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Ultimate Guide to the 2024 Cincinnati Reds: Infield

This is what you need to know about the 2024 Reds infield ahead of the season.
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The Cincinnati Reds enter the 2024 season with higher expectations than the team has seen in recent memory. The Reds are deep and nuanced with few guarantees, but plenty of intrigue. 

Their infield might be their most talented group on the team. 

Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Spencer Steer, and Jonathan India already made up a talented group of players. 

The Reds signed Jeimer Candelario this offseason. Candelario has averaged three Wins Above Replacement each year over the past three seasons. That would have made him a top-8 performer on the Reds, at worst, in any of those seasons.

Candelario will play. He's a capable defender at first and third base. He figures to play more first base than third as the Reds look to fill the void left by Joey Votto. 

When he is not playing first base, Encarnacion-Strand will play there and so will India. Candelario figures to be more of a rotational player at third base where Marte could see the lion share of the playing time.

Steer will spend most of his time in the outfield. He will still get some infield time, but expect him to primarily play left field and right field.

These are logical deductions, though. We do know two positions, for sure.

Both Nick Krall and David Bell have said that De La Cruz will be the mainstay at shortstop, while McLain see the majority of the second base reps. That comes straight from the source. So with those two positions figured, and the corner infield spots having a full compliment of options, where does India fit in?

The two seasons since winning NL Rookie of the Year have been mixed for India. He has shown flashes of that player that won the award, but he has also dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness times. He is now seen as the odd man out of a talented infield.

India will play the role of the chameleon. He will play where the Reds need him in order to get into the lineup. There will be times where he plays second base, some first base, a little third base, and quite possibly in the outfield. In fact, India will be the most valuable to the Reds if he can prove to be a competent outfielder. We’ll look more into that in the outfield portion of the Ultimate Guide.

The infield will be the strength of this team, but there will be plenty of movement around the diamond for most players involved. You may go to one game and see Candelario at third base and Encarnacion-Strand at first base. Then you may go to another and see Marte at third base and Candelario at first. 

Their infield versatility is a major strength.

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