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Cincinnati Reds 2018: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Expert Insight

Joey Votto

Joey Votto

The Reds are four years into their rebuild. So the question on the mind of fans is: Will we see the results, i.e., more wins? No less of an authority than owner Bob Castellini says yes.

“I think we have tremendous potential to be a contender this year,” he says. “If we prove ourselves as contenders, we have the possibility — and not less than a 50-50 probability — of being a postseason team.”

Health is key. The Reds had 50 players, including all five projected starting pitchers, end up on the disabled list in 2017. As a result, the Reds are coming off a 68–94 season, the same record as 2016. For there to be improvement in 2018, the pitching is going to have to be better and healthier than it was in 2017.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the REDS

“They’re headed in the right direction, but they’re quite a ways away. They’ve got a pretty good offense, but the pitching just has too many questions — a lot of guys with good stuff, but nobody established beyond Anthony DeSclafani and whatever is left of Homer Bailey. They signed their catcher, Tucker Barnhart, to a long-term, team-friendly contract, which was great to see: He’s short in stature but long in makeup, with good mobility behind the plate and a strong arm. He earned his Gold Glove. Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall have a lot of power but a lot of holes in their swings. Scooter Gennett turned himself into a solid everyday player, just like Eugenio Suarez. I’m fine with José Peraza getting a chance as the regular shortstop with Zack Cozart gone, and, of course, you’ve got to love Joey Votto — he not only might be the best hitter in the league, he’s also very underrated in the field. He keeps himself in great shape, and his age (34) has not caught up to him.”

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Star on the rise

The biggest star — other than Joey Votto — at Redsfest, the team’s winter fan fair, was Hunter Greene. Greene had barely played professionally, much less for the Reds. But Greene, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, came to the club with quite the reputation. He was a Sports Illustrated cover boy. He has a 102 mph fastball and can hit 450-foot home runs and play a nice shortstop. The Reds are getting him ready as a pitcher, by the way. Greene is also mature beyond his years (just turned 18) and at ease with the spotlight. “It’s been a lot of fun,” Greene said of Redsfest. “The whole setup is really cool. People are awesome. How it’s all set up and organized, it’s really fan friendly. I’m just having a great time.” Greene says that his newfound celebrity hasn’t changed him. “No, nothing’s changed. I’m the same guy, same family members and friends. Just the money I guess is different.” He did get his driver’s license and used some of his $7 million bonus to buy a 2018 Mercedes E400 Cabriolet.

Tampering with tradition

One of the hallmarks of Opening Day in Cincinnati is the Findlay Market Parade. The Reds, as baseball’s oldest franchise, always open at home. Findlay Market, the open-air landmark north of downtown, has sponsored a parade for 98 years. This year, however, the parade won’t be on Opening Day, which is March 29. Because of a conflict with Holy Thursday, a big Easter shopping day, the parade has been moved to Monday, April 2.


The Reds, like a lot of teams, have moved toward metrics in evaluating players. That means more math majors than former players are in the front office. The team did go old school with its big hire this offseason, bringing Buddy Bell in as vice president and senior advisor. Bell, a five-time All-Star who grew up in Cincinnati, had spent the last nine years in the White Sox front office. 

Nice company

Votto became one of only three players ever to have at least 179 hits, 36 home runs, 134 walks and 83 or fewer strikeouts in a season. Babe Ruth and Ted Williams are the others. Along those same lines, Scooter Gennett joined some select company as well. He and Lou Gehrig are the only players in big-league history to hit four grand slams in a season and also have a four-homer game. Gehrig had a four-homer game in 1932 and hit four grand slams in 1934. So Scooter one-upped the Iron Horse, doing both in the same season.