The thought of Opening Day being the optimistic begin of a brand new and doubtlessly profitable season for each crew within the league has passed by the wayside in recent times. At this level, there’s a fairly strong hierarchy of groups who’ve expectations to doubtlessly be enjoying baseball in October and groups who’re simply giving their group one other yr to let their prospects develop within the minor leagues whereas placing out a significant league crew that’s seemingly simply on the market to play out the string. Positive, the Dodgers and the Pirates could have the identical file on Opening Day however that’s as shut as they’ll get to one another within the standings.
With that being mentioned, the Pirates have truly managed to keep away from the cellar to date in 2022. They’ve put a bit respiration room between them and the crew that at present holds baseball’s worst file proper now: The Cincinnati Reds. The Reds had been a type of groups that had been positively not in Dodgers territory when it got here to preseason expectations, however additionally they weren’t considering that they’d be mentioning the rear in their very own division after getting off to a traditionally dangerous begin, both. It looks like yearly there appears to be one or two groups who find yourself being horrible accidentally. Final yr’s by accident horrible crew was the Diamondbacks and it certain looks like it’s going to be the Reds this yr.
Whereas the Reds got here into this season with considerably modest expectations, it’s a becoming outcome once you have a look at how their offseason went. It is a crew that shipped off Jesse Winker, Eugenio Suarez, Sonny Grey, Tucker Barnhart, and Amir Garrett. Whereas buying and selling Garrett for Mike Minor seemed to be a real try and make their pitching workers higher, it’s nonetheless unusual to see these different good gamers getting traded from a crew that completed over .500 final season and really made the expanded postseason in 2020. Regardless of that, the Reds had been set for a reset after signing 4 gamers to one-year offers as an alternative of creating any critical monetary outlays within the free company market through the offseason. The truth that they didn’t make a critical try and hold Nick Castellanos round was a transparent sign of which route they had been getting into.
That brings us to the Castellini household, who’ve been taking a large quantity of criticism for giving the directive to Cincinnati’s entrance workplace to chop payroll. That act alone is what makes this fireplace sale appear much less like a calculated tear down (which has labored out for a number of current World Collection champions) and extra like possession has determined that competing is just too wealthy for his or her blood they usually’d a lot reasonably choose to sit down on their fingers and watch the extremely protected funding of a Main League Baseball crew proceed to develop. GM Nick Krall’s goal to “align our payroll to our assets” was profitable, however what did it price them?
At first, it appeared to only price the Reds a ton of fan enthusiasm. Reds followers had been already down within the doldrums after their bummer of an offseason after which Reds president Phil Castellini poured gasoline on the hearth of fan apathy with the now-infamous quote of “Properly, the place are you gonna go,” the place he principally dared Reds followers to not present up. In one of the crucial textbook examples of “screwing round and discovering out” that you just’ll see, the baseball followers of Cincinnati took Castellini up on his dare and responded by leaving the seats of the Nice American Ball Park principally empty. It obtained to the purpose the place Castellini needed to apologize for what he mentioned — twice!
Nonetheless, Reds followers weren’t simply boycotting the crew due to possession placing its foot of their mouth. I don’t care the place your baseball crew is positioned; it’s going to be very tough to get excited to point out as much as the ballpark for a crew that gained a grand complete of three (3) video games within the month of April. Whereas a crew can’t precisely begin planning for the postseason following a very good April, you may positively play your means out of the dialog with a extremely dangerous April. The Reds had a traditionally dangerous April — one which put them in the identical breath as groups like final yr’s Orioles and Diamondbacks. They had been even being in comparison with traditionally dangerous groups who got here out of the gate stinking, just like the 2003 Detroit Tigers and the 1988 Baltimore Orioles.
So what’s been the problem for Cincinnati that’s brought about this calamity? As you can most likely surmise by their file, it’s been every part. They’re the worst-hitting crew within the Nationwide League as evidenced by their NL-worst marks in crew wRC+ (81) and wOBA (.289). In addition they have one of many highest strikeout percentages in baseball (25.1 %) and after they truly do get hits, no one is admittedly hitting for energy. Their Laborious Hit share as a crew is abysmal they usually’re additionally having a troublesome time barreling up the baseball. Even with the offense that they’ve had on show this previous week, their Anticipated wOBA is simply at .304 proper now — suggesting that even when their enchancment is sustained, that’s nonetheless not nice manufacturing!
Cincinnati’s pitching has additionally been dreadful. Their pitching workers is at present sporting baseball’s highest ERA, the best FIP, the best opposition wOBA and the NL’s highest Anticipated wOBA. Hunter Greene is an thrilling prospect, however he’s been getting lit up as of late. Tyler Mahle is doing nice, however he shouldn’t be the one anticipated to hold this rotation. Luis Castillo ought to present some assist as soon as he’s lastly settled in after beginning the season on the IL. Apart from that, it’s simply been a nightmare on the mound for the Reds.
Relating to their protection, I’m simply going to put up this video from considered one of their video games in Colorado:
On three consecutive pitches the Reds missed a catch on a pop-up (look ahead to the final one)
After immediately they will be 3-19 this season pic.twitter.com/3BYB2ISqaD
— MLB Errors (@mlberrors) Could 1, 2022
Over the weekend, the Reds threw a mixed no-hitter however nonetheless misplaced to the Pirates, 1-0. It’s been that form of season for Cincinnati.
If there’s a silver lining to this calamitous begin for the Reds, it’s that there’s no means that they’re going to be this dangerous for your complete season. That is nonetheless not going to be a very good crew by any stretch of the creativeness, however this crew has simply sufficient offense to maintain all of them the way in which out of the gutter. Jonathan India remains to be fairly good, the aforementioned Drury and Pham ought to proceed to be nice on the plate, Joey Votto ought to nonetheless be revered on the plate and Hunter Greene ought to determine it out in some unspecified time in the future. For those who squint actually onerous, there’s one thing first rate right here! They’ve truly had a fairly profitable quick run in opposition to the Pirates and the Brewers and are beginning to appear to be the merely bad-to-mediocre crew that we anticipated as an alternative of the dumpster fireplace that they at present are.
So far as proper now could be involved, it is a very, very bleak scenario. If there was a transparent rebuilding plan on show mixed with confidence in possession would put money into payroll when mandatory, then this rebuilding interval for the Reds could be a neater tablet to swallow. As an alternative, it simply feels just like the Reds are fumbling round at midnight with no actual concept as to what to do going ahead.