Reds Opening Day roster projection 2.0: Rotation becomes clearer, bench still muddled

Spring games have allowed a few players to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jose Barrero (2) catches a fly ball
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jose Barrero (2) catches a fly ball / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The calendar has flipped to March and the urgency for players to make their pitch for a spot on the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster has increased. Injuries have slowed the progress of several players this spring, and the Reds depth has been tested.

Jonathan India, Matt McLain, and Nick Lodolo have all been sidelined with various injuries this spring. Noelvi Marte recently made his Cactus League debut and is looking to solidify his spot on the Reds Opening Day roster with a lttle over three weeks left until the Washington Nationals arrive at Great American Ball Park.

Every starter, except Lodolo, has taken to the mound at least once this spring and the results have mixed. But the roster picture is becoming clearer, and the opportunities to secure a flight out of Goodyear headed for Cincinnati are becoming less and less with each passing day.

Reds Opening Day roster projection 2.0: Rotation becomes clearer, bench still muddled

Reds Opening Day infield (8)

  • Christian Encarnacion-Strand
  • Jonathan India
  • Elly De La Cruz
  • Tyler Stephenson
  • Matt McLain
  • Noelvi Marte
  • Jeimer Candelario
  • Luke Maile

The Cincinnati Reds infield is as deep as it's been in quite some time. The Reds can throw out about a dozen different combinations, and that doesn't even include Spencer Steer. McLain and India have been sidelined for the majority of camp, so it'll be good to see those two return to the field and get in some work. All signs point to both players being ready for Opening Day.

For the second consecutive spring training, Christian Encarnacion-Strand is impressing fans and coaches alike. Encarnacion-Strand is setting himself for a monster season, and will see plenty of opportunities despite the Reds' increased depth.

Marte is finally getting some reps this spring after sitting out the first couple of weeks while recovering from a hamstring injury. It appears as though the Reds' top prospect is full steam ahead with Opening Day now just three weeks away.

Elly De La Cruz, one of the most talked about players in Major League Baseball, seems to be setting up for a big year. De La Cruz has altered his approach at the plate, and if he can have success against left-handed pitching in 2024, we may be talking about an MVP candidate.

The catching duo of Tyler Stephenson and Luke Maile can be counted on behind the dish with the former logging the majority of starts heading into the upcoming season. One change Reds fans will see from last season is the likely absence of Stephenson acting as the team's designated hitter.