Ranking the National League Central's projected 2024 lineups

The National League Central features some decent lineups. Where do the St. Louis Cardinals fall in the pecking order?
St Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Emilee Chinn/GettyImages
2 of 5

4. Cincinnati Reds

The young Cincinnati Reds lineup is projected to accumulate 19.7 WAR according to ZiPS in 2024. The Reds employ an assortment of shortstops, or at least players who could be serviceable at the supreme defensive position. This positional superiority makes their roster construction murky. With the departure of Joey Votto, the team could also lack the leadership that they would need.

Players such as Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, Jonathan India, Spencer Steer, Noelvi Marte, and even Christian Encarnacion-Strand could all feasibly play shortstop. It's only possible to field one shortstop at a time, so most of those players will be forced into positions that may be unfamiliar to them. The signing of Jeimer Candelario only complicates the infield shuffle more.

Regardless of who plays where the Cincinnati Reds figure to have a decent position player core for next year. Second baseman Matt McLain is projected to lead the team in WAR with a total of 3.2, though most of that is supported by his defense, as a 108 OPS+ is only slightly above average. Candelario, Elly de la Cruz, TJ Friedl, and Spencer Steer round out the top five players for projected WAR.

Similar to the Cardinals, the Reds don't have any glaring weaknesses on the position player side of the game, but they could improve in the corner outfield and at designated hitter. A trade of at least one of their players could net the team a pitcher or even a high-powered offensive player. The Reds are scary with their youth and potential. Should all things click for their young players, they could take the Central by storm next year.