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.
“No, that guy’s injured.”
“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 email@example.com.