2018 Reds: They Have Plenty of Pop but Suspect Pitching

Mark Lathrop

Monday, March 5, 2018 9:43 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 5, 2018 9:43 PM UTC

The Cincinnati Reds had a few breakout offensive performers in 2017, but will their rotation hold enough water for them to overperform expectations in 2018?

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we will take a look at the Cincinnati Reds out of the NL Central. In my sabermetrics win-total model for 2017, the Reds were the only 'Over' call to fail to reach their intended mark, as they fell short of their 70.5-win futures wager with a 68-win season. The futures markets think that the Reds have improved in 2018 and have set a win total at 73.5 at books such as Bovada.

Pitching Staff

The Cincinnati pitching staff is blessed with one of the best closers in baseball, and even though he doesn’t get a lot of chances Raisel Iglesias should be one of the most valuable relievers in the game again in 2018. Iglesias saved only 28 games in 2017 but put up a 2.70 FIP and 10.89 K/9 in the process, along with accruing 1.8 WAR. His value is expected to take a bit of a step back in 2018 according to projection models, but I don’t buy it. As long as he limits the long ball, he will be a very valuable late-innings reliever. The starting rotation is a bit of a mystery for the Reds, however, with one of my favorite fade candidates looking to stay healthy in Homer Bailey. He’s far removed from his 4.1 WAR 2013 campaign and looks to limit his nasty walk rate in 2018. Another injury risk is Anthony DeSclafani, who’s name sounds more like a brand of dandruff shampoo than MLB pitcher.

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Oh no he didn't! 😲 #RedsST pic.twitter.com/obrovG47gV

— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 5, 2018


Joey Votto. For the sake of filling this article I will elaborate on the rest of the lineup for the Cincinnati Reds. Scooter Gennett is as risky as it gets for guaranteeing a repeat performance, as the diminutive second baseman exploded for 27 home runs in 2017 after not finishing a season with more than 14 prior. Gennett pulled the ball often, and with increases in hard-hit and fly-ball percentages the home runs were easy to follow. Another breakout home-run batter in 2017 was Scott Schebler, who connected for 30 bombs in 2017 while getting full time at-bats in right field. Schebler had that kind of power in the low minors, so his performance doesn’t look like an outlier on the back of a baseball card. He’ll have to repeat that performance and then some for the Reds to catch lightning in a bottle in 2018.

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

Eugenio Suarez had a breakout season for the Reds in 2017 while putting up 26 HRs and a 4.1 WAR. His drastic increase in walks was just one of the reasons that he was so valuable to Cincinnati, but his durability was a close second. Suarez started 156 games a year after starting 159 in 2016. If his hitting trends continue, Suarez is a star in the making to compliment the consistent excellence of Votto and to give the Reds a chance to overperform the market in 2018.

Current Win Total: 73.5Best Line Offered: Bovada
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