Predicting the Reds starting lineup once Joey Votto and Jonathan India return

Reds stars Joey Votto and Jonathan Indiaare off to Triple-A for a rehab assignment.
Cincinnati Reds infielders Jonathan India and Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds infielders Jonathan India and Joey Votto / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds have been without their team leader, Jonathan India, since the end of July. Six-time All-Star and former MVP Joey Votto has been on the IL since August 24.

India has been sidelined with plantar fasciitis and Votto has been suffering from shoulder discomfort. With India out of the lineup, Cincinnati is 16-20. Without Votto, the Redlegs are 6-7. No matter which way you slice it, the Reds are a better team when India and Votto are on the roster.

The good news is that both Votto and India were sent to Triple-A Louisville today on a rehab assignment. If all works out, fans should expect India to return next Tuesday. There's every reason to believe Votto could rejoin the Reds at that time as well.

Predicting the Reds starting lineup once Joey Votto and Jonathan India return.

The Cincinnati Reds roster has undergone several changes while both Joey Votto and Jonathan India have been away. Nick Martini has become a clutch hitter for the Reds, Jake Fraley returned from the IL while playing through a stress fracture in his toe, and Cincinnati added Hunter Renfroe and Harrison Bader to the roster as well.

Now, everyone knows that Reds manager David Bell is not going to run out the same nine players every single game. Oh for the good ole day, right? But that's just the way the game is played in 2023. So, let's look at what Bell's lineup card might look like depending on if the Reds are facing a left-handed or right-handed pitcher.

The Cincinnati Reds have been utilizing Jake Fraley as the team's leadoff hitter of late, but once Jonathan India returns, he will inevitably be back atop the batting order. TJ Friedl and Harrison Bader both play above-average defense in center field, but when a left-hander is on the mound, go ahead and pencil in the former New York Yankees outfielder.

Reds lineup vs. RHP

Reds lineup vs. LHP

1. Jonathan India, 2B

1. Jonathan India, DH

2. TJ Friedl, CF

2. Harrison Bader, CF

3. Spencer Steer, LF

3. Spencer Steer, 2B

4. Elly De La Cruz, SS

4. Elly De La Cruz, SS

5. Jake Fraley DH

5. Hunter Renfroe, RF

6. Joey Votto, 1B

6. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 1B

7. Noelvi Marte, 3B

7. Noelvi Marte, 3B

8. Will Benson, RF

8. TJ Friedl, LF

9. Tyler Stephenson, C

9. Luke Maile, C

Spencer Steer is the Reds most versatile defender and should be in the lineup every day. Elly De La Cruz will undoubtedly be the Reds starting shortstop and batting cleanup. Look for Jake Fraley to hit out of the No. 5 hole against right-handed pitchers and be out of the lineup against southpaws.

Joey Votto will be more than just a platoon option, but he and Christian Encarnacion-Strand will most likely share duties at first base. Noelvi Marte has hit well of late, and just like Steer and De La Cruz, should be in the lineup every day.

Look for Will Benson to draw the start in the outfield against right-handed pitchers and be subbed out for TJ Friedl when a lefty takes the hill. The catchers, Tyler Stephenson or Luke Maile, will rotate more often based on who the Cincinnati Reds' pitcher is rather than the opponent's starter.

This lineup would leave Nick Martini as a regular option off the bench, and assumes that both Nick Senzel and Stuart Fairchild are optioned back to Triple-A once Joey Votto and Jonathan India return to the active roster. However, with so many left-handed hitting options, don't be shocked if Martini is optioned instead of Senzel.

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