Opinion: Five Hopes for the 2016 Cincinnati Reds


5) The ‘Young Guns’ in the SP mix show growth

Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias, with the help of: Michael Lorenzen, John Lamb, Brandon Finnegan, Robert Stephenson, Keyvius Sampson and Jon Moscot. These are all of the young guns that Fangraphs projects will have at least one start for the 2016 Cincinnati Reds, which we expected ahead of this year (minus the hoped for addition of at least one wily vet); however, while we may be excited to see Fangraphs’ projections for some of these guys, I think that I would be happy just seeing full, healthy seasons from a number of these “kids”.

Iglesias leads the way in the projections, with a 3.58 ERA and 3.71 FIP, as a projected 2.9 WAR is in place for him… making him a great sleeper in both real and fake (aka. fantasy) baseball this season. 175 IP is the guess from Fangraphs, which means more to me than any W-L or K numbers.

Anthony DeSclafani leads the projections in IP (188) and is second to Iglesias in WAR (2.1); however, he doesn’t look the part of a sub-4.00 ERA guy just yet. A K:BB ratio of 3.00 looks “okay” but I want to see an uptick in overall Ks (7.4 K/9) and at least 28 GS (games started).

4) Homer Bailey comes back healthy, effective

Bailey is currently listed as “day-to-day” as he comes back from Tommy John surgery, but he could be an extremely valuable piece of the rotation upon his return. He could also be a complete dud, making fans raise their pitchforks towards team management for giving him the 6-year, $105 million contract they did (2014-19 + another option year).

Fans seem to give Bailey too much credit at times, which they should shy away from this season, as Steamer (steamerprojections.com) and Fangraphs both peg Bailey for a 50-50% W-L with a 3.95 ERA and 4.16 FIP. I am more worried about the number of starts he makes (and making sure he makes it through the end of the season healthy). I’d love 14 or 16 starts and would consider a 4.00 ERA a win.

3) LF battle winner goes post-to-post

Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler, Jake Cave, Tyler Holt, Kyle Waldrop and UTIL Jose Peraza… stop crying! Just think, “Winkler.”

Only one of these options, Peraza, is projected to hit above .247 this season. Only one of these options, Duvall, projects to have a WAR over 0.0 this season. So, what do I expect out of this group? Nothing, but I am hopeful that whoever wins the starting gig on Opening Day can also be the starting LF on the final day of the season. More likely, Duvall and Schebler will split time in LF until Bruce is shipped away (which I’ll get into soon).

2) Hoover and Friends gel

Hoover, who was recently given the closer’s role by his manager, “leads” the way for a bullpen that figures to be

awful/terrible/laughable/a bullpen

“okay” this season. Unfortunately, Fangraphs (along with my eye-test) says he will lead the team in HR-allowed from the ‘pen, lowest WAR and a top-five highest FIP (4.35).

On the other hand, Fangraphs loves them some Jumbo Diaz! His K-rate projections almost hit 10/9 IP, he carries the lowest ERA (3.20) and he carries the best WAR projection (0.7).

My dream would be Hoover, Diaz, Tony Cingrani and Lorenzen pitching the meaningful 7th-9th innings, with a combined 3.55 ERA (Fangraphs has Cingrani at a 3.23 ERA).

1) Bruce hits .300, 20 HRs before MLB Trade Deadline

Trade assets.

Do you have any hopes, dreams or thoughts you want to share about the 2016 season? Comment below or find me on Twitter @Nicholas_Tozier.