Cincinnati Reds 2018 Season Preview
The Cincinnati Reds are very much the same team we’ve come to expect over the last years, given that there were no real acquisitions to headline this year. Rather, it’s all about a bunch of familiar faces, and guys being brought up from within.
First baseman Joey Votto
The Reds batting will continue to be buoyed by first baseman Joey Votto, who hasn’t really shown any effects of turning 34 years old last fall. Votto finished second in the National League in MVP voting, after putting up a slash line of .320/.454/.578, and leading the NL in on-base percentage for the sixth time in eight years.
Things to note for the Reds
Another soon-to-be staple of the batting order will be Jose Perzaza, who was the Reds headline acqusition when they traded away Todd Frazier. While he hasn’t really delivered on the promise the team had previously saw in him, the Reds are hoping to hand him the starting shortstop job in 2018, with the hopes of boosting his confidence towards a breakout season.
He finished last year with a .259/.297/.324 hitting line, along with with five home runs and 37 RBIs in 143 games. Perzaza is listed as a shortstop, but they’ll likely try and move him to second base (where he played last season), taking Scooter Gennett’s spot.
At shortstop, the Reds are hoping that top prospect Nick Senzel can take the place of the departed Zack Cozart. Senzel is very likely to get called up to the majors at some point this season, and given his ability at the plate, even if he can man the shortstop position at an average level, he’ll be a big boost in the infield. In 119 games combined last season between Class A Advanced Daytona and Double-A Pensacola, Senzel slashed .321/.391/.514 and tallied 14 home runs and 65 RBIs. He’ll likely start the season at Triple-A Louisville, but it won’t be for long. He’ll get that call up very quickly, because the team will need it.
The Reds pitching rotation
The Reds pitching rotation features veterans in Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan (all of whom are coming back from injury), as well as youngsters like Luis Castillo, Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle and Robert Stephenson (all of whom got invaluable experience last year, thanks to the aforementioned injuiries).
On top of that, setup man Michael Lorenzen will get a shot at entering the rotation, and last year’s rookies like Amir Garrett and Cody Reed will get a crack as well. The Reds’ quantity didn’t necessarily result in quality to go with it, as the rotation finished with a 5.55 ERA (among the worst in baseball), but at least there are pieces there to sort through and build upon (hopefully).
Completing this puzzle
In a slam-packed National League Central division, it’s hard to envision a scenario where the Reds win 81 games. We’re still looking at a middle-of-the-road offense (at best) and a pitching staff that leaves much to be desired. They’re another one of those teams that have a lot of pieces to work with, but they’re still early on in completing this puzzle.