Team Previews in a Fantasy Nutshell: Cincinnati Reds
Projected Starting Lineup
C Devin Mesoraco—(Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques) “Mesor-a-co, Mesor-a-co! Are you healthy? Are you healthy? I need you to come back and hit a few homers; I need you to come back and hit a few homers! Ding, Ding, Dong. Ding, Ding, Dong.
1B Joey Votto—Do you ever wonder how Votto would do in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup? I think he could be on his way to the Hall of Fame for sure. However, he is stuck in the Reds toothless lineup as one of their few sources of power. He’s a certain second round pick and maybe a late first in leagues which use OBP instead of BA.
2B Jose Peraza—Brandon Phillips’ trade opens the door for Peraza to take the starting job at 2B. He is fully capable of hitting .280 or higher with 30+ stolen bases. Don’t forget—Peraza was one of the top two prospects in the Braves system before he was traded to the Reds.
SS Zack Cozart—If you pay more than $1 for Cozart in a mixed league, you either know him on a personal level or are completely clueless about how to draft in an auction. I might allow you to go an extra $2 in an NL-only auction, but only if all other respectable SS have been taken.
3B Eugenio Suarez—He’s pretty undervalued considering he hit 21 HR last year and stole a few bases. He is still young enough to learn how to hit RHP better too.
OF Billy Hamilton—He is a sure thing when it comes to adding steals onto any Fantasy roster. He might be a second round pick in H2H leagues where his steals and runs alone might win you two categories per week. Don’t overvalue him in 5x5 roto leagues, though—he still is not lock to hit above .260.
OF Adam Duvall—Duvall showed terrific power last season, but he also showed a huge propensity to strike out too. His minor league stats show that he can hit for a bit higher average. If he is willing to trade a few homers for a few more base hits, he might be a huge improvement over former Red Adam Dunn.
OF Scott Schebler—My friend Shawn Childs think that Schebler might be a nice sleeper candidate this season, but I still need to be convinced. Schebler struggles mightily vs. LHP so if he does not get off to a hot start the team might look for other options (Jesse Winker) sooner rather than later.
SP Anthony DeSclafani—DeSclafani is the Reds Opening Day starter mainly by default. His stuff is passable, but he would be no better than the third starter in a good rotation. Expect him to win about 10-12 games and have an ERA in the mid to high 3.00s. This is a bandbox ballpark, so home runs might be an issue too.
SP Brandon Finnegan—If Finnegan learns how to control his walks, he might just turn out to be an effective major league pitcher. Then again, if I had wheels, I’d be a wagon.
SP Scott Feldman—There is no way that I draft Feldman even in a 50 round draft.
SP Bronson Arroyo—Caveat Emptor when it comes to Arroyo! Just when he has two good games, I promise you that you are going to go to your league’s waiver wire and decide that picking him up will be a great life decision. Then the next time you use him, he will let up eight runs in two innings, killing your ERA. Do not fall for it!
SP Robert Stephenson— “A million dollar arm with a two cent head.” This is a direct quote from my Reds team source which tells me that I will look elsewhere for backend NL pitching sleepers.
RP Drew Storen—Storen is a deep sleeper for saves in 2017. He has always been successful when allowed to be a closer in the past, and if the Reds choose to use Iglesias for 2+ innings at a time, Storen might be the one to see saves when Iglesias needs rest.
Closer Raisel Iglesias—I really like Iglesias and am not particularly worried if the team doesn’t name him the closer at the beginning of the season. His arm is able to throw 2+ innings, and the Reds might use him much like the Indians used Andrew Miller in the playoffs. He is the perfect example of what Lenny Melnick calls “The Effector.” The Effector is defined as a when a team uses a top reliever effectively in late game pressure situations without worrying about what inning he comes into the game.