Predicting the 2022 Cincinnati Reds Triple-A starting lineup

The Louisville Bats Alfredo Rodriguez (15) threw to first to complete the double play.
The Louisville Bats Alfredo Rodriguez (15) threw to first to complete the double play. / Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal via Imagn

While the start of the Major League Baseball season hangs in the balance while the players and owners are locked in battle over a new collective bargaining agreement, minor league baseball will start on time. Who might the Louisville Bats, the Cincinnati Reds' Triple-A affiliate, run out on Opening Day?

Now, these predictions are based on the fact that no player on the Reds 40-man roster is eligible to be part of the Bats' roster. So despite the fact that players like TJ Friedl and Alejo Lopez have minor league options and may eventually be sent to Triple-A, because they're part of a major league roster, they'll be omitted from this conversation.

Who will be behind the plate for the Louisville Bats on Opening Day?

The Louisville Bats open the 2022 on Tuesday, April 5th versus the St. Paul Saints. The Derby City is usually abuzz with excitement about the start of the minor league season, and I'm sure there'll be plenty of fans in attendance at Louisville Slugger Field.

The Bats have three catchers currently on the roster, but only one will find his way into the Opening Day lineup. Both Aramis Garcia and Andrew Knapp were signed to minor league contracts, and Chris Okey is former second-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds.

If the owners and players agree to a new CBA, you could throw Mark Kolozsvary into the equation as well. But given that, for this exercise, Kolozsvary is off limits, it's a good bet that the switch-hitting Knapp will snag the starting gig behind the dish.

What will the Louisville Bats infield look like on Opening Day?

Looking at the starting infield, Bats' manager Pat Kelly has a lot to choose from. It's safe to assume that former Cleveland infielder Jake Bauers will occupy first base for the Bats on Opening Day. I'm sure Bauers has his sights set on making it back to the big leagues, but he'll have to prove that he can live up to his once lofty expectations.

At second base, I expect Brian Rey to get the nod. I've not been shy about heaping praise on the former 13th-round draft pick, and while Rey has the versatility to play all over the field, second base is his best position.

The Louisville Bats have a ton of shortstops on the roster, but former San Diego Padres prospect Allen Córdoba is easily the most intriguing of the bunch. Córdoba has all the skills you look for in a shortstop and posted a wRC+ of 128 last season.

As for third base, you have to assume that former international signee Alfredo Rodriguez will be back at it again. Rodriguez has been part of the Cincinnati Reds farm system for years, but has yet to prove he's anything more than a glove-first shortstop. He's yet to post a wRC+ above 100 at any minor league level.

Who will man the outfield for the Louisville Bats on Opening Day?

Onto the outfield, where the Louisville Bats have some interesting prospects. Ronnie Dawson was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. The former Houston Astros' prospect should fit nicely in left field.

Up the middle, the Bats will most likely look in Lorenzo Cedrola's direction. The diminutive outfielder has sneaking power and great speed. A former shortstop, Cedrola could actually make it to big leagues at some point during the 2022 season.

Finally, let's look at right field. Drew Mount saw 40 games in right field between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville last season. Fresh off a stint in the Arizona Fall League, the Reds are hopeful the former 16th-round draft pick gained some experience in the desert this past autumn.

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So, while Reds Country patiently waits for the owners and players to agree on terms of a new CBA, fans of minor league baseball can rest assured knowing that their season will start on schedule. The Louisville Bats open their 2022 season in less than two months.