3. Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds were favorites to win the division as recently as 2020. A massive sell-off between 2020 and 2022 gutted the major league roster. Players such as Jesse Winker, Wade Miley, Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Eugenio Suarez were all shipped off for a large number of prospects. This dismissal of talent from the major-league roster left the team with very few viable major leaguers this year.
That script is starting to quickly flip, though. With a league-leading 14 professional debuts this year, the Reds are clearly starting a youth movement. Some of those players, such as Noelvi Marte, Elly De La Cruz, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Matt McLain, and Andrew Abbot are players who figure to lead the team for the next 6+ years. Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft are potential studs in the rotation. Suffice it to say, the Reds have a huge list of young players currently playing in the majors.
In addition to recently promoted prospects, the Reds tout a long list of top-100 prospects in their farm system. MLB.com ranks their farm system 5th overall. It is highlighted by Noelvi Marte, SS (#24 overall); Rhett Lowder, RHP (#44); Edwin Arroyo, SS (#61); Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 1B/3B (#72), and Connor Phillips, RHP (#73). With so many young, talented shortstops, the Reds have the ability to either move those players to positions of need or trade them for established players in positions of need.
It is tough for a team/franchise to get out of a losing funk. The Reds have been very bad for the last two years. Their deep farm system, young MLB roster, and early success in 2023 show that they have the potential to be one of the top teams in the National League Central. The Cincinnati Reds could be a big problem in the division in just a few short years, possibly as early as next year.