Reds baseball is coming back. Just saying those words brings joy to many Cincinnati Reds fans as there was (and sadly still is) the possibility that the 2020 season may not happen. This would have been heartbreaking for many not just outside of the organization but inside as well. The Reds have positioned themselves to not only be contenders for the division this year, but make a deep run in the playoffs. They have new shiny pieces in Shogo Akiyama, Mike Moustakas, Nicholas Castellanos and a full season of Trevor Bauer. The DH has been implemented in the NL and apparently, Dick Williams was big-brained and already built the team for this. There are so many reasons for Reds fans to be excited for a season in any capacity and now is the time to bring out, the bold predictions. So here are three of them for the Reds 2020 season.
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1. The Reds Will Beat the Cardinals at Least 7 Times
While the schedule is not confirmed yet, the rumor is that during the 60 game season teams will play their division opponents 10 times. Presumably, this will be an even five at home and five on the road. Either way, even though the Cardinals won the division in 2019, that is likely not happening this year. Their outfield is missing a major piece in Marcell Ozuna, Paul Goldschmidt seems to have lost a step and while they definitely have solid pitching, it won’t be enough to stop the onslaught that the Reds will be bringing.
This is because the Reds have a stacked lineup, especially against RHP, which is every starter on St. Louis. Even when they put in Andrew Miller or Brett Cecil, Cincinnati will be able to counter with Eugenio Suarez, Nicholas Castellanos, Nick Senzel, Phil Ervin and Aristides Aquino. This is a matchup that favors the Reds, thus they are winning at least seven out of ten against the Cardinals in 2020.
2. Jesse Winker Will Slash .300/.400/.500 with 10+ Homers
The time of Jesse Winker has arrived. There is a DH in the National League and the Reds will no longer have to worry about his defensive “issues” as often. When healthy Winker can bat .300 with a .400 on-base percentage pretty easily. He nearly did this in 2017 and 2018 in limited at-bats. In 2019 he sacrificed some contact for more power which is why he hit .269 instead of .298+ but more than doubled his home run output from seven the two previous seasons to 16.
While these numbers may not seem like a big deal, there were only three players in all of baseball who slashed at least .300/.400/.500/ in 2019. They were Christian Yelich, Anthony Rendon and Cody Bellinger. It is unlikely that Winker becomes as good as those three overall but, he can absolutely become a steady force in the Reds lineup. This is especially true considering that 15 of the 20 projected starting pitchers in the NL Central and 14 of the 20 projected starters in the AL Central are righties. With the DH in the NL there is no reason that Winker shouldn’t see his name in the lineup on a regular basis. Fans will remember 2020 as the year when Jesse Winker put it all together and became the star player the Reds have always felt he could be.
3. Luis Castillo Wins the Reds First-Ever Cy Young Award
Last season David Bell gave Luis Castillo the keys to castle by having him start on Opening Day. What did Castillo do? He went on to win 15 games on a team that was six games under .500 and strikeout over 200 batters. While those numbers will be, well, impossible to get in a 60 game season, Castillo should still be able to shine. He has been working on his walks and is already one of the best pitchers in terms of not giving up hits. Put that together with a nearly unhittable changeup and Castillo is setting himself up for a Cy Young campaign.
There will stiff competition with players like Jacob deGrom, Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and others consistently putting up gaudy numbers. That said, if the Reds make the playoffs and Castillo is able to win at least seven or eight of his 12 starts then he can absolutely contend. The most important thing for Castillo will be making sure he does not have that one extremely bad game that he seems to have once a season in these limited starts.
4. The Reds Win the Whole Damn Thing
Yes, this is cheating. The title says only three bold predictions but, this one may not be all that bold and throwing in a little extra can never hurt. With a team built for the DH, a solid starting rotation and a very deep lineup, the Reds have put themselves in the position to contend in a serious way. Most of their young players like Jesse Winker, Luis Castillo and Amir Garrett among others are starting to come into their prime at the perfect time. This is what Dick Williams, Nick Kroll and the Reds front office have been building for. They have a chance to strike while the iron is hot and win their sixth World Series in 2020.
“From Our Haus to Yours”