This week’s respondents are Nick Doran, Nick Carrington, the inimitable Mary Beth Ellis, and Chad Dotson.

Our Daily Reds Obsession: Which 5 pitchers will start the most games for the 2018 Reds?

Nick D: Well I wish Luis Castillo could start them all, but this isn’t like 1869 when one pitcher was all you needed, so I guess I will have to give somebody else a chance too. Veteran Homer Bailey should be ready to go from day one after shaking off two years’ worth of rust in his 18 crusty starts last year. Much of the Reds’ 2018 fate rests on the barking elbow of Anthony DeSclafani. Brandon Finnegan says his range of motion now is better than it was before he fell off a boat and broke his moneymaker. Robert Stephenson’s natural talent will combine with some experience to help him settle in as a bonafide major league starter. Tyler Mahle will be ready to take over as soon as someone else stumbles. Yes that is six pitchers but my guess is the Reds will go through a lot more than that again this year.

Nick C: The actual answer to this question could be a hundred different combinations, but here’s my best guess.
1. Luis Castillo
2. Sal Romano
3. Homer Bailey
4. Tyler Mahle
5. Veteran pick up

I have too many doubts about the ability of Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan to stay healthy. Disco’s elbow seems like a ticking time bomb, and Finnegan’s shoulder issues remind me too much of the abundance of pitchers who went to the bullpen with chronic shoulder injuries. I’m not down on Robert Stephenson either; I just think he has the most to overcome (ridiculous walk rate mostly) in order to stay in the rotation. He’s the most volatile in that he could be a top of the rotation guy or an unreliable bullpen arm.

Mary Beth: Whoever won the silent auction at the St. William summer festival. I live in Cincinnati and write for a Reds-focused site, and I when I try to list five starting pitchers, I have to sit quietly and think very hard.

“What about–”
“No, that guy’s injured.”
“Didn’t he–”
“No, he got injured again.”
“Isn’t the guy we traded for—“
“He got traded.”

Fortunately for you and me, unbeknownst to most of Reds country, the front office quietly arranged for the bulk of the starting positions to go to the fan willing to shell out the most at the silent auction tent, right between the Elder quilt and the right to name the school drop-off lane.

I have high hopes.

Chad: Do you believe that the top two Reds in games started in 2017 were Scott Feldman and Tim Adleman? That’s all you need to know about why the Reds lost 90+ games last season, eh?

For 2018, I choose to be optimistic. The top five in games started will be:

1. Luis Castillo — continues his magic from last year and becomes a dependable top of the rotation guy.
2. Homer Bailey — Bailey was actually third on the 2017 Reds in starts; he’ll be healthy all season and will give the Reds 150+ innings.
3. Anthony DeSclafani — I’m getting really optimistic here. But Disco pitched more than 180 innings in his rookie year.
4. Tyler Mahle — I think Mahle will be the biggest surprise in the Reds rotation, a Mike Leake-type for a new generation.
5. Someone that the Reds acquire in an off-season trade. I prefer Clayton Kershaw, but we’ll wait and see.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at

Join the conversation! 24 Comments

  1. Best guess: Castillo, Bailey, Romano, Stephenson, Mahle
    Best hope: Castillo, Bailey,Disco,Stephenson, Garrett

  2. 1. Castillo 2. Bailey 3. Romano 4. Desclafani 5. Finnegan

    With the Bailey, Desclafani and Finnegan injury history it could be who knows what. But we have the depth to still have a decent staff even if. There really isn’t room for everybody!!

  3. Castillo

    in that order

    • No Bailey? I hope Bailey has a super first half, than they trade him in July for a contender for a few really good prospects.

  4. Between Castillo and Bailey, just like the majority says.

    Oh, and PLEASE keep MBE as part of the DRO team. Her input is invaluable to our off-season sanity. Plus I want to see who won that particular raffle. Perhaps that’s the Opening Day starter …

  5. I really hope the Reds don’t add a pitcher via trade. I really want to see them run with what they got. If a trade happens, do it next season when we’re sure the kids can’t cut it.

    My prediction, in this order:

    Castillo (has a mild injury and misses a month)

    I’d love to see Garrett in the mix too.

    I’m not sure about Disco and Finnergan, but of course if they can actually bounce back that would be huge.

  6. Too many hopefuls at this time and the Front Office might surprise us. Spring training should make it clear.

  7. Normally an optimist, but;

    Feldman (yes I know he’s a FA)
    Bob Steve

    I’m hoping for Disco…..

  8. Bailey,CAstillo, ROmano, Stephenson, MAhle,

    With DIsco, GArret and Finnegan in the wings

    l don’t know if this is good enough to do much though.
    September 2017 worries me a lot. We had decent starting pitching but only went 11-18 the last month.
    The whole season we heard that if the pirtching improved we be a good team but lt looks like we need a lot more help

  9. Castillo

    I know, that’s pretty unlikely, especially that last guy. But the only way these are the top five is if Bailey stays healthy, and the other four stay healthy AND pitch really well. So if this plays out the Reds will be playoff contenders. I could easily see Stephenson, Romano, DeSclafani, Finnegan, or a new veteran-y guy displacing anyone on that list. I’ll also say that if whoever is 5th on the list at the end of the year had 18 or more starts then the Reds will have had a very good year. Here’s hoping.

  10. I have no idea which five it will be. However, I hope when the season ends Castillo, Bailey and DeSclafani are in the top five. If these three remain injury free we have a good shot at a decent starting five.

  11. 1 Castillo 2 Mahle 3 Romano 4 Bailey 5 Stephenson or Garrett

  12. 1 Castillo
    2 Bailey
    3 Romano
    4 Free Agent Pickup
    5 Mahle
    6 Bob Steve
    7 Amir Garret
    8 Jackson Stephens
    9 Worst case is Micheal Lorenzen

  13. 1. Castillo
    2. Bailey
    3. Disco or Finny (probably not both unfortunately)
    4. Stephenson
    5. Romano

    Castillo is the real deal and should be given every start we can. Bailey is another season removed from Tommy John and the most senior arm in the rotation. I’m hopeful he can give some competitive innings this year. Disco or Finny will pitch some serious innings I would like to think but unfortunately it may not be both of them. They both have some real injury concerns going forward. Possible scenario is Disco stays healthy and Finny slides to bullpen after small shoulder scare early in the year. Stephenson and Romano gave themselves a huge step up on the other young guys and will be given the first lions share of innings as the back end of the rotation.

    No need to go get another veteran arm imo. There are quality young pitchers that will be hungry for their chance if injury/poor performance provides an opportunity (Mahle, Amir, Reed, etc)

  14. Castillo, Ray, Stroman, Mahle, Garrett. In a perfect world the Red’s front office is aggressive.

  15. Wojo…jk

    Romano, Castillo, Mahle, Bob Steve, and Davis

  16. We do not need to get a vet pitcher, as we have one/two in Bailey/Disco. Use are young guys to see who steps up. We have 6/7 starting pitchers and should be able to find 5 out of that bunch.

  17. 1. Seaver
    2. Gullet
    3. Rijo
    4. Maloney
    5. Soto

  18. Which 5? I won’t answer that. Why? Because our pitching staff has looked so much like a MASH unit for so long, I wouldn’t want to bet which pitchers would survive without injury.

    I mean, last year, I remember us talking about which pitchers will make the starting 5, about a list of 12 long, for 2-3 spots, and none of them including names like Mahle and Castillo. People were even struggling to put Stephenson in there.

    I will tweek the question, with a series of questions. Will the Reds have anyone start more than 30 times? Likely not. If they do get one, it will be one pitcher. More than 25 games? I believe they will have 1-2 pitchers here. Thus, 25 games or less? That’s where most of the Reds starters will be. And, I do mean most of the Reds starters. Because, again, I do see them recycling through about 8-12 more starters again.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at


2018 Reds, Daily Reds Obsession


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