Will the Reds win more games than ZiPS projects in 2023?

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell
Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Spring training for the 2023 MLB season is in full swing as all the Cincinnati Reds players have reported to Goodyear, Arizona. Even for a team like the Reds, who will need a lot of things to go right in order to break into the postseason, there is plenty of reason for optimism.

There was hope of competing in 2022 before a flurry of preseason trades, but it felt like the Reds were in limbo coming off a 2021 season in which they won 83 games but failed to reach the postseason.

In 2023, at least for now, it seems the Reds have a plan. Many trades from last year were dejecting. But the returns from those trades that GM Nick Krall and his supporting cast in the Reds front office got in exchange, however, are a huge reason for this season's optimism.

ZiPS projects the Reds to win 70 games in 2023.

FanGraphs has recently released its ZiPS standings projections for the 2023 season. A season ago, the Cincinnati Reds were projected to win 74 games (before the preseason trades), and wound up winning just 62 games in their first 100-loss season in 40 years.

Unsurprisingly, the projections are a little bit worse than last year heading into the 2023 season for Cincinnati. The Reds are expected to go 70-92 which would slot them for a fourth-place finish in the NL Central, just two games ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates (68-94).

As for the rest of the NL Central, ZiPS is a firm believer in the St. Louis Cardinals' quest to repeat as division champions, projecting a 91-71 season. There seems to be a wide gap between the Cardinals and the rest of the division, with the Milwaukee Brewers well behind St. Louis at 83-79 and the Chicago Cubs even further behind at 78-84.

No team in the NL Central made a significant splash this offseason that would undeniably vault their club ahead of another. Chicago made a handful of nice moves that should considerably improve their roster, but collectively the division was once again fairly quiet during the offseason with not a lot of noticeable improvement from its members.

Will the Reds win more than 70 games in 2023?

It may not be until the end of the season that we start to see the pieces of the future come into place. Young prospects like Brandon Williamson, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte and, who could forget, Elly De La Cruz all have a shot at cracking the big-league club at some point this season.

There are a whole lot of others that should follow within the coming years. They may not heavily sway this year's ZiPS projections, but it's certainly a reason to be optimistic.

It's easy to preach patience when your team has a history of winning and success. Here in Cincinnati, we have a team with four playoff appearances since the beginning of 1996 and no playoff advancements since then. Patience has justifiably dwindled for most of Reds Country. But because it's February and the Reds are tied for first place, why not be be optimistic?

This could be the first year of a new era of Cincinnati Reds baseball if things go according to plan. Will it? Who knows. I'll bet on the trio of tantalizing arms anchoring the Reds' rotation to propel them above 70 wins and outplay their ZiPS projections for 2023.

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