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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Reds Opening Day outfield (5)

  • Spencer Steer
  • Will Benson
  • Jake Fraley
  • TJ Friedl
  • Stuart Fairchild

The Reds 2024 Opening Day outfield merits some discussion. It's fair to say that four of the five spots have been claimed, but that final spot on the Reds' bench will feature an interesting battle between two players who are out of minor league options. There are some non-roster invitees who'll be trying to secure a spot as well.

Stuart Fairchild gets the nod for the moment, and his ability to play center field is something that cannot be understated. The former second-round pick has played well this spring and is the leader in the clubhouse at the moment.

But the Reds can't seem to quit Jose Barrero. If you've ever seen that GIF of WWE superstar The Undertaker raising up out of the casket, that's essentially how Barrero's major league career has gone. Every time you think he's done, the former top prospect seems to sneak back onto the radar.

With all things being equal, however, Barrero is going to have to play his tail off over the final few weeks of spring training, and even that might not be enough. But Reds fans shouldn't expect this roster battle to be over until final cuts are made.

Tony Kemp and Josh Harrison are also fighting for a roster spot this spring, but neither has outperformed Fairchild to this point. With less than a month left until Opening Day, it's Fairchild's job to lose.

The other four outfield spots are set in stone. Spencer Steer will get some starts in left field, but don't be surprised if David Bell runs with an outfield on Will Benson (LF), TJ Friedl (CF), and Jake Fraley (RF) on occasion either. Those four players will receive plenty of at-bats in 2024.