By: Craig James
With Opening Day less than a week away, the Reds announced their opening day roster. You can feel the excitement around the Queen City for this upcoming Reds season *most sarcastic voice of all-time*. Let’s face it, the Reds are rebuilding and depending on who you ask, the foundation may have not even been poured yet. In other words, it’s going to be a long summer. For a casual Reds fan, it’s going to take you awhile to get up to speed with the 2017 version of the Reds.
A lot of new faces and unfamiliar names are on this year’s team. Just eleven players on the 2017 opening day roster were on the 2016 opening day roster. Wouldn’t be surprised if this team lost 100+ games. I’m going to attempt to have daily Reds blogs going up this season…may be tough for how bad they’re going to be, but hey let’s do it. You have to ride with your team in the good times and the bad. In this blog, we will dive into the position players on this year’s roster and get you up to speed prior to Opening Day.
The everyday eight is as expected (Devin Mesoraco will hopefully be ready to go soon). Joey Votto, Jose Peraza, Zack Cozart, Eugenio Suarez, Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler and Tucker Barnhart. I’d be willing to bet a million dollars, that I don’t have, that this will not be the everyday eight come end of the season. Cozart will likely be wearing another uniform at some point this season and I wouldn’t doubt if Duvall also gets dealt.
The Reds will look to improve on their 716 runs in 2017, which ranked 18th in baseball last year. This team is going to have to manufacture runs, because the power numbers won’t be there on this year’s squad, even in the Cracker Jack box that is Great American Ballpark. The batting order will probably look something like this: Hamilton, Peraza, Votto, Duvall, Suarez, Schebler, Cozart, Barnhart.
Peraza gets to take over the everyday second base duties after fan favorite Brandon Phillips was dealt to the Atlanta Braves.
That trade still puts my brain in a pretzel, because the Reds are paying $13 million of Phillips $14 million dollar salary this year. Might as well just light $13 million on fire and call it a day. Jose Peraza played half of the 2016 season for the Reds, but when he played, he played well, finishing the year batting .324 in 72 games. He and Billy Hamilton could be a fun 1-2 punch to watch at the top of the order if they get on base. That’s a big IF though, Hamilton doesn’t walk enough and Peraza is known for being a free swinger at the plate.
Votto hasn’t hit well this spring, but who the heck cares about spring stats for a guy like Votto. He’ll be just fine. Joey Votto is the most underrated player in Major League Baseball and there wasn’t a hotter hitter in the second half of last season than him. It sucks that the Reds will be so bad this year, because Joey Votto will have MVP like numbers. You can’t give the MVP to a guy whose team comes in last, though.
Like I said, Cozart probably won’t stick around, which stinks because he’s fun to watch at short. The guy makes all the plays and makes it look easy. Adam Duvall earned a trip to the All-Star game last year. He was a pleasant surprise on last year’s team, a late bloomer and another guy that could possibly be dealt this season. Someone is always looking for a power bat come trade deadline time. Duvall finished the spring on fire going 8-19 with 4 HRs and 9 RBI.
If you walk down to The Banks and pop into any establishment down there, you’d be lucky to find five people who could name one player.
The Reds bench consists of Stuart Turner, Arismendy Alcan Tara (that’s fun to say), Patrick Kilian,and recently acquired Scooter Gennett. Gennett, previously on the Milwaukee Brewers, was acquired via the waiver wire this past week. He was born in Cincinnati and grew up a Reds fan. Gennett also played high school summer baseball for the prestigious Midland baseball organization (cough cough so did I).
So, I’m sure he’s pretty pumped to play for a team he grew up being a fan of. Scooter was spotted enjoying Skyline chili on Thursday, so you already know they guy “gets it”.
Stuart Turner earned a spot on the 25 man roster, one by Devin Mesoraco not being 100% ready to go just yet, and two by having a solid spring. He’s a 25-year-old catcher who was drafted in the third round of the 2013 draft out of Ole Miss by the Minnesota Twins. The Reds acquired him via the rule 5 draft.
Patrick Kivlehan is a utility player. Kivlehan played his 2016 season in AAA. The Reds picked him up off waivers from the Padres last September.
Arismendy Alacantara is an outfielder that the Reds claimed off waivers from the Oakland A’s. He had a great spring training. Alcantara batted .303, had 4 homeruns and 16 RBI’s. He spent most of the 2016 season in AAA. and made 16 appearances for the Oakland A’s last season.
The Reds will need this lineup to score runs, and lots of them, if they’re going to compete this year. Right now, on paper, that starting rotation the Redlegs have is not striking fear into any opposing lineup. Hopefully will have a breakdown of the Reds pitching staff up tomorrow.