4. Cincinnati Reds
Trust me Reds fans, I wanted to put Cincinnati in a different spot, but looking at the numbers, this seems fair for now. The Cincinnati Reds, on paper, are a much improved team both offensively and in regards to their pitching staff. This is not so much underestimating the Reds, but rather respecting the competition in the NL Central.
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The Reds lineup is definitely improved. The additions of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp could easily add up to 50-plus homers and 150-plus RBIs. However, if that were to happen, how many at-bats would Jesse Winker get? How about Scott Schebler or Nick Senzel? That seems to be the biggest problem for the Reds, and it’s a good one to have, but there is an excessive amount of offensive talent on this team.
So why not rank them, right? Well, a few things have to go right. Joey Votto has to return to the player that he was in 2017, or at least close to that. Eugenio Suarez has to prove that 2018 was no fluke and that the team can pencil him in for 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs this season. There’s also the potential of the young guys (Nick Senzel, Jose Peraza, and Jesse Winker) that has to change from potential to results.
Also, don’t forget all the additions the other teams in the division made as well. We’ll get into specifics later, but the St. Louis Cardinals brought in a player that could legitimately win MVP. The Chicago Cubs already have an MVP worthy player on their roster, and the Milwaukee Brewers have last year’s NL MVP on their squad.
The Cincinnati Reds offense will be better next season, no question. But, will it be enough? Tucker Barnhart has to improve a little bit at the plate. Jose Peraza has to use last season as a springboard in to 2019. Nick Senzel has to show that he’s everything we think he’s going to be. If the team plays up to its potential, they could be the best hitting team in the division. But, they have to go out and prove it.