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2018 MLB Preview: Cincinnati Reds

A look at the Cincinnati Reds with fantasy baseball in mind.

Luis Castillo was awesome in his brief time with the Reds. Can he follow it up in 2018?
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Basic Stats:

Final Record: 68-94
Runs: 14th
Home Runs: 13th
Stolen Bases: 3rd
ERA: 29th
Saves: 25th
Strikeouts: 17th

When assessing the Reds in 2017 there’s not that much to say. Joey Votto is amazing, Bill Hamilton is fast, and Raisel Iglesias is a really good closer. Other than that, the rest of the roster was a lot of surprises. Scoot Gennett had a 4 HR game and then went on to finish the year #13 at 2B and #12 at 3B. Amir Garrett was a hot pickup at the start of the year and Luis Castillo finished the season as a trendy sleeper for 2018. Even Robert Stephenson helped some teams late in the season. Despite being in the basement in team ERA and saves, the 2018 outlook has glimmers of hope.

Let’s take a look towards 2018.

The Superstar: Joey Votto

Votto finishes 2017 as the #17 overall player in fantasy. 106 runs 100 RBI 36 HR and a .320 average is what Votto contributed in standard roto. For points leagues and OBP leagues, Votto was even better. He led all of baseball with 134 BB and a .454 OBP. He even led the NL with a 1.032 OPS. He even managed to cut down his strikeouts (which were never an issue). Votto finished 2017 with an absurd 1.61 BB/K ratio. I have Votto ranked at #13 currently and feel great about him finishing inside the top 20 overall next season.

The Sleeper: Luis Castillo

Castillo came on at the end of the 2017 season to make 15 starts for the Reds. He had a 3.12 ERA 1.08 WHIP and 9.9 K/9 over 89.1 IP. This includes a 1.86 ERA and 39 Ks in 29 IP over his last 5 starts of 2017. The Reds capped his innings at 169.2 combined between the minors and majors. Assuming he starts 2018 in the majors (and why wouldn’t he!) the innings limit shouldn’t be a concern. Castillo is a 24-year-old flame thrower and that always comes with a risk. But the reward is a low 3s ERA guy with around 200 strikeouts.

The Guy to Avoid: Adam Duvall

This is a tough call here. Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett are probably going to regress in 2018 as well but I don’t see the latter two Reds being drafted as high as Duvall. Duvall is a high power, low batting average player who finished 2017 with 31 HR and 99 RBI with a .249 average. This made him #42 at OF for the year. He had a bad final month of the year though. Duvall hit .226 with 0 HR in September. I’m not calling him a bust in 2018, but I do believe his draft day stock could end up being too high for his value he will provide in 2018. Don’t reach for him as a top 100 overall player.

The Prospect To Watch: Nick Senzel

The #8 prospect on MLB.com and the #8 prospect on our site as well, Senzel could make fantasy impact in 2018. Over 2 seasons in the minors, Senzel is hitting .315 with a .908 OPS. In AA last season, he hit 10 HR with a .340/.413/.560 slash line. He has real upside at 3B should he make the bigs next year. The floor looks like it is quite high for a rookie as well. He also has 32 SB over his minor league career. Think 15 HR 15 SB and a .280 batting average. Alex Bregman had similar numbers in 2017 and finished the year #9 at 3B.