2016 Cincinnati Reds Preview, Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep

BY foxsports • February 24, 2016

I’m based out of Cincinnati. I grew up in Cleveland, am an Indians fan and believe it’s still The Jake. However, the Reds stunk last year and will probably skunk it up again in 2016. Perceived bias aside, Reds fans are preparing for the worst, too, following a 64-98 campaign.

I was recently at a local sports memorabilia show and two old timers in the hallway were chatting. The conversation quickly hit on the most popular question of the season “Bob, how many games are the Reds going to win this season?” With little hesitation, his buddy answered “60” in an Eeyore-approved tone.

Wins and losses, bottom-five offense and staff ERA from 2015 aside, fantasy owners still have options on the Reds roster.

ALSO SEE: TEAM PREVIEWS ARCHIVE

In case you missed my National League Did You Know fantasy baseball notes on the Reds, here ya go:

-          Billy Hamilton stole 57 bases in 2015. Imagine if he improved upon his .274 OBP

-          Raisel Iglesias posted a 9.82 K/9 with a 3.28 xFIP compared to 4.15 ERA in 2015 makes him an intriguing option for 2016

-          If Brandon Phillips is moved, keep tabs on Jose Peraza. He stole 64 bases in 2013 (Single A), 60 bases in 2014 (High-A, Double-A) and 33 stolen bases in 2015.

-          Anthony DeSclafani was a little unlucky in 2015. He picked up 17 quality starts, but only “earned” nine wins in 31 starts.

Key Additions: Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler, Eric Jagielo

Key Losses: Johnny Cueto (yes, I’m counting 2015 trades), Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier

Projected Lineup

1. Billy Hamilton

2. Zack Cozart

3. Joey Votto

4. Brandon Phillips

5. Jay Bruce

6. Devin Mesoraco

7. Scott Schebler

8. Eugenio Suarez

Dee Gordon stole 58 bases in 145 games (1st) … Charlie Blackmon 43 in 157 … A.J. Pollock 39 in 157 … Jose Altuve 38 in 154 … Hamilton stole 57 bases in 114 games … he also owned the highest fly ball rate among SB leaders in 2015 (37.8 percent) … needs to get ball down … Cozart’s pop at the plate provides him as an intriguing flier at middle infield this season … he stole 30 bases in 2010 (AAA) – but no sign of speed any other year within the Reds’ system … for the third time since 2010, Votto led MLB in walk-rate in 2015 (20.6 percent) …  his 29 homers were the most in a season for him since 2011 … at the age of 33, Phillips swiped 20+ bases for the first time since 2009 … still like him for a discounted second base option … 10 HR / 15 with solid average, you could do worse … Jay Bruce has yet to be traded as of publication (2/24/16) … but could change by the time I finish typing this sentence … at his best, Bruce is a .250 hitter and his BABIP the past two seasons have been well off career norms (unlucky) … you continue to pay for the power come draft day, but don’t scoff at the potential for eight to 10 stolen bases, too … Devin Mesoraco was relatively healthy in 2014 … don’t forget the production ..

The Reds have been searching for a left fielder for years … could Schebler be the answer in hitter friendly Great American? … strong minor league power numbers in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League … but he also possesses a little speed which ups the ante … strikeout rate higher than one would wish for … despite sliding over to 3B to replace Todd Frazier, Suarez projects to hit double-digit homers with shortstop eligibility … hard to ignore … just expect K-rate north of 20 percent

Projected Rotation

1.       Anthony DeSclafani

2.       Raisel Iglesias

3.       Michael Lorenzen

4.       Brandon Finnegan

5.       Jon Moscot

With expectations of 60’ish wins for the Reds in 2016, owners targeting Cincinnati starters need look to the four other pitcher categories for production … DeSclafani’s 8.40 K/9 rate in August and 9.61 in September is a good place to start … Iglesias’ note above is good info … Lorenzen pitched well in the first half of 2015, but posted an ERA well north of 8.00 in July and August before he was moved to the bullpen … part of the Cueto deal, Finnegan has a historically fantasy friendly K/9 rate owner should look at, but not go nuts with a higher-than-appreciated ERA and WHIP … Homer Bailey is expected back around mid-May (after he turns 30 years old) following Tommy John surgery

Top Prospects

Robert Stephenson, SP – chance he makes roster out of spring training … only 23 years old, has minor league track record of K/9 rate above 9.00 … Reds first round pick in 2011

Eric Jagielo, 3B – part of the Aroldis Chapman trade, Jagielo has shown some good power in minors, but has to improve strikeout rate before the promotion comes …

Jesse Winker, OF – should the Schebler experiment bomb, Reds could look to Winker sooner rather than later … scouting reports all laud the 22 year old for his hitting … the good news his K-rate dropped to 15.8 percent in 123 Double-A games last season

ALSO SEE: TEAM PREVIEWS ARCHIVE



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