Into The Crystal Ball: Who Will Start Opening Day?
By Steven Offenbaker (Twitter: @soffenbaker)
Be of good cheer, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not THAT most wonderful time of the year, but the time of year when hope springs eternal in the land of Major League Baseball. Pitchers and catchers have begun their annual pilgrimage to the land of the cactus and the land of the grapefruit.
Over the course of the next 6 weeks new Reds manager David Bell will watch and evaluate, analyze and reevaluate, in an effort to take the best 25 players he’s got northeast to the Queen City.
On March 28, 2019 the Cincinnati Reds will host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ballpark, in the first of 162 contests that we all hope leads to October glory.
What will the Redlegs lineup look like on opening day? Who will Bell send out after all the dust settles in Goodyear, Arizona? Here is our prediction for the opening day starters:
C Tucker Barnhart
1B Joey Votto
2B Scooter Gennett
SS Jose Peraza
3B Eugenio Suarez
LF Jesse Winker
CF Scott Schebler
RF Yasiel Puig
With an infield that boasts 5 returning players, the real questions for the Reds are who the opening day starter will be and what will the team do with Nick Senzel.
Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams has said during the offseason that the team is looking to reduce the amount of pressure on Luis Castillo. For this reason, I believe Wood gets the opening day start instead of Castillo.
As far as Senzel goes, Williams has indicated that he will be given every opportunity to win the CF job in spring training, but in the end the business of baseball is going to prevail and Senzel will start the season in AAA Louisville in order for the Reds to gain an extra year of team control.
While Phillip Ervin will serve as the teams 4th outfielder assuming Matt Kemp is traded sometime during the spring. Look for Senzel to join the Reds sometime around May 1st depending on how the team is playing and the individual performances of the 4 outfielders. Once Senzel is called up, Ervin will be the odd man out.