Predicting the Reds 2023 Opening Day outfield

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Will Benson
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Will Benson / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds 2023 spring training has only a couple weeks left. As the days go by, the roster gets smaller and position battles get a little bit clearer. At the start of camp, the Reds had several question marks that needed answers across the roster - arguably none bigger than the outfield.

A lot of turnover has occurred between last season's Opening Day and where we are today. Losing guys like Tommy Pham, Tyler Naquin, and Aristides Aquino, along with Nick Senzel still not being healthy this spring, has opened the position group for the young guys.

Through the first couple weeks of spring games, there have been a few players that have stood out and put forth a strong case to be on David Bell's Opening Day lineup card. Jake Fraley will be a regular in the starting outfield, however, look for him to act as the Reds DH on Opening Day.

Predicting the Reds 2023 Opening Day outfield: TJ Friedl (LF)

If there is an issue with the Reds outfielders, it would be the heavy amount of left-handed hitters. While Jake Fraley should assume a reasonable amount of time spent in left, Opening Day is a game that TJ Friedl should start. Friedl has strung together a strong showing in spring training.

Slashing .320/.370/.560 with a home run in 25 at-bats, Friedl has continued to build off the late-season success he found last year. TJ spent time moving up and down the between the Ohio/Kentucky border as the left-handed hitting outfielder was shuffled back-and-forth from Triple-A to the big leagues.

After his final call-up in August of last year, Friedl played in 42 games down the stretch to close out the season. During that time, he made the most of every opportunity hitting .267/.354/.533 and posted an OPS+ of 139 with 8 home runs and a 13.9% strikeout rate. Friedl showed patience and willingness to let the pitcher come to him, showing signs that he wasn’t pressing.

TJ Friedl has the ability to play all three outfield spots, though the majority of his time with the big league club was spent in left field. With the way he has swung the bat to start spring training, Friedl is a good candidate to get the start in left field on Opening Day.