C Tucker Barnhart — Barnhart is the epitome of the "catcher who won't hurt you." And to be honest, in deeper leagues, that is sometimes an excellent thing to have. Look for Barnhart to go .250/12/50 this season in 450 at-bats.
1B Joey Votto — I drafted Votto liberally last season and was tremendously disappointed as the normally uber-consistent hitter finally looked like he was slowing down. The biggest shock was his lack of power which seems like it can be attributed to his age (35). He is saying all the right things coming into 2019, and perhaps he can regain the Fountain of Youth. I just don’t want to get burned again, so I will let someone else draft him and hope for a comeback.
2B Scooter Gennett — I think Scooter Gennett suffers from a lack of respect. Maybe it’s his name that does it because it’s certainly not his bat. Gennett has hit 23+ HRs and 90+ RBIs for the past two seasons and seems to be entering his prime. I will be happy to roster Gennett in seasonal leagues somewhere in Rounds 8-9, and I especially love him against RHP in DFS.
SS Jose Peraza — At 24 years old, Peraza appears ready to ascend into the upper echelon of major league shortstops. He hit 14 HR last season with 23 SB, and if his growth chart continues upwards, I think it's possible to see 18-20 HRs with close to 30 SBs in 2019. (SLEEPER)
3B Eugenio Suarez — Quick--off the top of your head--how many HRs and RBIs did Suarez have last season? If you guessed 34/104, you were cheating, or you are a big Suarez fan! I think those numbers are mostly repeatable (perhaps maybe a 10% regression at most), which makes him one of the top 3B available on draft day.
OF Jesse Winker — In 281 AB last season Winker started to show the potential that the Reds had been expecting for years. His season sadly ended in July due to a shoulder injury, but if he can get 500 ABs in 2019, I think another jump can be expected. Think 15/70/80 with close to a .300 BA. Winker is even better to add in OBP leagues.
OF Yasiel Puig — A lot of my fellow experts are excited about Puig’s potential in Cincy this season. He is going to be playing every day in a terrific lineup in one of the best hitting parks in MLB. Moreover, there should be a lot less pressure playing in Ohio than there was in Los Angeles. I think a season of 30 HRs and 20 SB is possible and I am more than happy to draft him as my OF3 this season.
OF Scott Schebler — Rookie Nick Senzel is supposedly going to get the opportunity to play every day as the starting CF. Puig is etched in RF and Winker should be starting in LF. This leaves Schebler on the bench (for now). The good news is that he hits RHP very well so if a platoon situation does evolve, there is a good chance he is on the strong side of it.
OF Matt Kemp — Kemp will play mostly against LHP and be used as depth in case of injury. I would avoid drafting him unless it is in the deepest of formats. (BUST)
SP Luis Castillo — Castillo was a beast in the second half of 2018, throwing the ball 3 MPH faster than he had in the first half of the season. Is this a case of him being a bad first half pitcher? It's hard to determine that. I remember thinking the same thing about former Red Johnny Cueto. When Cueto finally put two good halves together, he was unhittable. Can we expect the same from Castillo? I am not sure he has Cueto's upside, but I do think that he is ready to take the next step up in his maturation and I would be excited to have him as my SP4 (and perhaps my SP3 if I wait on pitching).
SP Alex Wood — Wood was spectacular in 2017, but in 2018 he struggled for the Dodgers and was shifted back and forth from their rotation to the bullpen. Now with the Reds, Wood will be the team's SP2 and is expected to get close to 180 IP this season. I have some interest in Wood and think that he could win 15 games once again, but I do worry about the ballpark and whether he can keep his ERA under 4.00.
SP Sonny Gray — I have some serious interest in Gray for the back end of my Fantasy rotation, but the recent reports of his elbow injury have me scared off. If his health improves and he pitches a bit towards the end of Spring Training, I might regain interest, but for now, he is off my draft list.
SP Tanner Roark — It was just 2016 when Roark won 16 games with a 2.83 ERA, but those days seem long behind him. Now, I look at him as nothing more than an innings eater who should have an ERA in the mid to high 4s. I am planning on using him solely as an occasional DFS play. (BUST)
SP Anthony DeSclafani — Some experts think that we have yet to see the best of DeSclafani. Perhaps this is true, but until I can see him stay healthy and show that he can pitch past the 4th inning in games, I am willing to wait on the sidelines and pick him up early during the season on waivers.
RP Raisel Iglesias — I am a huge Iglesias fan, but his success might end up hurting Fantasy-wise. As of this moment, the Reds are talking about using him “in the most important spots in the game” and not as a traditional closer. What this could mean is more wins, more holds, and fewer saves. I will still draft Iglesias as a closer, but I am going to push him down on my list into the second tier.
RP Jared Hughes — If the Reds choose to use Iglesias to get two-inning saves or as an Effector, it might open the door for Hughes to get a handful of saves. He had seven last year, and with the Reds offense and pitching staff being slightly improved, I am willing to say that he could hit double digits this season. (Rip van Winkle Sleeper)
Nick Senzel — The Reds are hoping that Senzel emerges as the every day CF in Spring Training. With Suarez, Gennett, and Peraza locked in at their positions, there really is no other option for Senzel at this point if he wants playing time. If he cannot handle OF, don’t be shocked to see the Reds trade him at the All-Star Break if they are still contending for the playoffs. (STASH and CASH)
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