Projecting the 2022 Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster 1.0

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India (6) fields a groundball.
Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India (6) fields a groundball. / Kareem Elgazzar / USA TODAY NETWORK
4 of 5
Cincinnati Reds left fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) looks on.
Cincinnati Reds left fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) looks on. / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Reds bench (4)

Andrew Knapp (C), Jose Barrero (SS), Shogo Akiyama (OF), Aristides Aquino (OF)

With the Cincinnati Reds likely to carry 13 pitchers, that means the bench will be limited to just four players. Having versatile infielders like Mike Moustakas as the team's DH and Kyle Farmer starting at shortstop, the Reds only need one infielder on the bench.

Jose Barrero could easily start for the Reds at shortstop, and I firmly believe that he will overtake Farmer by season's end. We all love Farmer, but Barrero is the future of the position, and I think Farmer provides much more value to the Reds as a utility infielder than he does as the team's starting shortstop.

Onto the outfield. Shogo Akiyama is certainly on the trade block, but it's unlikely to see the former Japanese star playing anywhere other than Cincinnati in 2022. Akiyama is under contract for $8M during the upcoming season, and he'll likely rotate in center field with Nick Senzel. Akiyama could also spell Jesse Winker in left field if David Bell inserts last year's All-Star into the lineup as the DH.

I know a lot of fans don't want to hear this, but Aristides Aquino will likely sneak onto the Reds Opening Day roster once more. The Punisher has struggled mightily since breaking into the big leagues in 2019. Outside of a red-hot start during his rookie season, Aquino has been little more than a strikeout-prone bench bat. But, Bell's only other right-handed hitting outfielder is Nick Senzel.

Finally, one of the more entertaining position battles to watch will be who backs up Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson. Mark Kolozsvary is the only other backstop on the 40-man roster, but the switch-hitting Andrew Knapp has a good deal of major league experience and calls a good game behind the plate.