3 players Reds fans can't trust heading into the 2022 season

Cincinnati Reds infielder Mike Moustakas looks on.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Mike Moustakas looks on. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Sadly, not every player on the Cincinnati Reds roster has the best track record. Whether it's poor performance, a history of injuries, or some other stigma attached to their record, Reds fans are unable to put their trust in a handful of players.

Now, the hope is, that said players overcome their deficiencies, rise above the noise, and play up to their potential. After hitting just .225 in 2020, we saw Nick Castellanos enter the MVP conversation last season, go to his first All-Star Game, and land a five-year/$100M contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Who are some Reds players you just can't trust heading into 2022?

On the flip side, we saw Amir Garrett enter last spring with a chip on his shoulder and the promise of being Cincinnati's closer. Unfortunately, AG followed up a brilliant 2020 season with a horrific campaign in 2021.

So, while the Cincinnati fanbase would love to see some of their favorite players have success in 2022, their track record may prevent Reds Country from getting their hopes up. Who are three players on the Cincinnati Reds roster that fans just can't trust heading into the regular season?

1. Mike Moustakas, Reds infielder

Mike Moustakas signed a four-year/$64M contract prior to the 2020 season, the former Kansas City Royals third baseman looked to be a fantastic addition to the Cincinnati Reds lineup. But Moose's production on the field has yet to live up to that massive contract, and after a season in which he appeared in just 62 games, the fan's trust is waning.

For starters, Moustakas needs to stay healthy in 2022 if he has any hope of rebounding following two sub-par seasons. Over the last two years, Moustakas has hit .217/.304/.413. Now, Moose has never been a high on-base guy, but a batting average below .250 is unacceptable.

The power is also lacking, During his first full eight seasons in the majors, Moustakas owned a .448 slugging percentage and averaged 26 doubles and 22 round trippers each year. Since joining the Reds, Moustakas has a .413 slugging percentage and has averaged 10 doubles and seven home runs.

The bottom line is, Mike Moustakas needs to be an everyday contributor to the Cincinnati Reds lineup. I'd prefer to see Moose in the DH role on a regular basis, as Donovan Solano or Kyle Farmer can provide much better defense at the hot corner. If Moustakas is healthy, perhaps he'll regain the trust of the Cincinnati faithful.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel (15) participates in base-running drills.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel (15) participates in base-running drills. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

2. Nick Senzel, Reds outfielder

Nick Senzel's story has been well-documented. The former first-round pick has played 163 games over his first three seasons, and twice finished the year on the Injured List. Senzel has a boatload of talent, but that's not worth a hill of beans if he can't stay on the field.

Senzel has stated that his goal for the 2022 season is to play 140-150 games. While some fans may hear that and think that his goals sound relatively pedestrian, I'd argue that he's setting the bar a bit too high.

The most games Senzel has played in a single season was the 104 games he appeared in during his rookie campaign in 2019. Many fans will point to Senzel's position change from third base to center field as the reason he's been unable to remain healthy.

There's some merit to that argument, but at this point it's meaningless. Nick Senzel entered spring training this year with his best chance ever to be the Cincinnati Reds starting third baseman and, instead, the club is running him out once again as the team's starting centerfielder.

Senzel is of the mindset that if he can just stay on the field, the results will come and they'll be positive. I tend to agree wholeheartedly. I would like nothing more than to see Senzel play up to his potential and be that impact bat in the middle of the Reds lineup. But, until he prove that his injury issues are behind, Reds fans just can't trust Nick Senzel.

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) bats.
Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) bats. / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

3. Shogo Akiyama, Reds outfielder

Will we even see Shogo Akiyama on the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster? Well, there's 8-million reasons why we will, but there's a very good chance that Akiyama may be released prior to the start of the 2022 season. If Akiyama does makes the cut, there's no way the fanbase can put their trust in the 33-year-old outfielder.

The Reds starting outfield, barring injury, appears set for Opening Day. Newly signed outfielder Tommy Pham will likely start in left field. The aforementioned Nick Senzel should open the 2022 season in center, and Tyler Naquin will likely replace Nick Castellanos in right field.

That leaves Akiyama as a highly-paid player without a starting position. There is the possibility that Akiyama could start versus right-handed pitchers, but I find a platoon with either Senzel or Pham to be quite unlikely.

Since coming to Reds prior to the 2020 season, Akiyama has faced his fair share of obstacles. The coronavirus pandemic robbed Akiyama of valuable time with his teammate in the spring of 2020, and the abbreviated spring training and 60-game season sure didn't help. Akiyama missed part of camp last spring while tending to his injured wife back in Cincinnati. He then opened the season on IL as well.

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But at the end of the day, it's about production. Despite the hurdles that Shogo Akiyama has been faced with since coming to Cincinnati, he's yet to produce. In 162 at-bats last season, Akiyama hit just .204/.282/.253. Reds fans would love nothing more than to see Akiyama find success, but for now, there's no way he can be trusted heading into the 2022 season.