound to be more productive than Phillips for the week.

Week Five Line Prediction: .230 average, 0 HR, 3 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Sit.

2. Jay Bruce

Jay Bruce is in a relatively similar place to Phillips this week. He started the year with a decent average and OBP, but after hitting .154 on the week, his average and OBP are down to Bruce levels, while the counting stats still aren’t there (although he did pick up his first homer.)  The Reds face mostly righties this week. Oddly, Bruce has hit .314/.333/.514 against LHP and .224/.316/.269 against RHP, a stark contrast to his career splits. This is bound to turn around, but there are no signs that this is the week that it will happen. It doesn’t help that the RHPs that the Reds face this week are all tough. It’s also worth noting that the Reds don’t play in GABP this week with relation to Bruce, because he seems to thrive there. Sitting him is the smart move this week, as someone like Nate McClouth or Denard Span would be the smarter play.

Week Five Line Prediction: .250 average, 0 HR, 2 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Sit.

3. Zack Cozart

Perhaps the coolest Red of all last week, Cozart has been having a rough year. He went a paltry 2-20 last week with no homers and no RBI. This is particularly bad because he’s hitting in the 2 hole, so his struggles could have an immense impact on the other players in the lineup. Cozart, somehow, is still owned in over 50 percent of ESPN leagues, so he is a fantasy relevant player based on that alone. To be honest, I would bench Cozart until he shows life in his bat, since he looks dead out there. I managed to replace Cozart with Jean Segura early on, but that’s impossible now seeing as he’s owned in 100 percent of leagues. Good temporary solutions, if you’re patient, could be Jhonny Peralta, Marwin Gonzalez, or Pete Kozma. Didi Gregorius would be a good pickup, but he’s currently recovering from being drilled in the head, so he could go on the 7 day concussion DL. In all honesty, while it’s early, it’s looking like the Reds chose the wrong SS to hold on to. Maybe Kevin Towers saw something that nobody else did, or the more likely answer is that it’s early and Didi will fall out to be the barely average hitter that he is. If you want to permanently replace Cozart on your roster, trading for someone like Ben Zobrist or Alcides Escobar would be fairly cheap. Overall, sitting Cozart this week is a must.

Week Five Line Prediction: .200 average, 0 HR, 1 RBI.

Final Recommendation: Sit. Possibly for an extended period.

Pitching Recommendations:

1. Mat Latos

Latos really has stepped into that ace role so far for the Reds this year. When the Reds offense was struggling so bad that a 480 foot home run from Todd Frazier was the only offense they could muster, Latos responded by throwing 7 shutout innings against the Cubs. He faces the Cubs again this week and has dual start eligibility. However, you have to (possibly) suffer a game against the Cardinals at home for that. The Cardinal’s offense is rolling, and Latos’ 12.75 ERA at Busch Stadium doesn’t bode too well for Latos that start. However, he pitched relatively well last time at Busch Stadium, and could do it again. I think the fact that Latos has pitched so well this year, as well as goes against a team that he’s constantly owned, could make Latos a solid start for this week. Just be aware that he might struggle a little bit against St. Louis.

Week Five Line Prediction: 1 win, 1 loss, 13 IP, 9 Ks, 5 ER, 3.46 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Start.

2. Bronson Arroyo

Meh. An inconsistent Arroyo against a team that he pitched poorly against already once this year at their home park? Pass.

Week Five Line Prediction: 0 wins, 0 losses, 6 IP, 3 Ks, 5 ER, 7.50 ERA

Final Recommendation: Sit.

3. Homer Bailey

Bailey is a bit of an interesting case. He’s pitched well this year but really struggled against St. Louis in his last start at Busch Stadium, giving up 7 runs over 5 innings. However, since then, he hasn’t given up more than 2 runs in any of his last 3 starts, and went at least 6 innings in all of them.  The Reds’ offense could struggle to score off of Lance Lynn, though, so his chance of a loss is pretty likely even if he pitches well. This is a bit of a tossup. If you have good pitchers on your bench, a Patrick Corbin or Travis Wood type, then I’d sit Bailey in favor of them. Even if you don’t, I’d still stream someone like Kyle Kendrick, Felix Doubront, or Bartolo Colon this week over Bailey.

Week Five Line Prediction: 0 wins, 1 loss, 5 IP, 6 Ks, 4 ER, 7.20 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Sit.

4. Mike Leake


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

Final Recommendation: Sit.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

5. Tony Cingrani

Tony Cingrani looked much more comfortable on the mound last time out, against better quality hitters too. However, he will face his hardest test today against the Nationals. This is an important start for Cingrani. If he excels against the Nationals, then he could be in line to take Leake’s spot in the rotation. However, going from owning the Cubs and Marlins to owning the Nationals is a huge step. However, for next week against the Cubs, I’d still start him, even if there is a possibility that, when teams see him again, they could sart to pick up on his fastball which would make him barely an average pitcher. For now, though, he’s a sure start.

Week Five Line Predictions: 0 wins, 0 losses, 6 IP, 8 Ks, 3 ER, 4.50 ERA.

Final Recommendation: Start.

Week 1 W/L Predictions:

April 29th (CIN @ STL) – L, 6-0

April 30th (CIN @ STL)- W, 6-5

May 1st (CIN @ STL) – L, 7-5

May 3rd (CIN @ CHC) – W, 8-6

May 4th (CIN @ CHC) – L, 4-1

May 5th (CIN @ CHC)- W, 3-1

Week 5 Predicted W/L record: 3-3

Thank you for reading! Comments are appreciated!