I don't know about you, but I was very skeptical about the group of players that Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell was sending out to play the 7-8-9 spots on a regular basis this past season.
But that skepticism soon turned to elation when it became apparent that the Reds had something with their core group of outfielders. It's safe to say that the Reds outfield overachieved in 2023.
For the purpose of this exercise, Spencer Steer and Nick Senzel will not be considered outfielders. Both players drew more starts on the infield dirt than the outfield grass in 2023. Harrison Bader, who is a free agent this winter, will also be omitted from the conversation. Let's see where the outfielders ranks heading into the offseason.
6. TJ Hopkins, Reds outfielder
TJ Hopkins got his feet wet in 2023. After finding success during the early-part of the season at Triple-A, Hopkins made his MLB debut in early-June. Hopkins' first taste of the big leagues saw him gather just four hits through his first 25 plate appearances before being sent back to the minors.
Hopkins was given another shot during the month of August and put up similar numbers. The 26-year-old has some solid all-around skills, but has the look for a fourth outfielder moreso than a starter.
Hopkins put up good numbers in the minors. He slashed .308/.411/.514 with 16 home runs and 55 RBI with a wRC+ of 134 according to FanGraphs. Hopkins can also play all three outfield spots.
There's reason to believe that TJ Hopkins deserves a longer look in 2024, but he could just as easily be a non-tender candidate if the Cincinnati Reds are in need of addition roster spots. Being a right-handed hitting a predominantly left-handed hitting outfield may work in his favor.