Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Cincinnati Reds

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

The Cincinnati Reds captured the second National League wild card spot in 2013, winning 90 games and finishing behind St. Louis and Pittsburgh in the NL Central. The Reds had just the 18th-highest team batting average (.249), but sixth-highest OBP (.327), drawing the second-most walks in the majors. First baseman Joey Votto was the league leader in walks (135) with Shin-Soo Choo coming in second (112). They were two of three players to draw 100 or more walks last season, and set the table for Jay Bruce (109 RBI) and Brandon Phillips (103) to land in the top 10 for RBI in 2013.

Choo fled to Texas in the offseason, and will be replaced by speedster Billy Hamilton. In a 13-game stint last year, Hamilton hit .368 with a .429 OBP, scoring nine runs and stealing 13 bases. Over five minor league seasons, Hamilton produced a .350 OPS (and .280 average), so the drop-off from Choo to Hamilton at the top of the order shouldn't be too significant. In fact, it may be an upgrade. Hamilton's base-stealing skills (he famously stole a record 155 bases in 2012 in the minors) could get him into scoring position following singles or walks, opening up easier RBI opportunities for the players following him.

2014 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

Votto will be one of those players following Hamilton in the lineup (likely after Zack Cozart), and while his owners in Head-to-Head leagues love his high walk totals (he's led the NL in each of the last three years) and tendency to hit doubles (he's averaged 38 over the last five seasons), he's been a bit of a mixed bag for Roto owners, who were hoping for the 2010 version of Votto (37 home runs, 16 steals) rather than the one they've seen in every other season (over 25 home runs just once outside of 2010, no more than 10 steals in those years). Roto owners, in short, don't need Votto to walk or double. They need him to drive in Hamilton and Cozart and hit home runs. Here's a quick exercise that makes Votto's status as a first-rounder in Roto formats somewhat questionable:

Joey Votto: .305 average, 24 home runs, 73 RBI, 101 runs scored, six steals
Kendrys Morales: .277 average, 23 home runs, 80 RBI, 64 runs scored, zero steals

There's no question Votto is the better of the two. But he costs $30 (or a first round pick), while Morales costs $1 (or a 24th round pick). Roto owners should at least be aware of Votto's shift from a home run hitting RBI source to a frequently-walking run scorer. While there's been some indication from new manager Bryan Price that the team may encourage Votto to swing more and walk less, it's no guarantee that the Reds will be able to change his habits to the point where he gets back to his 2010 stats.

The rotation is packed with talent, but there are a few worries up top. Johnny Cueto only pitched 60 2/3 innings last year -- making several trips to the DL with a strained lat -- but when he was healthy, he was tremendous; Cueto had a 2.80 ERA last season and a 2.61 ERA in 433 2/3 innings over the last three seasons. Mat Latos had 14 wins, a 3.16 ERA, and a 1.210 WHIP in 2013, but had October surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. So he may be shaking off rust early. Still, the starting five finishes stronger than most. Homer Bailey set career-bests in ERA (3.49),WHIP (1.12), and strikeouts (199). Mike Leake did the same in ERA (3.37), games started (31), and strikeouts (122). And Tony Cingrani produced a 2.92 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 10.3 K/9 over 104 2/3 innings last season. If Cueto and Latos can stay healthy, this could be one of the best rotations in baseball.

The bullpen is similarly excellent, with Aroldis Chapman -- one of the top three closers in the game -- leading the way. J.J. Hoover (2.61 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, with a 9.1 K/9 over the last two seasons) and Sam LeCure (2.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 9.7 K/9 last season) make for solid backup closer options, and could be nice additions to NL-only Roto staffs as low-ratio, high-strikeout relievers.

The Reds are full of talent again this season. And while there's little indication on what kind of coach Pryce will be (what streategies he will employ, how much he'll run, etc.), things probably won't be radically different from Dusty Baker's reign. The Reds will produce plenty of wins and Fantasy-helping stats in 2014.

Sleeper ... Zack Cozart, shortstop

2014 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Billy Hamilton CF
2. Zack Cozart SS
3. Joey Votto 1B
4. Brandon Phillips 2B
5. Jay Bruce RF
6. Ryan Ludwick LF
7. Todd Frazier 3B
8. Devin Mesoraco C
Bench Chris Heisey OF
Bench Skip Schumaker IF/OF

Price has ruled out Votto as the team's No. 2 hitter, and while Cozart batted second 64 times last year (the most on the team), he was shuffled back to seventh in mid-July, hitting there 64 times (also the most on the team), as well. So this sleeper pick is based on speculation that Cozart bats second, behind Hamilton. He will come up to bat with a ton of opportunity to drive in Hamilton, who can get on first and steal second. A rope from Cozart scores him. Over the last two years, Cozart has hit 63 doubles and 27 home runs. He had a quietly underappreciated 63 RBI last year -- just 11 fewer than Votto. With Price making an effort to break up the lefties in the lineup, it makes sense to put Cozart at No. 2 and Brandon Phillips at cleanup (to break up lefties Votto and Jay Bruce). So chances are good that Cozart will hit second, which should give him plenty of opportunities for RBI production thanks to Hamilton's OBP and base-stealing skill. This may also put him in a more comfortable place as a hitter, which could lead to jumps in average and power. If Votto is going to try and drive in more runs, Cozart's run production goes up; if Votto keeps walking, Cozart stays on base and has Phillips, Bruce, and Ryan Ludwick coming up next to drive him in. This is all still speculative, but if things play out in a manner similar to this, Cozart could be a steal later in drafts.

Injury bounceback ... Ryan Ludwick, outfield

Ludwick tore cartilage in his shoulder on Opening Day, and made it back to the majors by mid-August. In 38 games, he hit .240 with two home runs and five doubles. He can be forgiven for the down performance, considering he was hurrying back, shaking off rust, and probably still coping with the after-effects of the surgery. Ludwick enters 2014 with a full offseason to prepare, and the hope of 25-plus home runs in a lineup that should get on base at one of baseball's highest rates. It will be Ludwick's job to drive these baserunners in, playing in a park that is one of the friendliest for hitters. Granted, Ludwick has just two 25-home run seasons, but has seen 500-plus at-bats just once. In 2012, his first season with the Reds, Ludwick hit .275 with 26 home runs, driving in 80 runs over 125 games. It might be asking too much to pencil him in for a .280 average with 32 homers and 100 RBI, but if you set his baseline at .265/25/85, those numbers can be had for pennies on the dollar in deeper leagues.

Breakout ... Tony Cingrani, starting pitcher

2014 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Johnny Cueto RHP
2. Mat Latos RHP
3. Homer Bailey RHP
4. Mike Leake RHP
5. Tony Cingrani LHP
ALT Chien-Ming Wang RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Aroldis Chapman RHP
2. J.J. Hoover RHP
3. Sam LeCure RHP
4. Sean Marshall LHP
5. Manny Parra LHP

Cingrani dominated the minors, with a 1.65 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in three seasons, striking out 301 batters over 228 2/3 innings. And over 109 2/3 innings in the majors, Cingrani, 24, has a 2.87 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, with 129 strikeouts. This is with Cingrani -- who had one relief appearance in the minors -- essentially bouncing between starter and reliever, with 18 starts in 26 appearances over the two seasons. And in his five games as a reliever in 2013, Cingrani had a 4.91 ERA, walking seven batters over 7 1/3 innings. As a starter, Cingrani had a 2.77 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He threw 136 innings between the majors and the minors last year, so 180-plus is essentially a lock for 2014. With Bronson Arroyo gone via free agency, the fifth starter role is all Cingrani's. And with the low ERA and WHIP, coupled with the high strikeout rate and success at every level in his career, Cingrani is in line for a huge 2014.

Prospects Report

Reds fans (and Fantasy players) should gird themselves for cringe-worthy literary puns soon, as Robert Stephenson is relatively close to making his major league debut. The 21-year-old pitcher raced up three levels in the minors last season, finishing with a 2.99 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 136 strikeouts over 114 1/3 innings. He only started four games at Double-A (his highest level), and delivered a 4.86 ERA and 1.80 WHIP there, so the Reds will probably need some very good numbers in the minors to bring him up at any point before September. ... Jesse Winker hit .281 with 16 home runs in 417 at-bats in Class-A last season, but showed a very good eye, walking 63 times against 75 strikeouts. He's still at least a couple seasons away, but could be a nice add for dynasty players. Baseball America regards Winker as the Reds' best power-hitting prospect. ... Phillip Ervin, the team's top pick in last year's draft, hit .331 with nine home runs and 14 steals over 172 at-bats last season. Like Winker, he's still a ways off, but is a great long-term pickup.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando at @NandoCBS .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Angel Pagan starts rookie-level rehab assignment
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:30 am ET) Giants outfielder Angel Pagan began a minor-league rehab assignment Thursday with the rookie-league Giants. He played the field for five innings and finished 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles.

Pagan has been out since June 14 with a back injury. It remains to be seen how many at-bats he'll need in the minors before rejoining the big-league club.

Jason Heyward could return Saturday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:23 am ET) Braves outfieler Jason Heyward told reporters his back is starting to show some signs of improvement, according to MLB.com. He is not expected to play Friday and is targeting a return Saturday against the Padres. 

Addison Reed fans two for save No. 27
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:21 am ET) Diamondbacks closer Addison Reed struck out two and worked his way past a base hit in a scoreless ninth inning for the save Thursday night at home against the Pirates. He has converted 27 of 32 save attempts, with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP over 44 1/3 innings of relief.

Josh Collmenter settles for a no-decision
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:19 am ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Josh Collmenter was not at his best but somehow managed to escape his outing with a no-decision Thursday at home against the Pirates. The right-hander gave up three runs on four hits and two walks while striking out four over 5 1/3 innings of a 7-4 victory.

Over his last two starts covering eight innings, Collmenter has allowed nine earned runs. He owns a 4.07 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP over 119 1/3 innings of work. His next start will come Wednesday at home against Kansas City.

Jeff Locke gets blasted by Diamondbacks
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:16 am ET) Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke was blasted by the Diamondbacks on Thursday, dropping to 2-3 on the year. The right-hander permitted six runs -- four earned -- on nine hits and two walks while striking out five over 5 1/3 innings of a 7-4 defeat.

Over his last three starts covering 18 innings, Locke has allowed 13 runs. He owns a 3.77 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over 11 starts (74 innings). He will make his next start Wednesday at home against Miami.

Chasen Shreve sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:12 am ET) The Braves optioned left-hander Chasen Shreve down to Triple-A Gwinnett following Thursday's game against the Dodgers. Shreve allowed one run in five innings of relief this season.

Julio Teheran pitches complete game in losing effort
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:10 am ET) Braves pitcher Julio Teheran went the distance but was pegged with a tough-luck loss Thursday night in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. The right-hander yielded two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out nine over eight innings of a 2-1 defeat.

Over his last three starts covering 21 innings, Teheran has allowed six earned runs. He owns a 2.69 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP over 23 starts (157 1/3 innings). He will make his next start Wednesday in Seattle.

Clayton Kershaw goes the distance in dominant win over Braves
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:06 am ET) Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw turned in another dominant effort and went the distance on Thursday against the Braves, improving to 13-2 on the year. The left-handed ace allowed one run on nine hits and no walks while striking out nine over nine innings of a 2-1 victory.

Since June 1, Kershaw is 10-0 with a 0.94 ERA and a 104:8 K:BB ratio in 11 starts. The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner is somehow managing to improve his numbers from last season. He has four complete games and owns a 1.71 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP over 121 1/3 innings of work. His next start will come Tuesday at home against the Angels.

Andrelton Simmons playing through shoulder issue
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:59 am ET) Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons aggravated a right shoulder injury Wednesday, but is expected to play through the pain, MLB.com reports. He is hitting .254 with five homers and 36 RBI in 386 at-bats.

"It's not that bad, but it's definitely a nagging thing," Simmons said. "But it's not to where I can't play. If I need to put a little extra on my throws, I'll feel it a little bit."

David Buchanan likely to take rotation spot of injured Cliff Lee
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:55 am ET) Phillies pitcher David Buchanan will likely replace the spot of injured pitcher Cliff Lee in the rotation, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Lee was scheduled to start Wednesday at home against Houston, but Buchanan will likely be called up before the game. The right-hander is 5-5 with a 4.40 ERA in 10 starts this season for the Phillies.

 
 
 
Rankings