Reds 2024 fan survey results: Confidence is sky-high compared to a year ago


The biggest cliché in sportswriting is the phrase, “What a difference a year makes.” That said, what a difference a year makes …

A year ago, even ownership was saying the team was out of contention by Opening Day only to be in contention until the final weekend of the season.

The Reds lost 100 games in 2022 and then won 83 in 2023, the second-biggest turnaround in baseball after the Orioles.

Not only did the team’s record improve, a new generation of players debuted, including Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Andrew Abbott and others, introducing a fresh era of Reds baseball and newfound optimism at Great American Ball Park. In April, just 7,375 showed up to a game at GABP, the smallest crowd in the stadium’s history in a non-COVID year. By the end of the season, the team’s attendance rose 44 percent over 2022. The fans came out because the Reds gave them something to see.

The difference in the fan base’s feelings toward the team was a complete 180-degree turn, so we turned to you to tell us how you’re feeling about the Reds.

A total of 1,756 responded to one or more questions and here are the results:

How confident are you that the Reds are headed in the right direction?

Response Percent of vote

1 (very low)

0.6

2

3.1

3

16.3

4

54.9

5 (very high)

25

While we didn’t do this poll a year ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if the results would’ve been the exact opposite. I will note that there were plenty of people inside the organization who were confident in the plan, it just took some success to convince the rest of us.

How does that compare to this time last year?

response percent of vote

I’m a lot more confident now

57.9

I’m a little more confident

36

I feel about the same

5.4

I’m a little less confiden

0.6

I’m a lot less confident

0

It’s interesting to me that 95 people said they felt about the same. That could be seen in one of two ways:

1. They were confident last year and have been proven correct, or
2. They aren’t convinced that this young team has staying power.

How confident are you in ownership, led by Bob Castellini?

response percent of vote

1 (very low)

27.5

2

33.5

3

30.5

4

7.5

5 (very high)

1

A year of Phil Castellini staying in the background and letting a successful product on the field take the spotlight helped convince 17 people (1 percent) that they’re very confident in ownership.

It will take more than one year to completely regain the trust of the fan base. But honestly, having nearly a third of those responding pick the neutral third option could be seen as a win, even though 61 percent have a low level of confidence in the Castellini family’s stewardship.

How confident are you in president of baseball operations Nick Krall?

response percentage of vote

1 (very low)

1.3

2

4.9

3

21.7

4

46.7

5 (very high)

25.5

If not for the Orioles’ Mike Elias, Krall likely would’ve gotten a lot more buzz for Executive of the Year. But Krall won over Reds fans by sticking to his plan since taking over the team following the 2020 season. A total of 72.2 percent graded him either a 4 or 5. A total of 22 people, or 1.3 percent, gave him a 1, which, honestly, is pretty hard to believe.

How would you rate manager David Bell?

response percent of vote

1 (very low)

2.9

2

7.3

3

40

4

42.4

5 (very high)

7.4

This is where Twitter/X can be misleading. That is a platform that some of us have given way too much credence to, and that is why I really like this exercise. We hear the loudest, and often the least rational, people on social media. For many of us, we start to think that it is the prevailing opinion of the fanbase.

Pretty much any time the Reds play, you’ll see someone upset online over something Bell did or did not do. And believe me, this isn’t limited to the Reds fan base. This is pretty much universal in baseball Twitter.

Only 10.2 percent of 1,750 responders gave Bell either a 1 or 2. A total of 40 percent gave him a 3 and 49.8 percent gave a positive response.

What letter grade would you give the Reds’ offseason so far?

response percent of vote

A

6.7

B

65.3

C

23.4

D

4.1

F

0.5

I’m not surprised that B got the most votes, with 1,143 (65.3) percent. The Reds addressed needs, adding pitching both in the rotation and in the bullpen, even if they didn’t add marquee names.

In the end, the Reds spent money in free agency. That’s not something they’ve done often in recent years, but the team did shell out more than $100 million this offseason. That’s not nothing.

I wasn’t surprised by the 23.4 percent giving it a C, but more surprised that only 4.1 percent gave it a D and just nine people (0.5 percent) thought the team failed this offseason.

That said, the timing may have hurt some graders, with the poll conducted around the time the Orioles, a team on the rise like the Reds, went out and got an ace in the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes. In 2022, the Reds had two of the top pitchers on the trade market at the deadline in Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle. One of the other marquee names was Frankie Montas, who went to the Yankees. Montas pitched in just one game last year after coming back from a shoulder injury and his one-year deal with the Reds could be a big factor in how the 2024 season plays out.

The team also loaded up on relievers, like Brent Suter and Emilio Pagán, while Nick Martinez could go in the team’s rotation or bullpen.

Krall’s biggest signing was a three-year, $45 million deal with 30-year-old corner infielder Jeimer Candelario, an All-Star with the Nationals last season.

Which of the Reds’ 2023 rookie position players do you expect to have the best career?

response

  

percent of vote

  

Matt McLain

60.1

Elly De La Cruz

26.7

Spencer Steer

6.6

Christian Encarnacion-Strand

3.3

Will Benson

0.7

other

2.6

Matt McLain was the overwhelming choice, which was a little surprising to me. Not because I don’t believe he will, but I thought Elly De La Cruz (26.7 percent) would take up more of the pie chart than he did.

McLain beat many of his fellow rookies to the big leagues and made an immediate impact. The team was 18-22 when he was called up and 25-15 over the next 40 games.

What stands out the most is that there were so many choices. In order, the responses were McLain, De La Cruz, Spencer Steer, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Noelvi Marte and Will Benson.

Marte was a write-in choice, which at least one person considered “a crime.” Marte still has rookie eligibility in 2024 and will be a rookie in 2024, which is why I didn’t list him (although Benson probably shouldn’t have been listed because he technically wasn’t a rookie and then I did list some rookie pitchers who have rookie eligibility next season).

Which of the Reds’ 2023 rookie starters do you expect to have the best career?

Response

  

percent of vote

  

Andrew Abbott

70.8

Connor Phillips

17.3

Brandon Williamson

8.9

Levi Stout

1.2

Carson Spiers

0.5

Lyon Richardson

0.2

other

1.1

It’s not surprising that Andrew Abbott got 70.8 percent of the vote, Abbott went 6-2 with a 1.90 ERA in his first 10 starts. In his final 11 starts of the season, he was 2-4 with a 6.42 ERA. His true talent is probably somewhere in the middle, but it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up.

What’s interesting is that more than a third of those who responded picked one of the pitchers the team got in the much-maligned trade that sent Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez to Seattle. Neither Winker nor Suárez are still with the Mariners.

One Debbie Downer wrote, “I do not expect any to have good careers.”

Which of the Reds’ starters do you expect to have the best 2024?

response

  

percent of vote

  

Hunter Greene

44.4

Graham Ashcraft

18.1

Nick Lodolo

16.8

Andrew Abbott

12.3

Frankie Montas

8.2

other

0.2

Hunter Greene took 44.4 percent of the vote. Frankie Montas, the most accomplished of the team’s offseason additions to the rotation, received just 8.2 percent.

What do you think of the team’s decision to decline Joey Votto’s option?

response percent of vote

Hate it

8.8

Don’t like it, but understand it

44.4

It was the right call

45.7

Joey who?

1.1

Again, this is where Twitter can be misleading because the outrage continues to this day that the team didn’t choose to pick up Votto’s $20 million option for 2024. More than 90 percent of the people who responded picked either “It was the right call” or “Don’t like it, but understand it.”

Just 8.8 percent answered “Hate it.”

It is strange to think of a Reds team without Joey Votto, but it was going to happen at some point, it’s just that it happened this offseason.

What should the team do with Jonathan India?

Response percent of vote

Start every day at 2B

5.5

Move to the outfield

11.4

Have him play 1B, 2B and DH

42.1

Bat off the bench

4.8

Trade him

32.9

other

3.3

A total of 42.1 percent seem to agree with the team’s most likely plan of having him play first base, second base and designated hitter.

My favorite response (even if I don’t agree) was “cut his hair.”

GettyImages 1697763485 1 scaled


Most fans would like Elly De La Cruz to stay at shortstop and for the Reds to play Jonathan India at multiple positions or trade him. (Joe Puetz / Getty Images)

Where should Elly De La Cruz play?

response percent of vote

SS

66.3

3B

13.4

OF

16.4

Louisville

2.3

other

1.6

Although several wrote in the previous question to have De La Cruz move to the outfield to open a spot for India at second, just 16.4 percent voted for him to move to the outfield.

Nearly two-thirds wanted to keep him at short.

Who was the team’s best offseason addition?

response percent of vote

Frankie Montas

37.4

Emilio Pagán

7.2

Nick Martinez

19.2

Jeimer Candelario

24

Brent Suter

10.9

other

1.3

Most of the write-in responses were negative. For example: “None of these are much to get excited about” and “They had a best?”

Which Reds prospect are you most excited about?

response percent of vote

Noelvi Marte

64.8

Rhett Lowder

18.3

Connor Phillips

5.6

Edwin Arroyo

4.4

Cam Collier

5.8

other

1.1

Marte was the overwhelming choice, 64.8 percent, which makes sense considering he’s the team’s top-ranked prospect. Baseball America has him listed as No. 23 in baseball, MLB Pipeline has him at No. 21 and ESPN ranked him No. 35.

Marte was impressive in his 123 plate appearances in the big leagues last season, hitting .316/.366/.456 in 35 games. Not only did he have the offensive numbers but he also passed the eye test, looking good both in the field at third base and on the basepaths.

Rhett Lowder finished second at 18.3 percent. The team will have the No. 2 overall pick in July’s draft, so there will be another name in here in a year.

Who is the face of the franchise?

response percent of vote

Elly De La Cruz

52.6

Hunter Greene

7.1

Jonathan India

8.3

Joey Votto

19.7

Mr. Redlegs

6.6

other

5.7

More than half — 52.6 percent — selected De La Cruz. He was followed by Votto, India and Greene. Both McLain and “Matt McClain” got multiple votes.

How would you rate the Reds’ primary TV broadcast team (John Sadak, Barry Larkin/Chris Welsh, Jim Day)?

response percent of vote

1 (poor)

3.2

2

6.2

3

23.8

4

43.3

5 (excellent)

23.5

While some have complained about Sadak’s energy, it seemed to fit this team. Larkin also seemed more comfortable in his third season in the team’s booth.

How would you rate the Reds’ primary broadcast team (Tommy Thrall, Jeff Brantley)?

Response percent fo vote

1 (poor)

0.6

2

1.7

3

14.3

4

35.9

5 (excellent)

47.5

A whopping 47.5 percent gave the duo, entering their fifth season as the full-time broadcast team, a 5, the highest rating. Only 2.3 percent gave them a 1 or 2.

What is your favorite Reds uniform?

response percent of vote

Home (white/white)

29.1

Away (gray/gray)

6.3

Home alternate (red top/white pants)

30

Away alternate (red top/gray pants)

2.8

City Connect

31.8

The City Connect has been well received and got 31.8 percent of the vote. That wasn’t surprising, but the team’s alternate red jersey over the white pants at home finishing second (30 percent) was surprising to me. The main home uniform was a close third (29.1 percent.) It seems people don’t like gray pants.

With the success of the Reds’ City Connect uniform, do you think it’s time for a redesign of the primary uniform?

response percent of vote

Yes

37.2

No

23.5

Just tweak the current set (i.e. drop the black drop shadows or some other adjustment)

34.1

Make the City Connect the primary

2.3

other

2.9

I wrote about this three years ago when the Bengals redesigned their uniforms and was surprised by how much better just dropping the drop shadows made the current uniforms look. (I’ve always been for dropping the black, but liked the current unit without the black more than I expected.)

Among the comments are pretty much any combination of opinions on the matter, from dropping the City Connects to making them sleeveless. Some like the late-60s redesign and some want the pinstripes and sleeveless uniforms back.

Who is your favorite mascot?

response percent of vote

Mr. Red

36.4

Mr. Redlegs

46.5

Rosie

9.8

Gapper

7.3

Only 9.8 percent answered correctly (Rosie Red) and 125 of you are monsters, picking Gapper.

How many games do you think the Reds will win in 2024?

response percent of vote

90+

19.7

82-89

73.5

81

2.3

80-73

4.1

fewer than 73

0.5

How many games did you watch last season?

response percent of vote

The usual

38

More than usual

53.9

Fewer than usual

8.1

How many games did you attend in person last season?

response percent of vote

The usual

50.2

More than usual

22.4

Fewer than usual

27.4

What is your excitement level for the 2024 Reds?

response percent of vote

1 (it’s baseball season again?)

0.7

2

2.5

3

8.4

4

39.3

5 (LFG!!!)

49.1

Will the Reds play in the World Series in the next five years?

response percent of vote

Yes

61

No

39

I think a year ago, I could have made it 10 years and had more than 61 percent answer no.

Describe your feelings about the state of the team in a sentence or two.

Among the answers:

• “Cautiously optimistic”

• “Stagnant, But seemingly trending up”

• “Window opening, need to go all-in aggressively to maximize. Would like to see them lock up the young core for many years.”

• “It’s the Big Red Machine all over again!”

• “I answered ‘No’ to whether they’ll make the World Series in the next five years because, if I’m being honest I don’t expect it. But I could absolutely see it happening, and I think they’ll make some real pushes for it. It’s a fun team with tons of potential. So I’m a lot happier about the state of the franchise than I was last year.”

• “Nick Krall may be some sort of secret baseball savant. If he keeps wheeling and dealing like he has the past few years, easily one of the top PBOs in the game.”

• “Having to move on from Joey hurts, but it’s a sign of management focusing on winning which I appreciate. Use this year to figure out where each piece of this young core best fits and hope it’s a jumping-off point for the next 3-4 years before they all have to be paid.”

• “Perhaps I’m only looking at results and ignoring the process that constructed this roster, but my confidence in ownership is as low as ever. The optimism being felt seems in spite of ownership rather than because of them. The front office gained some respect over the last season and I’m cautiously optimistic about the improvements made on the field.”

• “Two wishes have defined my entire life as a Reds fan: pleading for better (or new) ownership and the everlasting hope that Joey Votto would lead the team to a World Series. Now Votto is gone and the ownership is the same, yet I am somehow as excited as I’ve ever been about the future.”

• “I literally boycotted last year because I had no faith in the team. My boycott ended the day Elly De La Cruz was called up. I was blown away by the team in the end.”

(Top photo of Matt McLain and Elly De La Cruz: Emilee Chinn / Cincinnati Reds / Getty Images)





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