The Cincinnati Reds are gearing up for the 2018 baseball season, as their pitchers and catchers prepare to report on February 13th. Last year the Reds were 68-94, good enough for dead last in the division and fourth worst in baseball. Along the bumpy road, they had some really good moments, and some really bad.
2018 Cincinnati Reds Season Preview
The Good: Scooter Gennett hit four homers in one game against the St. Louis Cardinals in June. The Reds total offense was in the top 15 all season long. Six hitters had 20+ homers on the season. The Reds have found their prospective ace, Luis Castillo.
The Bad: Other than Castillo, the rotation sucked. Posting the second worst staff in the league. The bullpen became very tired, very early. The Reds have a surplus in the outfield and have trouble finding good players playing time. Joey Votto was screwed out of the NL MVP.
Pitching Staff: One question the Reds must answer this year is how they’ll deal with the pitching staff. Last year the staff posted a 5.17 ERA, which was second worst in baseball. Cincinnati had sixteen different pitchers start a game last year. When healthy, the rotation is very solid. That ideal rotation for the Reds includes Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan and either Sal Romano or Robert Stephenson. With the starters already in place, if they stay healthy, the bullpen has been their main focus. Cincinnati went and signed Jared Hughes, a ground ball specialist reliever, from the Milwaukee Brewers. They also signed David Hernandez from the Diamondbacks.
Replacing SS Zack Cozart: Another huge question mark is who will take over for Zack Cozart. Cozart signed a three-year deal with the LA Angels to become their shortstop. The Reds losing Cozart puts them into a dilemma. Cincinnati is expected to have Jose Peraza take over responsibilities. They do have options at the position though. The Reds have a plethora of middle infielders in the minors who could also get a chance. Nick Senzel is the name that comes to most people’s minds. It will be interesting to see who the Reds trot out there on opening day.
Can the Offense Produce Like Last Year: Last year the Reds were a top-15 offense in the league. Everyone from the team, except Cozart, returns to the lineup. We expect the Reds to come close to those team totals from last year and could do it. Votto led every category on the team, but Duvall, Suarez, and Schebler proved to be nice offensive additions as well. Jose Peraza and Billy Hamilton provide steals, with 82 bags between them last year.
There are no signs pointing towards winning 81+ games. The Reds are predicted to finish dead last in the NL Central for the fourth straight year. The Reds definitely have potential, we’re just waiting for them to put the puzzle together completely because when they do, watch out.
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