The Cincinnati Reds kick off their 2022 season in a few hours. David Bell has already released the Opening Day lineup with the likes Aristides Aquino and Brandon Drury drawing a surprise start versus Max Fried and the defending World Champion Atlanta Braves.
Even though the Reds begin their 2022 campaign on the road, there is excitement in the city of Cincinnati. Sure, not as much as there'd be if Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker were in the starting lineup, but excitement nonetheless.
Opening Day always offers hope for all 30 teams throughout Major League Baseball as everyone starts with the same record. Front office executives are eager to see if moves they made in the offseason will pan out while managers and coaches are pouring over data, hoping they put the right player in the right position to make an impact.
While Opening Day offers a lot of uncertainty, the one thing you can be sure of will be the fans second guessing of a manager's decision the follow the day. There'll also be talk of an early favorite for the Cy Young Award. And I'm sure Joey Votto's social media post following the game will be hilarious. But what are the top three stories from Reds Opening Day that we'll be talking about tomorrow?
1. Reds second baseman Jonathan India's pursuit of the NL MVP in 2022.
Here's one thing we do know; the reigning National League Rookie of the Year will be leading off for David Bell's squad on Thursday. Jonathan India, who put together a fine spring in Goodyear, looks poised for a big year. While Joey Votto has a longstanding tradition of being the only player on the Reds to garner much MVP consideration, don't sleep on India's chances in 2022.
Votto won the NL MVP in 2010 and was robbed of taking home the trophy a second time in 2017. But at 38 years old, you have to question whether or not the six-time All-Star has enough gas left in the tank. However, India looks the part of the next big thing for the Redlegs.
Hopefully Cincinnati's front office was paying attention to the contract extension Ke'Bryan Hayes just signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, because that's the type of deal that it's going to take to keep India in the Queen City over the long haul.
Jonathan India hit .233/.439/.633 with four home runs, eight walks, and nine strikeouts this spring. India has the potential to lead the Cincinnati Reds in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored, double, and stolen bases. If he can hit 25-plus home runs and play above-average defense, India will be in the NL MVP conversation.