Pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training, and your fantasy draft is likely just around the corner. As part of RotoBaller's ongoing effort to help you win your leagues, we're previewing all 30 MLB teams. In these articles, we discuss each team's offseason moves, as well as their hitters, pitchers, and prospects.
Today's installment covers the 2017 Cincinnati Reds Team Outlook, and previews their potential fantasy baseball contributions.
Editor's note: for even more draft prep, visit our awesome 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It has lots of in-depth staff rankings and draft strategy columns. You will find tiered rankings for every position, 2017 impact rookie rankings, AL/NL only league ranks and lots more. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.
Acquired Luis Castillo, Austin Brice and Isaiah White from the Marlins for Dan Straily
This move will have very little fantasy implications. Brice may enter the season in the Reds’ bullpen while Castillo and White both figure to spend the majority of the season in the minors. This trade will not have an impact on Reds’ players in 2017 redraft leagues beyond opening a spot in the rotation for a young pitching prospect.
Signed Scott Feldman, Bronson Arroyo and Drew Storen
I bunched these three up because it is pretty easy to discuss their impact. Storen may have an opportunity to take some saves, but if he is anything like he was in 2016, he will not touch the ninth inning other than the event of a blowout. Feldman was signed simply to be an innings-eater for Cincinnati. He should be viewed as a No. 5 starter pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark whose value exists only in the deepest of fantasy leagues or as a streaming candidate. Arroyo is unlikely to impact fantasy teams in any format this season, but he is a fun story.
The big news here is that the Reds traded Brandon Phillips, opening up a permanent spot for Jose Peraza in the lineup. While Peraza is unlikely to hit over .300 like he did last season, 35-50 stolen bases is definitely possible. Plus with him likely batting second in this lineup, he will provide owners with a great source of runs scored.
Joey Votto seems to produce regardless of the cast around him and that should not change in 2017. The Canadian God of Walks will post up near 30 home runs, drive in 80-100 runs, score 80-100 runs and post a line close to .310/.430/.540 as he always does. The future Hall of Famer is the clear top bat to own here. Duvall was a surprise in 2016, but he tapered off toward the end of the year and could be platooning with Scott Schebler if Jesse Winker forces himself up to the big leagues. Billy is always valuable as long as he is stealing bases, especially if he can start to hit a bit more like he appeared to do in 2016. Suarez qualifying only at third will really hurt his value, but he could be a solid power bat to own in 12+ team leagues.
I don’t know if you all got the memo, but Fangraphs pegged the Reds’ pitching staff as the worst in baseball by a wide margin in 2016. But don’t expect that trend to carry over into 2017. With Anthony DeSclafani healthy to kick off the year, the staff should have at least one guy worth owning right off the bat. Homer Bailey’s injury is certainly going to be disappointing to some, especially those counting on him to pitch as well as he did back from 2012-2014 back when he was healthy. Brandon Finnegan ended 2016 on an extremely high note, delivering a 2.23 ERA and 3.92 FIP over his last 11 starts. He could be a sleeper to own in 12+ team redraft leagues.
Raisel Iglesias is likely going to see the bulk of the save opportunities and could be a potentially elite closer, but his role remains unknown. Is he going to be the established closer, used as a swingman, setup guy or even part-time closer with Drew Storen and/or Michael Lorenzen? The Reds reliever story will be a critical one to follow throughout Spring Training.
The Reds figure to utilize prospects only in the backend of the rotation. Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed or Amir Garrett will begin the season as the No. 5 starter for Cincinnati with Reed and Garrett emerging as the early favorites. If either one of those two capture that final starting spot in Cincinnati, that starting southpaw would have value as a sleeper for strikeouts and could be a potential breakout candidate as both arms have immense potential. Stephenson’s well-documented struggles with command sends red flags everywhere, especially as the velocity and strikeouts both went down in 2016. His high-octane stuff plays best in short spurts, leading many to believe his future role will be in the bullpen.
The only hitting prospects to have much of any role will be Jesse Winker, who could find himself starting for Cincinnati at some point this season, and Dilson Herrera, who might start at second base if Zack Cozart is traded and Peraza is moved over to short. Winker needs to start showing more power, though, before he is ready to be worth owning in shallower redraft leagues. A nagging wrist injury may have been the leading cause for his lack of power last year, so a healthy Winker might start hitting for more power. Herrera is an interesting case as he has a promising power/speed combination at a weak offensive position. He could be a sleeper if he gets to start for any extended period of time.
The Reds will again be mired in a rebuilding year. They are not the worst team in baseball and have some young talent that could burst onto the scene (mostly in the pitching staff), but there are still only a handful of guys worth owning across all leagues from this team.