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3 Cincinnati Reds players to watch in 2016

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David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Over at MLBTR, I'm writing recaps of the offseasons of all the NL Central teams except the Cubs. As each one goes up, I'll highlight a few players who will be worth watching next season.

First up is the Reds. TL;DR: I don't think the Reds had a good offseason, although that was partially due to circumstances beyond their control. They will, however, feature a number of interesting players in 2016, many of whom are new or somewhat new. Here are three I'd keep an eye on.

-P- Raisel Iglesias. The Reds' rotation was a disaster down the stretch last season, and it posted a 5.34 ERA in the second half. The team does, however, have some promising starting pitching, and could field a rotation that's downright fun to watch in the second half of the season. That all starts with Iglesias, who had a solid rookie year as a 25-year-old in 2015. He faced the Pirates twice last year and didn't do particularly well, and his season as a whole flew under the radar because he had a 4.15 ERA, didn't pitch deep into starts, and was playing for an irrelevant team. Note the nifty 9.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9, though. Also note his sinker and ability to get ground balls, and the way his numbers improved as the season went on. The Reds might really have something here.

-P- Jose Peraza. Peraza was the crown jewel of the Todd Frazier trade, which I think doesn't speak well of the Todd Frazier trade. But Peraza will be interesting to watch next year because his skill set is so extreme. He's incredibly fast (MLB.com gives his speed a 75 on the 20-80 scouting scale) and could eventually combine with Billy Hamilton to form the speediest duo in the league. Peraza also generally gets good reviews for his fielding and figures to eventually take over for Brandon Phillips at second base. He has virtually no power, though, and rarely walks. That's going to make it tricky for him to get on base, even given his ability to leg out singles. There is precedent for players with his skill set succeeding in the majors -- as I note at MLBTR, it worked for Dee Gordon. Given Peraza's obvious weaknesses, though, I'm not as big a fan of his as some outlets. MLB.com has Peraza ranked the 24th-best prospect in baseball. That seems high to me. Of course, as we've seen with Hamilton, it is possible for a position player to be valuable despite being a slap hitter with no power. It's unclear whether Peraza will start the season in the majors -- in which he'll presumably move around on defense -- or at Triple-A.

-P- Brandon Finnegan. Another interesting starting pitcher. Finnegan was the best-known player the Reds got in the Johnny Cueto deal last year. He won't turn 23 until April, and his track record is mostly solid -- in 48 big-league innings last season, he whiffed 8.4 batters per nine and had a 54.3 percent ground ball rate. (Those innings included a strong start against the Pirates in the last series of the year.) He has, however, walked many more batters than you'd expect of a top young player, even in the minors, and at 5-foot-11 and with somewhat of a high-effort delivery, it's unclear whether he'll hold up as a starter. This year will help the Reds figure out what they've got.