Cincinnati Reds 2019: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

How will things shape up in the NL Central?

The year 2019 marks the sesquicentennial of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional (i.e., salaried) team in baseball history. In celebration, Reds players will wear commemorative patches on their jerseys and caps throughout the 2019 season. The team will also feature 15 throwback uniforms on various home dates. The 1869 Red Stockings, playing amateur teams from coast to coast, went 67–0.


Ironically, the Reds are coming off a season in which they exactly matched the 1869 team’s total of 67 wins. Unfortunately, the 2018 edition played 95 other games, finishing last in the National League Central for the fourth straight year. 


The offseason focus has been to improve a perennially weak pitching staff that has, more than the offense, kept the team in the cellar. A blockbuster trade sending prospects and the disappointing Homer Bailey to the Dodgers for Alex Wood, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig strengthens the team, though probably not enough to avert another losing season. But with a new manager and young arms moving up the farm system, better days could lie ahead.

 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Reds

Baltimore Orioles logo“The division is so competitive that it’ll be tough for the Reds to make headway, but new manager David Bell has some talent to work with, and it’s nice to know that they’re trying again. Tanner Roark will stabilize the rotation with Anthony DeSclafani, and maybe the new pitching coach, Derek Johnson, can help Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle throw more strikes; they both seemed too timid to me last year. They’ve got a solid endgame with David Hernandez, Jared Hughes and Raisel Iglesias, so there’s hope — and we know this team can hit. Joey Votto can always get on base, but hopefully the new coaching staff can help him snap out of his funk. Their real star is Eugenio Suarez, a really smart hitter who knows when to shorten up and when to drive the ball, and has turned himself from a sieve at third base to one of the league’s best defenders at that position. They’re strong up the middle with Jose Peraza and Scooter Gennett, and I’d keep an eye on Jesse Winker as a breakout candidate in the outfield.”


Beyond the Box Score

Losing Interest Attendance at Reds home games fell from 1.84 million in 2017 to 1.63 million in 2018. The decline of over 200,000 was the fourth steepest in the National League (after Miami, Pittsburgh and New York) and left the Reds with the third-lowest attendance in the league. In 2013, the Reds drew 2.5 million fans, the fifth-most in franchise history. The gate has declined every year since.


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Climbing the Ladder Assuming that he has a healthy season, Joey Votto is likely to end 2019 ranked seventh all time among Reds batters in games played, plate appearances and hits; sixth in runs scored and driven in; fifth in total bases; third in doubles; and second in walks. The only players ahead of him on these rankings are 19th century player Bid McPhee, Frank Robinson, Barry Larkin and various members of the Big Red Machine.


Losing the Cup at Home The Reds won the first two games of the season against the Indians in Cleveland on July 9 and 10. They lost the next game 19–4 and dropped three straight at home in August by scores of 10–3, 8–1 and 4–3. The last time they won the Ohio Cup was in 2014, though the teams tied at two in 2017.


Going Out at the Bottom For Jim Riggleman, who replaced manager Bryan Price after a disastrous 3–15 start, Cincinnati was the fifth team on his resume. In eight full and five partial seasons, his teams went 726–904. Among 82 managers who managed at least 1,500 games since 1900, his .445 winning percentage ranks last.
Bloodlines New manager David Bell is the grandson of Gus Bell (Reds outfielder, 1953-61) and the son of Buddy Bell (Reds third baseman, 1985-88). He was hired for his first major league managerial stint by Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams, son of Reds chairman Joseph Williams Jr. and nephew of Reds vice chairman and treasurer Tom Williams.


Beating the Taxman In November, the Ohio Supreme Court gave the Reds a favorable ruling. The Ohio Department of Taxation had claimed that the Reds owed taxes for bobbleheads and other promotional items given out at games between 2008 and 2010. The state Supreme Court ruled that the price of promotional items is included in the price of tickets, on which the team already pays taxes. The ruling saved the team $88,000 in back taxes.


Projected Lineup

 

LINEUP

SS  Jose Peraza (R)
RF  Yasiel Puig (R)
1B  Joey Votto (L)
3B  Eugenio Suarez (R)
2B  Scooter Gennett (L)
LF  Scott Schebler (L)
CF  Nick Senzel (R)
C   Tucker Barnhart (B)

 

BENCH

INF  Alex Blandino (R)
C     Curt Casali (R)
OF   Phillip Ervin (R)
OF   Jessie Winker (L)
OF   Matt Kemp (R)

 

ROTATION

RHP  Luis Castillo
RHP  Anthony DeSclafani

RHP  Sonny Gray

RHP  Tanner Roark
LHP  Alex Wood

 

BULLPEN

RHP  Raisel Iglesias (C)
RHP  David Hernandez
RHP  Jared Hughes
LHP  Amir Garrett
LHP  Wandy Peralta
RHP  Matt Wisler
RHP  Michael Lorenzen

 

2019 PREDICTION

4th NL Central 

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