Cincinnati Reds: Way-too-early roster projections for 2021 season

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 10: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Jose Garcia #38 of the Cincinnati Reds after scoring in the second inning. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 10: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Jose Garcia #38 of the Cincinnati Reds after scoring in the second inning. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Aristides Aquino #44 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a fielder's choice for an RBI.
CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 20: Aristides Aquino #44 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a fielder’s choice for an RBI. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Reds bench (5)

Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino, Kyle Farmer, Curt Casali and Alex Blandino

As we said earlier, Jesse Winker will be on the Reds ball club in 2021. The former first-round pick finally showed the promise we all knew he had. Unfortunately, his hot streak cooled dramatically as the season ended and Winker hit just .114 over his final 15 games. He did stay healthy, however, it was only a 60-game season.

Aristides Aquino is out of minor league options, and I can’t see the Reds designating The Punisher for assignment. In fact, if Nick Castellanos does opt out of his contract, a platoon of Winker and Aquino in right field would be the most likely replacement.

Do-everything utility player Kyle Farmer showed his value this past season, and the former Georgia Bulldog can play every infield position. He’ll likely compete with José García for the starting spot at shortstop, but the rookie’s potential is too high. However, Farmer will likely garner two or three starts per week at various infield positions.

I really think the Reds will shop Tucker Barnhart this offseason. Yes, he’d offer a left-handed bat opposite the right-handed hitting Tyler Stephenson, but it’s not like Barnhart abused right-handed pitching. In fact, Barnhart had a .774 OPS against right-handers and Curt Casali’s OPS against righties was .773.

I’m not sold on Cincinnati hanging onto Brian Goodwin. He does give them a skilled left-handed bat who can play all three outfield positions. This offseason will be his final year of arbitration and may be a candidate to be non-tendered. Cincinnati also has Mark Payton who has a very similar profile and would cost less, but I’ll give the final spot on the bench to Alex Blandino.