Last Friday, as MLB rosters expanded to 40, the Reds called up Ariel Hernandez and Zach Vincej. Tomorrow, the Reds will call up four more pitchers, two lefties and two righties:

RHP Rookie Davis, LHP Amir Garrett, LHP Cody Reed, RHP Jackson Stephens. None of these names are particularly surprising, as all four will have a chance to earn a spot in the Reds starting rotation next spring.

Rookie Davis
Davis earned a spot in that rotation as the Reds broke camp this year only to see injuries derail his season. With the Reds, Davis is an ugly 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA. Lately, however, Davis has returned to form at Triple-A Louisville; in his last five starts, he has struck out 30 batters and walked just one. Davis is still only 24 years-old, so he’s still in the mix.

Cody Reed
I had higher hopes for Reed than any of the young starting pitching prospects at 2017’s outset and, frankly, he has done little to justify that confidence. Also just 24 years-old, Reed was 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA for the Reds before being sent back to Triple-A back in May. He has a 3.55 ERA at Louisville, which sounds okay, but he continues to struggle with command: 102 strikeouts, 61 walks in 106.1 innings pitched. Until he learns to throw strikes on a regular basis, Reed is going to remain inconsistent.

Amir Garrett
April seems like a long time ago for Garrett. Remember how well he started the season? In the first three starts of his big league career, Garrett pitched at least six innings each time and posted a 1.83 ERA. On April 19, he struck out 12 and walked just one in a 7-inning outing against the Baltimore Orioles, and it appeared that Garrett was well on his way to a Rookie of the Year campaign.

Five days later, he gave up ten runs in 3.1 innings, and it has been downhill ever since. He was sent down to Louisville, brought back, and by the time he was sent to Triple-A for good, Garrett was 3-6 with a 7.41 ERA.

At Louisville, it has been more of the same: 2-4 with a 5.72 ERA. Garrett has been so spectacularly inconsistent at Triple-A — after largely dominating the minors in every previous season — that you had to wonder whether he’s been injured this entire time. His last two starts, however, in which he allowed a total of two runs, have been pretty good. Yesterday, Garrett tossed a 7-inning shutout in which he struck out 10 and walked just one. It’ll be interesting to get another look at him in a Reds uniform before next season. At age 25, he’s a little older than the Reds of the crop of young pitchers. It’s time for Garrett to show us what he is going to be.

Jackson Stephens
On the one hand, Stephens hasn’t been great at Louisville this season: 7-10, 4.92 ERA.

On the other hand, he’s just 23, so Stephens is really young for the league. Plus, he was pretty good at Single-A and Double-A in the two previous seasons, so he’s making his way through the system pretty quickly for a 2012 18th-round draft pick. And he did have a fairly effective start in his only big league appearance, back on July 1 against the Cubs: five innings, three runs allowed on six hits, eight strikeouts, one walk.

Stephens has the biggest hill to climb to get into the conversation for the 2018 Opening Day rotation, but the Reds clearly have him on the radar. He’s on the 40-man roster, so the only harm in bringing him up for the rest of this season is a few extra bucks in the kid’s pocket. It’s a win-win.

30 Responses

  1. David

    I watched Rookie Davis pitch for the Bats today against the Columbus Clippers in Columbus. Not really impressive. Still struggles with his control. He has good stuff, but I think he needs another year in AAA ball.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Davis should never have been promoted or even considered for the major league roster at any point this season. He wasn’t ready and it wasn’t even close. A few good performances during spring training do not (or should not) define a minor league career. I’m not sure what benefit Rookie being promoted provides to him or the team. Of course, Price’s pitcher development by sitting a pitcher in the bullpen to watch major league games comes into play, so that may explain his promotion.

      • james garrett

        I never understood Davis and Garrett in the rotation to begin with Cossack.Neither have the stuff that Reed and Bob has and they went to the pen as all of us remember.It was backwards to me and I never ever got the reasoning behind it.

      • Redgoggles

        Honestly, I think it was more about sending a message to Bob and Reed that it was promoting Rookie. Unfortunately, the message is (still) taking a while for Reed but it seems to be working with Bob. Amir earned the job and is older so the Reds have less time to see what he can do. I’m hoping this slow development is intentional and more about the Reds asking for each one of them to earn it and less about giving them a spot because the team is desperate.

  2. Scooter Rolen

    So, Castillo and Mahle are going to get shut down sometime soon and that will open up two spots in the September rotation. Is there anyone else who is going to be shut down early because of innings limit? Bailey and Stephenson shouldn’t, but maybe Romano has an innings limit? Probably 3 spots open up at the very most.

    Then, who would fill those spots of the 4 pitchers called up? My guess is Garrett and Reed, just because they have been the most heralded pitchers of the group and also most potential (stuff). I don’t think Rookie will take a spot, but Stephens could start this month, especially if Romano hits an innings limit.

    • BK

      Aside from Castillo and Mahle, our other pitchers aren’t close to eclipsing last year’s innings totals. Based on innings, I expect Mahle will get more starts.

  3. Scott Gennett

    If any of those four is going to turn the corner anytime soon, should be Garrett. Stephens is still away from cracking a rotation spot, perhaps in 2019. As for Reed, if he ever had it, he lost it. As for Davies, he just doesn’t have it.

  4. Shchi Cossack

    Well those four players are no surprise. With two starters reaching their innings limit for the season, at least two of the new additions (Garrett & Reed?) should be in line for regular starts. Of course, with Price filling out the lineup card, Wojo and Adelman could just as likely get those starts with the four additions sitting in the bullpen for 3-4 weeks with an inning or two here and there.

    It’s disappointing that Blandino was not added to the 40-man roster and promoted also. Of course, adding him to the major league roster would assure him of any playing time during the month since Price is still managing(?).

    • james garrett

      Cossack did you forget somebody has to go get the coffee and doughnuts?

  5. TR

    Either Garrett or Reed or both need to come through since the Reds need at least one southpaw in the starting rotation.

    • Shchi Cossack

      That’s simply not true. There is no NEED for a LH starting pitcher on the roster. LH relievers are required for matchups during the game, but starting pitchers are not matched up in the rotation. The starters need to be the best 5 pitchers who can start, irrespective of handedness. Quality supercedes handedness.

      • old-school

        Agreed. Although it would be ideal to have a lefty starter.
        Reality is Finnegan and Reed and Garrett are lefties in the mix.
        Garrett will be on the roster because he is out of options.
        Reed has to do a lot in not much time. He really has not shown he is ready to compete at the MLB level.
        Finnegan is the outlier. With Price coming back…I think he will be given every opportunity to be a starter.

      • TR

        Shchi Cossack: That’s not true for you, but it is true for me. I want the southpaw to earn his position in the starting rotation from all the pitchers being sorted whether they be right or left handed. I am well aware that quality supercedes handedness! My comment was not meant to negate quality in having a southpaw in the starting rotation. If a lefthander makes the grade, then he should be a starter.

      • Shchi Cossack

        We don’t disagree at all on that point. If a LH is one of the best 5 starters, he should be in the starting rotation. I was under the impression that you felt the Reds need a LH in the starting rotation like they need a LH in the bullpen. Having no LH in the bullpen creates a real hole in the bullpen. I dion’t think the same type of hole would exist in the starting rotation.

      • Klugo

        May the best man win, righty or lefy, but a few extra lefties would come in handy in dethroning those pesky left handed Cubs.

      • TR

        I don’t want a lefthander in the starting rotation just to have a LH’er in the rotation, as simple as that statement seems to be. The lefthander would have to get the job done in competition with all the other pitchers.

  6. Klugo

    IMO, Finnegan,Reed, and Stephens are bullpen arms, and potentially good ones, at that. Garrett and Davis are starters, if they can make it happen.

    • Shchi Cossack

      At this point, If Stephenson continues with some solid performances this month, someon will have to beat him out for a starting job next spring. That might certainly happen, but right now it hasn’t happened. Stephens is too young to relegate to the bullpen right now, but he falls into that next group of potential starters to consider in 3 years or so. If Finnegan can’t mitigate that furious, violent delivery, he needs to pitch from the bullpen with Iggy for physical limitations.

      If any of the pitchers can’t make the starting rotation because they can’t throw strikes and command the strike zone effectively, they have no business pitching art the major league level…period!

      • Klugo

        I hear ya on Stephens.

  7. james garrett

    Lots of guys for only 5 starting positions.Good problem to have.My guess if all our healthy it will be Homer,Bob Disco,Finny and Castillo.That could be a very good rotation next year.Romano and Mahle will be right there as well and I didn’t even mention the guys we just called up.Is it spring training yet?

    • Dewey Roberts

      James, I am pretty sure when everything is settled that Mahle will be in the Reds rotation next year. I have seen most of the pitchers mentioned during their time at AA Pensacola. Mahle was head and shoulders above all the others in every respect. Maybe one or another had more speed, but Mahle could put his pitches where he wanted them to be. It was very obvious. He is the best looking prospect I have seen in a long time. I never saw Castillo pitch though.

      • james garrett

        Works for me Dewey.He looks like he belongs and that’s for sure.Excited about what may happen down the road with these young guys.Should know more then we know but the eye test usually works

  8. Redgoggles

    So, how serious is this vertigo issue with Senzel? You wonder how long this will linger and how it may impact his offseason. Plus, it’s a bummer that he cannot participate in the playoffs to cap this spectacular year he’s had!

    • Bill Lack

      I hear this and I think Esasky, and I believe it basically ended his career, didn’t it?

      • Shchi Cossack

        Yeah. The issue with Senzel has career threatening potential.

      • greenmtred

        It never pays to doubt the possibility of bad luck. Does anybody know more about his treatment options (if any) and whether or not there’s some sort of timeline for knowing if he’s going to be ok?