A look at the 2012 Cincinnati Reds’ everyday eight (and the guys backing them up)

Jay Bruce will anchor the Reds' offense again in 2012. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Since the departure of Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn a few years ago, the Cincinnati Reds have ranked near the top of the National League in offensive production. That seems backwards, I know, but this rag-tag group of players has found ways to string together a lot of runs. The venue certainly doesn’t hurt, as Great American Ballpark is one of the smallest, hitter-friendly parks in the game. Home-field advantage aside, this team has some emerging stars whose collective offensive efforts would burst out in any ballpark. Below is my projected starting lineup for the 2012 Cincinnati Reds.

1. Brandon Phillips 2B
2. Zack Cozart SS
3. Joey Votto 1B
4. Jay Bruce RF
5. Scott Rolen 3B
6. Drew Stubbs CF
7. Chris Heisey LF
8. Devin Mesoraco C

Bench- Miguel Cairo, Ryan Hanigan, Paul Janish, Dave Sappelt, Yonder Alonso

One major concern here is outfield depth. The Reds are openly shopping for a right-handed power bat, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Heisey’s name switched out on the lineup card or the 25-man roster to make room for it. Sappelt tore up triple-A last year, but showed in September he’s a major league bench player at best, at least so far. Alonso is a work in progress in left field, which may never pan out if you happened to see his poor attempts last season. But if the Reds can add an offensively inclined left fielder and bank on the continued progression of Phillips, Votto, Bruce and Stubbs, you can expect to see this club score a lot of runs in 2012.

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