Cincinnati Reds: 5 bold predictions for the 2021 season

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds after hitting a two-run home run. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds after hitting a two-run home run. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 6
Next
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) recognizes the crowd after being pulled out of the game in the sixth inning.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) recognizes the crowd after being pulled out of the game in the sixth inning. /

1. Reds pitcher Luis Castillo wins the 2021 NL Cy Young Award

Luis Castillo is the unquestioned ace of the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff heading into the 2021 season. This is taking nothing away from Sonny Gray, who’s been great since arriving from the Big Apple. But Castillo is in a class by himself. La Piedra should be among the handful of starters in line for the 2021 Cy Young Award, and I think he’s got a great chance to bring home the hardware.

There will be plenty of competition in the National League for the Cy Young Award. Heck, last year’s winner, Trevor Bauer, is still in the NL having moved out west to join the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Yu Darvish, who was close to winning the award last season, was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the San Diego Padres. And don’t forget about New York’s Jacob deGrom.

While Bauer had a fantastic 2020 campaign, let’s not forget that the right-hander started just 11 games and threw only 73 innings. That’s not sour grapes; it’s just facts! Last season was an anomaly all the way around. In fact, if you take Bauer’s 21 starts as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, he went 7-9 with a 3.76 ERA with 168 punch outs and 36 walks.

Castillo cannot afford a slow start to the 2021 season if he hopes to be in the conversation for the NL Cy Young Award. Last season, La Piedra went 0-5 in his first seven starts with a 4.10 ERA. Castillo, however, turned things around down the stretch and in the month of September, the right-hander went 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA while striking out 37 batters and allowed just one home run.

Luis Castillo has some of the best stuff in the game. The only player in Major League Baseball who can rival Castillo’s changeup is Milwaukee Brewers’ reliever Devin Williams. If Castillo gets off to a hot start, he’ll be the in Cy Young conversation all season long.