Cincinnati Reds: Five Predictions for 2015

It’s that time of year, when everyone makes predictions for the upcoming season about how they think teams and players will perform. Well, here are five predictions for the Cincinnati Reds in 2015. I’ll probably be wrong on most of them (you just have to take a look at my recent NCAA Tournament bracket to know that), but it’s fun to make them anyway.

1. Joey Votto will bounce back from last year’s injury. He will likely walk 100 times, but he will also hit .300 or better. And he will be the NL Comeback Player of the Year.

  • I have no doubt that if Votto plays 150 games this season, he will walk 100 times. I also think that he’ll come close to his career-high 44 doubles, set in 2012. Get ready to see those doubles hit to the left center field gap when he’s at the plate. It’s a thing of beauty to watch.
  • Some fans are probably concerned about his power and his ability to hit home runs. Votto’s never been the type of guy to hit 30+ home runs, so that’s probably not happening coming off an injury year. I could see him hitting about 20 home runs this season.

2. Johnny Cueto will win 20 games for the second straight season, and lose the Cy Young Award to Clayton Kershaw. Again.

  • Cueto might be the best Reds pitcher in 25 years, but what baseball fans are witnessing from Kershaw is an once-in-a-lifetime pitcher. I would love to be wrong on my Cy Young Award prediction, but I just don’t see Kershaw falling from his perch as the top pitcher in the NL.
  • I do, however, think Cueto will not only make the All-Star team, but also start the game. Given that the game is in Cincinnati this summer, I think Bruce Bochy does the honorable thing and selects Cueto to start.

3. Zack Cozart will hit better than he did last season.

  • In 2013, Cozart hit .254 with 12 home runs and 63 RBI. He also hit 30 doubles. In 2012, he hit .246 with 15 home runs, 35 RBI and 33 doubles. Although he was horrible at the plate in 2014, he did have a reduced number of strikeouts. He struck out only 79 times, whereas in 2012 and 2013, he had over 100. This tells me he made contact last year. His career ground ball to fly ball ratio of 0.87 suggests that he is a ground ball hitter. He just hit it right at defenders a lot.
  • If Cozart can hit around .250 and have between 10 and 15 home runs while driving in 50 runs, it will be satisfactory for the eighth spot in the batting order, especially with the defense he plays at shortstop. And I think he’s fully capable of doing that.

4. The Reds will not finish in last place in the NL Central.

  • The Brewers will be in last place. I don’t think they have the pitching to sustain for an entire season.
  • The Cubs will not be a playoff team this year. They’re still a year away from making the playoffs and two or three from winning in the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see the Reds-Cubs matchups this season. The Reds have dominated the Cubs in recent years, but with the Cubs’ young talent along with the addition of Jon Lester, it’s going to be much tougher for the Reds this year.

5. Jesse Winker, Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen all will be in a Reds uniform at some point this season, even if it’s in September when the rosters expand.

  • The Reds hope that these three prospects are not with the big league club until September, because that would mean no one on the team suffers any injuries. (*goes to find some wood to knock on*)
  • I think Lorenzen has the best chance to be up with the Reds before September, especially if Jason Marquis falters. However, I think the Reds would prefer that all three players get as much time as possible at Triple-A Louisville.

Next: 10 reasons why 2015 is the year for the Reds