Cincinnati Reds need young players to step up to be successful in 2017

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds have gotten younger once again this off-season and need young players to step-up in 2017.

With the trade of Brandon Phillips there will two rookies in Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler in the opening day nine for the Cincinnati Reds.  Both came over from the Los Angeles Dodgers when the Reds traded Home Run Derby Champion Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox.  Peraza is taking over for the traded Phillips, while Schebler is taking over for the traded Jay Bruce.

Peraza will be the starting second baseman when the season starts.  He replaces the projected clean-up hitter in Phillips, but will likely bat second behind Billy Hamilton.  Peraza played 12 games at second for the Reds in 2016 and looked very average defensively.

Schebler, meanwhile, had a combined 95 runs created as an outfielder in the Reds’ system in 2016.  By comparison Hanley Ramirez totaled 94 runs created as the Boston Red Sox first basemen.  If Schebler can replicate those numbers all year in Cincinnati, he will cement his hold on the right field job.

Corner infielder/outfielder Patrick Kivlehan might need to help more than anyone following the trade of Phillips.  He is the top pinch hitter, if Arismendy Alcantara becomes the top back-up infielder.  Kivlehan gets one base and hits double digits in home runs consistently.

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Besides the three hitters, the Cincinnati Reds have a set of pitchers that will need to contribute in 2017.

The most important young pitcher in 2017 will be Amir Garrett.  With the trade of Dan Straily to the Miami Marlins, Garrett enters the season as the number four starter in the rotation.  For the Reds to have sort of a competitive season Garrett will need to make at least 25 MLB starts this season.

Speaking of young starting pitchers, former top prospect Robert Stephenson also must have an outstanding season for Cincinnati.  He made a combined 32 starts pitching 173 2/3 innings in 2016 between Louisville and Cincinnati.  Stephenson needs to put up those types of numbers, if he wins the number five slot in the rotation, which is looking less likely by the day.

The Reds also need Tim Adleman to competently replace Homer Bailey temporarily.  Prior to Bailey’s latest set back, Adleman is Triple-A depth, despite averaging 25 games started per season the past two years across multiple levels.  Now, Adleman will be between Brandon Finnegan and Garrett in an extremely young rotation.  First of course he must hold off phenom Sal Romano for his spot in the rotation.

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The Reds are relying on three young starting pitchers to prevent runs.  They will also count on two rookie everyday starters to turn the corner in 2017.  In turn they have a pair of young pinch hitters behind them.  This youth is what the Reds have been trying to accomplish since the rebuild started.  Hopefully, these are the right seven players to have faith in.