Analyzing the Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day Lineup

Analyzing the Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day Lineup

Bryan Price Cincinnati Reds
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Many teams have had injury issues this spring but few have had as many key players affected in some way as the Cincinnati Reds. The majority of their injuries have affected the pitching staff. While some of them, many of the key injuries have a chance to be worked out early on, they still will have to rely on the strengths of the Opening Day lineup if they hope to get the season off to a solid start.

1 – Billy Hamilton – CF

Billy Hamilton Cincinnati Reds
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1 – Billy Hamilton – CF

Billy Hamilton Cincinnati Reds
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Everything the Reds hope to accomplish this season doesn't depend on Hamilton but he certainly is going to be an exciting story when the season starts. Can he get on base? If he does, how many bases will he steal? The buzz might fade if he does not perform at a high level but if he does special things on the bases, his star will rise and the Reds will benefit.

2 – Brandon Phillips – 2B

Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds
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2 – Brandon Phillips – 2B

Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds
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A great deal of run production can potentially come from Phillips if his head is in the game and he performs at the level he is capable of reaching. He can be the best offensive second baseman in the game if he does that.

3 – Joey Votto – 1B

Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds
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3 – Joey Votto – 1B

Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds
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The reason Votto gets the big bucks from Reds management is that baring some serious injury he will provide a solid bit of run support for the Reds this season. We know it, you know it, he knows and opposing teams know it. Few players of this level of consistency exist. Here is hoping he continues putting up MVP caliber years. This looks to be another one.

4 – Jay Bruce – RF

Jay Bruce Cincinnati Reds
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4 – Jay Bruce – RF

Jay Bruce Cincinnati Reds
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Bruce is actually capable of just as much if not more run production and home run power than Votto. He only needs to continue to put up those type of numbers every year and big things will continue to happen for him. More immediately the Reds need him to hit the ground 100 percent this year.

5 – Ryan Ludwick – LF

Ryan Ludwick Cincinnati Reds
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5 – Ryan Ludwick – LF

Ryan Ludwick Cincinnati Reds
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Ludwick isn't at the level of his counterpart in the opposite outfield spot but he does have solid offensive tools and potential. As with most of their offensive team right now, the Reds need him to perform as well as he possibly can early this season.

6 – Todd Frazier – 3B

Todd Frazier Cincinnati Reds
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6 – Todd Frazier – 3B

Todd Frazier Cincinnati Reds
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There simply are not very many MVP caliber third basemen in MLB right now. Certainly a fully healthy season from the Mets' David Wright could get there but few others are at that level. Frazier is therefore one of the top third basemen in the National League potentially. He could grab as many as 20 home runs this season and if he drives in 75 plus, would be among the most productive in MLB.

7 – Devin Mesoraco – C

Devin Mesoraco Cincinnati Reds
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7 – Devin Mesoraco – C

Devin Mesoraco Cincinnati Reds
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The Reds have handed the everyday catching duties to Mesoraco and even though he has had an oblique issue, he looks ready to take the position in as his own. When it comes to that kind of nagging problem, no one is going to push for at-bats during spring training. He will probably be there on Opening Day. Look for solid numbers this season as Mesoraco could jump his name up the NL catchers list in 2014.

8 – Zack Cozart – SS

Zack Cozart Cincinnati Reds
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8 – Zack Cozart – SS

Zack Cozart Cincinnati Reds
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If the Reds do not win early in the season you can bet there will be no excuses from new manager Bryan Price. Cozart is another reason why. Some project him for as many as 65 to 70 RBI. That is more than respectable from the shortstop position. They should be able to score runs enough to support whatever their pitching staff looks like.

9 – Johnny Cueto – P

Johnny Cueto Cincinnati Reds
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9 – Johnny Cueto – P

Johnny Cueto Cincinnati Reds
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Boy do the Reds ever need Cueto to have a full healthy season? He is easily one of the better starters in MLB when he is healthy but that has been so rare over the past few years that we are beginning to see a label placed on him of being kind of fragile. I don't like that label. Hopefully he will provide plenty of solid quality starts this year and rid himself of it for good.

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