On Opening Day, Experts Predict Mediocrity for Cincinnati Reds' 2022 Season

Likelihood of the Reds making the World Series? Abysmal.

click to enlarge The Cincinnati Reds' first game of the season will be in Atlanta's Truist Park, not Great American Ball Park. - Photo: Allison Babka
Photo: Allison Babka
The Cincinnati Reds' first game of the season will be in Atlanta's Truist Park, not Great American Ball Park.

Baseball fans are ready for the Cincinnati Reds to hit the field for the 2022 regular season. But are the Cincinnati Reds ready to win for fans?

That's the question as the Reds head to Atlanta to take on the Braves for Major League Baseball's delayed opening day on April 7. This will be just the third time the team will open the season on the road.
With the Reds losing big contributors and team owner Bob Castellini saying he wanted to invest in younger players, fans are anxious about 2022 turning into a "rebuilding season" rather than a legitimate push for playoff glory (During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, the Reds made it to the Wild Card playoffs but lost the first round to the Atlanta Braves without scoring at all. Before that, Cincinnati hadn't been to the postseason since 2013).

That fan anxiety may have merit, as pre-season projections from experts predict the Cincinnati Reds will end up in the middle or lower-middle tier of all 30 MLB teams this season.

According to data-driven statistics website FiveThirtyEight, the Reds have just a 1% chance of winning the World Series, a 16% chance of winning the National League Central division and a 34% chance of making the playoffs. The predicted win-loss record? A sub-.500 80-82 (Predictions are updated daily with games; these stats were taken at 6 a.m. April 6). The Milwaukee Brewers, the Reds' NL Central division foes, will fare better, FiveThirtyEight says,  going 91-71 with a 75% chance of making the playoffs. FiveThirtyEight also says that the NL Central is the weakest of MLB's six divisions.

Matt Snyder, a writer at CBS Sports, also doesn't see good thing in the Reds' future, especially in the initial matchup series with the Braves.

"As we head into the season, the Braves look like one of the best teams in baseball. The Reds look like one of the worst," Snyder writes on April 7.

CBS Sports' panel of five experts also anticipates an overall mediocre season for the Reds, unanimously slotting Cincinnati as fourth in the NL Central. Only the perpetually underfunded Pittsburgh Pirates are beneath the Reds, the panel says. None of them think the Reds will see post-season action.

The news isn't all bad, though. A panel of MLB writers says that pitcher Hunter Greene has a shot at the MLB's National League Rookie of the Year award, which Reds second baseman Jonathan India earned in 2021. CBS Sports writer Mike Axisa agrees with Greene's upside, predicting he'll be the "hardest-throwing starter ever" thanks to his 100 MPH fastball. Drafted by the Reds in 2017, Greene played in the minors until injuries took him out in 2019 and 2020. He's on the Reds' roster for Atlanta and will debut in Great American Ball Park on April 12.
Most experts and prediction sites say the Los Angeles Dodgers have the best chance to win the World Series, including MLB writers, CBS Sports experts and FiveThirtyEight.

The Cincinnati Reds kick off the 2022 season with Atlanta Braves on April 7 in Atlanta's Truist Park. First pitch is at 8:05 p.m. In Cincinnati, the game can be seen on ESPN2 and MLB.TV or heard on 700-AM WLW and other members of the Reds Radio Network. The opening day lineup according to communications from Reds officials is as follows:
  1. Jonathan India, 2B
  2. Aristides Aquino, RF
  3. Tommy Pham, LF
  4. Joey Votto, 1B
  5. Tyler Stephenson, C
  6. Nick Senzel, CF
  7. Mike Moustakas, DH
  8. Kyle Farmer, SS
  9. Brandon Drury, 3B
The 2022 MLB season begins later than planned, thanks to the 99-day lockout between MLB and players). The Reds' home opener takes place at 4:10 p.m. April 12, when Cincinnati will take on the intrastate rival Cleveland Guardians at Great American Ball Park. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will throw out the first pitch, with coach Zac Taylor and wide receiver Ja'marr Chase joining the on-field festivities. The game will be preceded by Cincinnati's iconic Findlay Market Opening Day Parade, for which Reds lifer Barry Larkin will serve as grand marshal. A number of bars, restaurants and communities are hosting additional pre-game activities, and GABP is ready with new menu items for hungry fans.

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