The 2024 season is still a few months away, but the Cincinnati Reds have spent a good chunk of change already this offseason. While there's always room for improvement, Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall has to feel pretty good about where his team is at the moment.
After reportedly agreeing to terms with free agent pitcher Frankie Montas, the Reds have, in one way or another, addressed the major concerns this organization was facing heading into the offseason.
While the Reds starting rotation is still a work in progress, Luis Cessa and Luke Weaver will not be part of Cincinnati's pitching staff on Opening Day next season. If the 2024 season started today, what would the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation look like?
If the 2024 season started today, what would the Reds starting rotation look like?
The success of the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation in 2024 will be predicated on how well the young pitchers perform. While adding Frankie Montas and Nick Martinez will certainly help the Reds next season, those two are supplemental pieces.
The development of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, Connor Phillips, Andrew Abbott, and Brandon Williamson will be the key to the 2024 rotation.
At the moment, the Reds have eight pitchers who'll be competing for five spots. Though Martinez could eventually find his way to the bullpen, the right-hander will be given the opportunity to start during spring training.
The Reds deal with Montas gives them an experienced frontline starter who, if fully healthy, could help to anchor the rotation in 2024. At worst Montas should be viewed as a middle-of-the-rotation starter. But if he plays up to his potential, the former New York Yankees hurler is a solid No. 2 option.
So the question then becomes, which of the three young pitchers will join Nick Martinez and Frankie Montas in the starting rotation? Hunter Greene is all but a lock to be Cincinnati's Opening Day starter next season when the Reds face the Washington Nationals on March 28th.
Greene is far from a finished product, and many Reds fans forget how young and inexperienced he is. Greene's stuff is elite, but continued development of his changeup and becoming more efficient will be the key to Greene's success in 2024.
Graham Ashcraft feels like a good bet to find his way into the Reds Opening Day starting rotation as well. Ashcraft logged the most innings of any starter for the Reds last season, and after returning from the IL in late-June, the right-hander posted 3.12 ERA and went six or more innings in 10 of his 13 starts.
There will be a battle during spring training for that final spot in the Reds starting rotation
So that final spot in the rotation may come down to a spring training competition between the three left-handers. Nick Lodolo, Brandon Williamson, and Andrew Abbott all have a legitimate shot to be part of the Cincinnati Reds 2024 Opening Day roster.
If healthy, Lodolo has the inside track. But after only seven starts a year ago and a shroud of mystery surrounding his injury, there are questions. Abbott has the makeup to be the best pitcher in the Reds rotation next season. The southpaw was terrific early on during his rookie campaign, but ran out of gas down the stretch.
Williamson is a curious case and could surprise a lot of people next spring. On pedigree alone, the lefty would seem to be behind both Lodolo and Abbott, but during his rookie season, the TCU product showed that he belongs in the big leagues.
Connor Phillips has the talent to be part of the Reds rotation in 2023, but one can assume that he'll begin the year in Triple-A. Phillips should be considered for a midseason call-up or may grab a spot start here and there as an injury-replacement.
Cincinnati has depth in among their group of starters that they didn't have a year ago, and Reds Country should feel very good about the state of the team's starting rotation heading into spring training.