Cincinnati Reds: Final Opening Day roster predictions for the 2020 season

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 18: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 18: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 18: Phillip Ervin #6 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Reds role players (6)

Phillip Ervin (OF), Kyle Farmer (IF), Josh VanMeter (IF), Curt Casali (C), Matt Davidson (IF), Travis Jankowski (OF)

This projection is becoming increasingly difficult. Phillip Ervin, Kyle Farmer and Curt Casali are locks to be on the Reds bench in 2020. Josh VanMeter has minor league options, but his defensive flexibility and left-handed power are sure to land him a spot on the Opening Day roster. The final two spots, however, are a bit more difficult to sort out.

I’m going to give a slight edge to Matt Davidson. The right-handed slugger has big league experience and power. Ervin is no slouch, but when it comes to a right-handed DH, I’d go with Davidson. He’s also capable of playing both corner infield positions, and could give Joey Votto a day or two off during the 17-day stretch to begin the season.

It seems as though the Reds are comfortable going forward with Farmer as the team’s primary backup to Freddy Galvis at shortstop. If that’s the case, there’s no need to carry Alex Blandino on the Opening Day roster. Eugenio Suárez can also play shortstop in a pinch. That final spot is likely to come down to a toss up between Travis Jankowski and Mark Payton.

I’m going with Jankowski, as he gives the Reds something that Payton doesn’t; speed. Payton may offer the better hitting profile, but Jankowski’s speed and defense set him apart from any other player on the Reds roster. Cincinnati has plenty of outfielders that can hit, but no one has the speed of Jankowski.