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3 Players To Watch Series

LOD’s 3 Players to Watch: Cincinnati Reds

For this series, LOD writers will pick three players from each MLB team that we feel are players to watch in the 2023 season.

The Cincinnati Reds were showing signs of life in 2021, when they finished with an 83-79 record.  However, they back tracked in 2022 losing 100 games.  The Reds are the oldest franchise in MLB, but have also put together some of the strongest teams in the modern era.  Of course, there was the Big Red Machine of the 1970s.  There was also 1990, the last time the Reds won a World Series.

In today’s game, Cincinnati is considered a small market team, which makes it challenging to sign big name free agents.  The best route for the Reds is to build a successful team through their farm system.  And that’s what they’ve been working on.

Jonathan India, 2B

Drafted 5th overall in 2018, Jonathan India entered the Reds farm system as a product of the Florida Gators 2017 World Series Championship team.  The Delray Beach native was an instant success in the minors.  Legends on Deck profiled India following his appearance in the 2019 Florida State League All-Star Game, as a member of the Daytona Tortugas.

India was the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year, producing some incredible results at the plate that year (21 HR / 63 RBI / .269 BA / .835 OPS).  His stats dipped a bit in 2022, but he’s earned his spot as the starting second baseman.  He will also likely remain the team’s lead-off hitter in 2023.   India could easily rebound this season and will likely be an important part of the young core of Reds players for years to come.

Nick Lodolo, P

Lodolo was the seventh overall pick of the MLB Draft by the Red in 2019 out of TCU.  After finishing his first season at the big league level, Lodolo looks ready to step into his own as the #2 starter in the Reds rotation, behind Hunter Greene.  Both Greene and Lodolo have been among the top products of the Reds farm system.  Their system runs deep and is currently ranked 5th among all MLB teams.

Lodolo  threw for 103.1 innings in 2022, going 4-7 with a 3.66 ERA / 1.248 WHIP / 131 strikeouts.  Coming off a strong Spring, Lodolo is positioned to be a top tier pitcher for years to come.

Joey Votto, 1B

As he enters his 17th season in Cincinnati, Joey Votto hope to rebound in what could be his last MLB season.  The 38 year old six time All-Star, Gold Glove winner and 2010 NL MVP has made himself quite a career.  Votto’s career stats include 342 HR / 1106 RBI / .297 BA / .926 OPS.  He led the NL in OBP seven times and walks five times.  He has 453 career doubles.

In short, Votto is easily the most iconic Reds player over the past decade and a half, and will likely play his final season in 2023.  There’s actually plenty of discussion out there as to whether or not he’s a future Hall of Famer.  Some even say he’s among the greatest Reds players of all-time.  He’s also kept fans entertained all these years.

Can the Reds Break Through in 2023?

The Cincinnati Reds might be among the most under the radar teams in MLB today.  Their farm system is consistently ranked in the top five.  Their starting rotation headed by Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft.  Shortstop Elly De La Cruz and Third Baseman Cam Collier are top tier prospects that could help round out a strong infield with Jonathan India, in the near future.  The Reds won’t likely make a postseason run in 2023, but perhaps they’re in a similar position as the Orioles were in 2022.  They could sneak into the conversation in the years to come.

Brian is the Managing Editor at Legends on Deck and Co-Host on Legends On Deck Podcast. He's been writing about baseball at LOD since 2017. He grew up in the Detroit area and is a lifelong Tigers fan. However, he shares some affinity for his son George's favorite team, the Atlanta Braves. Brian also has a particular interest in the amateur side of the game, including high school, college and collegiate summer league baseball. Brian and George also love collecting and selling baseball cards. You can find them selling on eBay (@Kossball) or posting on George's Instagram (@Kossball). Brian lives in Horizon West (Winter Garden), Florida with his wife (Grace), three daughters and George the Card Kid. You can also reach him at brianmkoss@gmail.com

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