This season, the Reds appear to be the main competition for the Cardinals. Sure, the Brewers will still be pretty good, but just not the powerhouse they were last year. So let's find out what projections are being forecast for the Reds team.
This time around, I included an average with the Marcel projection for the hitters, as well as one with the CAIRO projection. I made an error the first time around, and then realized that I did have the CAIRO projections (forgot there was another tab on the spreadsheet... I recommend not drinking too much whiskey on St. Pat's Day). Anyway, for the hitters you'll see two different averages, reflecting the difference in the two related systems. The expected roster of the Cincinnati Reds (Starting Pitching + 8 starters + best bench player):
Fans: 438 PA at .331 wOBA (3 WAR)
CAIRO: 447 PA at .334 wOBA (1.9 WAR)
ZiPS: 344 PA at .326 wOBA
RotoChamp: 438 PA at .341 wOBA
Scott Rolen looks to be still pretty valuable, although he probably will be a borderline full time player. With Marcel included, the average expected amount of plate appearances is 402, and he will probably be somewhere around .332 wOBA. However, with CAIRO it is 417 PA and .333 wOBA.
Fans: 684 PA at .416 wOBA (7.5 WAR)
CAIRO: 646 at .406 wOBA (4.3 WAR)
ZiPS: 660 at .399 wOBA
RC: 682 at .410 wOBA
So there you have it, Joey is a very valuable player and he should shred the ball this year at the plate (especially if he matches that freakish Fans projection!). He is perhaps the most athletic first baseman in the league as well. With no Pujols, this is where the Reds probably have a quite clear advantage, even over the crippled lynx, Lance Berkman. Projection consensus w/Marcel expects 663 PA @ .406 wOBA... with CAIRO: 668 PA at .408 wOBA.
Fans: 368 PA at .326 wOBA (2.5 WAR)
CAIRO: 301 at .330 wOBA
ZiPS: 318 at .319 wOBA
RC: 311 at .343 wOBA
This guy is a pretty decent catcher, at the very least. RC's projection is pretty crazy.... if he does that, the Cards probably don't have an edge here. But I think it is pretty obviously an outlier. I'd expect more like .322 wOBA, but anyway, here are the averaged projection w/Marcel: 343 PA at .327 wOBA. w/CAIRO included: 325/.330.
Fans: 581 PA at .328 wOBA (3.9 WAR)
CAIRO: 328 PA at .313 (1.4 WAR)
ZiPS: 564 PA at .310
RC: 404 PA at .329
First off, the Reds have like 5 shortstops on their roster, so it's a little more understandable with that in mind why Marcel only has him down for 219 PA. But, I think it's pretty clear he's probably the best hitter of the bunch, so I'm going to use only his stats for the purposes of this exercise. Averaged projection is 442 PA at .324 wOBA w/Marcel. With CAIRO, it is 469 at .320.
Fans: 697 PA at .336 wOBA (4.8 WAR)
CAIRO: 662 PA at .336 wOBA (2.8 WAR)
ZiPS: 665 PA at .333
RC: 647 at .341
One of the best second basemen in the majors, BP will still be a very valuable player to the Reds team. He may be annoying, but he's really good (probably making him even more annoying for us). Definitely a full time player, he is projected at 654 PA and a .336 wOBA (Marcel). CAIRO included: 668 at also .336 or so.
Fans: 657 PA at .365 wOBA (5.1 WAR)
CAIRO: 563 at .348 wOBA (2.1 WAR)
ZiPS: 626 at .349
RC: 638 at .348
Now time for the Reds' outfield! It's pretty hard to ignore the two .348's and a .349 wOBA projection for Bruce, but Fans projection thinks otherwise. I would be kinda surprised if he goes over .350 to be honest. The averaged projection is 628 PA at .352 wOBA with the Marcel proj. As CAIRO, 621 PA at .352 or so as well.
Fans: 503 PA at .323 wOBA (1.7 WAR)
CAIRO: 328 at .324 (.8 WAR)
ZiPS: 440 at .334
RC: 525 at .350
Heisey is a pretty clear weak spot on their roster (at least when compared to Holliday). Ludwick is the alternative, and these days Ryan Ludwick is just not projected to do much of anything to be worried about. Averaged projection is 461 PA at .336 wOBA (Marcel). CAIRO: 449 at .333 wOBA.
Fans: 650 PA at .342 wOBA (4.4 WAR)
CAIRO: 543 PA at .312 wOBA (1.7 WAR)
ZiPS: 653 PA at .319 wOBA
RC: 643 at .325
Fans expectation seems pretty crazy high. Still, the Reds probably have the edge here, as much as I am underwhelmed by the player Drew Stubbs. Marcel included = 636 PA at .327 wOBA. CAIRO included = 622/.325.
Fans: 454 PA at .313 wOBA (.9 WAR)
CAIRO: 446 PA at .336 (1.3 WAR)
ZiPS: 541 PA at .326
RC: 507 at .313
Ludwick is pretty far from his 2008 season, but who knows... pretty decent bench player I suppose. Although, these projections seem to indicate maybe he would not be a bench player, but somewhere between a part time and a full time player. Averaged projection: 508 PA at .315 wOBA w/Marcel inclusion. CAIRO inc: 487/.322.
Marcel included version:
The Reds offense is really quite good. .339 wOBA for the team, which means they are much better equipped to deal with the Cards' .344 team wOBA averaged projection. The Cards appear to have the main edge with their bench in my opinion... and of course the outfield (Holliday and Beltran are pretty difficult to match for most teams).
As for durability, 487 PA per player average for the Cardinals is a little worrisome. The Reds are at 526 PA per player, which is quite clearly an edge in their favor. That is more than the Brewers also. This is explained by the Cardinals having one of the highest average age for a player of any MLB team, while the Reds are one of the younger teams overall. Now, on to the pitching...
CAIRO included version:
OK, so now we get to see the real comparison, since the Cardinals averaged projections included CAIRO...
Reds 522 expected PA (about the same) and .340. So about the same... but a little closer.
CAIRO: 201 IP at 4.94 FIP (1.3 WAR)
Fans: 187/4.95 (.5 WAR)
I can't stress how glad I am that this guy is going to pitch a lot for the Reds next year. Should take some of the edge off. Oh, also, CAIRO projections were not available for the Cincy hitters. But it appears that they are for the pitchers, so I'm using that for them. Averaged proj: 189 IP at 5.03 FIP. (gettin' rocked!)
CAIRO: 166 IP at 3.44 FIP (3 WAR)
Fans: 207/3.41 (4.3 WAR)
Things change quickly... the Reds acquired Mat Latos in the offseason, which will help offset the horrible Arroyo contract. Latos is really quite good, and he improves their team by quite a bit in all likelihood. 191 IP at 3.30 FIP is the consensus.
CAIRO: 142 IP at 3.89 FIP (2.3 WAR)
Fans: 198/3.71 (3.3 WAR)
Facekicker looks to be pretty decent.... I'm guessing he's basically their #2 starting pitcher. 172 IP at 3.77 FIP consensus projection for these 4 systems.
CAIRO: 97 IP at 3.94 FIP (1.3 WAR)
Fans: 163/3.89 (2.4 WAR)
ZiPS: 158 IP/3.99
Bailey needs to stay healthy for Cincinnati to have a better chance at the division... unless they can muster another trade or have Chapman miraculously become a starter. Anyhoo, the consensus projection: 145 IP at 3.94 FIP.
CAIRO: 126 IP at 4.33 FIP (1.4 WAR)
Fans: 189 IP at 4.06 FIP (2.4 WAR)
Leake looks to have some concerns with innings pitched, but not as bad as Bailey. However, he is not as good of a pitcher in effectiveness as Homer. The averaged projection is 162 IP at 4.25 FIP.
So in conclusion, the Reds look to have some serious concerns about the total of innings their rotation pitches. For comparison, the Cards rotation is expected to pitch about 884 innings. The Reds 859 (Brewers were at 920).
FIP-wise, 4.06 is the rate of those 5 pitchers. As compared to the Cards' 3.56, that is a whole .5 FIP less. While the Reds and Cards are about even on offense, the Reds starting pitching is still just not that great. They'll most likely need to shore it up somehow.
It's definitely closer by WAR. Votto is expected ot have a monster season by fWAR, and players like Rolen get a boost from their ridiculous defense. Still, it appears the Cardinals are the team to beat, even if it is pretty damn close. Next up for these articles, I'd like to take a look at the bullpens and any other things that come to light as spring training wraps up.