With a record of 68-94, the Cincinnati Reds finished last in the NL Central, and in a three way tie with the Tampa Bay Rays and the San Diego Padres for second to last in the MLB (the Minnesota Twins were dead last with a record of 59-103). The Reds are rebuilders, and GM Dick Williams had work to do over the offseason. Let's look at what Williams did.
Key additions: SPs Scott Feldman, Bronson Arroyo, RPs Drew Storen, Louis Coleman, OFs Desmond Jennings, Ryan Raburn, SS Arismendy Alcantara, C Rob Brantly.
Key subtractions: 2B Brandon Phillips, SPs Dan Straily, Alfredo Simon, SS Tyler Holt, RPs Ross Ohlendorf, Caleb Cotham.
Biggest move: The Reds finally traded 2B Brandon Phillips, after nearly dealing him last offseason. They only got minor league pitchers in Andrew McKirahan and Carlos Portuondo, but the trade was made to make room for prospect Jose Peraza.
X-factor: After a 3.28 ERA in 123.1 IP, Anthony DeSclafani can move from good to ace if he has an even better 2017. He's never pitched 200 innings, and could miss this year's opening day due to a minor injury, but DeSclafani should still be really good.
Biggest bounce back: In 2014, catcher Devin Mesoraco broke out with 25 HRs and 80 RBIs in 384 ABs. But since then, Mesoraco has a combined 95 ABs over 2 seasons. He has 0 HRs and 3 RBIs in those years. If he can stay heakthy, Mesoraco can hit over .200 for the first time since the breakout year.
Biggest breakout: Like I mentioned earlier, the main reason Phillips was traded was to make room for prospect Jose Peraza. Peraza is now 22 years old, and hit .324 in 241 ABs for the Reds last season. Expect more from Peraza in 2017, who is a 30 steal threat, with 21 in 2016.
Guaranteed star: This isn't even close. One of the best players in the MLB, 1B Joey Votto, plays for the Reds. In 2016, Votto hit .326, 29 HRs and 97 RBIs in 556 ABs. He has a career average of .313, very stellar.
The Reds lineup should look like this.
1. CF: Billy Hamilton
2. SS: Zack Cosart
3. 1B: Joey Votto
4. LF: Adam Duvall
5. 3B: Eugenio Suarez
6. C: Devin Mesoraco
7. 2B: Jose Peraza
8. RF: Scott Schebler
Their rotation should be this.
1. Anthony DeSclafani
2. Brandon Finnegan
3. Scott Feldman
4. Robert Stephenson
5. Tim Adleman
2B Dilson Herrera, C Tucker Barnhart and SS Arismendy Alcantara will be on the bench.
Raisel Iglesias will be their closer, with Tony Cingrani and Drew Storen setting him up.
For my prediction, the Reds will be at the bottom of the league again, but guys like Peraza will have big growing years in 2017.