The Cincinnati Reds are riding high, and their confidence may be increasing in the coming days depending on how quickly their injured stars return from the IL. Mike Moustakas, Nick Senzel, Lucas Sims, and Nick Castellanos will soon return to the Reds lineup.
We’ve already gone out on a limb an made some predictions about who stays and who goes once Cincinnati’s roster looks more like it did on Opening Day. Tejay Antone is another name to watch in the coming days, but his return is more likely to come a few weeks from now rather than a few days from now.
There’s a chance that Castellanos returns to the Reds’ lineup tonight. The Cincinnati slugger was in the running for the NL MVP, and that may still be the case if Castellanos can pick up where he left off once he rejoins the active roster. So, how will the return of some of the Reds’ brightest stars impact the team and alter the lineup?
1. Nick Castellanos will take his rightful place as the Reds’ right fielder.
No more Aristides Aquino or Tyler Naquin in right field. While the duo has done a fine job picking up the slack while Nick Castellanos has been nursing a microfracture in his wrist, once the All-Star returns to the team, you can bet your bottom dollar that he’ll be in right field every game.
Aquino will return to his role as a right-handed bench bat and defensive replacement while Naquin will likely shift back to center field. Naquin has played up the middle routinely since Nick Senzel went on the IL and has shared time at the position with Shogo Akiyama over the last few weeks.
Castellanos is currently first in batting average, second in doubles, third in slugging percentage, and fourth in OPS. Despite missing over two weeks of action, the possibility exists for Castellanos to win the NL MVP. Once he’s cleared to play, look for Nick Castellanos to be in the everyday lineup as the team’s right fielder.