After a wild offseason that saw the Reds go after free agents and make trades like we haven’t seen in a long time, it’s finally time to sit down and think of just how this team is going to stack up. The outfield is a massive log jam, and Nick Senzel still needs a place to play when he finally comes up. This is how I think things should line up on Opening Day:
1. Nick Senzel CF .310/.378/.887 (AAA)
In terms of putting the best team out on Opening Day, I think Senzel has to be here. What’s more likely is that he ends up in AAA for a couple weeks to get the extra year of control (see: Kris Bryant), but once he comes up he needs to play CF everyday.
2. Jesse Winker LF .299/.405/.836
Get this, Winker put up these numbers on essentially one shoulder. He had offseason shoulder surgery, and apparently will be totally healthy for the first time in a while. I can’t wait to see Winker with 2 healthy arms. He should hit for some good power all season if his playing time doesn’t get stolen by Matt Kemp.
3. Joey Votto 1B .284/.417/.837
Votto has taken this off season very seriously after his down season in 2018. He has said he should hit for more power this year, and if there’s one person I’m inclined to believe when it comes to stuff like this, it’s Joey Votto. I think he will have a big bounce back year, and will earn that 3 slot back.
4. Eugenio Suarez 3B .283/.366/.892
I’d been calling for that breakout year for a while, and Suarez finally got there last season. He was the big bright spot for the Reds, and I expect him to keep it going this season. I believe he very well could compete for MVP if he builds on his big 2018.
5. Yasiel Puig RF .267/.320/.820
Yasiel Puig meet Great American Ball Park. This could be incredible. Puig is entering a contract year off a wake-up-call trade to one of the most hitter friendly ball parks in the MLB. He could absolutely explode this season, and if he does he will give a ton of protection to Geno right in front of him. This season may be epic for Puig.
6. Scooter Gennett 2B .310/.357/.847
Scooter has been a non-stop surprise since he arrived in Cincy, and I don’t see why he’d stop now since he too is entering a contract year. If Scooter can learn to be a little more patient at the plate and draw more walks then he really will be the 3rd Votto clone in this lineup, and could potentially take that #2 spot and push Winker to lead off. I expect another fun year from Scooter.
7. Jose Peraza SS .288/.326/.742
It’s hard to believe, but Jose Peraza will just be turning 25 this upcoming season. With that being said, last season he really began to show what he is becoming in terms of a hitter. He is an incredibly hard strike out, and has amazing bat speed. Peraza has the potential to have a great breakout season, and may be the biggest surprise the Reds have in store for opponents this year.
8. Tucker Barnhart C .248/.328/.699
After an entire off season full of rumors of him being involved as a possible trade piece to the Marlins for J.T. Realmuto, look for Barnhart to put some extra work in and try to prove some doubters wrong. With that being said, I don’t he will ever be a massive threat on offense, but he is still one of the best defensive catchers in the game. I think we will definitely see him back in the .750 OPS range this season, and compete for his 2nd Gold Glove.
If you really put it on paper and take into account some of the moves the Reds made this offseason, this line up is sneaky good to even outright amazing. The bench will probably consist of Curt Casali, Matt Kemp, new signee Derek Dietrich, and either Scott Schebler or other new signee Jose Iglesias. We also have to take into account Michael Lorenzen who is training with the outfielders a decent bit in Arizona. This team is going to be a ton of fun this year, and if the pitching comes together I believe they will make some noise. 2019 is going to be one hell of a ride for the Reds.