Also, Matt Harvey is on the way out. Yes, really. No, there is no good argument for keeping him. Given these things, it seemed a good time to poll the state of the Nation on who should start for the Reds next year. So, I took each of the likely candidates and asked simply, whether each should be in the rotation next year. Yes or No (except for Disco, but we’ll talk about that in a minute). Here is the Twitter Rotation for your 2019 Reds.
- Tyler Mahle
- Luis Castillo
- New Starting Pitcher
- Anthony DeSclafani
- Robert Stephenson
- Sal Romano
- Homer Bailey
The first thing that jumps out at me here is “Ouch, Homer Bailey.” He got a lower percentage than the question that asked about literally anyone else in the system.
I was also surprised at how well Disco did. I included an option that amounted to, “Yes, but he probably will get hurt, so he doesn’t really count” but “Yes” still won by a mile. I have an awfully hard time counting on him in the long-run.
But otherwise, I have a hard time disagreeing. I think the Reds needs to acquire one front-line starter to plug into the rotation. My personal opinion is that it should be (roughly): 1. New Guy, 2. Mahle, 3. Castillo, 4/5. Stephenson/Romano, Alternate: Disco. I definitely think it’s time to give Stephenson another shot and, if he performs well in the majors, he’ll move up the list fast. As things currently stand, I have him roughly equal to Romano because Romano is currently pitching well in the majors and has overall better numbers in the majors than Stephenson, even if his ceiling isn’t nearly as high. A couple of days ago, I was able to talk with Louisville Manage Dick Schofield about Stephenson and here’s what he had to say:
“Every time he goes out there, it’s a really good feeling that he’s going to get deep in the game, and he’s done that.”
On Stephenson’s changed approach, especially at the start of games:
“That first inning, it seemed like he was so amped up, he needed to go from fifth to second gear… there was no pace to it. It’s like taking a deep breath and saying ‘here we go’ instead of holding your breath and seeing how long you can pitch.”
On dealing with major league struggles:
“Sometimes, it’s really good guys to get knocked down a notch, regroup, and then figure it out.”
The hard part is Homer. I think, if he pitches like he did on Monday until the end of the season, everyone will want him in the rotation. If he returns to the Homer we’ve mostly seen since his return last season, fans will have a hard time accepting that he should be in the rotation given that his contract will be over after 2019. With a team on the cusp of contention, it can be necessary to make hard decisions. I suppose, as the year finishes up, we’ll see how hard Homer makes it for the Reds.