Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Reds Poised, Positioned for Better 2017 Campaign

by: Jack Ward
Staff Writer

Bold prediction…..the Reds are not going to lose 100 games. That’s a relief! And the way they are playing after the All-Star break gives us great encouragement for next season. I can see the Reds being in the middle of the pack next year in the division. I think the Reds will be better than Milwaukee and Pittsburgh next season. Here are my reasons.

1. Billy Hamilton. Billy is getting tips from Joey Votto and has become a better hitter because of it. He is getting on base. He is stealing bases at a record pace. He is scoring runs. He already is the best defensive centerfielder in baseball.

2. Joey Votto. Joey is having another great second half and is going to finish well over .300 and lead the lead in on base percentage and be at the top in OPS. Hard to believe he was only hitting .227 in June! Why does that make the Reds better next year? With a solid guy in the number three hole that makes everyone around him better and of course it can only help your team to have the best hitter in baseball in your lineup.

3. Starting pitching. The Reds could possibly have this rotation next season, Homer Bailey, Anthony Deslafani, Dan Straley, Brandon Finnegan and Robert Stephenson. If any of these guys falter they will have Cody Reed, Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Jon Lamb, Kevius Sampson and Amir Garrett ready to step in. If they can pitch anywhere near their potential the Reds are loaded.

4. Bullpen. The bane of 2016 could be the success of 2017. I believe Tony Cingrani despite a few hiccups in 2016 will be a great closer for the Reds. Amir Garrett might be the Reds 7th inning guy next year. Raisel Iglesias has been so good in late innings this year that the Reds may look to keep him in that role again next year. Michael Lorenzen may be a part of the bullpen again as he has been terrific there this season. Blake Wood, Jumbo Diaz, Kevius Sampson, Jon Lamb, Cody Reed could also be a part of the Reds bullpen next season. That is a boatload of talent.

5. Adam Duvall. Is this just a one season wonder or will he be the real deal and follow up 2016 with an even better 2017? Duvall doesn’t have to be better next season. If he can just equal 2016 and the Reds will take that any time.

6. Tucker Barnhart. Tucker has been outstanding all season especially the second half. He has hit more than anyone thought and he has shown some fire and leadership behind the plate. He gets upset when plays aren’t made. He is passionate. I think the Reds may have their catcher for the future already here.

7. Right Field. Who is going to be the Right fielder for 2017? Scott Schebler has the opportunity to take Right field if he succeeds in his two-month audition from now until the end of the season. Adam Duvall might move to right and you could see Devin Mesoraco in left if he is healthy. Two guys in the minors to look for are Jesse Winker and Nick Senzel. Winker could be in the Reds starting outfield next year. Nick Senzel may be the Reds third baseman and Euenio Suarez might be moved to the outfield. The Reds have many options.

Conclusion. Can the Reds jump to the upper part of the division for 2017? I think they can.

Until next time,

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