Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed, two of the organization’s top pitching prospects, have each made a handful of starts for the Reds – two for the former and five for the latter.
In other words, way too few data points to make inferences about the future, even tentative ones. But can we say anything about how they have pitched so far?
If you look at the measures (metrics) for pitchers that are emphasized by broadcasters and the press, you would conclude that Robert Stephenson has been more impressive and effective in his major league appearances. You’d also believe that Cody Reed has been an outright failure.
Yikes. Send Cody Reed down! Call Bob Steve back up!
But if you take a closer look at the measurements referred to as “peripherals” (aka fundamentals), outcomes the pitcher can control, you’d reach the opposite conclusion.
Cody Reed has had a great strikeout rate, while Stephenson’s was awful. In his two major league starts, Stephenson walked as many batters as he struck out. Reed has struck out about three times the number of batters he’s walked. Cody Reed has a much better ground ball rate.
Here’s a pleasant surprise. Not only has Reed been better than Stephenson, but Cody Reed has been better than major league average in all three measures – K%, K-BB% and GB%.
Reed’s SIERA (Skill-Interactive ERA, a future-ERA estimator) therefore, is superior to major league average, too. If you haven’t paid close attention to the higher rate of home runs league wide this year, it might surprise you to learn that average ERA for MLB starters has risen to 4.36. Reed’s SIERA is half a run below that.
Reminder, the sample size here makes any predictions based on this data silly. You shouldn’t use it to conclude that Reed will better than Stephenson or league average next month or next year.
What you can conclude is that Cody Reed – again looking at the factors the pitcher can most control – has not only performed better than Robert Stephenson, but better than major league average.
Calls for Cody Reed to be sent back to the minors are ridiculous.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.