The Cincinnati Reds put together a nice season in 2020. They had a CY Young winner in Trevor Bauer, were sixth in the league for team ERA, and clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2013. Ultimately they would end up being swept by the Atlanta Braves in the best of three wild card round. To add insult to injury, the Reds also lost the aforementioned CY Young winner, Trevor Bauer to free agency. While the Reds are going to be able to compete in 2021, will their lineup have enough pop for them to make a run at a weak NL Central?
The Reds’ lineup is the weakest part of the team. In the wildcard round, they set an MLB postseason record for most consecutive innings without scoring a run to begin a postseason with 22. Not good at all.
I like Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, and Mike Moustakas. Joey Votto will return for his fifteenth season with the Reds but it remains to be seen if he can experience a renaissance at such a late point in his career. Votto struggled last year only hitting eleven home runs with 22 RBIs with a .226 average. Reds fans shouldn’t count on Votto being what he used to be. Expect him to put up competent but not impressive numbers.
The Reds’ lineup has some nice pieces but has too many question marks to be lethal. Cincinnati won’t win games with a high octane offense.
Despite losing Bauer, the Reds pitching staff is top ten in baseball. Pitchers Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo are going to be the two-headed monster for the Reds’ rotation. Both of them had really good seasons in 2020 and should repeat those numbers in 2021.
The backend of the Reds rotation is solid. Wade Miley struggled last year but is expected to bounce back in a full season. Tyler Mahle and Michael Lorenzon had very similar seasons last year and should be viable options for the fourth and fifth starter roles.
Overall, the Reds pitching rotation is top ten in baseball but no longer cream of the crop because of the loss of Bauer. Still, the Reds’ strength is keeping runs off the board and it is how they can remain competitive in 2021.
The Reds traded their closer Raisel Inglesias to the Angels during the offseason. This is another huge blow for Cincinnati.
His replacement is former National Sean Doolittle. Doolittle is a huge question mark for the Reds as he has not pitched at an elite level since the 2018 season. He has the potential to turn his career around but won’t be able to replicate the highs of his tenure in Washington.
The bullpen isn’t a weakness for the Reds but definitely not a strength. They’re not elite in the pen but not horrible either. The Reds will be average in the pen this year and won’t bring home any special results.
The Reds aren’t a bad team but will struggle in a very competitive National League. They will have a shot at the postseason because of their weak division but with a questionable lineup, they just won’t stand a chance with the likes of the Mets, Padres, and even the Cardinals. The Reds will have 80 wins in 2021 good for third place in the NL Central.