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Cincinnati Reds 2019 Fantasy Projections – Questions Abound in the Queen City
Cincinnati Reds fans will want to purchase a program the first time they see their team in 2019. Of all the teams in baseball, Cincinnati may have the most new faces of any. Much of last season's fire sale approach was thought to carve off salary.
However, then the Reds' retooled during the off-season with a few of baseball's more pricey, misfit veterans. As the first team in baseball celebrates their 150th season, they are trying to avoid a fifth straight fifth place finish in the NL Central division.
Fifth place equals last place for those who aren't familiar with the MLB divisional layout. Management's primary goal appears to reverse what was the fourth worst drop in fan attendance in baseball. Here's a look back at 2018, plus a fantasy preview of the new-look Reds in 2019.
Cincinnati Reds 2018 Recap
The Reds started by winning only three times during their first 18 games. It earned manager Bryan Price his pink slip. Veteran dugout guru Jim Riggleman was hired to try to right the ship. Riggleman will start the season fresh, working for his fifth different club as manager.
In 2018, the Reds were unable to compete with the strong teams in their own division. It resulted in them ending up 24 games under .500 against the NL Central. At 67 wins, they were third worst in the National League.
The last time the Reds didn't finish last in the division was in 2014. That year they finished next to last. Since then, the Cubs have not only passed Cincinnati in the standings, Chicago added their first world championship in over a century.
When you're 25th in runs allowed per game, but only 18th in run production offensively, you're going to lose more frequently than you win. It seems like a long time since Cincinnati won 97 games in 2012.
2019 Fantasy Pitchers Projections – The Best Cincinnati Pitchers
Reds pitchers fell into the bottom third of baseball according to overall pitcher rankings. They gave up far too many earned runs, and more than their share of home runs. Sure, playing at the Great American Ballpark hurts home run stats, but Reds hurlers served up more long balls than pitchers throwing in far more home run friendly venues.
They might improve slightly in the pitching department, but there are still big question marks. They have three new faces from the third through the fifth spots in the rotation. Sonny Gray was a surprise addition, and Tanner Roark is a once highly-regard prospect. The third new face is former Dodger Alex Wood.
While they all could perform marvelous and help the Reds make an immediate turnaround, recent statistical history says fantasy owners should temper expectations. Luis Castillo is regarded as the safest Red pitcher for fantasy purposes, after Wood.
However, the pitcher with the most intrigue is Anthony DeScalfani. DeScalfani hasn't been able to dodge the injury bug, so keep health in mind when taking a flier on him. He does have a ton of talent. DeScalfani made the 2015 NL all-rookie team, and has a career WHIP below 1.00. This indicates he can get MLB hitters out if he can stay on the field.
2019 Fantasy Hitter Projections – The Best Red Leg Bats
For fantasy purposes, bats are where it's at when talking about the Red Legs. Half of the lineups games will be at one of the top hitter's parks in baseball. This helps add appeal to middle-round type of fantasy talent such as Tucker Barnhart and Scott Schebler.
Joey Votto is a veteran, albeit part of a talented field of fantasy first basemen. Scooter Gennett is a likable player at a weaker hitting second base spot. Gennett will probably bat fifth with Votto hit third. In between them is the Reds most intriguing hitter. Eugenio Suarez jumped onto the scene in 2018.
The Red's third baseman hit 34 home runs and knocked 104 across the plate. This year he will have Jose Peraza leading off again and playing shortstop, but another new face in Cincinnati is slated to hit second. Yasiel Puig and all his animation could be a key to how good Cincinnati is as a run scoring team.
If you're looking for worth in dynasty leagues, Nick Senzel was stuck behind Suarez at third base, but not any longer. Senzel will try to shift to the outfield. He is the Reds top prospect, so something had to give at third base. He is too good to leave in the minor leagues any longer, and Suarez is too good to trade.
Fantasy Rank for the Cincinnati Reds
The Reds have three new arms to fill up their starting rotation. All three have been productive at points during their careers, but none has pitched half their starts at the Great American Ballpark either. Pitching and defensive performance will be huge for Reds hurlers to realize any type of consistent fantasy value.
The batting order will always have appeal because of the home park opportunities. This lineup may have even more potential because of the possibility for talent finally equally lofty expectations. The Reds have put together a lineup of good hitters all hitting in a good hitters' ballpark.
The Bottom Line for the Red Legs
Probably no team in baseball has a wider range of possible outcomes than the Reds. Some feel they have enough talent to be the surprise contender in the National League. There are others with more tempered expectations, who figure they'll be good enough to get out of the Central Division basement, but not much more.