2 Reds spring training revelations, 1 mirage fans can't be fooled by

What have we learned so far this spring?

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Nick Martinez (28) throws live batting practice.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Nick Martinez (28) throws live batting practice. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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Despite the infield depth, the Reds will miss Noelvi Marte

Marte's boneheaded decision cost him 80 games. Whether it was intentional or not, players are responsible for what they put in their bodies. Marte was docked half the season and will be ineligible for the playoffs if the Reds make a run at the MLB Postseason.

But the Reds have plenty of talented infielders and will be able to weather the storm, right? Not so fast. While Cincinnati has an abundance of infield depth, they're still going to miss Marte's bat in the lineup. Marte ended the 2023 season on a 16-game hitting streak and was likely to be Cincinnati's Opening Day third baseman.

Yes, Jeimer Candelario will open the season at third base, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand can play the hot corner as well. But the Reds were banking on having a ton of depth up and down the lineup in order to facilitate days off, navigate slumps, and offset injuries. The Reds roster got much thinner following Marte's suspension.

The Reds can bring along one of Tony Kemp, Josh Harrison, or Mike Ford for Opening Day, but that's not the same as having one of the top young prospects in the game occupying a spot in the middle of the batting order.

The Reds were also hoping to deploy Jonathan India and Spencer Steer in the outfield much more heading into 2024. That plan may have to be altered now that Cincinnati knows it'll be without their top prospect for the first-half of the 2024 season. Don't be fooled, losing Marte will test the Reds' so-called infield depth.

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