The Cincinnati Reds have had a rough couple of seasons leading up to 2017, but it may be time for a turn for the better.
The Cincinnati Reds have cause to expect things to get better on the field in 2017. Youth will finally be served in Cincinnati. The question is whether it will be served often enough to make a difference in 2017.
Jose Peraza is a cause for hope. After coming over with Scott Schebler in the Todd Frazier deal, he has shown that he can play five positions and help back-up seven. After an audition in 2016, it appears that he will receive ample opportunity to play in 2017.
Another reason for hope is the starting rotation. None of the core of the rotation is what you would consider a veteran. The rotation is led by Dan Straily and Anthony DeSclafani, neither of which is even arbitration eligible yet. With Brandon Finnegan and Robert Stephenson also penciled into the rotation, it will be one of the youngest and most talented in the National League.
The bullpen is also a cause for hope heading into 2017. With the addition of Drew Storen to the duo of Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias, the bullpen has come a long way from having Tony Cingrani as closer. Lorenzen, in particular as a former elite college closer, demonstrated some real capability as a reliever in 2016.
The real hope of the Cincinnati Reds will come from the players that haven’t yet played their first game in Cincinnati.
The Reds have a group of players that should explode on the scene either in 2017 or 2018. They will have trouble finding playing time for all of these players. Most of them project as everyday position players.
At the top of list is third base prospect Nick Senzel, who expects to be in Cincinnati before the end of the year. The Reds selected him in 2016 with their first round pick. The fans haven’t anticipated a player this much since Barry Larkin came up in the late 1980s. Senzel’s offense and defense both need a little work, but he is close to MLB ready.
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The other prospect fans can’t wait to see is outfielder Jesse Winker. Winker has been one step away for the past two years and could finally arrive in Cincinnati this spring. He is the quintessential number two hitter that makes contact and sees a ton of pitches. The Reds need these players to get here and be ready to kick start the competitive phase of the rebuild.