C. Trent Rosecrans has tweeted that Amir Garrett has been named to the starting rotation and Robert Stephenson will start the year in the bullpen.

I guess the thing about Reed and Arroyo is that unless Bronson’s arm falls off when he pitches Sunday, he’ll get last rotation spot and Reed either sent to minors or stays in bullpen and presumably Peralta back to minors.

Barrett Astin and Wandy Peralta get the final two spots on the bullpen.

The bench will be what we figured. Reds chose Scooter Gennett over Desmond Jennings. They’ve also chosen the 8th member of the bullpen over Jennings.

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.

Join the conversation! 118 Comments

  1. I hate the fact they’re putting starters into relief roles. Hopefully Lorenzen can direct Stephenson as to where he can buy underwear that is splinter resistant.

    • Stephenson is not a starter long term. Lorenzen is another issue. I more hate 2 guys losing.a year of service. We may be screaming in 5-6 years.

      • The strength of the service time argument is starting to wane in my opinion. We’re talking about milking an extra year of these players’ free agency that is practically a decade from now when they’re not even known commodities today. The FO should be less concerned about saving a few million dollars five or six years from now on players that might not pan out and should instead focus on continually improving the farm system and making prudent trades.

        • Agree. With the rash of TJ injuries, I’d rather the Reds go with what they have while they have it.

        • Also agree. Glad to see positive decisions made on Garret and Rookie. Feldman is a one year, if that, gap-filler. Reed will definitely get his chance as will Stephenson and Romano. And if anyone thinks that Homer is a sure thing down the road you’re nuts. Don’t like the 8 man pen but pleasantly surprised.

      • Not sure we know that Stephenson is not a starter long term. He has 3 plus pitches. His command is the issue. Bad command leads to more pitches thrown which limits your chances as a starter but 3 quality pitches increases your chance as a starter. I think they need to let him throw and he should be in the rotation. He may end up in the pen but in a lost season, they need to find out if he can start. The way to do that is to let him start and see.

  2. Pretty dumb move. Starting the clock on Garrett when you have Reed and Stephenson who are just as, if not more capable. All because of what, a couple of innings in spring training where people are still mostly working on stuff? It was already bad enough to put Davis in the rotation over Stephenson, now Garrett over Reed? Garrett wasn’t exactly dominating in AAA last year.

    • The clock will be started on Garrett and Davis, but something has to give when Bailey and DeSclafani are ready. At least two people on the staff will be headed back to Louisville, and if Garrett and Davis are struggling, it will be them. So if and when they head down, the clock will then stop.

      • Amen. About the say the same. The two weeks can be recovered any time during the season, not just saved up front. The risk of not saving it up front is that the guy ends up injured and out for the season on an MLB level DL and thus accrues service time.

        The experience last season with Stephenson and Reed demonstrates how unlikely it is that a 1st year starting pitcher isn’t at some point give just cause to be sent down for a spell. Brandon Finnegan is another good example. He stands at 1 year 107 days of MLB service despite playing in MLB in 2014, 15, and 16. Even if he never sees another day of minor league time, he will miss Super2 at the end of this season and stay under team control through the 2021 season.

        • Ya I was going to bring up the injury possibility as why you shouldn’t bring someone up for two weeks with the intention of sending him back down immediately after that period has passed but I really don’t care that much about starting Davis’s or Garrett’s service clocks Davis or Garrett since I don’t think they are going to be TOR starters and it wasn’t my main point. My main point is why are you promoting Davis and Garrett above Reed and Stephenson based upon 15-20 innings of spring training? And if you are going based upon someone’s performance in spring training then why are you handing Arroyo a spot in the rotation instead of Reed or Stephenson who have performed much better than he has? If they think both Reed and Stephenson need some more seasoning that’s fine but why keep them up with the Reds where they won’t be getting much work? Wouldn’t it be better just to send them down to Indy?

          • It’s not safe to assume that the decisions are based on the results of 15-20 innings and nothing else. Presumably, high profile pitchers are being closely watched and their stuff–independent of sss results–being evaluated.

          • Okay so how do you explain Davis and Garrett being in the rotation in place of Stephenson and Reed?

          • In Garret’s case it’s maturity. He’s actually older than some of the more “experienced” prospects, and has risen quickly through the ranks. He deserves a shot right now.

          • You might have missed my point: Price and his staff have probably been watching the pitching candidates closely and critically during ST. What they see would certainly factor into these decisions as would, presumably, the performances in the ST games. But the games offer very small sample sizes with outcomes skewed by variations in level of competition and what the pitcher might have been trying to accomplish (modifying the use of a particular pitch, for example), so I would think that the eyeball test would have a good deal of importance.

          • So in other words they are basing their decisions on one month of spring training then.

          • Not only on spring training, but how they’re actually throwing, sss and all, is a valid consideration. What they’ve done in past years is, too, but people change, particularly young people, so the guy who was walking 5 every nine innings two years ago isn’t necessarily the guy who’s pitching today. Pitchers don’t spring fully formed from the womb.

          • I am not close to being convinced ST was the reason that Stephenson was “passed over” He had some looks last year and smelled to high heaven! He came into ST needing to show something and he didn’t! The fact he is starting the season at the major league level says the Reds have mad a decision that he is that BP guy!
            My thought process is they would have sent him out to pitch as a starter and saved the time on his clock, I think they have decided that ship has sunk!

      • This is what people seem to forget. It’s a good point. It’s not a certainty that the Reds are giving away the extra year on these guys.

        • I wish folks would remember this more often before crying “service time!” And it seems like no one even talked about it before Kris Bryant happened. I think he got more publicity than anyone before regarding ST manipulation.

          So many things have to happen for the extra 7th year to not happen or to not be beneficial:

          1) The player has to be an above-average player at the end of his 6th year. By definition, there’s a 50% chance of this not happening. Because, really, who cares if your 0.5-1.0 WAR player isn’t under team control for a 7th season?

          2) The player has to have never been sent back down to the minors for 2 weeks during his 6 year tenure.

          3) The player has to not have signed an extension, which are becoming more common to buy out arbitration years and 1-2 years of free agency.

          4) The player has to not be traded.

          5) The player has to not be cut, or sustain a career-altering injury.

          When you do the math on all those contingencies, the odds of a guy losing that 7th year (and having it matter) when he makes the team out of ST for his first year and much, much lower than just about everyone realized.

          • Excellent points, Patrick. Although #4 won’t work because a trade won’t stop service time accumulation. In fact, it could be considered an argument for trying to preserve the additional year of control since that could make the player more valuable as a trade piece.

            Having said all of that, for this particular year and in the case of Garrett and Davis, is it really worth 2 weeks in April to start the clock? Maybe they are good enough and healthy enough to make this issue matter. But the Reds don’t have to do the guesswork on these variables and they really don’t harm their chances of competing this year or really even limit opportunities to bring these guys up for an extended length later this year.

          • Right, but it wouldn’t be the Reds problem at that point. It would be the recipient’s problem. That’s the point of the post. The odds of Garrett/Davis reaching that 7th year in a situation where Reds fans are upset at the loss of the 7th year is pretty low.

  3. This is great. Garrett and Rookie Davis to start and Stephenson and hopefully Reed in the bullpen. This is a commitment to young arms and the rebuild. Stephenson and hopefully Reed will get lots of innings when the invariable growing pains occur and multiple opportunities to prove they deserve a starting slot. Astin gets his opportunity as well. This is a rebuilt pitching staff committed to the young guys with a shout out to Arroyo for a few starts. If/when he stumbles….Stephenson and Reed should be jumping at the bit. Not sure what else you could ask for pitching wise, other than Lorenzen in the rotation.

  4. Why would the Reds even consider starting Arroyo over Reed? 40 year old that has not pitched in 3 years??

    • Well Reed does have a 7 run era this spring. Not sure Bronson should be the answer though.

  5. I fear Bronson will be like marquee was

  6. I wonder where Luis Castillo lands? He might have the best arm of anyone! I’m thinking AA and then maybe Lville by June-July or just straight up to the Reds? Why not at this point….anything goes!

    • Good point Indy. Romano and Castillo are 2 more young elite pitchers. I hope they dominate and put pressure on the major league guys.

  7. Last chance for Stephenson and Reed to figure it out, would hate to see them ending up in the bullpen but more arms are coming up. It’ll be good to see what happens after Bailey and Disco return from DL.

    • I don’t think it is a “last chance”, but I hope this focuses them better in regards to pitching more effectively in the BIGS.

  8. Perhaps, Stephenson follows Garrett after 5 innings and Reed follows Arroyo after 5( or 3 or 4). I would love to see them experiment with this kind of approach. Thoughts?

    • If it makes those young guys better in the long run go for it!

      • Indeed, there are going to be some LONG days for the bullpen in the first two months of the season for the Reds.
        If Reed and Stephenson start the year in the bullpen, I would wager that one or the other or both, will get a chance to start in the second half of the season (or second two-thirds of the season), if the starting rotation falters (which it will).

    • What’s the point? Why do you believe that would be a good idea?

      • If the starters were fully matured and developed on the one hand; and on the other not 40 and staging a last round up, there probably wouldn’t be much of a point.

        However, given the Reds situation, I think “game sharing” of this sort is likely to be a de facto development to some degree whether or not the team ever formally admits it. Keep in mind that none of the young guys (Finnegan excluded) have ever pitched a full MLB season. The September innings crisis can be avoided by using guys like Stephenson and Reed early out of the pen. In the process, it also gives another opportunity for them to get their MLB bearing and perhaps grow into the quality starters they were projected to be

        • I see that several of us have anticipated that argument. Raised that earlier when I emphasized that long relief was an area where we would have to perform this year, given the high likelihood of 3-5 inning starts. The only question is whether, depending on outcomes, innings pitched and pitch counts, you go with say
          Reed/Stephenson in one start and then have the option of Stephenson/Reed next time out.

          This is particularly the case if Price decides to employ a strict pitch count guideline. I could easily see some of these guys hitting a 100 pitch limit come the 4th inning independent of the line score.

          Even with the eventual return of Disco and Homer (and they will need time to work up as well), I could see this type of regime lasting well past the break. An interesting experiment, but I’m keeping the Excedrin bottle within arm’s reach.

        • In theory, this might work. But in practice, I have my doubts that the Reds can control usage and innings between these young starters and relievers. My bet is that they are going to burn through bullpen pieces (either through over usage or non-performance). I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to keep Reed and Stephenson stretched out and on a routine in AAA?

        • Good point, Jim. I hadn’t considered the innings limitation issue.

    • I think the larger point is the Reds don’t have the 2012 rotation. Every starter is at risk of the 2 2/3 outing with 5 runs 7 hits 3 walks and 78 pitches and runners at 1st and 2nd at the Cubs or Pirates or Cards in April and Price needs 1-2 pitchers who are ready to pitch 3-4 innings of relief. Stephenson and Reed can get valuable experience in this role. Does anyone think Feldman is solid for 7 and 2/3 on his start in St Louis Sunday April 2? How bout Finnegan at the Cubs? Is he golden for 8 innings? Not to mention Rookie or Garret or Arroyo. This is a 2 tiered pitching staff….7 guys to get to the 6 th-7th inning……and 6 guys from the 6th-7th inning on.

      • Very well stated. I hope we see some Straily type stability and length out of a couple of guys sooner rather than later so they can add an additional bench player.

        Push could come to shove when Mesoraco is ready for MLB duty; and, they face sending Turner back to the Twins unless they keep him on the 25 man roster.

      • Reds don’t even have the 2015 rotation…

      • I seem to recall Finnegan nearly no-hit the Cubs in Chicago. And Arroyo and Leake occasionally got blasted in 2012. Still, your overall point stands.

    • That’s pretty interesting. Help save Garrett and Reed from innings, at least.

  9. Starting out in the bullpen is how straily got his opportunity last year

  10. I’ve always been skeptical of the service time argument for holding Garrett and Davis back. The Reds pitching will take lots of twists and turns. Reed and Stephenson will need to get worked in. Bailey and DeSclafani will return. It just seems really unlikely that either of them will make it the entire season without spending a little time in the minor leagues.

    • Agree completely. There are lots of reasons to object to the pitching decisions made by the Reds. “Service time” is the most abused objection. That can work itself out.

    • Is it the end all, be all reason to make personnel decisions? No. But, we’re talking 2 weeks in the minors for Garrett and Davis. As you said, there will be a lot of twists and turns for the pitching staff this year.

      Why not take the guess work out of when to start the service clock? That way, there’s no chance that an ill timed injury or a surprise overachieving performance will thwart the team’s objective to control their young talent to the maximum extent.

      • If this was the right thing to do in all situations, every major league team would do it. They don’t. Therefore, there must be some other factor playing into why teams don’t do it. (IE – there are hidden downsides to screwing over all your prospects)

        • I alluded to the reason above, but in this particular case, I don’t think starting those two at AAA for the first month will make or break the team’s season because they don’t figure to be competitive.

          Both Garrett and Davis could also stand to prove themselves at AAA first rather than relying on spring training results. And there would be plenty of opportunity to give them big league experience during the course of the season while the Reds could give Stephenson and Reed the first shot at sticking in the rotation.

          All perfectly valid reasons and shouldn’t cause any consternation with the prospects. I don’t know either of them personally but I would imagine it’s just as likely that they’ll be happy if and when their opportunity comes up.

          • It’s all sort of fuzzy, because in these situations everything is hypothetical, but I’m just envisioning a scenario where the Reds have the chance to draft the next Bryce Harper out of HS at #1 overall and he decides not the sign with the Reds because they’ve screwed all of their prospects out of a year of service time in the last 5+ seasons.

            It’s tertiary effects like that that worry me about screwing young guys out of their chance to strike it rich in the game they’ve devoted their lives to.

          • I would like to think the Reds treat their prospects fairly (and are perceived to do so). But I’m not seeing a pattern and practice that suggests the Reds are playing service time games.

            A lot of factors are considered in holding a prospect down and it’s going to depend on the team’s and the prospects particular circumstances.

            Given what I outlined above, I think there’s plenty of justifiable and “real” reasons for holding Garrett and Davis down to start this season.

          • I agree, MRRED. They aren’t. And that is good. If they did, however, decide to hold every prospect down to get a 7th year as an organizational policy, that would be very bad.

  11. My concern is finding two spots on the 40 man roster for Bronson and Kivlehan. Unless Disco and Dev are going on the 60-day, the Reds will have some tough choices. I wouldn’t shed any tears if Adelman were cut, but I’m not crazy about losing anyone else (save maybe Peralta). Thoughts?

    • How about Ogando or Bonilla? I’d rather have either of them than Bronson, but I wouldn’t be too upset about losing either of them.

  12. In addition to the other arguments/explanations in favor of Bronson instead of one of the young arms (“game sharing” and service time), management may be sending a message to high ceiling prospects that “even” a 40 year old who knows how to pitch may get the edge over high end “stuff”.

  13. Some of Price’s comments are interesting. But one kind of stood out.
    “All of our young guys that are here and are pitching understand there could be a fluidity to our roster and managing their innings and the wear-and-tear in their arms. There could be some transactions that affect our pitchers through the course of the year.”
    It stood out for 2 reasons. One, it looks as if the communications lines between manager, pitching coaches and the pitchers is wide open, which is great. Price is keeping them apprised of the team’s situation and each pitcher on their own situation. And two, what does he mean when he says “transactions”? Is he talking about some pitchers will be going between the ML roster and down to AAA for a period as a transaction? Or is he saying that this year sometime, the Reds are at the point to where enough pitching prospects have advanced to the ML level that they might deal some pitching for other needs?

    • It would certainly appear that the message to Garrett/Davis is ‘don’t get too comfortable. Likewise, Reed/Stephenson shouldn’t get too comfortable as they had the inside track for rotation spots. I could see these 4 switching roles after a couple months to manage innings limits. That could be a creative way of breaking them in while bolstering the staff. I’m skeptical but curious……

      • Not only are Reed, Stephenson, Garrett & Davis impacted by this situatiion, but Finnegan has yet to demonstrate the capability and/or expectation that he will provide a solid 6-7 innings every time he takes the hill. Feldman will or will not perform, along with Arroyo if he makes the starting rotation, but those two pitchers are seperate issues and not part of the future, competitive roster.

        I really hope both Feldman and Arroyo prove to be effective, reliable starters this season. Wouldn’t it be nice to see both Feldman and Arroyo flipped to contenders for real prospects later this season with 5 serious starting candidates identified among the 8 young prospects (Romano, Castilla & Bonilla)?

        • It would be nice, for the reasons you give. But the odds are strongly against Scott Feldman or Bronson Arroyo being effective, reliable starters this season.

          • No doubt, but this is still spring training, when anything is possible! I would particularly be excited about seeing Arroyo flipped to a contender and finishing his career in the 7th game of the world series by shutting down the Cubbies and getting one more ring.

        • I think Arroyo could go 12-2 with a 2.85 ERA before the deadline and still not bring back a prospect of any real worth.

          He’s at the point in his career where he’s on borrowed time. As an asset, he isn’t worth anything and won’t ever be worth anything again. Unfortunate as that may be!

          • Somebody would trade for him (I wouldn’t)… If he goes 12-2 w/ a 2.85 though, it would most certainly be the best feel-good story to come out of this season for the Reds.

    • “Transactions” to me means DL movement in both directions, trades, and waiver claims which could impact the pitching.

      Through the 1st month of the season, the off season waiver order stays in force. This means the Reds will have first shot at all players placed on waivers by NL teams until at least May. Their claim on Scooter Gannett seems to indicate they will claim any player they feel improves the organization unless the contract they’d be taking on was one they viewed as bad or too expensive. Some guys claimed may have a role to play with the Reds on the field. Others may be short time Reds destined to be “flipped” for other value.

      I’m excited by this apparent switch from Walt Jocketty’s set piece mentality, both in what they’ve done with the “rotation” and their willingness to be more aggressive on the waiver wire.

  14. Tim Adleman and Nefi Ogando are my guesses as to who gets cut from the 40-man roster to make room for Arroyo and Kivlehan. Bonilla is intriguing. He has Triple-A success under his belt, is still only 26, and has pretty good stuff. He’s also shined in his first two spring training AAA starts (10 IP, 1 R, 0 BB/18 K).

  15. I believe Cody Reed is ultimately going to be a solid starting pitcher, and the best way to get him there is to let him start. And they should give Bob Steve the ball every fifth day for a couple of months and see what happens; they should stop messing around with him.

    They had a lot of good reasons to start Davis and Garrett at AAA; it looks like they’re letting a few spring training innings or marketing pressures drive the decision to put these guys in the rotation at the start of the year. Disappointing.

    • An alternate view is that by using all these guys to pitch at the MLB level, they are giving the cream the chance to rise to the top directly without the difficult comparison of MLB performance with AAA performance.

      However if it turns out that Reed and Stephenson are only getting a couple of innings each every two cycles of the rotation, I’ll join you in being disappointed.

      • Jim, nothing about the final roster decisions (at least those that have already been mentioned) disturbs the Old Cossack…except…Price has not demonstrated any propensity to manage the major league roster effectively. As you say, “they are giving the cream the chance to rise to the top directly without the difficult comparison of MLB performance with AAA performance.”

        Last season, when Price had the opportunity with Lorenzen and Iglesias, to demonstrate a real commitment to multi-inning relief appearances and high leverage appearances, he almost immediately regressed back to ‘the book’ Dusty left laying in the corner of the office when he left. I fully expect that Price will utilize Reed and Stephenson as back-end relievers, along with Lorenzen and Iglesias, rather than making a commitment to getting Reed, Stephenson, Garrett and Davis at least 4 innings in every game they appear with the outing planned out to provide fully scheduled warmup opportunities without a rushed warmup before entering the game or even worse, warming up and not making an appearance. I really hope I’m wrong, but Price’s historical track record leaves much to be desired in this regard.

      • You may be right on this Jim. Reed and Stephenson have shown the ability to get AAA hitters out. It is the ML hitters with which they have had their struggles.
        Putting them in the pen gives them an opportunity to do just that. Plus, having them come in later in the game might get these two to focus a little better on what their mission should be as a starter. We’ll see soon enough.

      • The two guys who have pitched significant innings at/above AAA should get the first shot at starting in these circumstances. (That it also potentially impacts service time is a bonus.) Even if you keep all 4 guys with the Reds to start the year, how can you seemingly value spring training performance over the AAA/MLB experience in choosing who to start and who to put in the bullpen?

    • Eric I know that a rebuilding team should let that high ceiling guy take the ball every 5th start! I have 2 thoughts about this I am not sure the Reds haven’t “given up” and I don’t mean in the traditional sense I am thinking they are going to put him in a long relief role to get some return! I don’t have the numbers but my memory tells me when they tried to give him the ball and see what happens he was absolutely TERRIBLE last year! The other thing is maybe he has maxed out facing AAA hitters, his numbers don’t support that but it might be their thinking! I know this that lack of control and getting behind to big league hitters will CONTINUE to get him lit up and that is real bad for his confidence!

  16. I’m currently listening to the C Trent/Zach Buchanan podcast featuring Dick Williams and came across a few interesting talking points.

    -Williams revealed he envisioned Aroldis Chapman as a starting pitcher long-term, but “others” had different views. He noted the Reds were in win now mode and Dusty wanted a closer.

    -Williams believes a team in the Reds position must be creative in order to win and mentioned an idea of having a 12-man pitching staff with no defined roles. Essentially you pick a guy to start the first 2-3 innings, then bring another guy in for 2-3 innings. He notes there are “logistical challenges” that could prevent teams from ever using this strategy.

    -In speaking of the Reds team OBP problem, Williams mentioned Jesse Winker, Phillip Ervin, and Nick Senzel as OBP-oriented players who will make an impact for the Reds.

    Very interesting stuff!

    • That pitching idea seems quite progressive. I wish a team would try it out. Essentially, you let pitchers face the lineup one time, which data shows gives pitchers the best success.

      Problem is, a “good” pitcher is usually better against a lineup his 2nd time through than an “above-average” pitcher is his first time through.

      Ultimately, my thought is you just try to give the best pitchers the most innings possible. Simple enough! 🙂

    • DW also said that 2017 should not be judged by wins. 2017 would be a success if they had identified the young players who would and would not be part of the core going forward. He would be “disappointed” if there were more question marks at end of the season than at the start……


      • I could be reading too much into it, but it sounded like Williams might make a run at Cuban FA Luis Robert. He mentioned Vladimir Gutierrez and Alfredo Rodriguez by name as two big IFA’s signed, and said they would love to add a third if the price is right.

      • If that’s the case then it doesn’t make much sense for Arroyo to be on the team. There are plenty of young starting pitchers with question marks who he would be taking playing time from.

  17. Did another Dan Straily just hit the waiver wire where the Reds have the first crack at them?
    The Nationals have released RHP Vance Worley. Worley actually has better stats than Straily did at this time last year. Both are 29. Not sure that Worley would be as good of a starter as Straily was last year.
    Who knows? Worley may even be a better option than Feldman and Arroyo.

    • The Pirates have released RH reliever Jared Hughes. He has had pretty good seasons with the Pirates 4 out of the 5 last years. Not a big K pitcher. Extreme ground ball pitcher, but his BB rate is climbing a little. Hughes has been a good reliever for the Pirates and looks to have gotten caught up in a numbers fix in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has some younger pitchers to promote up too.

  18. In his brief time in the majors, Reed has had an especially terrible time in his first inning of an appearance. Scary for a bullpen role.

    • At this point I think Reed scares me the most of all the Reds pitching prospects.

      I know the arguments based on advanced metrics and HR% skew which maintain his struggles are largely “bad luck”; but, he just keeps on having the same struggles.

      Somebody said here last year in a comment that perhaps HR% as a skew was itself a counter skewed view because generally pitchers who served up so many fat pitches were not often afforded the opportunities to keep on making those fat pitches to MLB hitters. I guess we are going to get the chance to find out.

      • I cautiously concur. He’s young and still developing so his mastery -should- improve.

        But his signature — a pitcher who gives up fly balls — may simply not be the right fit for someone who is going to get half his starts (+/-) in GABP. That’s the risk to weigh against the reward. Eric Milton was good enough for the Reds to shell out beaucoups free-agent money for, bombed miserably at GABP, and then (at least partially) “recovered form” in other ballparks after he left the Reds

        And I -really- do hope that I never have to make references here to Cody Milton-Reid. I want him to succeed, against the odds.

      • I think the point is more that even really, really good major league hitters don’t hit home runs on pitches down the middle as often as Reed was giving them up last year.

        The average player Reed faced last year was a more efficient HR hitter than the most efficient HR hitter in recorded history (Jim Thome).

        Yes, Reed was serving up fatties. But sometimes players pop out on fatties. Sometimes players whiff on fatties. That’s where the variance/luck comes in. He deserved a high ERA. He didn’t deserve THAT high of an ERA.

        • Hope you’re right on this. I understand the stats – but are they park-adjusted? He will, after all, be pitching in GABP – a sanctuary ballpark for long balls. And even if his ERA reverts to expectation, will that be good enough? Fingers crossed, but time will tell.

        • Agree. Sometimes you don’t start to tinker until you serve batting practice for a few months in the majors.

          He’ll either stay out of the middle of the plate or he won’t. Doing that in AAA may risk never knowing (without Statcast) as he could be in the middle of the zone and carry a 0.9 WHIP down there. He needs to be with the big club IMO.

        • What we might be seeing is that an MLB batting practice fastball, a pitch which is flat, straight and in the hitting zone, is a batting practice fastball whether the speed is 75MPH, 85MPH or low to mid 90’s MPH.

          By most accounts the fastball Reed is throwing now is not the same pitch he featured in his rise at AA in 2015 and at the start of his run at AAA last year, although he did start to give up more HRs at AAA shortly before his call up.

          Hopefully he will rediscover his former arm angle and quit leave the pitch in the hitting zone.

      • That was me… Pretty sure there was someone else too.

  19. I think we are still going to see some moves this spring. For, I just don’t see Gennett making this team. Not unless they have been told and have seen that Gennett can and will play other positions. For, I can’t see him starting at 2nd. And, I can’t see us taking a bench player who has only essentially played only one position.

    • When they claimed Gennett, they took on board his salary which is $2.5M. The Reds could still release him before the opening day roster deadline on Sunday but that would cost them north of $800K under terms of the CBA. After Sunday they are on the hook for the full amount.

      He does have an option remaining. Having more than 3 years of service time, he could refuse the option; but, he wouldn’t because that would negate his contract. However, if the Reds intended to option Gennett, they would have done so immediately rather than risk losing Jennings who can now opt out of his minor league deal.

      Gennett is either going to be on the Reds or flipped for value.

    • It’s all sleight of hand…….

      (1) All of the arguments about Gennett mentioned here stand up – experienced utility infielder, better glove than some of our local youth, can play 2B. But that is what you are -supposed- to see……..

      (2) Does management have the same level of confidence in Dilson Herrera or do they want him to spend another year in AAA while his underlying durability is assessed? Remember that one of the arguments for Gennett is that he can play 2B when Perazza gets moved to SS after a Cozart trade or outage. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t have meant that much because…Herrera………but if Herrera is suddenly out of the picture, short or long term, Gennett represents a modest insurance bet.

      • It seems to me Gennett’s arrival makes an early departure for Cozart almost certain.

        Given Dick Williams statements that the Reds are still in evaluation mode, I don’t think they took on Gennett’s $2.5M salary for him to be first man off the bench. I think he is there to play 2B when Peraza moves to SS upon Cozart’s departure.

        There is also another possibility. The Reds may have used their top spot in the NL waiver order to claim Gennett with the idea they could flip him for good value in short order.

        Time will tell.

  20. Good to see Billy get a couple of 2-hit games in a row. Also, Duval blasted his 3rd HR in 2 days and now has 6 this spring.

    • I desperately want another “I told you so” for Duvall! Most of this blog hammered Lorenzen when he struggled his rookie year but I was a big believer! I understand their concerns with Duvall with his K/walk ratio and he’s pretty old for a prospect but he’s got real power and he’s very good defensively!

      • And when Winker arrives, Duvall is going to make a wonderful trade piece come July 31!!!!

        • Keep Duvall, trade the other corner outfielder. He may be younger, but doesn’t have much of an arm. If he has a big first half, maybe we can get a couple of good prospects for him. We need Duvall’s power.

          • Schebler probably doesn’t have much trade value unless he has a mini-breakout.

        • Keep all four of them. Jennings is gone, so there’s no true centerfielder on the bench. They could rest Billy by moving Schebler over from time to time and mix and match otherwise so that all of them get plenty of AB’s and ample rest.

  21. Finnegan had another Finnegan-like start: too many walks, homeruns, too few strikeouts, pitch count way up so he wouldn’t have been able to go deep into the game. Very little improvement this spring vs his to-do list from last year. Yet he will be given plenty of chances to keep starting, as he should, because he’s a young pitcher going through growing pains.

    They should give Reed and Bob Steve the same “young pitcher benefit of the doubt” and see how it goes, not move on to the next set of young starters in Garrett and Davis. I just think it’s shortsighted.

    • I’ve been beating the “Finnegan hasn’t been as good as we think” drum for a while. I can see why they feel invested in him as a starter because of last year, but I’d seriously consider the reality that he’s better suited for the bullpen. He had a handful of great starts in August that propped up his stats. But plenty of warning signs and no indication of improvement yet. Have to hope something clicks. Have to keep reminding myself how young he is.

      • I agree a lot of Finnegan’s “credibility” likely comes from him being last man standing.

        It is water under the bridge; but, I really wonder if we wouldn’t have seen the same or even better performance by season’s end if they would have run Stephenson to the mound every 5th day once he’d burned off enough days at AAA to miss making a full year of service time. His two early MLB starts give credence to that possibility.

        I am encouraged that it seems there is a realization now that AAA time isn’t likely to solve the issues of either Stephenson or Reed. If they don’t produce, they will see AAA time; but, that will be on them and not the organization.

        • We watched different games when Stephenson pitched last year! What I saw was a fairly live arm and a nickel heart! ! I know a lot of people who know a lot more than I do think he is the second coming but I wasn’t real impressed with his stuff, 3 different pitches is fine if he could get near the zone!!!!!!

      • I’ve never been particularly high on Finnegan either but I thought his changeup was much better as the season went on. Of course the walks are a big issue but he also had this bad habit of running the high fastball away to righties but oppo HRs are just too easy for big/strong guys in GABP. I haven’t looked but I would think his HRs allowed are seriously tilted towards GABP? Throwing smarter & not harder…tough lesson for most young guys. He can correct some of that but 3.75-4.20 era 4th starter type is about his ceiling imo.

    • We think alike. Finnegan for whatever reason seems too have a much longer rope than Reed or Stephenson. And I just don’t get promoting Davis and Garrett to the rotation over Stephenson and Reed, especially in light of comments that this is a year where the Reds want as many questions answered as possible.

      The only scenario I can think of is the Reds are trying to build up Davis’s and Garrett’s value for a possible trade down the line since pitching in the system does seem to be a strength. There’s no doubt that Reed and Stephenson have higher ceilings.

      • Not sure I’d agree that they have higher ceilings than Garrett. Davis, perhaps, but not Garrett. Garrett looks like a guy who can be a #2-#3 starter and if I squint really hard, I could see a #1. Reed looks like another guy who can be in that same area. Stephenson looks like a #3-#4 and I could maybe see a #2 out of him some day. Garrett and Reed have about the same ceiling.

        • The game report I read on here about 2 weeks ago put Garrett at 91.6 on the fastball. It takes a lot of experience and guile to be a #2 at 91 mph…in fact its almost impossible. I hope he was just working up to 93-95!

          • He generally throws harder than that. That one game, the velocity clearly wasn’t there. He’s tall and a LHP so the perceived velocity is also likely higher.

          • If excellent control is guile, then a 91.6mph fastball requires it, for sure. Movement would help, too, but if he has those elements, he could be excellent at that speed. There are plenty of guys who throw harder than that without being very effective. Cingrani’s ears might be burning.

          • Very small sample size so far this year but Brooks Baseball has Reed at 96.3, (only 6 pitches) Stephenson at 95.6 and Garret at 93.4.

  22. If you’re interested, I’ll be ESPN 1530 with Mo Egger around 3:40 today. We’ll be talking about a lot of this stuff.

  23. Good read on Fangraphs in regards to the Reds attempt to develop Starting Pitching

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About Steve Mancuso

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.


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