Welcome to the 2016 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 mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Wick Terrell, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Cincinnati Reds!

2016 Cincinnati Reds Depth Chart & Projections

Starting Lineup

Order Pos Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG
1 CF Billy Hamilton 540 65 7 44 61 0.25
2 2B Brandon Phillips 533 57 12 58 10 0.266
3 1B Joey Votto 496 84 21 73 7 0.283
4 RF Jay Bruce 530 65 24 76 8 0.235
5 LF Adam Duvall 320 39 18 49 2 0.243
6 CF Devin Mesoraco 399 48 17 56 3 0.243
7 3B Eugenio Suarez 417 46 14 51 6 0.254
8 SS Zack Cozart 460 45 10 48 6 0.245


SS/2B Jose Peraza 211 21 2 20 12 0.275
OF Scott Schebler 206 23 8 25 4 0.231
IF Ivan De Jesus 120 12 2 11 1 0.248
C Tucker Barnhart 118 11 2 11 1 0.237
OF Jake Cave 104 9 1 9 2 0.244

Starting Rotation

Role Player W SV IP K ERA WHIP
1 Homer Bailey* 7 0 125 100 3.93 1.27
2 Anthony DeSclafani 10 0 188 154 4.02 1.27
3 Raisel Iglesias 10 0 175 171 3.57 1.2
4 John Lamb 7 0 126 121 3.81 1.27
5 Michael Lorenzen 8 0 154 118 4.63 1.42
6 Brandon Finnegan 6 0 116 115 3.75 1.32

*Recovering from Tommy John surgery 05/08/15


Role Player W SV IP K ERA WHIP
CL J.J. Hoover 3 26 65 63 3.82 1.32
SU Tony Cingrani 3 6 65 75 3.23 1.23
SU Robert Stephenson 2 0 37 36 4.12 1.37
MID Carlos Contreras 2 2 55 55 4.23 1.43
MID Jumbo Diaz 3 3 55 60 3.2 1.16
MID Caleb Cotham 2 0 40 36 3.65 1.24
LR Blake Wood 2 1 45 51 3.5 1.28
LR Stephen Johnson 2 0 35 35 3.9 1.36
LR Keyvius Sampson 1 0 26 22 4.58 1.47
LR Chris O’Grady 1 0 30 27 3.5 1.25

Note: Projections provided by Steamer.


And now we specifically want to get to the specifics. So, let’s bring in Wick Terrell from  Red Reporter to give us the low down on Cincinnati in 2016.

2015 ended in disappointment for the Reds. After bringing some promise into the season, injuries played a large role in the demise of the record, but some bad play sure didn’t help. While the resurgence of Joey Votto, the rise of Todd Frazier, and the resurrection of Brandon Phillips were certainly welcome additions to the 2015 squad, the regression of Billy Hamilton sapped the greater potential for the lineup. Arguably the fastest player in the Majors, Hamilton is a bit of an enigma in fantasy. In 150 less ABs than the year before, Billy stole 57 bases in 2015, but his AVG dropped from .250 (manageable) to .226 (unownable). Can Hamilton rebound in 2016 to numbers greater than 2014? Or…can he just not hit?

Wick TerrellWatching Billy both tantalize and disappoint has been one of the larger frustrations around the Reds for the better part of the last two years.  However, I do still think there’s potential for a rebound, one large enough that would make him not just a manageable player to have on rosters, but a pertinent one.  For one, his .264 BABIP (just .255 hitting LH) seems like it should rebound even given how softly he hits the ball (it was a more reasonable .304 in his 2014 season), since his speed should augment that number in a spike season at some point.  Also, he was a much more efficient base stealer in 2015 (88%), and that should give him a green light every chance he wants.  A shoulder injury sapped him of the final month of the season, so a healthy year paired with a nominal BABIP rebound and sustained consistency in base stealing could very well see him hit .265/.305/.370 with 65-75 steals.  Great? No, but undeniably valuable.

That would be a monster season in fantasy for Hamilton, especially because an average that high with that many SBs would lead to a sizable increase in runs, too. Knocking him in? The aforementioned Joey Votto. Not gonna lie…I didn’t think he had that pop in his bat still, but perhaps a change in perception is needed. He molly-whopped 29 HR in 2015, the most since 2011, effectively jumping his ISO back up from .186 in 2013 to .228. That mark in his ISO last year was closer to the mean of his career. Already one of the best OBP guys in baseball (take note in OBP leagues!) with perhaps the best eye in the game, do you foresee another MVP-level performance from Votto in 2016?

Wick TerrellOn one leg in 2014, Joey Votto posted a .390 OBP. On one healthy leg and one clearly struggling from the lingering effects of meniscus surgery the year before, Joey Votto led the majors in walks, led the NL in OBP at .435, and finished 6th for the NL MVP in 2015. That’s what he does when he’s hurt. And, obviously, when he’s healthy he’s far better than that.

In today’s game, a full season with an OBP that begins with ‘4’ will absolutely be an MVP candidate, and a full season of Votto will get you that in his sleep. It’s doubtful his HR/FB% stays spiked over 21% like it did in 2015, though, and a return back to his career average around 17-18% would likely suppress his ISO a bit too. Couple that with the absence of Todd Frazier, the likely departure of Jay Bruce, and a question mark in Devin Mesoraco (more on that in a sec!), and the likelihood that he sees gobs of hittable pitches in 2016 has diminished, too.  The dingers may fall back to the 20-25 range, but I expect the rate stats to still be rather otherworldly (and the walk numbers to reach Bondsian-level).

You mentioned it, so now let’s highlight him: What to make of Devin Mesoraco? Dude has serious pop in his bat, which is so valuable at the Catcher position, but he’s yet t put together more than 440 Abs in a season. After bombing 25 HR in 2014, the hip injury kept him to a whopping total of ZERO in 2015. Huge bust for owners that drafted him. All reports say he’s fully healthy with no setbacks, but I’m very cautious to approach him this season. Should I stay away, or take advantage of the potential rebound season coming his way?

Wick TerrellAll the current reports say that he feels good and is on-track for the bulk of the catching duties in 2016, yet the Reds are easing him in to Cactus League play so far.  The reports last year also said he wouldn’t need surgery (which he eventually did) and that trying him in LF temporarily to get his bat back in the lineup wouldn’t further injure him (though it did), so who really knows at this point?

After his 25 dinger season (and freshly off his 4 year, $28 million extension) there was talk of him being a Salvador Perez-ish 140 game a season catcher.  That’s been scaled back, though I still anticipate him being in for 120 games if his hip proves healthy.  Even if that’s the case, much of his breakout 2014 came in a ridiculous April (1.297 OPS), after which he settled in with a solid, yet non-MVP worthy, .837 OPS rest of the year.  If healthy, he’s the latter, not the superfreak we saw in April 2014, but the power is real and GABP should augment that.  I’m crossing my fingers with Mes, but I do see a solid season ahead of him.

Another super freak in his rookie campaign was Raisel Iglesias last year. He was one of the under the radar studs in the second-half of 2015, and compiled a nasty 9.82 K/9 and a healthy 1.14 WHIP. The inflated 4.15 ERA? We won’t worry about that little guy. In a pool of SP deeper than the one needed to pull off the Harlem Shake, I’m high on Iglesias this year (And yes, I just brought back the Harlem Shake. My bad?) To make up for that momentary lapse in judgement, we’ll just focus on someone I do want to bring back: Iglesias. Should we believe his hype in 2016?

Wick TerrellI’m a believer in Raisel’s ceiling being way, way up there.  He K’d 10 or more batters in three straight games in August-September, in the process becoming the first Reds pitcher of any kind to do that in the modern era, as well as the first MLB rookie to do so since Hideo Nomo.  That, a 3.28 xFIP, a 1.14 WHIP, and more arm angles than the best ultimate frisbee player all have me seriously excited about him being a Red for a very long time.

What doesn’t have me so excited for him from a fantasy perspective is the shoulder fatigue that both ended his season and has him being held back a bit in spring training, though I do think that’s largely precautionary.  He threw just 124.1 innings between MLB and AAA last year, so a jump to making a full slate of 33 starts in the big leagues in 2016 seems firmly out of the realm of possibility, especially when you consider that he was largely a reliever in Cuba, didn’t pitch at all in 2013, and threw just 7 Arizona Fall League innings for his entire 2014 output.  They’ll have kid gloves on him, and that’ll limit his quantity of production, but when he’s on the mound he’s a must-own player capable of dominant, K-fueled outings.

Sounds sexy, to say the least. He’s a boon for the ratios. But he’s not the only one on the Reds roster. A few years back I targeted one of them, Robert Stephenson, in many a keeper league. He had incredible peripherals and seemed poised to take a spot in the rotation soon. However, according to the Reds MLB site, Stephenson may be in line for the closer role, despite Steamer giving the job to J.J. Hoover. Oh, then there’s the always frustrating Tony Cingrani? Sweet mercy, can you sort out the post-Aroldis Chapman clustereff? Who is the best candidate to close in Cincy this year?

Wick TerrellIf Robert Stephenson ends up the closer in 2016, I’ll eat my hat.  All of my hats, not just the Reds ones.  He’s a future rotation cog…they’re just being very, very patient with him (partly because I think they realize they should’ve been with Homer Bailey in his development).

As for the closer’s role, I think it’s Hoover’s to lose, if for no other reason than he’s the only guy in the bullpen making more than league minimum and the Reds seem to always have that factor in to bullpen hierarchy.  Hoover’s K/9 dipped last year, but it’s been at closer-level in year’s past, and his overall results in 2015 were back in line with the solid production he displayed in 2013.  Should he falter, Cingrani may get a look, but his shoulder issues have meant he’s not been very dependable, which is something I think the Reds’ brass values almost as much as talent.  Honestly, if Hoover can’t get the job done, I think the ‘closer’ title would fall to Jumbo Diaz and his 99 mph fastball.  Of course, I don’t imagine the Reds having a ton of save opportunities in 2016 either way!

Haha, unfortunately I probably agree with that. Awesome feedback! I appreciate the insight, and thanks for the conversation about the Cincinnati Reds in 2016! Make sure to catch more of Wick’s writings at Red Reporter and keep checking back! More 2016 Team Previews to come!

  1. danny almonte says:

    When is Winker coming?

  2. Mike says:

    Dynasty league..

    Trade my Strasburg (3) for Lindor (14)?

    My staff is pretty stacked. Arrieta, Scherzer, Carrasco,Noah,Salazar,JoFer

    • @Mike: In a standard 5×5, yes. Looks like there are a lot of keepers, so while he may not last until the 3rd again, the value of Lindor (an arguable top 5 SS) in the 14th far outweighs the stellar season Stras may produce. Your staff is crazy. Have fun with them. Take Lindor.

  3. thorbs says:

    Great stuff!

    Do you think Peraza is getting 450 AB all over the field this year? What do you think of his upside?

    Similarly, Cody Reed has looked alternatingly filthy and raw (phrasing!)…when do we see him come up, and what do you think of him short/longterm?

    • @thorbs: While 450 may sound like a stretch, with the way this team is constructed it wouldn’t surprise me to see him get there. He can really fly, and makes a TON of contact, so if the plate appearances rack up the volume of his counting stats could be a great asset relative to how much it will cost you to get him in drafts.

      Supposedly Reed gets a shot in ST at a rotation spot, but I find it unlikely. He wasn’t good his first two seasons in the minors, but performed really well last year at A+ and AA with the Royals and Reds. He may be a summer/September call-up, but I’d bet more on the side of starting 2017 in the rotation.

      • Thorbs says:

        @[email protected]: ah, the reason I asked was that I’ve been offered Peraza for Reed in a dynasty league. It’s 10×10 so a burner with no pop isn’t quite as valuable, but I generally prefer to bet on bats over arms. Would you pull the trigger?

        • @Thorbs: I’d keep Peraza. Still has a solid ceiling, just needs the opportunity to see if he can prove it. That’s without knowing the 10×10 cats.

  4. Mike says:

    I would have Zack Weiss as my closer.

    • @Mike: Why you project him to take the ball in the 9th? He may end up there, but to start the season, and for drafting purposes, Hoover is the one to target.

    • Beware the Shit Rope says:

      @Mike: don’t even touch weiss in a league less than 20 teams, and even there only if you have good amount of RP slots. i say this for preseason purposes, once he’s actually called up it could be a different story. if you are in some kind of experts league or long term dynasty with huge farms this could be a different story as well. he’s probably already owned in those though.

  5. Sugarloaf Mountain says:

    Russell $4 for Kluber $4. I think Kluber side. Your thoughts?

    • @Sugarloaf Mountain: You know how in poker, when you flop the nuts, then you go heads up with someone who says, ‘All In’, and you can’t say ‘CALL’ fast enough? Like you want to say Call before they even get the words out?

      That’s how fast I would take Kluber over Russell.


      • Sugarloaf Mountain says:

        @[email protected]: thanks for the advice! He proposed Kluber to me saying if you accept this I feel like I’m getting ripped off. It seemed to good to be true so I accepted and ripped him off. Lol

  6. Wayne Lackey says:

    Well I guess Winker is no longer considered to be in left this year for the Reds. IF Hamilton falters will the Reds take a long look at Winker for the CF job? Since the Reds received very little in the Frazier or Chapman trade when will Peraza get his chance? Let’s sat Cozart can’t make a comeback will Suarez go to SS and let Peraza take over 3rd. Reds fans IF Hamilton can regroup play and hit like the people have suggested, Peraza can handle 3rd and hit, with him and Hamilton at the top of the order can you imagine how much havoc these rwo could do to the opposing pitcher. Plus Votto could get his 100 RBI’S going yearly. Reds have to hit, the young pitching staff have got to grow old fast..then it’s GO REDS!!!!

  7. For an Armenianless vacation come to Akron says:

    ok, these bullpens have been pretty screwy when there’s such things as mlbdepthcharts.com, but claiming stephenson is set up is just batty.

      • @For an Armenianless vacation come to Akron: Don’t worry so much at the depth chart role, just what the Steamer projection is. I pull the depth chart based upon the Reds MLB team site, but you’re most likely right, Diaz should be primary set-up. Just like Wick said in the article, Stephenson should be a lock for the rotation if the Reds do it right.

        • For an Armenianless vacation come to Akron says:

          @[email protected]: up till that stephenson one i had just ignored the order, i don’t trust whatever info the teams themselves put out, i’m from STL and have to deal with their awful misinfo constantly.
          such things as:
          1. s.miller STILL never got shut down in the playoffs a few years back according to them
          2. allen craig never had any foot injury, didn’t need surgery at all, till of course 2 weeks after he was traded. Fans were basically hoped to believe that somehow a guy lost about 200 OPS points less than his 3 year career averages to that point.
          3. jordan walden only had a minor issue and would be back about 10 weeks after his late april/early may injury last year
          4. l.lynn didn’t need TJ at all in june/july when they sat him for 10 days, but of course we see he did need that.
          5. fatt adams isn’t out of shape at all (tore something in his leg both doing routine running from 2b to 3b, then later upon returning, did it AGAIN in practice)
          5. l.lynn isn’t out of shape at all (sprained ankle walking up the dugout steps last year, same game pulled in his knee/leg making routine out)
          cardinals and that local gerbil cage filler publication they basically own or edit themselves sends out this garbage all the time, as do their public releases. So i probably am in one of easiest places to learn to never trust what the team themselves put out. just use mlbdepthcharts.com (roster resource). they have no reason to lie to anybody, and are very up to date.

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