2 Reds players who will breakout in 2023 and 1 who will continue to struggle

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Spencer Steer.
Cincinnati Reds second baseman Spencer Steer. / Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
3 of 3

It's a new year, and with it, comes new expectations. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of expectations being heaped onto the Cincinnati Reds in 2023. The club has embraced a full-on rebuild, and while it'll be interesting to see a lot of new, young faces, the harsh reality is that the Reds are likely to struggle in 2023.

With so many new players likely to find their way onto the field next season, the opportunity for breakout performances will something to keep an eye on. Last year, Alexis Diaz burst onto the scene and asserted himself as the Reds closer heading into 2023.

This upcoming season is sure to be filled with players who take the bull by the horns and others who continue to be mired in mediocrity. Which two Reds players are poised to have a breakout campaign in 2023 and which player will continue to underperform?

Reds infielder Spencer Steer will breakout in 2023.

If there's one player who stands to benefit greatly from the absence of Kyle Farmer and Mike Moustakas, it's Spencer Steer. The Cincinnati Reds traded Farmer to the Minnesota Twins and designated Moustakas for assignment late last year, essentially paving the way for Steer to become the everyday starter at third base.

While Steer has the ability to play all over the infield, with Jonathan India locked in at second base and a shortstop battle between Jose Barrero and Kevin Newman is sure to be on the horizon once spring training begins, the former Twins prospect will likely be slotted at the hot corner.

The Reds have begun to transition Noelvi Marte from shortstop to third base. However, Marte is unlikely to find his way to The Show in 2023, so competition for the starting spot at third base could be virutally nonexistant next season.

Spencer Steer received a cup of coffee in the big leagues last season and is bat-first prospect who has developed some power over his last two seasons in the minors. His defensive versatility will also help him to find a place in David Bell's lineup almost every day next season.

Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo will breakout in 2023.

Nick Lodolo had a successful rookie campaign for the Cincinnati Reds in 2022. The left-hander was part of the Reds starting rotation from the beginning of the season, spent about two months on the injured list, and returned to finish out his first year in the big leagues on a high note.

In 19 starts, Lodolo fanned 131 batters over 103.1 innings of work. The southpaw owned a 3.66 ERA and 1.248 WHIP while also posting the third-highest bWAR (2.8) among all Reds players in 2022.

Lodolo is matchup nightmare for nearly every left-handed batter in the league. The 6-foot-6 lefty has a long, smooth stride and is not afraid to pitch inside. Lodolo actually led the league in 2022 with 19 hit-by-pitch.

Left-handed batters had virtually no shot against Lodolo during his rookie season. Opposing left-handed hitters posted a batting average of just .109 and of the 13 round trippers that Lodolo surrendered in 2022, not a single one came off a left-handed batter.

Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, and Nick Lodolo will all be looking to build off their success rookie seasons. Look for Lodolo to breakout and emerge as one of the Cincinnati Reds best starting pitchers in 2023.

Reds outfielder Nick Senzel will continue to struggle in 2023.

Everyone throughout Reds Country should hope that this prediction is incorrect, but until Nick Senzel proves that he's capable of competing at the highest level, it's hard to forecast anything more than a medicore 2023 season for the former first-round draft pick.

Fans can sit back and debate, until the cows come home, about how poorly the Cincinnati Reds front office and coaching staff have handled Senzel's development. Yes, a career-infielder probably never should have been moved to center field (a position he'd never played in college or in the professional ranks until 2019).

But at some point, Senzel has to prove that he can handle the rigors of being a professional baseball player at the major league level. Last season, despite playing in a career-high 110 games, Senzel struggled mightily at the plate.

Coming out of the University of Tennessee, Senzel was being compared to Houston Astros' third baseman Alex Bregman. For his career, Senzel has hit just .240/.303/.360 and has a career-OPS+ of only 73.

This might be Nick Senzel's last chance with the Cincinnati Reds. He'll face competition for playing time this spring from TJ Friedl and Stuart Fairchild. If David Bell chooses to utilize Senzel as a super utility player who could play in the outfield and on the infield dirt, that may be the best use of the 27-year-old's skillset.

3 Reds who'll have a career-year in 2023. dark. Next