Cincinnati Reds will ride young pitching to playoff contention in 2018

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

With an influx of young pitchers onto the Cincinnati Reds roster, the team will contend for a playoff spot in 2018.

The Cincinnati Reds have successfully emulated some of the best teams from the 1990s.  The Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians of the 1990s taught baseball fan two things.  It taught fans that pitching wins championships and that signing young cornerstones to long term contracts works out.

The Reds have the young pitchers to make a playoff run in 2018.  The core of the projected starting rotation in 2018 are three pitchers that were rookies in 2017.  Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Sal Romano are the core of the 2018 starting pitching rotation.

Beyond those three the Reds have several starters that have joined the team in the past few seasons.  Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed both made their debuts in 2016.  Amir Garrett and Rookie Davis both started the 2017 season in the Reds’ rotation.

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Beyond the seven prospects, there is a trio of veterans that have something to say about who will start games for the Reds in 2018.  Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan were the cornerstones of the rotation going into sping training.  At no point during 2017 were all three healthy at the same time.

Aside from the ten pitchers, the rest of the roster is good enough to ride the rotation into playoff contention.

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In the bullpen the Reds have a pair of pitchers that hit their stride in 2017.  Michael Lorenzen and Wandy Peralta was one of the best set-up duos in baseball in 2017.  They set games up for Raisel Iglesias whom the Reds could trade during this off-season.

Offensively, the Reds have one of the best players in all of baseball.  In 2017 first baseman Joey Votto finished in the top ten in the National League in batting average, runs scored, hits, home runs, RBIs, walks, OBP, slugging percentage, and OPS.  This sort of production makes Votto a perennial MVP candidate who came close to contending this year.

Besides Votto the Reds have other, young offensive weapons.  The Reds have a pair of young slugging outfielders in Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler who may be more potential than output so far.  Duvall, however, has already made the All-Star team and is a favorite to win a Gold Glove this off-season.

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The Reds are ready to compete in 2018 more than they were in 2017.  With three elite prospects leading the rotation, the Reds haven’t had as much starting pitching talent, since they traded Mat Latos.  After a rough patch, however, now the Reds have the pitching and hitting to make a run at the playoffs in 2018.