Reds 2024 Opening Day roster projection 1.0: Unexpected shakeup in starting rotation

Which 26 players will leave Goodyear bound for Cincinnati?

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz catches a throw
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz catches a throw / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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Reds Opening Day starting rotation (5)

  • Hunter Greene
  • Frankie Montas
  • Andrew Abbott
  • Nick Martinez
  • Graham Ashcraft

The most fierce competition during spring training will be between the group of starting pitchers. Cincinnati has at least eight pitchers who could make the case to be part of the Reds Opening Day rotation, but there's only enough room for one.

Put Frankie Montas' name in permanent ink. Provided he's healthy, the Reds $16 million man will be on the team's Opening Day roster. Though unlikely to draw the start against the Nationals on March 28th, Montas will likely see the mound on opening weekend.

Hunter Greene, after having signed a six-year contract extension last spring, will likely be Cincinnati's starting pitcher on Opening Day. The Reds have invested a lot into Greene since taking him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017, and this year is the perfect time for the flamethrower to show that their faith has not been misplaced.

Graham Ashcraft is little behind this spring, but all signs point to the right-hander being ready for the start of the 2024 season. Andrew Abbott, who pitched very well in 2023, is probably leading the charge among last year's rookies. But don't be shocked if Brandon Williamson or Connor Phillips turn some heads during spring training.

The most glaring omission, of course, is Nick Lodolo. Not because the lefty isn't good enough to claim a spot in the Reds starting rotation, but Lodolo's health heading into Opening Day is in question. Reds manager David Bell said, (via MLB.com), "If everything goes well, goes perfect, he'll be ready to start the season on time."

That doesn't exactly sound like a skipper who's expecting his top left-handed starter to be ready by Opening Day. Lodolo missed all but seven starts a year ago. Until Lodolo proves that he's ready to take the mound, he'll be a giant question mark heading into the season. With that, look for Nick Martinez to keep Lodolo's spot warm to begin the 2024 season.