Hello boys (and girls), I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!
Last week instead of writing about the minor leagues here at Redleg Nation, I was hanging out in Tennessee watching the Greeneville Reds with Chad Dotson. But, I’m back at things this week and there are some things worth covering. The first, and at least for me, the most important, is that on Monday I released my updated Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospect List. The new list includes draft picks and a few guys that are just getting their seasons started in rookie ball that have been in the system for a few years. If you missed out on that, you should check it out and refresh your mind with where guys rank.
Robert Stephenson. If you are reading Redleg Nation then I’m sure you have thoughts on Robert Stephenson. I think it’s fair to say that everyone probably would use the word inconsistent in their description. And he’s been that at times in 2018 with the Louisville Bats this season. Over the last month, though, he’s been pretty dominant with the exception of one start on June 19th. In the last month the 25-year-old has posted a 1.86 ERA in 29.0 innings with 10 walks, two home runs allowed, and he’s struck out 42 of the 116 batters he’s faced. For those non-human-calculators, that’s a 36% strikeout rate.
After the 2018 season, Robert Stephenson will be out of options. He’s been pretty good overall this season for the Bats. In 16 starts he’s posted a 3.35 ERA with 109 strikeouts and 45 walks in 86.0 innings. That walk rate is still higher than you want to see, the rest of the numbers are quite strong. And of late, the walk rate has been quite a bit better. The Reds are going to need to have a better idea of what they plan to do with Stephenson in 2019 when they have to keep him on the 25-man roster all season. That information isn’t going to come by keeping him in Triple-A until September, then calling him up to face lineups that have Triple-A players taking up some spots on the field. They don’t have to call him up tomorrow, but it seems it would make plenty of sense to call him up sooner rather than later and provide yourself with more information against Major Leaguers.
Staying in Louisville, the Triple-A All-Star break couldn’t have come at a worse time for Phillip Ervin. Over the last three weeks the outfielder has hit an insane .424/.485/.695 with eight walks and just 10 strikeouts. That’s pushed his line for the year with Louisville to .288/.373/.473 with 18 walks and 32 strikeouts in 170 plate appearances.
One last note before we cut this thing off. Mark it on your calendars: The Futures Game is on Sunday and the Reds will be represented by two of their best prospects with Hunter Greene and Taylor Trammell heading to Washington D.C. to participate in the game. The game is at 4pm ET. You can watch it on MLB Network, but if you don’t have that channel, you can also watch the game on MLB.com.