Cincinnati Reds 2016 Team Preview

The Cincinnati Reds aren't in a position where they are expected to win with the top heavy NL Central and all. Because of this, they parted ways with a couple of big names in Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier this off-season. By doing this, they free up a load of cap space, but amongst the return are a couple of guys who might see a lot of playing time this year in Scott Schebler and Jose Peraza. It would not be surprising to see the Reds also deal other guys like Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto if the right offer comes around. The one thing that is certain is that Cincy shouldn't expect to be competitive for a few years.

Listen to Tyler talk to Josh Northcutt about the Reds

Key Additions

Scott Schebler, Jose Peraza, Jake Cave, Blake Wood, Caleb Cotham, Chris O'Grady, Jordan Pacheco, Brandon Allen, Brandon Dixon, Carlos Triunfel, Pin-Chieh Chen, JC Ramirez, Dayan Diaz, AJ Morris, Rookie Davis, Tony Renda, Eric Jagielo

Key Subtractions

Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier, Skip Schumaker, Manny Parra, Sean Marshall, Burke Badenhop, Brayan Pena, Kris Negron, Brennan Boesch, Jason Bourgeois, Ryan LaMarre, David Holmberg, Nate Adcock, Collin Balester, Sam LeCure 

Biggest Strength - Joey Votto

Althought Cincinnati doesn't look very good as a whole unit, they do have one of the best players in the MLB on their squad. Joey Votto is just plain awesome. In a time and age where we have many players swinging for the fences and sacrificing avg for a few extra homers a year, Votto has taken the opposite route and consistently gets on base at a well over .400 mark. He is universally known as the best on base player in the entire league, and he does this while keeping his slugging percentage in the mid .500 range. He has put up an OPS over 1.000 three times in his career, including last season. With the lineup around him looking a little weaker now that Frazier is gone, he may become less dangerous as pitchers may walk him more. If this happens, we might see an OBP over .500 this season. With that said, there are many who think he should try and be a little more intimidating at the plate to help the team more. The tools are there for him and the answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but the truth is that whatever you get out of Votto is bound to be stellar year in and year out.

Biggest Weakness - Pitching Staff

Although the Reds look like they have plenty of good pitching prospects who might be ready by next season, this year could be a little sketchy pitching wise for Cincy. Not only does the staff look questionable with Raisel Iglesias and Anthony DeSclafani looking like the teams only legitimate options to start games, but the bullpen looks bad without the presence of Aroldis Chapman. The team will depend on guys like JJ Hoover, Jumbo Diaz and possibly even Tony Cingrani to close out games. While these aren't the worst relievers out there, they aren't exactly what you would hope to have as your top 3 relief aces either. For the Reds sake, lets hope that guys like Amir Garrett, Rookie Davis and Cody Reed end up being as good as they look like they are now. The signing of Alfredo Simon to play the role of innings eater was a nice touch to hold them over this season. It's also worth noting that the they have been a bit plagued by injury in the pitching department as well with Homer Bailey, John Lamb and Michael Lorenzen all starting the season on the disabled list.

Something to keep an eye on - Outfield position battle

The Reds appear to have tons of good looking outfield prospects, but that's how someone with 'rose colored glasses' on would view the situation. In reality, after digging through the numbers, it looks like there are two intriguing guys who should be taken seriously for the left fielder role in 2016. Scott Schebler is a very solid, possibly 5 tool player who got the call for the Dodgers last season and came over in the Todd Frazier trade. If Schebler was to get everyday playing time, he should probably be expected to hit somewhere between 20 and 30 homers, while stealing about 15 bases and getting on base at an average rate. That is good production from a farm guy. The other option to be taken seriously is Adam Duvall. Duvall is a bigger guys with more power potential, but his on base numbers aren't there and he doesn't have any speed upside. Duvall is also an interesting option as a bench guy because he can also play both first and third base as well as the corner outfield spots. If either Jay Bruce or Joey Votto get moved at some point, it would be smart to expect Duvall and Schebler to both get everyday at bats out of it. To start off, they might do the lefty/righty platoon.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Projected Lineup - Lefties* - Switch Hitters^

  1. Eugenio Suarez - 3B
  2. Joey Votto* - 1B
  3. Brandon Phillips - 2B
  4. Jay Bruce* - RF
  5. Devin Mesoraco - C
  6. Scott Schebler* - LF
  7. Zack Cozart - SS
  8. Billy Hamilton^ - CF

Projected Bench

Adam Duvall, Ivan De Jesus Jr, Ramon Cabrera^, Jake Cave, Jose Peraza^

Projected Rotation - Lefties*

  1. Anthony DeSclafani
  2. Raisel Iglesias
  3. Brandon Finnegan*
  4. Jon Moscot
  5. Alfredo Simon

Projected Bullpen

JJ Hoover - Closer, Jumbo Diaz, Blake Wood, Tony Cingrani*, Caleb Cotham, Chris O'Grady*, Keyvius Sampson

Starting season on DL

Homer Bailey

John Lamb*

Michael Lorenzen

Fantasy Bargain - Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall, Eugenio Suarez

There are several guys worth taking a look at late in fantasy drafts on the Reds. For Schebler and Duvall, please read the paragaraph about the outfield position battle. The other guy that is intriguing is Eugenio Suarez. First of all, Suarez is currently eligible at shortstop which is perennially the weakest fantasy position. Secondly, he will be playing third base this year, which means he will be getting eligibility at another position that is very scarce in 2016. Also, Suarez is only 24 years old and is a legitimately good hitting infielder, especially for a guy who might be considered a glove first guy. If you combine what he did in the minors and MLB last season, he actually hit over 20 home runs and had an OPS in the high .700's. Suarez should be amongst those who get the most at bats for the Reds this season due to good defense at multiple positions and he is absoultely worth owning on your fantasy roster in 2016.

Overrated Fantasy Option - Billy Hamilton

Remember a few years back when everyone couldn't wait to grab Billy on their fantasy team once the Reds finally decided to call him up? These feelings about Hamilton should have completely left your soul by now. It's clear that Billy only knows how to run. His hitting is so bad that the potential of him stealing every time he get's on base isn't even that tempting. He offers nothing in terms of power numbers and will likely ruin your avg or OBP stat category. He might be worth drafting outside of the top 200 if you are absolutely desperate for steals at that point, but that's about it. If you go in with that mindset, he will probably end up being someone elses problem.

Conclusion/Season Prediction

Overall, this team is in rebuild mode. It is expected that they will leave their remaining big pieces on the trade block all season in order to restock young talent in their farm system. Pile on top of that the fact that the three best teams in baseball could very well all be in their division and it could make for a long season in 2016 for the Reds. They might only be good for a win total in the mid-50's this year and will compete with the Milwaukee Brewers for last place in the NL Central.