The national media has been in love with the Cincinnati Reds' offseason moves. The Reds have added depth to the bullpen after signing Nick Martinez, Emilio Pagán, and Brent Suter. President of baseball operations Nick Krall bolstered the starting rotation with the addition of Frankie Montas. And the club came to terms with switch-hitting infielder Jeimer Candelario.
That group of free agent signees, coupled with what everyone throughout Reds Country believes to be an exciting young core, should lead to increased wins in 2024 and perhaps a trip to the postseason, right?
Oh if only Baseball Prospectus thought in those terms. The outlet released this year's PECOTA projected standings for the 2024 season. These predictions foresee the Reds owning a record of 78-84 in 2024 and finishing fourth in the NL Central behind the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, and Milwaukee Brewers. Who in the world comes up with this stuff?
Reds’ 2024 PECOTA projections have Cincy fans enraged beyond belief
Even the most optimistic Reds fan can at least see where the 78-win projection comes into play. After all, the Reds are putting a lot of stock into a group of young players; some of whom have less than 100 games played at the big league level.
But when the projections assume that the St. Louis Cardinals are going to make a 15-game improvement and win 86 games in 2024 after adding only Sonny Gray and couple of journeymen starters to an aging roster, that's where things come off the rails.
Furthermore, while most experts assume the Chicago Cubs will come to terms with free agent outfielder Cody Bellinger, it hasn't happened yet. The Cubs biggest offseason acquisition is left-handed pitcher Shōta Imanaga who has who has never pitched in the major leagues and is, at best, a No. 3 starter. The Cubs are predicted to go 80-82 during the upcoming season.
Even worse is PECOTA's projection that the Milwaukee Brewers, who just traded away their best player, will finish one game better than the Cincinnati Reds with a record of 79-83. Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff aren't stepping onto the mound at American Family Field, and Devin Williams and Willy Adames might be out the door very soon.
Quite frankly, PECOTA's 73-89 projection for the 2024 Pittsburgh Pirates is ludicrous as well. While some fans may scoff at the idea, a healthy Oneil Cruz coupled with Bryan Reynolds and Ke'Bryan Hayes could form an impressive trio in the Steel City. Don't sleep on the Buccos.
Last year's PECOTA projections picked the Texas Rangers to finish fourth in the AL West behind the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, and Seattle Mariners. The Rangers ended up winning the 2023 World Series, and the Cincinnati Reds outplayed their 2023 projected win total by 15 games, so it's safe to assume that this year's PECOTA projections will be wrong as well.