Last offseason, the Reds were aggressive in making improvement to their major-league roster, ready to stop the rebuild and get back to contention. Alas, a series of things conspired against them early in the season -- including their own shortcomings, to be clear -- and outside of a huge late rally, the Reds will finish with a losing record for the sixth straight season.
There have been some positives and it's possible the Reds can get back over .500 and maybe contend for a playoff spot next season, so let's take a look with a glass-half-full approach. Here are four reasons for hope in Cincinnati.
1. Offensive nucleus
The Reds rank poorly in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and home runs, among other things. They've been a poor offense most of the season, but there are reasons to feel some level of optimism heading toward next season.
Eugenio Suarez is right square in the middle of his prime and continues to mash more and more each year. He's shattered his career high in homers and is by now a well-established offensive centerpiece. We have no way of knowing how real the success of Aristides Aquino is with such a small sample under his belt in the bigs, but for now he looks like great protection for Suarez as the cleanup man. Joey Votto is well past his prime, but he still gets on base at an above-average clip and works deep counts, so he's fine in the two-hole.
Nick Senzel has been a top-10 prospect every year since being drafted second overall out of Tennessee and should eventually fit well into the leadoff spot. Last year in Triple-A, for example, he hit .310 with a .378 on-base percentage and he has 14 stolen bases this season in the majors. He's been a below-average hitter in the majors, but sometimes players need a first go-round before adjusting at the big-league level. He's got a breakout season in him and it very well could be 2020.