Cincinnati Reds' best-case and worst-case scenarios for 2024 season

Feb 27, 2024; Mesa, Arizona, USA;  Cincinnati Reds right fielder Will Benson (30) triples in the
Feb 27, 2024; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds right fielder Will Benson (30) triples in the / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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Cincinnati Reds' Worst-Case Scenario for 2024

About the Reds rotation. It’s populated by guys who could be pretty good … or not. Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, and Nick Lodolo have all shown occasional flashes, but none has put a consistent season together. Andrew Abbott came up last season and was 8-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 21 starts; that’s solid for a rookie.

Over the offseason, the Reds acquired Nick Martinez and Frankie Montas, both veterans who’ve been inconsistent. Montas, the designated Opening Day starter, is coming off arm injuries that sidelined him almost all of 2023. Lodolo is coming off a fractured arm that has delayed his spring development.

Martinez comes over from San Diego, where he had a 3.43 ERA in 63 appearances. But Martinez hasn’t been asked to carry a regular starting load in a decade, and there’s no certainty he can do it now.

The concern is what happens if this staff doesn’t reach its potential. For all his touted stuff, Greene is 7-20 with a 4.62 ERA in his first two seasons. The Reds have been waiting two years for Ashcraft to develop, and perhaps he will, but to date, he’s 12-15 with a 4.81 ERA.

The Reds' staff was 23rd in runs allowed per game last year. If that number doesn’t improve markedly, 2024 could be a frustrating season.

The offense has already taken one hit of substance. Noelvi Marte, the heralded No. 1 prospect, was handed an 80-game PED suspension during spring training. Marte, who hit .316 in late-season play, was supposed to be the starting third baseman. He’s out until July, and also out for any postseason games the Reds play.

It also needs to be noted that all that burgeoning young talent is entering its sophomore season in 2024, which raises the prospect of a collective sophomore slump. If that happens, the Reds could be very disappointing.