2020 MLB FUTURES Free Play
2019 was a disappointing season for the Reds - a season that held high expectations, and ultimately panned out to just 75 wins. There were clear areas on their roster that needed to be improved, and the Reds’ front office did just that (& more).
If you were to take a look back at the 2020 offseason, there is a strong argument that the Cincinnati Reds had the most productive additions in the entire MLB. The Reds picked not one, not two, but three All-Star caliber players in the span of one month:
- Mike Moustakas - .516 SLG / 35 HR / 2.8 WAR (2019)
- Nick Castellanos - .525 SLG / 27 HR / 2.8 WAR (2019)
- Shogo Akiyama - .392 OBP / 20 HR / 12 SB (2019 JPPL)
These three players easily add 6+ WAR (in a 162 game season) to Cincinnati's already-impressive lineup. Combine Moustakas, Castellanos, and Akiyama with on-base-stud Joey Voto & 2018 NL MVP candidate Eugenio Suarez, and the Reds all of a sudden have one of the best offensive lineups in the National League.
A very underrated addition the Reds also made towards the end of the 2019 season was the waiver claim of SS Freddy Galvis. Galvis has never been a productive hitter, but he does not need to be in this lineup - Cincinnati picked him up for his glove. Galvis has produced five consecutive seasons of 3+ Def (runs saved above average), including two seasons of 10+ Def.
Moving to the Reds’ bullpen, outside of the additions of Pedro Strop & Nate Jones, their core remains the same. Raisel Iglesias with hold-down all save situations, while a combination of Michael Lorenzen & Amir Garrett will handle the high leverage spots. An extremely important name in this 2020 bullpen is Tyler Mahle. Before the addition of Trevor Bauer, Mahle was Cincinnati's number 5 starter. He started 20 games in his 2019 rookie campaign, and will now work with any extended relief opportunities.
On top of the Reds’ massive splash in the 2020 free agency, and their ability to remain continuity in the bullpen, the driving force behind this play is their three-headed monster of a starting rotation:
Sonny Gray is coming off a fantastic 2019 that saw him throw 175 innings, while managing a 3.65 xFIP & producing 4.4 WAR. It was clear after his failed 2018 campaign with New York that Gray needed a change of scenery (and home ballpark), and Cincinnati looks to be a great landing spot for him.
Luis Castillo is another pitcher coming off a 4+ WAR season. He is entering his age-27 season, and looks to improve on his career-high 10.67 K/9.
Trevor Bauer has definitely shown signs of mild regression in both his velocity & strikeout ratios. However, Bauer is infamous for making massive changes in his mechanics mid-season. He was the obvious choice for the AL CYA in 2018 before a leg injury ended what could have been a sub-2.00 ERA season. In this shortened season, look for Bauer to stick to his go-to sequences, and perform extremely well as the number 3 pitcher in this loaded rotation.
With this shortened season, it will be extremely important for teams to either rely heavily on their starting rotation for innings, or to have a bolstered group of extended relief arms (Brewers & Rays).
The Reds have the starting pitching to compete with ANY team. As mentioned in the Brewers write-up, the NL Central is extremely competitive, but not top-heavy. The Cardinals and Cubs have had almost identical lineups over the past five seasons, and this year is not any different.
The Reds have tremendous potential to make noise in the 2020 MLB Playoffs, and we are recommending to play: Cincinnati Reds to Win 2020 NL Pennant