This week’s respondents are Chad Dotson, Matt Habel, Steve Mancuso, Clay Marshall and Tom Mitsoff.

Our Daily Reds Obsession: Who will be the Reds Opening Day starting pitcher in 2018? How about in 2019? 

Chad: Luis Castillo and Luis Castillo. I want to believe that the Reds will go out and acquire a top-shelf starting pitcher, either this off-season or next. But that’s easier said than done, and the Reds could justify waiting until after next season to really jump-start the process by bringing in a pitcher like that. So if the Reds can’t get Chris Archer or Marcus Stroman, Castillo looks like the default choice to be the Opening Day pitcher next year, although you could always see the Reds handing that start to Homer Bailey, as the veteran of a very young an inexperienced pitching staff.

2019 is a different story. By that time, I expect that Luis Castillo will have firmly established himself as a legit ace, or at least a #2-type pitcher. He may be the Opening Day starter for years to come.

Matt: Process of elimination takes out most of the prospects due to lack of development this year. Stephenson would have to really blow people away in spring training. Luis Castillo is a good choice based on ability and 2017 results but knowing the Reds I think they will go with Homer Bailey. He said himself that not having the full year to prepare hurt him. I expect him to have a solid spring and I think Price would rather have the veteran take the mound as the ace than the still somewhat unproven Castillo, who I think will earn that role for 2019.

Steve: If they’re all healthy, Homer Bailey will get the Opening Day start in 2018. His veteran status and contract demand it. But I wouldn’t rule out Anthony DeSclafani. It’s easy to forget how great of a season he had in 2016. Over 20 starts, DeSclafani had an ERA of 3.28. He pitched 180+ innings in 2015. If he’s on schedule, I could see Price giving AD the first start and Bailey the second. Luis Castillo, fresh off his NL Cy Young Award, will receive the 2019 Opening Day assignment. Even if the Reds do trade for a top-of-rotation starter, they’ll give priority to the home-grown guys for Opening Day. Mat Latos pitched the second game in 2012.

Clay: Assuming he’s healthy, I think Homer Bailey is a lock to start on Opening Day. After two very tumultuous years for the Reds’ rotation, such a move would provide a certain level of security blanket reassurance that 2018 won’t be such a rocky ride. Although he got knocked around pretty badly in a handful of starts after coming off the DL in 2017, Bailey pitched well more often than he didn’t, a trend that will hopefully into 2018. As for 2019, your guess is as good as mine. It’s tempting to go with Luis Castillo, but I think Bailey will once again get the nod if he’s healthy.

Tom: Barring injury, which never can be barred among this team’s pitchers, Luis Castillo will be the team’s Opening Day pitcher in 2018. Castillo led Reds starters in WHIP (1.07) and batting average against (.202) despite making only 15 starts. His 3.12 ERA was best among any Reds starter with 15 or more starts. He showed the poise and ability to pitch in the clutch of a possible top-of-the-rotation pitcher for the foreseeable future. For 2019? I certainly hope Castillo’s performance from 2017 continues to grow for years. But with this team’s injury history, I am going to predict that Tyler Mahle will start Opening Day in 2019.

23 Responses

  1. Ethan L

    Will? –> Homer.
    Should –> Castillo
    Dark Horses/Long Shots? –> Deck McGuire, Chad, Yu Darvish, Marcus Stroman.

    • Shchi Cossack


      If Homer is healthy, I can’t see Price giving the ball to anyone else on opening day.
      Based on 2017 results, Castillo should get the ball on opening day.

      Of course, Price has a penchant for over-emphasizing spring training results, so we may very well see Price give the ball to someone like Rookie Davis after an outstanding spring training performance against minor league hitters and hitters tuning up their swing.

  2. Bill

    Whoever is healthy. Seems like they always have 2 or 3 on a DL.

  3. bouwills

    If he’s healthy Brandon Finnegan in 2018. I think Price owes him an opening day start from last year. For both years Castillo has the inside track, but I’m going with Stephenson for 2019. Somewhat out of the limelight, behind Castillo, Romano, & Mahle , Bob Steve finally becomes that “top of the rotation” guy we all anticipated.

  4. WVRedlegs

    I have to be consistent here. Marcus Stroman.
    But if no trade for a top-tier SP happens then DeSclafani. DeSclafani has been the “named” Opening Day starter the last two seasons, but has yet to make that start due to injuries.
    If healthy, I hate having to use that qualifier, and with a good spring it will be Anthony DeSclafani. Homer will get the Opening Night start since I think he has 2 OD starts.

    Will the way the two World Series teams’ bullpens have faltered this World Series, will this perhaps speed up any thought the Reds might have on moving Finnegan to the bullpen next year??

    • reaganspad

      Not only do I want Finnegan in the rotation, i want another lefty starter. We may not get that this year, but if I am going to put a bunch of chips on the table for a starter, he better be LH if we are building a playoff team.

      And we need to add a lefty to the pen as well.

      I think we can win 90 games and go to the playoffs with a few tweaks but we will not go far in October with 5 RH starters.

      Besides that, I think Finnegan has shown improvement as a starter

      • TR

        There are those who feel five right handed starting pitchers can get it done, but I agree with you that left handers in the pitching corps who are ready are a key to a playoff team.

      • MrRed

        Actually, I’d take my chances with the best starting pitchers, no matter the handedness. If they happen to all be righties, then so be it. I’d rather the team not get too cute about staffing decisions and just worry about putting the best players on the roster. They already have enough challenges doing that.

      • reaganspad

        Which is what we will do this year. And we will play our best Shortstop, be that zack, Jose or some player that we desire to add to our team because they may fit better and preform better in the long run; i.e. to go farther in the playoffs. It is why they play

        Just like building a starting staff. We will use our best 5 and Finnegan will be one of those. We have a lot of trinkets to trade over the next year and I would be disappointed if we constructed our playoff team for Joey’s prime and Nick’s emergence to be 5 RH pitchers. I would like to see us add a Cole Hamels type lefty to go with Finnegan

      • MrRed

        But to be clear, you would prefer 5 better starting pitchers than Finnegan, even if they were all right handed, yes?

        I agree that they Reds could and should use any opportunity to trade and upgrade their starting rotation but I wouldn’t necessarily target a LH starter.

      • reaganspad

        I believe that Finnegan will be better than the 4.14 Finnegan of 2016 and like Romano and Robert Stephenson will take a step forward.

        If all three of those guys end up and 3.4 ERA, I am trading a RH pitcher because we have a surplus of RH pitching (and 2nd basemen). I trade from strength.

        If Homer Bailey, Disco and Castillo are all 3.4 ERA along with the first 3, Finnegan would not be the one I replace in the rotation.

  5. Michael McCord

    I think they should go after Matt Latos. He was a great pitcher for the Reds. He has just lost sight of what he is suppose to do. If healthy Homer deserves a spot in opening day.

    • lwblogger2

      I think he detonated that bridge. Then after the bridge went falling down, he took a sledgehammer and axe to it. Then after he got done with that, he poured lighter fluid on it and set it ablaze. When that was done, he rented a backhoe and buried what little was left.

  6. JREIS

    I am honestly happy with anyone not named Feldman, Adleman or Arroryo. I feel the reds have actually done a good job “rebuilding” the pitching staff and we will be much improved from last year from that stand point.
    now we have to “rebuild” our outfield and up the middle at short and 2b.

  7. TR

    Right now I see Luis Castillo , who is on the path to be the ace of the staff, as the opening day starting pitcher. But Bryan Price, like Dusty, seems to prefer veteran players so that could mean Homer Bailey as the starter.

  8. David

    Veteran Presence indicates Homer Bailey. I find your lack of faith in Veteran Presence disturbing – Darth George Grande

    • TR

      Indicators are that Darth George Grande still has considerable presence in Reds Land.

  9. Ron Payne

    Homer will start if healthy.
    If we trade for a starter and all the veteran pitchers are ready to go, our rotation (in no particular order) would be: Bailey, DeSclafani, Finnegan, Castillo and the new guy. Where does that leave Mahle, Romano and Stephenson? Bullpen?

  10. Kyblu50

    How about trading Billy and Scooter to Seattle for one of their top young pitchers and two of their top ten prospects. Rumors have Cano moving to First so they need Scooter for second base. Center field is big so Billy can handle that. They have free agent Jarrod Dyson is leaving who played center field which would play well here and can use Erwin and others to rest him. He bats left.

    • Preach

      I’d love it. Unfortunately, I don’t think Scooter and Billy would get the first part of the trade, much less the second.

      Also, i am of the opinion Scooter can have a near repeat of his 2017 numbers next season. I don’t think we can get his true trade value.

      • lwblogger2

        Agree Preach… And they are moving Cano because his defense is sliding and wear and tear issues. Well, Cano’s defense isn’t really any worse than Scooter’s.

  11. Ernest Howerton

    Please let it be Castillo,he proved himself last yr.Homer has two no-hitters but he still hasn’t done it yet if you know what I mean.He can be coasting along in a game time after time and self destruct so many times disappointing to say the least.