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The New Big Red Machine


For some, the nickname Big Red Machine conjures up fond memories of former WWE superstar and current Knox County, TN mayor Kane (real name Glenn Jacobs). However, the mere mention of the Big Red Machine in the mid to late 1970s made many big league pitchers shudder in fear at the prospect of facing a Reds lineup that indiscriminately terrorized any pitcher who dared to oppose them on the mound.

The Reds teams of the '70s were so good, that instead of a meager “Core Four”, they featured a “Great Eight”! The Reds’ lineup included Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez as well as baseball’s all-time hit leader, Pete Rose, who was a Red for parts of 19 seasons. George Foster led the NL with 52 home runs in 1977 and that was in a dead-ball era! Shortstop Dave Concepcion and centerfielder Cesar Geronimo were fine hitters who won multiple gold gloves. Ken Griffey Sr. was a Red for parts of 12 seasons and finished his 19-year career with a .296 batting average. Oh, and he also helped sire Ken Griffey Jr., one of the best all-around players in the history of the game.

The 2020 Reds lineup reminds some of those explosive Cincinnati teams of the 1970s, albeit to a lesser extent. Today’s Reds lineup features the type of firepower that can carry your fantasy team for a couple of weeks. Despite their offensive potential, the Reds entered this week with an unimpressive cumulative .220/.324/.430 triple-slash. Those numbers are pretty weak, but they’re an improvement from last week’s .198/.320/.377 mark. The Reds have had to postpone some of their recent games due to positive COVID-19 test results but prior to the pause in their season, their lineup had been slowly starting to gel. This could be the perfect time for you to try to target some of their slumping players and seek out buy-low opportunities.

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Nick Castellanos, Outfield

Nick Castellanos will benefit from playing his home games at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. He has a career .675 slugging and 1.013 OPS at the Reds’ home park. He began the week with an overall .267/.353/.680 triple-slash and a 1.033 OPS. Several predictive stats suggest that Castellanos will continue mashing the ball. He entered this week with a .298 xBA and his line drive rate, which typically correlates to a high batting average, was an above-average 28.0. He began the week in the top one percentile in baseball in barrel percentage.

Rotoballer recommendation: Buy!! You’ll have to pay a premium for him in trades but he’s worth it.

 

Nick Senzel, Outfield

Nick Senzel is a former can’t miss prospect with five-tool potential who’s been plagued by injuries early in his MLB career. He started the week with a .244/.327/.489 triple slash however, MLB’s Statcast suggests Senzel’s bat could heat up in the near future. Senzel started the week with a.288 xBA, and a .516 xSLG. His 44.4 hard-hit percentage is significantly higher than the 34.7 league average.

He’s also becoming a more disciplined hitter. In 2019 Senzel was chasing pitches outside the strike zone at a rate of 31.3 percent. That rate has dropped to 23.7 this season. That’s helped him cut last season’s strikeout rate of 24.4 to 18.9 in 2020. With a sprint speed in the top three percent in baseball, the Reds will probably give Senzel the opportunity to try to steal a few bases before the season is done.

Rotoballer Recommendation: Buy low. Senzel had been dealing with a groin issue and he has been a bit injury-prone, but he has a high ceiling. His expected stats and above-average line-drive rate suggest that he will finish the season strong.

 

Shogo Akiyama, Outfield

Shogo Akiyama, who has above average contact and on-base skills, has been batting leadoff for the Reds. The Reds targeted the nine-year Japanese league veteran in free agency and even though he’s slumped early this season, they’re likely to be patient with him. His resume is impressive. He compiled a .304/.379/.457 triple slash during his time in Japan and he has enough pop in his bat to potentially hit 15 home runs or more across a full season. He’s also a smart baserunner with enough speed to steal a base if the situation warrants. His outstanding defensive skills and ability to play all three outfield positions should keep his bat in the lineup.

Rotoballer Recommendation: Buy low. Akiyama entered this week with a .231/.322/.208 triple-slash. His bat has started to warm up a bit as evidenced by his modest .273/.385/.409 mark in his last seven games. He has the opportunity to score a ton of runs before the season is over.

 

Mike Moustakas, Second Base/Third Base

Mike Moustakas has been dealing with a quad injury of late, and despite the fact that he’s struggled in 19 career games at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, it’s likely that his power bat will be making some noise before the end of the season. Moustakas has averaged 34 home runs over the past three seasons, but he doesn’t strikeout much for a power hitter.

Last season, he was one of only four big leaguers with 35 or more home runs and less than 100 strikeouts. His 29.2 strikeout rate in his first seven games is way higher than his career 15.9 rate but he’s also chasing fewer pitches outside the strike zone (29.5 percent) compared to his career (35.5) rate. His 57.1 fly ball rate and .524 slugging percentage suggest he’ll be hitting a lot more home runs in the near future.

Rotoballer Recommendation: Buy. He’s multi-position eligible in most leagues and has been a consistent source of power. There aren’t too many power hitters who play the keystone position.

 

Eugenio Suarez, Third Base

Eugenio Suarez began the week with a putrid .123/.278/.246 triple-slash but once his bat begins firing on all cylinders he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Suarez has averaged 32 home runs over the past four seasons and yet it seems he’s hardly mentioned in fantasy circles. He hit 49 home runs last season and so far he’s increased his launch angle for a third straight season and he’s continuing to barrel the ball at an above-average rate (10 vs. a league-average 6.3). The fact that he’s walking at the highest rate of his career (16.5 percent vs. his 10.0 career rate) and chasing pitches outside the strike zone at the lowest rate of his career (23%) is a good sign. Despite his early-season troubles, he’s not in panic mode yet.

Rotoballer Recommendation: Buy low. It’s only a matter of time before he snaps out of his funk.

 

Joey Votto, First Base

Joey Votto’s career .306 batting average is a testament to the type of stellar career he’s had. Unfortunately, the end has come quick and he appears to be in the twilight of that career. The Reds have already started to sit him against left-handed pitching. He’ll still have his moments at the plate from time to time and Votto will continue to lead, but moving forward he’ll be leading primarily by example.

Rotoballer Recommendation: Avoid.

 

Jesse Winker, Outfielder

Jesse Winker is a solid contact hitter, but left-handed pitchers are his kryptonite. Entering this week’s action Winker has a lifetime .311 batting average against right-handed pitching and just a .190 batting average against southpaws. He began the week red hot, posting a .586/.657/.1.207 triple slash and 1.864 OPS in his last 10 games.

Despite his weakness against lefty pitching, there’s still a lot to like about Winker. He entered the week with a career-best 50.0 hard-hit rate (40.2 percent for his career) and an above-average 26.3 percent line-drive rate. Together those stats are good predictors of future success at the plate. Some wonder if he’ll eventually develop moderate power. The dramatic increase in Winker’s hard-hit rate is encouraging, but his 23.7 percent fly-ball rate is not.

Rotoballer Recommendation: This might be a good time to sell high. He’s got enough talent to overcome his inability to hit lefties and provide good fantasy production in season-long leagues but his trade value might never be higher.

 

Aristides Aquino, Outfield

As this article is being written Aristides Aquino is rostered at the Reds’ alternate site. Aquino took baseball by storm last August, batting .320 and slugging 14 home runs that month, which is a record for an NL rookie. Opposing pitchers quickly adjusted and Aquino hit five home runs, batted .196, and posted a 31 percent strikeout rate during the month of September. Aquino has huge power potential but as a free swinger, pitchers will continue to target his weaknesses.

Rotoballer Recommendation: Keep him on your watch list. His power is real, and power hitters can be streaky, both hot and cold. The only way he gets regular ABs this season is if the Reds have a large number of injuries.

 

Phillip Ervin, Outfield

Phillip Ervin is another power hitter who will have a hard time getting regular ABs in the Reds lineup. He does have value in DFS. He can’t hit righties but has a .301/.364/.508 career triple-slash against left-handed pitchers.

Rotoballer Recommendation: Ignore in mixed leagues.



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Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More