Cincinnati Reds: Three steps to becoming a World Series contender

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 02: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Nick Senzel #15 and Jose Iglesias #4 after the 5-4 win in 11 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on July 02, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Iglesias hit a game winning single that drove in Yasiel Puig #66 in the 11th inning. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 02: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Nick Senzel #15 and Jose Iglesias #4 after the 5-4 win in 11 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on July 02, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Iglesias hit a game winning single that drove in Yasiel Puig #66 in the 11th inning. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
CINCINNATI, OHIO – JULY 02: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Nick Senzel #15 and Jose Iglesias #4 after the 5-4 win in 11 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on July 02, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Iglesias hit a game winning single that drove in Yasiel Puig #66 in the 11th inning. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

With the World Series beginning tonight, Cincinnati Reds fans are left to wonder what it will take to bring a title to the Queen City.

The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals kick off Game 1 of the World Series tonight from Minute Maid Park. Unfortunately for Reds Country, fans in the Queen City haven’t seen a World Series Championship since 1990. What will it take for the Cincinnati Reds to become World Series contenders heading into 2020?

Despite finishing the 2019 season with a record below .500, the Reds put a good product on the field and showed a lot of promise. The pitching staff was greatly improved, especially the starting rotation. Luis Castillo established himself as a legitimate ace and the acquisition of Sonny Gray proved to be well worth what the team gave up in return.

Eugenio Suárez was the most impressive offensive player on the team. Suárez was neck and neck down the stretch with New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso for the league lead in home runs. Suárez set a career-high in hits (156) homers (49), slugging percentage (.572) and OPS (.930). Suárez has replaced Joey Votto as the Cincinnati Reds best player.

In addition, the Reds got some solid contributions from three rookies – Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino and Josh VanMeter. Though Senzel finished the season on the injured list, he flashed the potential that made him a first-round pick in 2016. Aquino powered his way into the record books and VanMeter was a pleasant surprise. All three look to be part of the Reds core heading into 2020.

So, while a lot went well in 2019, there was a lot that didn’t go the way of the Reds as well. That’s why, for the sixth consecutive season, the Reds are sitting at home during October. It feels like Cincinnati is close, but the front office will need to make some additions and some of the players must improve their performance. What will it take to make the Reds World Series contenders next season?