With the 2018 MLB season just around the corner, it’s time to look at what the season will hold for the Cincinnati Reds.  

After going 68-94 last season and being eliminated from the playoff consideration in early September, you could say the Reds needed some work done.  The Reds finished dead last in the NL Central and, after looking back on their season, you could tell where that work needed to be applied to.

They needed to fix this pitching rotation problem they have, so their pitchers will not be burned out as much. This gives them some depth in the bullpen and, with different pitchers, means different throwing styles which means the batters can not narrow in what the pitcher will do and keeps them guessing which is something the Reds can use to their advantage.  

Another spot that needs fixing is some hitting power since the Reds ranked 18th last season. That is not terrible, but it did not help their case at all considering their batting average was 21st and their runs scored was 14th. The Reds could use a little magic to spark a trend upwards in those categories.

OFFSEASON MOVES

The Reds have certainly been busy this offseason with adding players, dropping players, adding then dropping players to the minors and even upgrading minor league players to major league players.  The Reds claimed Jairo Labourt off waivers from the Detroit Tigers and claimed Kyle Crockett from the Cleveland Indians who was then released and then re-signed with a minor league contract.  The Reds have also locked in outfielder Ben Revere from the Angels through Free Agency after the Angels gave him leave to walk.  

With the addition of the draft pick and some other pitchers added, including some minor league players being brought up for spring training, the pitching rotation could change this season. That is good news for the Reds, who struggled with that in the past, being 14th out 15th in the NL for pitching.

THE HIDDEN GEMS?

It’s no secret that every MLB team has one or two hidden gems that will help them light up this offseason. The Reds’ hidden Gem is Tucker Barnhart. 

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The Reds could have a possible Golden Glove winner on their hands with the changes to the criteria.  In 2017, he would have been a shoo-in with this new criterion should it not off been decided with a bat.  Barnhart is a man that needs to be on watch in the coming season.  

Another thing to watch out for is the pitching changes which seems like a big player to watch out for. However, with the addition of veterans David Hernandez and Jared Hughes, the Reds added stability to their bullpen which gives the younger pitchers some hope, which could be good for them in the long run.  

All in all, if the Reds can figure out a way to use each of these pitchers effectively and nobody can get hurt or ruin the rotation, then the Reds could have a solid pitching rotation. That is something, especially considering that this organization has struggled with pitching, and this boost can help them contend against clubs in their own league and own division like the Chicago Cubs or the St. Louis Cardinals.  

Another possible hidden gem that could shine in the watch column is Joey Votto, which kind of seems redundant since he is already being watched, but in 2018 he needs to be kept on high alert. After having a good season last season, and a solid spring training so far, this year his regular season could be even better. When you are known as the Home Run King of the Reds, the RBI King of the Reds, and the Hit King of the Reds, you kind of have to live up the hype.

SEASON PROBABILTY

With the 2018 season closing in, let’s take a look at what could be in store for the Reds. The answer? Nothing.  

As of right now, it doesn’t seem like the Reds are destined for much more than possibly have a positive season.  This is not a drag or a diss on the Reds by any means, but this is a purely statically looking analysis because here are the facts.

They had a somewhat busy offseason, but no major moves have been news shattering, and they have to play against teams that are statically better than them. So, as much as everyone loves the underdog, myself included, I don’t see this underdog putting up much of a fight and with other teams in their own division like the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers. However, they should not fret because they have a future and depending on the 2018 season it could be a bright future for them.  With the addition of some more pitchers they can change the pitching rotation and not burn through pitchers as quickly as they had which would give them a major boost defensively.  However, in truth the world of Major League Baseball will never know until opening day on March 29, it takes one pitch or one catch or one out to make all the difference in this game and shift the balance from one team to another.

(Photo Credit: USA Today)

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