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2021 Preview: Cincinnati Reds

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

Welcome to the final month before opening day! I hope you have been enjoying spring training as much as I have. Baseball is close! I am overjoyed! March begins the official Ball Boy Blog previews of all 30 teams. The previews feature all the Free Agent signings, trades, NRI, bold predictions, and some cool fun facts at the end! We are starting at the top of the 2020 ranks and working our way down from best to worst! Enjoy!

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Last Year Record: 31-29 3rd place in the NL Central and earned a WC.

Record x2.7: 83.7-78.3

Vegas Projected: Vegas has the Reds projected to win 82.5; I have them projected to win 83G and finish 3rd in the NL Central. Which to me, feels off because I have the Brewers only 2W less than the Reds at 81 and the Cubs ahead of the Reds by 10+W. The Central was an odd division in 2020; I feel it will be slightly less weird in 2021.

Impact Departures:

Departed Free Agents:

SP Anthony DeSclafani(FA), Trevor Bauer(FA), SS Freddy Galvis(FA), RHP Tyler Thornburg(FA), OF Brian Goodwin(Non-tendered), 2B Kyle Farmer(non-tendered), C Curt Casali(non-tendered), RHP Archie Bradley(non-tendered), SP RJ Alaniz(non-tendered), RHP Mac Sceroler(Rule 5)


P Robert Stephenson, RHP Raisel Iglesias, INF Jose Acosta, C Luke Berryhill

Key Arrivals

Free Agent Signings:

LHRP Sean Doolittle- Over the last 3 1/2 seasons with the Nationals, he had 75saves, 3.03ERA, 28.2%K rate, 5.7%BB rate.

RHP Edgar Garcia- He was non-tendered by the Rays. Garcia ended 2020 with a 5.77ERA/6.57FIP and a 10.38K/9 to 6.00BB/9 over 39IP.


LHP Cionel Perez- The 24yo Perez has a 5.74ERA, 23.1K% over 26.2IP.

SP Jeff Hoffman-15 starts in 2019 with a 6.56ERA, P Case Williams(4th round pick in the 2020 draft) from the Colorado Rockies.

RHP Noe Ramirez- Turning 31 this season in 2020, he posted 0.7WAR with a 3.00ERA/4.52FIP over 21IP with 14K.

RHP Art Warren- The guy is 27yo and costs no more than the league minimum in salary. Warren had a 60.3% groundball rate at the AA level in 2019 in 31.2IP, with a 32% strikeout rate.

OF Scott Heineman- The 28yo OF owns a .189/.259/.331 over 139PA in 49 games between 2019-20.

INF Kyle Hodler- The 26yo was a 1st round pick back in 2015 and has yet to play above AA. He has played six seasons at the MiLB level, and in his AA experience with the Yankees org, he slashed .261/.328/.388 over 604PA, and by the numbers shown, he gets on base. Holder can play SS, 2B, and 3B and be used as a Utility INF in 2021.

RHP Hector Perez


RHP Carson Fulmer- Over 105IP he has a 6.34ERA/5.41FIP with a 37.5% ground ball rate in parts of 5 seasons.

INF Max Schrock- The 26yo brings versatility, playing SS, 2B, and 3B. In five MiLB seasons, he owns a .300/.354/.406 hitter.

RHP Brandon Bailey- Has allowed 2ER over 7.1IP in the MLB. He does carry a 3.45ERA with a 126-50 K/BB ratio in 117.1IP at AA.

OF Dwight Smith Jr.- Smith is now 28yo. In 2019 he slashed .241/.297/.412 with 13HR over 392PA, and in 2020 he posted a .222/.306/.365 with 2HR over 72PA. He joins a crowded OF mix that includes Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, Shogo Akiyama, Nick Senzel, and Aristides Aquino.

Key NRI:

OF Tyler Naquin- The 29yo was on the IL for most of the season due to a broken big toe in his right foot. After returning in mid-August, he had a career-worst season slashing .218/.248/.383 with 4HR and a 28.4%K rate in 141PA.

RHRP Cam Bedrosian- The 29yo posted a 2.45ERA over 14.2IP in 2020; however, he dropped a career-low 19%k rate and career-high 10.3%BB rate.

INF Dee Strange-Gordon- The 2x All-Star was all but a disappointment with the Mariners over the last three seasons. He hit a .266/.293/.343 slash during that span.

OF/1B Nicky Delmonico- The now 28yo has a .210/.287/.346 slash line over the past three seasons. He is a career .262/.345/.424 hitter in 824PA at the AAA level.

INF Cheslor Cuthbert- Cuthbert played in 1 game with 1PA in 2020 with the White Sox. Cuthbert was the Royals 3B from 2015-19, and in that time, his .250/.300/.378 in 1160PA.

LHP Jesse Biddle-Biddle had one appearance in 2020. The 29yo will hope to crack the roster in 2021.

RHP RJ Alaniz- Alaniz made his MLB debut in 2019, allowing 16ER over 15.2IP. The 29yo will wish to grab a bullpen spot in 2021.

RHP Bo Takahashi- The 23yo has pitched to a 4.14ERA with a 7.9K/9 over 567IP at the MiLB level.

C Deivy Grullon- He 24yo only owns 13PA at the MLB level. But at the AAA level, he holds a .283/.354/.496 slash over 457PA.


RHP Braden Shipley, RHP Shane Carle, LHP Josh Osich, C Rocky Gale, OF Dwight Smith

Tendered Contracts:

OF Jesse Winker, LHP Amir Garrett, RHP Michael Lorenzen, SP Tyler Mahle, SP Luis Castillo

Selected Contracts:

RHP Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP Riley O'Brien, and RHP Jared Solomon.

Returning from IL(Activated):

2B Alex Blandino, RHP Ryan Stephenson, RHP Ryan Hendrix, RHP Joel Kuhnel, 2B Robel Garcia, RHP Sal Romano, LF Mark Payton, RHP Tony Santillan, RHP Jose De Leon, RHP RJ Alaniz

Prospect Watch in Camp

-I want to keep an eye on Cionel Perez; manager David Bell said he would factor into the rotation plan or bullpen plan in 2021.

-I am also watching young prospects C Tyler Stephenson, SS Jose Garcia, RHP Tony Santillan, and Rule 5 selections SS Kyle Holder.

Fantasy Impact Players

Pitchers- Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, Sean Doolittle, Michael Lorenzen

Position- C Tucker Barnhart, 2B Mike Moustakas, 3B Eugenio Suarez, CF Nick Senzel, RF Nick Castellanos

Upcoming 2022 Free Agents:

-OF Nick Castellanos has a $16mil player option for the 2022 season; depending on the season he has, he could cash in and get a bigger payday.

-C Tucker Barnhart has a $7.5mil player option. Which depending on his season, he could have the option bought out if Tyler Stephenson shows well.

-P Michael Lorenzen, P Sean Doolittle, 2B Dee Gordon are also free agents come next off-season.

Storylines to follow

-After failing to get a legit MLB SS into the mix for this season. The Reds are looking at Kyle Holder, Jose Garcia, Dee Strange-Gordon(NRI), and Max Schrock as the potential options.

Bold Predictions

-I called a big breakout for the Reds in Cy Candidate Luis Castillo. However, I think another name to keep an eye on is RHP/OF Michael Lorenzen. In 33IP in the 2020 season, he had a 4.28ERA/3.87FIP. He only took 1PA in 2020, mainly due to the universal DH; however, he has a career .235/.284/.432 slash and a laser for an arm from the OF.

-The Reds offense rebounds- The rebound that is needed for the Reds is the ENTIRE offense. The offense had 534K-239BB with a team .12OBP and a .715OPS, making them a barely above-average player. The problem may lie in philosophy as the team scored ZERO runs during the wildcard round against the Braves.

Fact Check:

Ken Griffey Jr. (The Kid) has 630 career home runs, and 210 were here with the Reds. Hit milestone 500th and 600th while with the Reds.

Cincinnati was expelled from the National League in 1880 to rent out the ballpark on Sundays and not cease selling beer.

Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing the winners as much as I have. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.

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