Are the Reds Really a Young Team?

It seems like a lot of people say things like "The Reds have a lot of young talent that could surprise this year." Or, as Red Hot Mama tweeted this morning:

One of Baker's shortcomings as mgr is his man-love for vets. So, the team has stocked mostly kids. That's called "setting you up to succeed"

At first, it seemed like a reasonable statement, but then I started thinking about the roster make up and I noticed that the Reds' roster isn't really comprised of a lot of kids. Here is a guess at the 25-man roster. I tried to be generous but reasonable. That is, I didn't take all of the old guys just to make a point. The numbers in parentheses are the player's age on July 1st, which is considered their seasonal age statistically.

Pitchers
Aaron Harang (32)
Bronson Arroyo (33)
Johnny Cueto (24)
Homer Bailey (24)
Travis Wood (23)

Francisco Cordero (35)
Nick Masset (28)
Arthur Rhodes (40)
Jared Burton (29)
Daniel Ray Herrera (25)
Micah Owings (27)
Matt Maloney (26)

Catchers
Ryan Hanigan (29)
Ramon Hernandez (34)
Infielders
Joey Votto (26)
Brandon Phillips (29)
Orlando Cabrera (35)
Scott Rolen (34)

Outfielders
Jonny Gomes (29)
Chris Dickerson (28)
Drew Stubbs (25)
Jay Bruce (23)

Bench
Wladimir Balentien (25)
Aaron Miles (33)
Paul Janish (27)

Here's the breakdown: 8 players age 33 or older; 10 players age 26-29; 7 players age 25 or younger.

I suppose you can consider the 26-29 year old players to be young, but I tend to think of them as being in their prime, so regardless of experience, I don't call them young. On offense, Bruce and Stubbs are the only players 25 or younger who should get a significant number of at bats this year, assuming one of the old guys doesn't break a hip. Bruce is moving into his third season in the majors this year.

Travis Wood looks like he'll be the only rookie on the Opening Day roster (unless it's Mike Leake, who is 9 months younger than Wood). Johnny Cueto has 61 big league starts. He's still young and developing, but he's also a bit of a veteran too. Homer Bailey has been on the Reds for part of each of the last 3 seasons.

There are some players who still need to fully develop, and yes, the Reds have a lot of young talent that could pop through from the minors, but the way it's looking right now, this team is a solid mix of young and old. Hopefully it's the right mix for success.

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