Reds roster prediction after the 2023 All-Star break

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Matt McLain
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Matt McLain / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cincinnati Reds have already begun to make some changes. Matt McLain made his major league debut back in May, and both Elly De La Cruz and Christian Encarnacion-Strand seem to be on the cusp of making it to The Show.

There's also the impending return of former MVP Joey Votto and a host of injured players, currently on the IL, who could be returning to the Reds lineup rather soon.

While Memorial Day is oftentimes a good moment in the season to pause and evaluate a team, the All-Star break is the next checkpoint on the MLB calendar. What might the Cincinnati Reds roster look like once we're on the other side of the Midsummer Classic?

Reds roster prediction after the All-Star Break: Starting rotation (5)

Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, Brandon Williamson, Luke Weaver, Ben Lively

The Cincinnati Reds starting rotation was supposed to be the strength of this year's team. But the lack of success from the "Big Three" has been, not only disappointing, but it's crippled the bullpen as well.

Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft have both struggled with their third offering, and Nick Lodolo is currently on the Injured List. Greene and Ashcraft aren't going to be removed from the rotation, but one would hope that the pair make adjustments in the coming months and return to the level of play that's expected from them.

Lodolo's absence has nothing to do with his performance, but rather the injury that may eventually force him on to the 60-day IL. That injury may keep Lodolo out of action for a number of months. Hopefully Reds Country is able to see him back on the mound later this season.

Brandon Williamson has been a pleasant surprise thus far. The key piece of the trade with the Seattle Mariners last spring that sent Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to the American League, Williamson has shown improvement in his command since making the leap to the bigs.

Luke Weaver has probably been better than advertised, and could be shopped once the MLB trade deadline arrives. But so long as Weaver is on the Reds roster, expect the right-hander to occupy a spot in the starting rotation.

Ben Lively has pitched too well not to be on the roster. However, his future may not be in the starting rotation, but rather in the bullpen. Cincinnati doesn't really have many relievers that can go multiple innings, and Lively would be well-suited for that role.

When will Andrew Abbott make his major league debut? While he's not on the 40-man roster and is entering just his first full season of minor league ball, Abbott has been nothing but consistent at Triple-A. The lefty could replace Lively in the rotation, but for now, it's safe to assume he'll remain in the minors.

Reds roster prediction after the All-Star Break: Starting lineup (9)

Tyler Stephenson, Joey Votto, Jonathan India, Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley, Nick Senzel, Spencer Steer

The two biggest questions surrounding the Cincinnati Reds as we enter the heat of the summer will be in regards to the club's top two prospects down at Triple-A (Elly De La Cruz and Christian Encarnacion-Strand) and the face of the franchise (Joey Votto).

De La Cruz is already part of the Reds 40-man roster, so recalling the talented phenom would require that Cincinnati option a player to the minor leagues. There are several choices, and when the time comes, it won't be hard for the Reds to make the decision.

As for Votto, if he's able to begin a rehab assignment in June, one would assume the former NL MVP will be back in a Reds uniform by the All-Star break. Votto's injury status has been shrouded in mystery, but sooner or later, Reds fans will see the six-time All-Star back on the diamond.

The rest of the roster feels rather self explanatory. Tyler Stephenson and Jonathan India are still seen as two pillars for the franchise moving forward. While Stephenson has struggled in 2023, India has returned to the type of player that won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2021.

Matt McLain has solidified his spot in the lineup. Nick Senzel and Spencer Steer possess enough defensive versatility that both can log playing time all over the field once De La Cruz arrives in the Queen City.

TJ Friedl and Jake Fraley have both proven this season that their skillset is perfect for this team. The outfield duo can play multiple positions and effect the game with both speed and power. Both look like fixtures in the outfield for the next few seasons.

Reds roster prediction after the All-Star Break: Bench (4)

Curt Casali, Luke Maile, Kevin Newman, Wil Myers

This is sure to get a lot of groans from the Reds fanbase, but there's a method to the madness. Remember, the MLB trade deadline is just a couple weeks after the All-Star break.

Carrying three catchers hasn't made sense for quite some time. One could make the argument that, as a whole, the one catcher who's underperforming the most is actually Tyler Stephenson. Stephenson's bat and defense have not been up to par this season, but the Reds are not going to option the backstop to Triple-A.

Luke Maile has been a pleasant surprise, and while Curt Casali's bat has offered little to nothing, his veteran presence and ability to handle this group of young pitchers cannot go unnoticed. Look for one of these two veterans to possibly be moved at the trade deadline.


Kevin Newman could easily be optioned when the Reds make the decision to recall Elly De La Cruz. But Newman's recent surge and success against left-handers may force Jose Barrero to make the 90-minute drive down I-71 while Cincinnati hangs on to the veteran.

Wil Myers has not lived up to the $7.5-million deal he signed before the 2023 season, but there's still time for the former San Diego Padres outfielder to turn things around. Look for Cincinnati to continue to give Myers chances to showcase his talents as the season progresses, though he's currently on the IL.

All four players listed as bench players could be trade targets by the end of July. Once the Cincinnati Reds are able to move on from one of their catchers or Myers, look for the team to finally promote Christian Encarnacion-Strand to the major leagues.

Reds roster prediction after the All-Star Break: Bullpen (8)

Alexis Diaz, Fernando Cruz, Lucas Sims, Buck Farmer, Ian Gibaut, Kevin Herget, Derek Law, Alex Young

With so many injuries and how much relievers are shuttled back and forth, predicting who's going to be part of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen after the All-Star break is really just a shot in the dark. But let's see if this is somewhere in the ballpark, shall we?

Alexis Diaz has been, arguably, the best player on Cincinnati's roster this season. Diaz has been clutch all season long and may well be this year's representative for the Reds in the All-Star Game.

Fernando Cruz and Lucas Sims have both had a few hiccups this season, but they are two of the more reliable relievers that David Bell can turn to late in games. Cruz relies heavily on his sinker while Sims goes to his bread-and-butter slider early and often.

The veteran trio of Buck Farmer, Ian Gibaut, and Derek Law have all pitched better than most fans probably expected. Farmer is a free agent after the season and may be made available at the trade deadline. Both Gibaut and Law have a couple years of team control remaining.

With Reiver Sanmartin on the 60-day IL, the Cincinnati Reds need a lefty in the bullpen. Alex Young was nails early on this season, but lately has seen his ERA slowly increase. Being the only southpaw in the pen, Reds manager David Bell may be relying on Young more than he already has in 2023.

If Tejay Antone is healthy, he'll be in the mix. The same can be said of Tony Santillan. But fans shouldn't expect to see either right-hander back so soon. Other options, due to injuries, would be Casey Legumina, Eduardo Salazar, and perhaps even Levi Stoudt, but let's assume Kevin Herget hangs on to that final spot in the Reds bullpen.

Next. De La Cruz replacements. 3 Reds players who could be replaced by Elly De La Cruz. dark