Anthony DeSclafani is exactly average. Some may hold him in high regard, citing his 2015-16 as a sign he can be great. Others dismiss him, pointing to the amount of home runs he allows as a sign he needs to be faded out. Both takes are wrong.

After an uninspiring performance on Monday night, Disco as he’s known, hate is alive and well on the wonderful Twitter dot com. Granted, when fans are thinking the Reds can #SneakOnIn, an outing in which DeSclafani allowed six earned runs doesn’t really sit too well. Some of that can also come from increased expectations for Reds pitching as a whole, so reasonable expectations need to be set.

Why Anthony DeSclafani’s not great

DeSclafani has been getting killed by opposing hitters early in the count. The man with the bat has amassed a .397 batting average upon swinging at his first pitch, and has an OPS of 1.159. Not surprisingly, DeSclafani has allowed twice as many homers (12) the first time through the lineup as opposed to the second time through.

He’s also had issues finishing off innings. Opposing hitters have a .297 average and .939 OPS with two outs in the inning. That is the biggest problem he had Monday night, as all six runs he allowed came with two outs on the board.

A large part of that can be attributed to his inconsistency with his breaking pitches. Monday night he continually left them spinning out over the plate. Matt Adams two-run shot to straight-away center field came off a slow-moving, barely breaking curveball. It was placed low in the zone, but the rotation was not deceptive and the speed was manageable.

Why Anthony DeSclafani’s not bad

For starters, he’s a bit better at keeping the walks down than your average pitcher. In a league where there are three true outcomes to an at-bat, the league average walks allowed per nine innings is 3.3. DeSclafani checks in at 2.75 BB/9.

His ERA+ currently sits at just above average (102) and his 4.39 xFIP shows he’s getting ever so slightly unlucky with his 4.51 ERA. He’s provided the season-long equivalent of a quality start, which leads me to the following conclusion:

Anthony DeSclafani is exactly average

DeSclafani is the kind of guy that, if the offseason plays out to be an all-out blitz on adding bats, the Reds will be fine with slotting him in as their fifth starter. He’s not a pitcher an opposing team will lose sleep over, but he’s also not one to sleep on.

He’s due a raise through arbitration this offseason. On a team that is looking to fill a few holes in the lineup, this offseason, having a cost-effective, average fifth starter is a good value.

Photo Credit: Erik Drost/Flickr. Licensing for the photo can be found here.

27 Responses

  1. MARK MOORE

    All teams need a 5th starter. On good teams they tend to win half their games. He appears to fit that profile. He wasn’t alone in losing last night.

    Did I mention all teams need a 5th starter?

    Reply
    • The_next_Janish

      What if they don’t need a five man rotation? For years a 4 man rotation got the job done. Now starters are only going six innings. It might make sense to go 4 man rotation with an additional bullpen arm.

      Reply
      • Doug Gray

        They need a 5 man rotation. No one is ever going back to a 4-man rotation unless that 5th day is just going to be covered by the bullpen every 5th day.

  2. Mason Red

    The problem with the Reds is they have a lot of average players. An average 5th starter would be fine if there were more superior players and less average players.

    Reply
    • Jefferson Green

      Having an average starter as the #5 is better than average. If they have a chance have (or get) a stud for the last rotation slot, great, but they have bigger holes to fill in the everyday 8 (and bull pen).

      Reply
  3. Klugo

    If he’s not slotted into the bullpen, I hope the FO, at least acquires one upgrade in the starting rotation and Disco and Mahle duke it out for #5.

    Reply
  4. Jack

    He is a fifth starter and pitches like one. If we weren’t in a desperate situation where we need to win every day to get back in it we would be perfectly ok with him.

    Reply
  5. Bromleyjake

    I’ve said it elsewhere but the priority this offseason has to be on acquiring at least one if not two everyday bats in the lineup. The rotation has and will be fine if not good. But until we can match the consistent offense of teams like the Brewers and the Cubs we won’t be serious division contenders. I’m all for looking at Didi and Castellanos. If you cant get both, than get one and try to trade for another solid bat.

    Reply
    • SultanofSwaff

      I think there are 3 could-be everyday bats already on the roster who don’t play nearly every day for reasons that haven’t been proven to be true or false……and so the sorting continues……….

      Reply
  6. Chris

    If his xFIP is lower, it’s because of his gross HR/FB rate, which he’s carried pretty much consistently since his return from injury. It’s possible he can get on another roll and finish a 2-win player, but I doubt it. What he’s giving us is not significantly better than what Lucas Sims or Kevin Gausman could. He’ll be expensive and GABP is pretty much the worst place on the planet for a pitcher like him. Deal him in the offseason if you can, and if not – move him to the bullpen (where we could use the length for sure), or non-tender him and let him ply his wares for a club with a bigger ballpark.

    Reply
    • Sliotar

      Among qualified starting pitchers in 2019, DeScalfani is 4th worst in HR/9 at 1.84.

      4th-worst in all of MLB.

      https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=sta&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2019&month=0&season1=2019&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2019-01-01&enddate=2019-12-31&sort=11,d

      GABP is always Top 10 HR-friendly, year in/year out, plus Miller Park is a hitter’s park and Wrigley Field can be, depending on wind.

      Considering those 3 parks will cover a majority of Disco’s starts….IMO, the Reds can (and should) do much better than retaining Disco for 2020.

      (Trading him to San Diego or Seattle, pitcher’s parks with teams starved for pitching, for something back to help the Reds depleted farm system would hit two birds with a stone.)

      Reply
      • Chris

        Also posting career low in GB%, career high in FB%, and giving up HR on 18% of FB (actually down from 20% last year). It’s not that he doesn’t have a place as a SP somewhere, it’s just not Cincinnati

      • Slicc50

        excellent comment, I totally agree looking at it from the perspective you just laid out. I hope the decision makers in the FO feel the same. What type of value do you think Disco could bring back?

  7. Pete

    Great looking lineup for tonight, really great:

    Winker – lf
    Votto -1B
    Suarez – 3B
    Aquino – rf
    VanMeter – 2B
    Senzel – cf
    Iglesias – ss
    Farmer -C
    Wood – p

    No sign of who is being sent down to clear room for Galvis – fingers crossed they send down the right guy….

    Reply
    • Chris

      It’s going to be O’Grady… and agreed on the lineup. This is a must win. Strasburg/Bauer is a coin flip tomorrow and a sweep effectively ends the fun part of this season.

      Reply
      • Pete

        I’ll bet it’s Jose Peraza. Why does the team need that many backup middle infielders? See you in a couple of hours…..

      • RojoBenjy

        @Pete

        I want it to be Peraza, but i’m not betting on it lol

      • Pete

        I’m with you RB except for the roster dynamics. Middle infielders: Iglesias, Peraza, VanMeter, Galvis and Farmer? With a 4-man bench? Can’t wait to find out.

      • Pete

        Good call Chris – O’Grady has been optioned. Man, we have a weak bench.

    • RojoBenjy

      If Winker could play 1B I’d put him there and then Ervin in LF.

      The team of the future.

      Reply
      • Curt

        O’Grady to 1st? That’s been his primary position.

  8. SultanofSwaff

    Disco has some serious offseason work to do. That he is a starting pitcher without a credible changeup is unacceptable. To that end, Lorenzen would seem to profile better than Disco as a starter because he does. They should probably flip roles.

    Reply
  9. Steven Ross

    He won’t be our 5th starter next season unless he gets his you know what together ASAP. My guess is he won’t and DW will bring in someone else or go with Mahle.

    Reply
  10. Jefferson Green

    Having an average starter as the #5 is better than average. If they have a chance have (or get) a stud for the last rotation slot, great, but they have bigger holes to fill in the everyday 8 (and bull pen). In any case, as things stand at this point, Mahle may beat him out for that spot.

    Reply
    • citizen54

      LOL if your 5th starter is just league average that means you have probably have one of the best staffs in the league.

      Reply

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