MLB Pre Season Power Rankings: #29 Cincinnati Reds

Projected Record:66-96 5th in the NL Central

Potential Lineup: CF Hamilton #6, SS Cozart #2, 1B Votto #19, LF Duvall #23, 2B Phillips #4, RF Schebler #43, 3B Suarez #7, C Mesoraco #39 

Potential Rotation: 1.Bailey #34, 2.DeSclafani #28, 3.Feldman4.Finnegan #29, 5.Stephenson #55

Potential Bullpen: CL Iglesias #26, 8th Storen #31 , 7th Lorenzen #21, Cingrani #52, Diaz #70, Wood #36, Peralta #53

Potential Bench: C Barnhart #16, IF/OF Alcantara #30, IF/OF Peraza #9, IF/OF Shaffer ,OF Selsky #51

After making it  to the playoffs in 2013 as an NL Wild Card the Reds have been a struggling team ever since. The Reds started their rebuild a little late as they waited until 2015 to trade Johnny Cueto, last offseason to trade Aroldis Chapman and until the 2016 trade deadline to trade Jay Bruce. The team hasn’t even been able to move Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips so the rebuild project will drag on for a while. Looking ahead to 2017 it looks to be the same story as the last three seasons. Average offense, and below average pitching from the rotation and bullpen. The Reds lineup finished 18th in runs scored a year ago and for the most part of an identical lineup to last season minus Jay Bruce. The X factor for the Reds offense success in 2017 and possibly going forward is Outfielder Adam Duvall. Duvall quietly had a great year for the Reds as he was named to his first All Star Game in 2016. The 28 year old hit 33 Home Runs, and knocked in 103 RBI’s. Duvall will be hitting in the middle of a Reds lineup that still has Joey Votto, and Brandon Phillips. Both maybe getting older but they are still solid bats to have in the lineup. Votto had an outstanding 2016 batting .326 with 29 Home Runs, and 97 RBIs while Phillips batted .291 with 64 RBI’s. With these big bats still in the middle of the lineup the Reds offense should stay around average in 2017. The problem with the Reds isn’t the offense, it’s the pitching. The Reds lack a true ace and that reflected on their 2016 as they finished 24th in starters ERA and dead last  in starting pitching wins above replacement. The Reds starting pitching overall is a mix of veterans in decline, and youngsters who lack expericne. Homer Bailey who has thrown two no hitters in his career has struggled with injuries the last few seasons. He made just six starts in 2016 and had an ERA near seven in those starts. Bailey has the most upside in the rotation if healthy but that is one big if. With Bailey being a question mark and youngsters Brandon Finnegan, Andrew DeSclafani, Tim Adleman and Robert Stephenson still young and merging into MLB ready pitchers the Reds rotation is in trouble due to the fact they lack any sort of a stopper within the young rotation.  The Reds rotation will not be good in 2017. As for the bullpen the Reds finished second worst in all of baseball in 2016. The only face that’s new to the Reds that may be able to help is Drew Storen. Storen who was a solid closer for the Nationals just two seasons ago struggled in 2015 with the Nationals and Blue Jays pitching to an ERA over five. If he can re find his 2014 form where he pitched to ERA of 1.12 he can emerge huge for a Reds bullpen that is otherwise young and lacks talent. All in all the Reds are a team in a major rebuilding stage and will lose plenty of games in 2017. Look for them to take a few steps forward however as some of their young players develop.

 

Jul 11, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips (left) talks with first baseman Joey Votto (right) during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Long time Reds Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto need to have monster years for the Reds to stand a chance. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

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