By: Tyler Dugan
*UPDATE: It was just announced today that Homer Bailey had surgery to remove bone spurs in his left elbow and will most likely start the season on the DL.
It’s that time of year again, pitchers and catchers begin reporting next week. For all you Reds fans, the Reds pitchers and catchers report on the 13th, the rest of the gang will report on the 16th. I am ecstatic over this.
I love hearing the crack of the bat in February. It is just a beautiful preview of many things to come. I’m that weirdo guy that watches spring training games, I will be into it big time this year on the Reds considering we don’t know half the players that are going to be on the team.
Here’s what to expect of the Reds this season:
Biggest thing: improvement. This team will be better. The bullpen is slowly getting there, and compared to last year, it will be light years better. (Last year they had one of the worst bullpens of all time, literally.)
They had a couple of small, but very nice off -season deals. The Reds traded pitcher Dan Straily for 3 Marlins prospects, the biggest being Luis Castillo. Who was rated as the Marlins #2 prospect according to Baseball America. The Reds also signed Scott Feldman for some bullpen help. Feldman is a veteran relief pitcher that will be a huge boost for middle relief (NO MORE JJ HOOVER!!) That should excite everybody. They also signed Bronson Arroyo, who if he has a good spring could add to some long relief help.
The biggest question for the Reds this year is the pitching. The starting rotation seems somewhat set, but not completely. Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, and Brandon Finnegan look like locks to start the season in the rotation barring any injuries. That leaves 2 spots. Cody Reed, Amir Garrett, Robert Stephenson and Tim Adleman look to be the main competitors for those spots. Look out for Rookie Davis in the spring, that is my sleeper.
The second biggest question mark lies in the middle infield, which is beyond the most frustrating. Brandon Phillips being the douche that he is, refuses to get traded. The Reds have Dilson Herrera and Jose Peraza waiting to take the reigns. Phillips and Cozart still being on the roster causes issues for them getting on the field. Phillips is such an ego maniac that I’m sure he would cause issues when his ass rots on the bench. The Reds need to trade Cozart to fill some space, I’m sure that will be coming in July. Other than that the lineup seems to be fairly set. Votto, Suarez, Hamilton, Barnhart/Mesoraco, Duvall will be the everyday starters. We will see if Jesse Winker can finally come up, and actually play right field.
To me that is exciting, the Reds look actually promising. Getting rid of older guys that don’t have it anymore. I think this year we see steps forward with this team. Yes, there will be days that Garrett gets rocked. Yes, there will be days when Peraza strikes out looking 3 times. Its about the big picture people. This year we will get a real look at what this team’s rebuild is all about. 2013 the Cubs won 66 games, 2014 they won 73 games, 2016 they won 100+ and won the World Series. Maybe the Reds won’t move that quickly, but we may see them start making strides towards that. I’m going to look at this season in that fashion.
For the Reds, I think they will be better than most expect. I think the Reds get to 77 wins and go 77-87 on the year. Votto has a big time year. The pitching starts to figure it out late. They hang around the Wild Card for a while, and then fall out.
Now, for the rest of the MLB, what should we expect?
NL East: 1. Mets 2. Nationals 3. Marlins 4. Phillies 5. Braves.
NL Central: 1. Cubs 2. Cardinals 3. Reds 4. Pirates 5. Brewers.
NL West: 1. Dodgers 2. Rockies 3. Giants 4. Diamondbacks 5. Padres
NL Wildcard: 1. Nationals 2. Rockies
The Reds finishing 3rd? Ya. I think the Pirates fall off big time. McCutchen may get traded. The Pirates’ time is over with. This will be their first year of rebuilding. The Reds will be better than people expect fellas.
Surprise team of this is the Rockies. They are my sleeper team of the year. I think the Rockies lineup is up there with the best lineups in baseball. Nolan Arenado is the best 3rd baseman in baseball. Trevor Story will stay healthy the whole year. They added Ian Desmond. D.J. Lemahieu is a very good second baseman. Cargo is still playing. If the Rockies stay healthy they will out slug you, especially in their ball park. Their pitching is improving, stay woke on Colorado.
Mets winning the East. Yeah, they have 4 guys who throw 100 in the starting rotation. That is unbelievable. Still don’t understand why no one is talking about them. If that rotation can stay healthy, which is a serious if, they are going to be very hard to beat.
Dodgers, eh. Not huge on them, they will still win enough games to win the division, Kershaw is good. Seager and Urias are extremely young, but very good.
Nats in the Wild Card. Interesting year for the Nats coming. Maybe the last year for Bryce. They are going to lay it all on the line. The Nats have to stay healthy, and need Bryce to have a better year. No way Daniel Murphy mimics what he did last year. Trading for Adam Eaton will help. They do enough to get there.
AL East: 1. Red Sox 2. Orioles 3. Yankees 4. Blue Jays 5. Rays
AL Central: 1. Indians 2. Tigers 3. Royals 4. White Sox 5. Twins
AL West: 1. Astros 2. Seattle 3. Rangers 4. Angels 5. A’s
AL Wildcard: 1. Orioles 2. Seattle
Red Sox are going to be very good. They have the newest version of the killer B’s. Betts, Benintendi, Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. Throw in Pedroia and that is a loaded lineup. Chris Sale and David Price as the top 2 in the rotation. Craig Kimbrel to close out the games. They are loaded top to bottom.
The Blue Jays’ time is over. Too many off season issues. It took them forever to get Bautista signed. Encarnacion leaving was a huge loss. I don’t think they have enough to compete.
Indians are going to better this year than last year. They get their top 2 starting pitchers back, its truly as easy as that. They have the best bullpen pitcher in baseball with Andrew Miller. They added Edwin Encarnacion. Terry Baseball is a helluva coach. Cleveland is loaded.
Astros winning the West. Everyone is forgetting about the ‘Stros. Dallas Keuchel will be better than the he was last year. He also is the freakiest looking dude in the league.
Correa, Altuve, Springer, is a very good young core. Bregman will play his first full season in the league. They added Carlos Beltran as a veteran bat. They will be back.
The wildcard will be extremely tight. The O’s, Yankees, Mariners, Rangers and Tigers will all be slugging it out for those two spots. Ultimately, it will be the O’s and the Mariners. Machado is just too much. That lineup is too much. They slug their way to the playoffs. The Mariners are literally a team that no one calls about. Cano, Kyle Seager, and Nelson Cruz slug their way along. King Felix deals. Nori Aoki is a great add for this team. They almost snuck in the playoffs last year. I think this year they finally get it done. The Yanks are a year away.
I think that Cubs and the Mets meet in the NLCS, the Cubs edge them out in 7. I think the Indians meet the Red Sox in the ALCS and beat them in 6. Yes, its a rematch for the World Series, the Indians win this time. Pitching and timely hitting win, the Indians have that. Terry baseball is going to be gnawing on anything he can find during that series. Can’t wait for the camera shots of Terry chewing on a wad of gum Ace Ventura style.
NL MVP: Nolan Arenado- 3B Rockies
NL Cy Young: Noah Syndergaard- P Mets
NL Rookie of the Year: Dansby Swanson- SS Braves
NL Coach of the Year: Bud Black – Rockies
AL MVP: Manny Machado- 3B Orioles
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez- P Mariners
AL Rookie of the Year: Yoan Moncada- INF White Sox
AL Coach of the Year: Scott Servais- Mariners
That’s a wrap, can’t wait to look back at this in September to see how wrong I was. I’m beyond thrilled for the season to begin. Baseball is in an unreal place. Young superstars all over the place. I just wrote a long ass article strictly on baseball and didn’t even mention Mike Trout, who is the best player in the game. There are so many players all over the place. Bring on baseball. Bring on summer.
Until then though… Go Cats.