The Reds offense was surprisingly good in the second half of 2016. The Reds as a team ranked 8th in the MLB in wRC+ (100), and were 9th in runs scored (340). The Reds will hope that will carry over in 2017.

I thought that I would create a handy depth chart for the Reds future. But there is one catch, this depth chart is only for guys who have a chance to be starters on the big league club (sorry, Ivan De Jesus Jr.). That is not to say that there aren’t other guys who could come out of nowhere and be contributors, but this is the list of guys the Reds are planning their future around. Let’s begin!



  1. Devin Mesoraco

  2. Tucker Barnhart 

  3. Chad Wallach

  4. Chris Okey (#12 prospect; ETA 2019)

  5. Tyler Stephenson (#10 prospect; ETA 2019)

The Reds have a lot of talent at the catcher postion. The Reds are obviously hoping that Devin Mesoraco can come back and return to his all-star level in 2017. The Reds will be paying Mesoraco just over $20 million over 2017 & 2018 before he becomes a free agent. If Mesoraco can stay healthy and productive, it could buy the Reds some time before they have three solid catching options ready around the time the 2019 season starts.

If Mesoraco can’t stay healthy (or has to be moved to another position), they have Tucker Barnhart to help buy time. Barnhart’s 82 wRC+ was just below the MLB average for catchers at 87. Barnhart provides good defense, and a nice 8.6% career walk rate. The Reds would certainly be better off with Barnhart as a really good backup, but if he is called to everyday duty the Reds aren’t in trouble.

The Reds just drafted Chris Okey with the 43rd overall pick in 2016, but he has already passed on the depth chart the 11th overall pick from 2015, Tyler Stephenson. Okey posted a very impressive 124 wRC+ in his first professional season in Dayton. The pollished catcher from Clemson is on the fast track through the Reds minor league system, and he will turn 22 next month. Stephenson spent most of 2016 hurt, but he is only 20 years old. The Reds will hope he can recover from his wrist injury and get back on track to being the Reds catcher of the future.

First Base


  1. Joey Votto

  2. Eric Jagielo (#25 prospect; ETA 2017)

  3. Gavin LaValley (#28 prospect; ETA 2018)

Joey Votto has first base locked up for at least the next seven seasons. If something happened to Votto, they could move someone over to cover the position, most likely Adam Duvall.

There are a couple of other first baseman to keep your eye on. Eric Jagielo was acquired from the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal, and was the 26th overall pick in 2013. He struggled in Pensacola this season (83 wRC+), but he was a really good hitter at every stop in the Yankees system (he had a 141 wRC+ in 248 PA at AA in 2015). LaValley had a 133 wRC+ this season with Daytona, and got better as the year went on.

Second Base


  1. Brandon Phillips

  2. Dilson Herrera

  3. Alex Blandino (#15 prospet; ETA 2017)

Brandon Phillips is the final year of his contract with the Reds, and it is only a matter of time before the Reds give over the postion to either Jose Peraza or Dilson Herrera. I have Peraza listed on the SS depth chart, but second base could be where he ends up.

Dilson Herrera has been a good hitter in the minor leagues, posting a .830 career OPS. He was a top 50 prospect in 2014 according to Baseball America. He played in 49 games in the majors with the Mets, which is why he doesn’t qualify for a prospect list. If he did, he’d be near the top of the Reds. It is only a matter of time before he reaches the big leagues, and the Reds see what he’s got.

Third Base


  1. Eugenio Suarez

  2. Taylor Sparks (#23 prospect; ETA 2018)

  3. Nick Senzel (#1 prospect; ETA 2019)

Nick Senzel is the Reds third baseman of the future, and that train is coming fast. The Reds do however have a pretty solid guy manning the hot corner for the time being. Eugenio Suarez hit 21 bombs in his first full season in the big leagues. Outside of a bad May, Suarez was pretty solid, and had a 104 wRC+ in the second half. His defense got much better as the year went on too.

As good as Suarez has been, there will be nothing he can do when Nick Senzel arrives. Suarez will probably have to move positons. Senzel looked the part of the #2 overall pick this summer when he posted a 184 wRC+ in 249 PA in Dayton.



  1. Zack Cozart

  2. Jose Peraza

  3. Alfredo Rodriguez (#6 prospect; ETA 2018)

  4. Blake Trahan (#19 prospect; ETA 2018)

  5. Calten Daal (#20 prospect; ETA 2018)

The underappreciated until recently Zack Cozart will be entering his final year under contract with the Reds. The most likely heir to Cozart’s throne is Jose Peraza, who started 29 games at SS for the Reds in 2016. Peraza was pretty good for the Reds too in 2016, posting a 103 wRC+ in 256 PA. Peraza stole 21 bases in just 72 games as well. Peraza will likely start 2017 playing all over the field, but he could get a permenant role as the Reds SS if they trade Cozart.

The Reds payed a hefty $6 million for Alfredo Rodriguez. He was the #6 overall international prospect. Doug Gray has a lot more on Rodriguez that is worth checking out.



  1. Adam Duvall

  2. Jesse Winker (#3 prospect; ETA 2017)

  3. Phillip Ervin (#17 prospect; ETA 2017)

  4. Taylor Trammell (#11 prospect; ETA 2020)

Adam Duvall had a pretty incredible first season with the Reds. He made the All-Star team, particpated in the home run derby, hit 33 bombs, and was named as a gold glove finalist. I like Duvall, and wrote about the positives he brings last week. That said, Jesse Winker is the future for the Reds in LF, and Duvall will probably end up in RF when Winker arrives.

It’s hard to believe Jesse Winker has still yet to make his Reds debut, but he is coming soon. Winker has a career .854 OPS in the minors, and an especially nice .398 career OBP. The power has been a concern for Winker, but it is certainly possible he will hit a lot more home runs at GABP than he ever did in Louisville.

The Reds also have two nice prospects in LF: Phillip Ervin , who has shown a nice combination of power and patience at AA, and a 19 year old five tool player Taylor Trammell.


  1. Billy Hamilton

  2. Arismendy Alcantara

  3. T.J. Friedl (#13 prospect; ETA 2018)

Billy Hamilton’s OBP jumped from .274 to .321 in 2016. That allowed Reds fans to take a deep breath and remember that Hamilton is the future CF for the Reds. The weird thing is that the Reds only have three more years of team control of Hamilton. He is also 13th out of the 34 qualifying CF since 2014 in fWAR with 8.7.

The Reds were able to pick up Arismendy Alcantara off the scrap heap from the A’s. He was a top 100 prospect back in 2013, and was a top 10 prospect with the Cubs. He had a 114 wRC+ at AAA with the A’s in 2016, and has a nice combo of speed with some power. He can play all the outfield positions, plus 3B, 2B, and SS. He gives the Reds nice depth and a lottery ticket.

T.J. Friedl was of course the top round talent that the Reds were able to sneak away with after the draft. Friedl had a 145 wRC+ with the Billings Mustangs this season, and at 21 years old, fresh out of college, he could be in the big leagues by 2018.



  1. Scott Schebler

  2. Yorman Rodriguez

  3. Aristides Aquino (#21 prospect; ETA 2018)

Rightfield is by far the weakest positon for the Reds looking at just who they have on the depth chart, but they could certainly move other guys like Duvall or Peraza here. Scott Schebler will most likely be the opening day starter. Schebler was incredible at AAA last year posting a 166 wRC+, and did a nice job in the majors too posting a 101 wRC+. He certainly deserves a real shot, and could end up being a nice platoon outfielder.

Yorman Rodriguez is still alive, and was actually just put back on the Reds 40 man roster from the 60 day DL. He only had 27 PA in 2016 because of a hamstring injury. Rodriguez has been a top 20 prospect with the Reds every year since 2008 by Baseball America, and cracked the top 5 in 2008, 2010, and 2013. He is still only 24 years old, and you never know, maybe he could break out.

Projected 2017 Lineup

  1. Hamilton (CF)

  2. Votto (1B)

  3. Duvall (LF)

  4. Schebler (RF)

  5. Mesoraco (C)

  6. Suarez (3B)

  7. Phillips (2B)

  8. Cozart (SS)

Projected 2018 Lineup

  1. Hamilton (CF)

  2. Winker (LF)

  3. Votto (1B)

  4. Duvall (RF)

  5. Senzel (3B)

  6. Mesoraco (C)

  7. Suarez/Herrera (2B)

  8. Peraza (SS)

Projected 2019 Lineup

  1. Winker (LF)

  2. Senzel (3B)

  3. Votto (1B)

  4. Suarez/Herrera (2B)

  5. Okey (C)

  6. Friedl (RF)

  7. Hamilton (CF)

  8. Peraza (SS)


*ETA and Prospect Rankings were taken from the MLB Pipeline Reds top prospects. All statistics courtesy 

30 Responses

  1. gaffer

    With a couple of aces and another top flight bullpen arm this looks fine, but where is that coming from?

    It shows that the Reds no longer need to target hitting exclusively in trades (as they did last year at the expense of quality). However, they could really use one more 850 OPS guy that I doubt will be anyone mentioned here for now. Either Duvall needs to really improve or Winker needs to be the guy we thought he was 2 years ago.

    • gaffer

      I guess I missed one, but Senzel is too far away.

      • Steven Schoenbaechler

        For next year, if they are concerned with competing for the division, offensively, I believe they need at least one more hitter. I can’t tell which type, an OBP guy or a power guy. But, I believe they need one more.

        The thing is, they could have one of each with the team already, with Winker (OBP; I’m not really concerned with his power, provided he can get on at a 350+ OBP clip) and Devin (power). But, each has a question, Winker not having been at the top league before, Devin having been injured the last 2 years. Do the Reds gamble on them?

        The pitching is the primary story, though. I don’t believe they had enough questions settled with the pitching last season. Like this past season, the pitching staff is going to be the deciding factor next season, I believe. Especially the bullpen.

  2. Kyle Sea

    man i can’t wait to see these future lineups. Time passes so slowly sometimes.

  3. WVRedlegs

    That 2017 lineup looks rather dubious. Maybe it is because it still includes BP and Cozart. Hopefully neither is on the 25 man roster for 2017 for The Rebuild’s sake.
    This spells out the need for a quality bat for the Reds to add this winter for the next few years.
    That 2018 lineup is a little better.
    That 2019 lineup is a powerless lineup. Hoping for power to develop at the ML level that wasn’t shown in the minors is not a great strategy. If they can get on base and score runs at a high clip, then the HR’s won’t matter as much. But a nice mixture of power and OBP would be a nice way to go with 81 games at GABP.
    These lineups might one day be good for contending for a wild card berth. But if the Reds want to compete for first place in the NL Central again, then an addition or two are going to be necessary.

  4. Dave Silverwood

    The Reds seem to be going in up condition glad we are looking around for talent like the new gm is doing wonder if the Reds would consider Arroyo?

  5. Scott Carter

    Nice Post. Keeps the dream fires going.

  6. Michael Smith

    Great work Nick. Shouldnt Aquino be the right fielder in 2019?

    • Nick Kirby

      Thanks Michael! I went with Friedl over Aquino mainly just because TJ is the higher prospect. But you can certainly make the case for Aquino.

      • Michael Smith

        I am a bit of an Aquino homer and he did just win player of the year in a league two levels higher.

        Plus isnt Friedl supposed to be a center fielder?

  7. james garrett

    I feel if we can get in and stay in the top 8-10 in the league in runs scored and in pitching we can and will compete for a long time.Of course all teams probably feel that way but our pitching will improve next year and beyond and if we can improve our OBP across the board we can get better fast.I like our homerun potential if Devin is healthy we could have 5 guys with 20-25 homers next year.I am really optimistic but it really comes down to the front office and can/will they acquire a bullpen arm or two.We played one game under 500 I think after the break so to me this says we have the ability

  8. redlarry

    really good post, Nick. Like everyone else, I’d like to see Meso catch 30-40 games, stay off the d l, and show glimpses of his all star season. When all the studs start to arrive, I’d like to see Duvall play some first base as well as his corner outfielder starts.

  9. chadzaucha

    Interesting to compare position by position with Indians.
    DH Carlos Santana
    2B Jason Kipnis
    SS Francisco Lindor
    1B Mike Napoli
    3B Jose Ramirez
    RF Lonnie Chisenhall
    LF Coco Crisp
    CF Tyler Naquin
    C Roberto Perez
    RHP Trevor Bauer

    Which would you rather have?
    I know the Indians have a Kluber and RP that we clearly don’t have, but interesting food for thought.

    • Nick Kirby

      Biggest difference as far as position player between the Reds and Indians is their depth. Indians also do a great job with platoons. Turn two average players into a good one.

      • msanmoore

        Truth … watching Franconna use all his bench was very fun (for me at least).

  10. WVRedlegs

    If Schebler is disappearing after 2017, maybe it would be a nice time to sell high this winter and make a big trade package of S. Schebler, R. Stephenson, D. Herrera (especially if you think Peraza ends up at 2B), and E. Jagielo or some other prospect.

    • Reaganspad

      I liked the way he was hitting to LF late in the year.

      He keeps doing that, he will play until somebody very good takes his job from him

    • greenmtred

      That is a big package, but I’m doubtful that it would bring a big package in return, since the players are unproven–even Schebler. I also think that it’s premature to give up on any of them.

      • Gaffer

        There is no GM that would give us anything for that package. Schebler may hit, but just like Duvall he has no current trade value.

    • ohiojimw

      Not sure why the short sell on Schebler. In 349 PA’s at AAA he OPS at .934 with a .370 OBP component. His whole year at MLB he OPS at .768 with an OBP of .330 including that terrible start before he got sent back to AAA.

      After being recalled at the trade deadline Schebler OPS at .818 in 213 PA’s with an OBP component of .357 These are legit MLB numbers not just solid MiLB numbers that leave us hoping for growth at the MLB level.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Agreed. I think Schebler is likely to be a league average (2.0 WAR) player going forward.

  11. Ryan

    I like the OBP potential at the top of the order by 2019. I would go with Senzel leading off and either Votto or Winker at 2 and 3. The pitching is the real question. So many variables. Big question of who cracks the rotation between Reed, Garrett, Stephenson, and Finnegan.

  12. old-school

    Great post. That first week or so of December looks like a big week with GM winter meetings, Reds-Fest, and Rule 5 draft that will impact the depth chart.

    In the next 6 weeks, I expect the bullpen to be upgraded with a lefty on a multiyear contract. I expect the bullpen roles for Iglesias and Lorenzen to be official. I expect Cozart to be traded and Peraza to be #1 on the depth chart at SS. I expect an injury update on Meso….with some clarity from the Reds on the realistic likelihood of him emerging from ST ready to catch 120-130 games……or not. My prediction is BP stays on the depth chart at #1 until at least Memorial Day. He will be the Opening Day Starter, and Herrera will stay in AAA until he proves he’s healthy and productive.

    • ohiojimw

      I don’t think there is much good news we could hear about Mesoraco before spring training is underway. They’ve already said they expect him to be ready for ST; so, any word before ST is likely to be a step back from that. Unless of course they announced he was headed to some winter league to get actual competitive ABs

  13. lost11found

    I believe too that Ervin can play CF as well. If so, that gives some additional flexibility defensively over the next few years.

  14. Patrick Jeter

    My only hope is we see a fair amount of Herrera and Peraza this year, together, in the bigs…