A Minors Obsession

What can we expect from Daniel Wright?

The Cincinnati Reds will be starting right handed pitcher Daniel Wright tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It will be the Major League debut for the starter who has split his season between Double-A and Triple-A, as well as between the bullpen and the rotation.

Wright was originally selected by the Reds in the 10th round of the 2013 draft out of Arkansas State. He’s moved rather quickly through the system, but will be the third player from the draft that season by Cincinnati to make it to the big leagues (Michael Lorenzen and Layne Somsen are the other two). The early report on Wright coming out of college was that he has iffy mechanics that may lead to some control problems. He was a senior when drafted and his senior season was easily the best of his college career. He posted a 4-year best walk rate and strikeout rate.

The reports coming out of college with his control never showed up. He’s sporting a career walk rate of 1.9 batters walked per 9 innings pitched. He’s also struck out 8.1 batters per 9 innings pitched, leaving him with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.4 for his minor league career. Wright has come out and absolutely pounded the strikezone since being drafted.

The now 25-year-old righty has mostly been used as a starter in his career, starting 56 of 65 games since the start of the 2014 season, but he did begin the 2016 season in the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos bullpen. He made two spot starts when injuries opened up spots in Pensacola, tossing 11.0 shutout innings with three hits allowed, no runs, two walks and 12 strikeouts before moving back to the bullpen.

After three relief appearances he stepped up to Triple-A and made two more starts. In his first start he allowed two earned runs in 5.0 innings with a walk and two strikeouts, needing just 65 pitches to get through that span. It was the next start that stood out as the righty was charged with an unearned run in a complete game where he allowed just three hits, walked no one and had eight strikeouts.

The scouting report on Daniel Wright starts with control. As noted earlier in the article, he attacks the strikezone and hardly struggles with walking hitters. His stuff isn’t going to blow anyone away. The fastball works in the 89-92 MPH range and he mixes in a good 12-6 curveball and a solid change up. Where he sticks out is his ability to throw all of his pitches for strikes and his ability to mix pitches well and keep hitters off balance.

With players making their Major League debut, you never really know what you are going to get because some guys handle the nerves a little better than others do. Assuming Daniel Wright is the guy he’s expected to be, he’s going to throw a lot of strikes and mix his pitches well. Without overpowering stuff he’s going to need to locate his offerings. He’s been able to do that in the minor leagues for the better part of his career, so that certainly plays into his favor. In the long run, with the amount of starting pitching prospects that the organization has, Wright’s future likely lies in the bullpen where his ability to throw strikes would be a welcome addition. For now he seems like the best option that the team has to help fill out their rotation in the short term until some of the injured pitchers start coming off of the disabled list and the team has to decide where to go from there.

46 thoughts on “What can we expect from Daniel Wright?

  1. What kind of corresponding roster move might they make? The options seem to be DFA someone or 60 day DL Iglesias or Moscot (which those two seem unlikely, but I’m not a Reds Health director, so who knows).

    • Iggy maybe to 60 day DL? Moscot is making a rehab start in a day or two and is nowhere near 60 days yet; so, hard to see it being him.

      Maybe DFA Hoover?? See if anybody would bite on waivers and take the salary off the Reds books. Outright him to AAA if he clears. Under the CBA, the money was a sunken cost once he was on the opening day 25 man roster.

      Otherwise, one would think the candle is getting well burnt down on guys like Jumbo and Sampson (already DFA then restored to 40 man once this season).

      Considering that Bailey, Disco, and Lorenzen are all three already on the 60 day list, there is going to be serious movement of folks off the 40 man in the next 6 weeks to 2 months barring further injuries or setbacks

      • There is plenty of fat to trim from the 40 man that the org will have no trouble doing if they can get guys like Bailey, Lorenzen, and Disco back.

  2. Seems to me that Wright also has a good ground ball rate and lower HR rates. combine that with is low walk rate (at least compared to other Reds starters) I would think he will find success. Hope he pitches so well that he inks himself a spot fulltime.
    Unless I am mistaken Wright is the only pitcher anywhere in the Reds organization this year with a complete game. Doug can you confirm that?

    • Technically Finnegan’s game last night counted as a CG, even though he only went 8 innings.

      • good point. With the Reds anything on the positive side that fits under “technically” gets counted. It will be hard to remove Finnegan from the rotation the guy has been our most reliable starting pitcher.

        • Finnegan still has an ERA that is an entire point higher than of Dan Straily.

        • Finnegan and Straily have around the same xFIP around 4.70

          Both have a BB/9 over 4, which is not helpful going forward

    • Since reaching Double-A last season his groundball rate is 42%. Prior to reaching Double-A it was over 50%. He’s probably going to be a fly-ball pitcher in the big leagues.

      Wright isn’t the only pitcher with a complete game. Robert Stephenson, Austin Orewiler and Tejay Antone also have them. Stephenson and Orewiler threw theirs in a double header though and only went 7 innings. Antone only threw 8 innings in his as he took the loss.

  3. In a season like this… I am looking forward to nights like tonight. Thought he would come up in bullpen a couple of weeks ago but this is welcome.
    Doug… if you have a minute…when do you think guys like Garrett and Rookie davis will move to louisville

  4. Nice article! Being unfamiliar with Daniel Wright, I was looking for exactly this kind of information. Thanks.

  5. In our dreams at least, Wright could be the “next Cueto”, blossoming and bursting past a passel of higher ranked prospects. However, I’ll settle for a guy who can get outs from the pen and over time maybe emerge as a legit innings eater in the rotation,,,,,

    I don’t like the injuries that have brought the Reds to this point. I do like that a guy who has performance numbers in the minors is getting a look as the Reds in recent years have often seemed bound to choosing “toolsy” guys over proven performers who project with a lower ceiling potential.

    • Cueto was a top 40 prospect in baseball when he was a rookie. He was behind Homer Bailey, but that was it. Cueto was ranked about where Stephenson and Reed are ranked now and at a younger age.

    • Well, to be perfectly fair, Cueto was ranked somewhere in the Top 25-50 depending on which list you wanted to look at right before he made the team, so it’s not like it’s entirely unexpected that he became what he did.

  6. The jitters and nerves make command difficult. I’d be curious to see if a study would support my theory that power pitchers tend to have better early returns than guys who rely more on command. Long term, I like Wright. I don’t think he’ll ever be dominant but guys who command 3 decent pitches tend to be guys who can give some good innings and keep their team in games. I think on a team with less pitching in the pipeline, he could be a #4 kind of starter.

  7. Thanks for the article Doug. Your insight on MiLB players is always welcome. I trust your stuff more than a lot of the national guys when it comes to Reds prospects.

  8. If you watched Straily all year and compare him to our bullpen then that should tell you that its better to top out at 91 with good command and secondary pitches then it is to just chuck it 96 but have no idea where its going. Perhaps Wright could be another Straily although Straily would prob be a 3.80-4.20 era kind of guy if he stays in the rotation all year? The thing is though….everyone rolls out high effort guys throwing 96+ out of their pen now so I don’t see guys like Straily or Wright in high leverage relief roles? 4th-5th starter/long man but nothing wrong with that. Guys with trick pitches can be useful too though….Straily’s had phenominal luck with lefties so far. I guess its his changeup? It will be interesting to see what Wright has? I’ve never been impressed with Moscot whatsoever. I’m no Jeff Brantley breaking down pitching but it seems like short guys have more trouble driving the ball down in the zone….that’s why I think Finnegan may never pan out pitching in GABP? Just too many belt high fastballs! He’s very young though! The important thing is they need to get rid of Simon and the other dead weight asap!!

    • that is so true INDY,

      Our guys throwing 96 are just getting whacked. I have actually enjoyed watching Straily pitch as he is in and out.

      We have seen a lot of pitches over the heart of the plate this year

  9. Just in off of the Reds Twitter feed:

    RHP Layne Somsen has been claimed off waivers by the Yankees.

    So I guess there’s the 40 man move for Wright. Should be easy enough to find somebody to option for the 25 man move.

    Layne, we hardly knew you. Good luck.

    • It’s unfortunate that we lost Somsen, it looked like he could be a nice piece down the road. You have to think he must be leaving Reds with a bitter taste in his mouth from that 50 pitch night and Bryan Price.

      • Layne would have been a “good problem” to have. But, I’m not too worried. We have enough young pitching studs right now.

        • I look forward to hearing an explanation of how the Reds reboot/ rebuild is better served by keeping Jumbo (or Sampson for that matter) and at this point even Hoover instead of Somsen.

        • I’m with OhioJimW in that keeping J. Diaz or Sampson over Somsen has me a little confused.

    • Totally think a move to the 60 day DL for Iglesias or to DFA Pacheco or even Ohlendorf would have been better. They are not in the future plans for the Reds. Somsen was sent down to SWB and will oppose the Bats the next 3 days. Hope this doesn’t bite the Reds in the arse in the future

    • Dear Mr Rosecrans…. Please ask Williams or Jocketty why Sampson and Jumbo were kept instead of the Somsen? I guess you could make a case for Sampson since he’s actually younger than Somsen but Jumbo?

  10. Apparently Keith Law released an updated Top 25 list and Cody Reed is 24th. That seems nice, even though I don’t really like Keith Law much.

      • Unified Field Theory of Creep.

        Same phenomenon that makes Christmas stuff be sold in stores earlier and earlier every year! Runnnn!!!

      • He still had Buxton #2 at the beginning of the season, but Buxton was terrible in the majors for a 2nd stint in a row… maybe he was just trying to get that off the list! Most people had dropped Buxton (I think) pre-season.

  11. Again, it can be another “good problem” to have. I mean, if this guy does good, you can’t count him out of this “treasure trove” of good young pitching studs we have. But, there are only so many starting positions you have. And, not everyone is ready to take a relieving role.

    • That’s where trading may come into play. Who the Reds decide to keep and how they plan on using the pitchers they do keep may be the turning point decision – good or bad – in the Reds’ current rebuild. Not to mention how well they do in trading the extra pieces they don’t keep. VERY important decisions await Dick Williams and the Reds in the upcoming year(s).

  12. I looked at the Reds Transactions page and then Somsen’s player page: did we designate him for assignment? I only saw that we optioned him to Louisville, did not think that opened player up for others to take on waivers (as the Yanks did). Maybe I’m just wrong and confused?

    Also, Layne Somsen is from Yankton, SD. And now he is playing for the “Yanks.”
    A Yankee from Yankton . . . šŸ™‚

    • it does not appear Somsen was formally DFAed, DFA is not required to waive a player. The waiver period is 3 days; and, a guy remains on unchanged status during the waiver period. If a player is unclaimed, the team is not compelled to outright or release him. They merely have that right for the period period of time the waivers are said to “be good for”, a series of fixed calendar dates unless that has recently changed.

      The need for DFA is to allow a team immediately remove a guy from the roster when the spot is required on short notice. As soon as the DFA is announced, the player is off the roster. The team then has up to 10 days to trade, outright or release him. To be released or outrighted the player will have to pass through waivers during the 10 day period.

      The Reds may well have placed a number of people, not just Somsen, on waivers Saturday when all those pitching moves were made, knowing the spot would not be needed until today after the waiver period was past. It happens that Somsen was claimed; thus he is gone whether or not that was the original intent.

      When Drew Hayes was outrighted off the 40 man, it was a similar situation. There was no DFA. An announcement was made that he had cleared waivers and been outrighted to Louisville.

  13. Somsen got thru his first inning with a zero. I kind of liked him….funky delivery and good breaking ball. I don’t get it? They barely gave him a chance? I don’t see much in Cotham, Jumbo, or Sampson? I think they must be fixated on velocity?

    • It would appear so. Guess they are hoping they can fix the guys who throw hard. You can work on command but can’t increase velocity in many cases.

Comments are closed.