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Welcome to the 2017 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I do mean everything, everybody. We’ve got line-ups, charts, numbers, projections, questionable questions, smarter answer, potent potables and well, that’s a lie. No potables here, but plenty of potent fantasy names brimming with potential. Now’s the time to be an eternal optimist for the next two months. I’ll be joined by Razzball newbie Zack Burgess in completing these this year (Welcome aboard, Zack!). So, we’ve got a team to preview and questions to ask. Let’s get after it!

We have a very special guest for this post, Nick Doran, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2017 holds for the Cincinnati Reds!

2017 Cincinnati Reds Depth Chart & Projections

Starting Lineup

Order Pos Player AB HR R RBI SB AVG OPS
1 CF Billy Hamilton 519 7 66 41 56 0.248 0.647
2 SS Zack Cozart 431 12 49 47 4 0.247 0.69
3 1B Joey Votto 510 87 23 78 6 0.288 0.905
4 RF Adam Duvall 485 26 60 76 5 0.233 0.739
5 LF Scott Schebler 396 17 48 56 5 0.252 0.752
6 3B Eugenio Suarez 495 18 57 65 8 0.248 0.726
7 C Devin Mesoraco 236 10 27 32 2 0.228 0.704
8 2B Jose Peraza 451 6 52 41 26 0.282 0.696

Bench

Pos Player AB HR R RBI SB AVG OPS
OF Desmond Jennings 290 9 35 35 6 0.243 0.721
C Tucker Barnhart 222 4 21 23 1 0.248 0.676
2B Dilson Herrera 205 7 22 25 5 0.258 0.724
MI/OF Arismendy Alcantara 154 4 17 17 7 0.232 0.660

Starting Rotation

Role Player IP W Saves K ERA WHIP K/9
1 Anthony DeSclafani 190 10 0 163 4.13 1.25 7.73
2 Brandon Finnegan 170 9 0 156 4.51 1.41 8.26
3 Homer Bailey 129 7 0 109 4.14 1.27 7.57
4 Robert Stephenson 116 6 0 109 4.73 1.46 8.41
5 Scott Feldman 102 5 0 72 4.39 1.33 6.34
6 Bronson Arroyo 93 4 0 56 4.77 1.33 5.46
7 Cody Reed 63 4 0 56 4 1.31 8.04

Bullpen

Role Player IP W Saves K ERA WHIP K/9
CL Raisel Iglesias 65 3 33 72 3.34 1.13 9.92
SU Drew Storen 65 3 4 62 3.71 1.21 8.54
SU Tony Cingrani 55 3 0 60 3.75 1.31 9.81
MID Jumbo Diaz 45 2 0 46 3.76 1.25 9.14
MID Austin Brice 53 3 0 49 4.21 1.36 8.25
MID Wandy Peralta 30 1 0 26 4.17 1.39 7.72
LR Blake Wood 40 2 0 44 3.56 1.3 9.81
LR Michael Lorenzen 55 3 0 51 3.77 1.26 8.34

Note: Projections provided by Steamer.

And now we specifically want to get to the specifics. So, let’s bring in Nick Doran from Red Leg Nation to give us the low down on the Reds in 2017.

Note: Some answers may be somewhat dated, so for any analysis or commentary that has changed, we’ve chosen to still include so as to add context to the overall post and also make sure the interviewee’s thoughtful responses aren’t wasted.

 

M@: Last season I couldn’t have been more pleased with the late round selection and cheap buy of Adam Duvall. I mean, .241/85/33/103/6 is basically Chris Davis 15 rounds later. However, the sweetness of those stats was soured a bit when his power cooled to 10 HR in the second half after 23 before the All-Star Break. There is a lot under the surface that is keeping me optimistic about Duvall for 2017 (he hit better on the road in ’16, had 5 triples and doubled his walk rate in second half). What are the chances we get 40 HR from Duvall this season, with an average of .260?

Nick Doran: Duvall’s power is totally legit. He mashes the baseball when he makes contact. 30-40 homers is a reasonable expectation for Duvall. The batting average is another story. He strikes out a LOT. He had a .241 batting average last year but I would expect that to drop this  year — likely into the .225 range. He doesn’t walk enough to help in on-base percentage leagues either. He is basically another Chris Carter type of player. Not exactly the type of guy that wins fantasy championships unless you get him really cheap, like you did last year when he snuck up on everybody. The cat is out of the bag now, so if you want him you are going to have to pay full price on draft day. He is 28 years old so I would not expect much in the way of production growth. He is a solid enough player to draft in the later rounds to fill out your roster, but not a guy I would be targeting as a key contributor to a good fantasy squad.

M@: The pitching staff is a wreck. Haha, I want to ask a question about them, but there’s just not much that’ fantasy relevant. Feel free to interject with a knowledge bomb that will blow us away, but if it’s alright, I want to shift to a name that I believe many should be targeting as a bench OF option during draft season: Jesse Winker. FanGraphs lists him as the #3 prospect in the system, but I’d argue he’s the top option to make a fantasy impact this season. He’s a toolsy player with an incredible hit tool, but that power sap last year is a big concern. I mean, it’s not often you see a top prospect post an OPS of .082 in 106 AAA games. So, what’s the story on Winker? Am I right in my belief in him as a fantasy asset? Is he more Nick Markakis, Chriatian Yelich or Gregor Blanco without the speed (yikes)?

Nick Doran: I agree that Winker has a chance to make an impact this year. He is ready for the major leagues and has the talent to have a long productive career. The Reds may not be in any rush to bring him to the majors and start his service time clock however. I would expect him to start the season in the minors for at least a few weeks. He will most likely be called up in early June, but it could be earlier if Scott Schebler struggles or if there is an injury to one of the starting outfielders.

I believe Winker is a much better prospect in real baseball than in fantasy. Some of the power drain can be blamed on wrist injuries Winker suffered the last couple of years. The .082 Isolated Power last year was a fluke. He hits the ball with authority but doesn’t have an uppercut swing. He is a line drive hitter but not a slap hitter. He has enough power to be a run producer. He walks as often as he strikes out. Projecting his stats in the majors, I would predict something like a .270 batting average with 15 home runs his first couple of seasons. As he approaches his prime I can see a .290 batting average with about 25 home runs at his peak. On-base percentage will be his best attribute, starting at about .360 and working up to .390 or even .400 occasionally. He will not help your team in the stolen base category.

Of the players you compared him to, I think Nick Markakis comes the closest — although I think Winker can be a little better. A normal season for Markakis has been a .290 batting average with 15 home runs, 80 runs scored and 70 RBI. The batting average and home runs are about right for Winker, but I think Jesse has a bit more upside in RBI. Markakis early in his career was a pretty good fantasy player to own but definitely not a star. In more recent seasons he has been barely rosterable for a good fantasy team — more like an injury replacement than a guy to count on as a starter at the beginning of a season. Winker is likely to be a fringe fantasy guy as well. He gains a lot of value in leagues that use on-base percentage instead of batting average. Sometimes power comes late to young hitters. If Winker develops more home run power he could be a star, but right now I wouldn’t bet a lot on that.

M@: Everyone loves getting an edge. As an expert on this team, give us some insider trading. Who is someone flying under the radar that will surprise us in 2017, making them an underrated option from Cincinnati?

Nick Doran: Scott Schebler tops the depth chart in right field. He has a .263 batting average with 12 home runs and 44 RBI in 257 at-bats over the last two seasons. He was the primary left fielder to start last season but got sent to the minors on May 8th after struggling to a .590 OPS. He crushed the ball for two months at Triple-A, batting .311/.370/.564 with 13 home runs. He was called back up to the majors in early August and put up an .818 OPS in 55 games. The 26-year-old is a sneaky play in the outfield for fantasy owners.

Devin Mesoraco is another guy flying under the radar. He missed the last two seasons with severe hip and shoulder injuries but is expected to be ready for Opening Day this year — at least that is what the Reds’ front office is saying.  His last health season was 2014, and he was a fantasy baseball beast that year — batting .273/.359/.534 with 25 home runs and 80 RBI in only 114 games. When healthy Mesoraco can be expected to pound the ball. If he returns to form he could be one of the top five catchers in fantasy baseball once again.

M@: Now on the flip side, who is someone on this roster that everyone may be targetting but is an overrated option just waiting to disappoint us?

Nick Doran: (Note: Nick answered this right before the Phillips’ trade) Jose Peraza is a player I would avoid on draft day. He hit .324/.352/.411 with 3 homers and 21 stolen bases in 72 games last year. The stolen bases are real and represent his best fantasy attribute. The batting average was inflated by a .361 BABIP and is going to drop quite a bit. He rarely walks and won’t help you in an OBP league. He has very little to no power. He has multi-position eligibility, qualifying at second base, shortstop and outfield. So that is a good thing. He will score some runs but is going to be a detriment in RBI. If he were to play a full season next year I would predict a .280 batting average with five home runs, 80 runs scored, 35 RBI and 35 stolen bases. Right now he does not project to be a starter in the early part of the season. He is currently blocked at all three of his positions. He is blocked by Brandon Phillips at second base, Zack Cozart at shortstop and Billy Hamilton in center field. Phillips and Cozart are on the trade block. Hamilton isn’t going anywhere but is prone to injury. The point being it is dangerous to spend an early fantasy draft pick on a player that may not even have a starting role. There is a chance Peraza could play some right field if Scott Schebler doesn’t work out, but he isn’t the type of slugger commonly deployed in that position.

M@: Let’s time travel. At the end of 2017 what will this team’s final record be, and how will we remember their year?

Nick Doran: The Reds went 68-94 last year and finished in last place in the NL Central. They won only 64 games in 2015. Prognosticators are not predicting much better for the team this year. I am a little more optimistic and will predict a 77-85 record and wouldn’t be surprised if they flirt with a .500 season. The young pitchers have another year of experience. Homer Bailey and Devin Mesoraco are back, although Bailey will miss the first 4-6 weeks due to minor elbow surgery. There are promising young hitters sprinkled all over the diamond. The bullpen couldn’t possibly be as awful as it was last year. I think we will remember this season as the one in which the Reds’ youth movement began to pay dividends.

 

NOW DROP THOSE COMMENTS! Thanks, Nick, for the incredible conversation about the Reds in 2017! Make sure to catch more of his writings at Red Leg Nation, and keep checking back. More 2017 Team Previews to come!

 
  1. jb's lover says:
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    hey bud just letting your know you got the HR and R slots mixed up in your table unless you do think vottos gonna hit 87 hrs but only score 23 times

    • M@

      M@ says:
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      @jb’s lover: Great catch! Ha! Sorry about that! We’re working to fix it now. I also have IP and W in the wrong column somehow.

      • M@

        M@ says:
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        @M@: But ehat if he DID hit 87 HR, haha!

        Side note, what’s it like being JB’s lover?

      • I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor, and $6,000 for you to go bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail says:
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        @M@: and did the “.082 OPS” actually stand for ISO or OPS?

  2. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    How old is this interview? Phillips is gone and I’m going balls deep in Peraza because of that. Other than that, well done, keep up the good work.

    • M@

      M@ says:
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      @TobiasFunkeAnalRapist: Thanks to the comment horrible commenter name. We interviewed Nick almost two weeks ago, literally the day before the Phillips trade. We omitted some other Phillips things, but decided to leave that pry because it pertains to Peraza. Read through the confusion and extract the advice in there.

      Thanks for reading!

      • TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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        @M@: You must now be an arrested development fan…. Poor guy.

        • M@

          M@ says:
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          @TobiasFunkeAnalRapist: Haha haven’t watched them, but know it sunny. Respect level elevated.

          • TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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            @M@: I meant “not an arrested development fan” Doh! Seriously though, if you have time check it out, one of the most brilliant shows out there. The new netflix-made season is only decent though, the originals were amazing though. Always sunny is amazing and it’s new season has been phenomenal.

            • M@

              M@ says:
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              @TobiasFunkeAnalRapist: I was with you. And I’ve heard incredible things about it. Don’t know why I never got into it…

              • I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor, and $6,000 for you to go bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail says:
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                @M@: sunny’s newest season surprisingly weird and better and more consistent than some of their more recent seasons. DEF watch AD, arguably best sitcom ever.

  3. Jim Wiser says:
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    This stuff is so outdated. Phillips was traded away!

    • M@

      M@ says:
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      @Jim Wiser: I think aware of that Jim. We took out all other Phillips references, but kept that piece in with Peraza because it pertains to his fantasy value. Him being blocked was the big deterrent. Sorry for any confusion. Hope you were able to get something out of the other 1200 words.

      • I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor, and $6,000 for you to go bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail says:
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        @M@: ok, i get it that you’ve made these posts before trades happened, but i still don’t see why something like just removing parts like this aren’t done before you post it, it would save you much explaining later:

        “Right now he does not project to be a starter in the early part of the season. He is currently blocked at all three of his positions. He is blocked by Brandon Phillips at second base, Zack Cozart at shortstop and Billy Hamilton in center field. Phillips and Cozart are on the trade block. Hamilton isn’t going anywhere but is prone to injury. The point being it is dangerous to spend an early fantasy draft pick on a player that may not even have a starting role”

        unless this is some sort of situation where they are written, sent to razzball, and then you have no way to edit them after that, and they get put up later (in some cases weeks later like with the s-rod thing)

        • M@

          M@ says:
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          @I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor, and $6,000 for you to go bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail: Rather than take away any more of the interview, we decided to leave Nick’s comments in there. We already removed one question because it was all about Phillips. And if we remove the sentence it shifts his entire argument. My hope is that you can still read between the lines for context. Yes, Phillips is gone, and he was a roadblock, so now Peraza may have an opportunity to produce with a lot of at bats.

          The questions are written, sent to the other writer, sent back to me, then the article is compiled and submitted, and, in this case, about a week later it was posted due to our schedule for posting.

  4. Noam says:
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    Hey M@! Thanks for the great work.

    I’ve got a question for you. Would you trade Chris Archer for Ian Desmond in a Dynasty league?

    I worry that dealing Archer might weaken my pitching too much…
    Thanks for the help!

    16 Team Dynasty CBS, Roto 6×6 (R, HR, RBI, SB, BA, OPS – IP, SO, ERA, WHIP, Net Wins, SV+HD) — Weekly Lineup Lock —
    Team:
    C: C. Rupp
    1B: M. Cabrera
    2B: J. Altuve
    3B: J. Donaldson
    SS: J. Villar
    MI: J. Schoop
    CI: T. Frazier
    OF: C. Beltran
    OF: M. Kepler
    OF: G. Springer
    OF: J. Upton
    U: B. Belt
    U: L. Duda
    Bench: T. Shaw
    Bench: D. Span
    Bench: S. Souza

    Pitchers, I can start 9 pitchers per week (no designation between SP and RP)
    SP: C. Archer, K. Hendricks, D. Salazar, J. Lackey, G. Cole, JA Happ, J. Hellickson, S. Lugo, T. Roark, C. Kuhl, C. Buchholz, H. Ryu
    RP: J. Familia, K. Herrera

    • M@

      M@ says:
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      @Noam: Well, good news is that your team is stacked. Well done on forming that squad.

      I have the Top 100 Keepers coming out soon, and Desmond is higher than Archer. I always value hitters over pitchers, and any chance to get move a P for a H I lean that way. That’s in a vacuum, though. I’d prefer Desmond, and don’t think you’ll cripple your team if you do that. Make sure you’re comfortable with it tho.

      Pitchers are easier to find than top 20 hitters.

  5. John Spoonserelli says:
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    keeper league Schwarber or a Cargo??

    • M@

      M@ says:
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      @John Spoonserelli: CarGo. I’m not riding that Schwarber train quite yet.

  6. Jonathan says:
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    dynasty keeper league- is it worth trading peraza and arrieta for cano? trying to win this year. other pitchers are yu, carassco, kubler

    what are perazas numbers now he has a free shot?

    • M@

      M@ says:
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      @Jonathan: I actually have Arrietta slightly ahead of Cano in Keeper ranks. I view them as the next three years instead of a longer period. So, I’d probably hold on Arrieta and instead try to move Carrasco with Pedraza for him. Needless to say, I’m not opposed to moving on Peraza if you’re competing this year.

      Pedraza has the free shot, but don’t be surprised if Dilson Herrera is really the one that takes the majority of the opportunity as the season wears on.

      Let’s call Peraza .280/70/5/35/35. Valuable, but nothing special beyond the steals.

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