The Cincinnati Reds are projected to finish third or fourth in a division dominated by the Chicago Cubs.
The most likely record for the Cincinnati Reds in 2017 is 75-87. The Reds are going to better this year and shouldn’t be worried about coming close to 100 losses as they have the past two seasons. They should be worried that they may be two years away from competing.
Last year the Reds couldn’t compete with the Chicago Cubs. That match-up cost the Reds any chance at .500 last season. This year they should be able to compete, but they’re still a few steps behind
Looking at the pitching staff there are enough decent starting pitchers to get to close to .500. Anthony DeSclafani should be about 15-10. He goes deep into games. He’s been penciled in as their ace since December or longer.
Brandon Finnegan figures to go 10-10 or there about this year. If Tim Adleman stays in the rotation, he should go 12-12. Amir Garrett is the projected number four starter and likely is going to start about 5-10 for his career.
Robert Stephenson is a big question mark. If you pencil him to go 8-12, then the starting staff with go 50-54 with 25-23 left for the bullpen. Given the rebuilt bullpen that sounds to be in the general vicinity.
This assumes that only the above five pitchers and Homer Bailey make starts for the Reds this year. Scott Feldman would be responsible for a ton of decisions out of the bullpen, particularly in relief of Garrett. It also assumes that the Reds are serious about using most pitchers for two innings at a time.
The Cincinnati Reds are at the mercy of the other teams for where they end up in the standings.
The question is whether that will be good for third in the division. The Pittsburgh Pirates are probably still good enough to get to more than 75 victories. The Milwaukee Brewers will end up last.
The Chicago Cubs and the Saint Louis Cardinals will battle for first place. At the end of the day the Cardinals look like they are one pitcher short of catching the Cubs. There also may not be enough power in Saint Louis to keep up with boys from Wrigley Ville.
For the Reds 81-81 would be better than perfect. That just isn’t happening with the Cardinals and Cubs in the same division. 75 wins would be a good sign that the rebuild is working.
The Pirates are the great unknown in this division. They tried to trade Andrew McCutchen this off-season in order to get younger. They were unsuccessful, but that will help them be better in 2017 than without him.
For the Reds the final record doesn’t matter that much. What matters is how the pitching develops. If they can get to 70 wins and the pitching looks good, everyone will be happy