In yesterday’s game preview, we shared a tweet from Joel Luckhaupt which showed the recent performance by Reds starting pitchers under the age of 25. In the wake of Sal Romano’s fantastic 8-inning, 6-strikeout, 0-walk performance Saturday, Luckhaupt updated his statistics this morning:
UPDATE: Last 20 starts by #Reds under the age of 25
113 IP, 2.46 ERA, 115 K, 46 BB, 6 HR(!)
Reds are 13-7 in those games.
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) September 17, 2017
There was a point in time this season that we wouldn’t have believed that was possible, for two reasons:
1) Most of the starts were going to pitchers over that age, and
2) Often when a youngster got a chance to start, he got hammered.
What the above tweet demonstrates is that the “sorting” that was the alleged objective of this season has been largely successful. Luis Castillo, Romano and perhaps Tyler Mahle have sorted themselves ahead of pitchers like Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett and Cody Reed (all of whom started the year on the major league pitching staff) in the internal pecking order – presuming Romano continues pitching well in his remaining starts this season.
Many Redleg Nation readers have been critical of the front office on many fronts, but it is time to give some credit where credit is due. Dick Williams has said there is a plan and has to some extent revealed the plan to fans. As a reminder, here is a roadmap of what the Houston Astros — who had their own similar rebuilding plan — went through to get to the point of a perennial contender. It appears that with two weeks remaining in the season, the depth chart for pitchers who will report to Goodyear, Arizona in February 2018 is:
Starters: 1) Castillo; 2) Romano; 3) Homer Bailey; 4 and 5) To be determined
Relievers: 1) Raisel Iglesias; 2) Michael Lorenzen; 3) Wandy Peralta; 4 through 6) To be determined
The names competing for those “to be determined” positions include Mahle, Stephenson, Reed, Garrett, Brandon Finnegan, Anthony DeSclafani, Austin Brice, and Kevin Shackleford.
This writer still believes, though, that an established starting pitcher with at least two or three years of team control should be the number one off-season priority. One of the surplus of outfielders could be used as bait in such a swap.
Every appearance for the under-25 crowd is important for the remainder of this season, including today’s afternoon home game in which the Reds are bidding for a sweep against the Pirates. Consider this final two weeks an early 2018 spring training.
Cole is on a very interesting streak. In his last five starts, he has the following numbers:
6.1 innings, 5 runs vs. Dodgers
7 innings, 0 runs vs. Reds
6 innings, 5 runs vs. Reds
8 innings, 0 runs vs. Cubs
6 innings, 5 runs vs. Brewers
If you believe at all in patterns, it would be the time for Cole to blank the Reds over 7 or more innings. This will be his third start against them in three weeks, so he knows the Reds hitters, and they know him. Hopefully Cole’s pattern will be broken today.
Stephenson finds himself in a position where he really needs to shine to keep up with some of his fellow young pitchers who have bypassed him, such as Romano and Mahle. Stephenson had a very good August (3-0, 2.22 ERA), but in September has reverted to control issues (eight walks in nine innings). His strikeout numbers are very good (74 in 67.2 innings), but you watch him, and you realize that at times there is a huge gap between him and the kind of performance Romano gave Saturday (8 innings, 6 strikeouts, 0 walks). Stephenson’s remaining starts this season, including today, are much bigger for him than many fans realize.
It should be all hands on deck today, and there are plenty of hands.
|RF John Jaso||RF Jesse Winker|
|LF Jordan Luplow||3B Eugenio Suarez|
|CF Andrew McCutchen||1B Joey Votto|
|1B Josh Bell||2B Scooter Gennett|
|3B David Freese||LF Adam Duvall|
|SS Jordy Mercer||CF Scott Schebler|
|2B Sean Rodriguez||SS Zach Vincej|
|C Chris Stewart||C Tucker Barnhart|
|P Gerrit Cole||P Robert Stephenson|
The “other” Zach who plays shortstop gets his first major league start today. Interesting that Manager Bryan Price puts Vincej, known as a good-field, no-hit player, ahead of Tucker Barnhart in the batting order.
News and Notes
A Billy Hamilton update …
Billy Hamilton is eligible to come off the DL today, but won’t. He is due to get the splint removed today. #Reds
— Jeff Wallner (@JeffWallner) September 17, 2017
Maybe that wrist injury Jesse Winker suffered a couple of years ago is finally healing up …
2017: 6 HR in 106 ML PA.
2016-17: 5 HR in 795 AAA PA.#Reds
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) September 17, 2017
Drew Storen’s career with the Reds is very likely over. His contract expires at the end of this season …
Drew Storen will have elbow surgery. No timetable on recovery yet. #Reds
— Jeff Wallner (@JeffWallner) September 17, 2017