Season Stats

Billings 1 0 2.05 30.2 22 2 8 37 123 0.98 4.6
Dayton 1 0 0.00 5.0 1 0 2 6 20 0.60 3.0
Total 2 0 1.77 35.2 23 2 10 43 143 0.93 4.3

Scouting Background

Robert Stephenson throws a fastball up to 101 MPH, though he usually sits in that 94-97 MPH range. He throws a curveball in the 77-80 MPH range that is a plus pitch that has two plane break on it that he uses as his out pitch. The change up is his third pitch and he doesn’t use it as much as his curveball, but it works in the mid 80’s and is a solid pitch.

Game Information

For this game I looked at the first start that Stephenson made for the Dayton Dragons in Midland, Michigan against the Great Lakes Loons. He threw 5 innings with just 1 hit allowed, an unearned run, two walks and he struck out 6 batters while being limited to 70 pitches, though he only needed 65. You can see the box score for the game here.

Game Breakdown

Here is the pitch by pitch breakdown of the game. There may be a few change ups that are classified as fastballs, but the announcer was pretty good at mentioning velocities, so it isn’t likely a big issue.

Pitch Type Target? Result Position Notes
1 FB Hit Called K Low Middle 96 MPH
2 FB Hit Foul Low Outside 97 MPH
3 CV Hit Swing K Low Middle Strikeout
4 FB Missed Ball Inside dirt
5 FB Missed Ball Middle dirt
6 FB Missed Swing K Low Inside 101 MPH
7 FB Hit Foul Low Outside 97 MPH
8 FB Hit Swing K Low Middle 94 MPH – Strikeout
9 FB Missed Ball Middle Outside 99 MPH
10 FB Hit Called K Middle Outside
11 FB Missed Ball Low Middle
12 FB Hit Foul Middle Inside
13 CV Hit Called K Low Outside Strikeout
14 FB Missed Ball Outside dirt
15 FB Missed Ball Middle High
16 FB Missed Ball Middle Inside
17 FB Missed Called K Low Inside
18 FB Hit Foul Low Outside
19 FB Missed Ball Outside dirt Walk
20 FB Hit FB to CF Outside low Fly out to CF
21 FB Hit Foul Inside Low
22 CV Hit Called K Outside low
23 CV Missed Ball Outside low
24 CV Missed Swing K Outside Low Strikeout
25 FB Hit Foul Middle Low
26 FB Hit Swing K Middle Up
27 FB Hit FB to CF Middle Up Fly out to CF
28 FB Missed Ball Inside Low
29 FB Hit Foul Inside Middle
30 FB Missed Ball Outside Low
31 FB Missed Ball Outside Middle
32 FB Hit Foul Middle Inside
33 CV Missed Ball Low Outside Walk
34 FB Missed Ball Outside Low
35 FB Missed Foul Middle Low
36 FB Hit GB to SS Middle Inside Force out at 2B
37 FB Hit FB to LF Middle Inside Fly out to LF
38 FB Missed FB to CF Middle Outside Fly out to CF
39 FB Hit Swing K Low Outside 94 MPH
40 CH Missed Swing K Low Outside 85 MPH
41 CV Hit Foul Low Inside
42 CH Hit Swing K Low Outside Strikeout
43 FB Missed Ball Low Inside 95 MPH
44 CV Missed Ball Low Outside
45 FB Hit GB to CF Middle Middle Single to CF
46 FB Hit Ball Low Outside
47 FB Hit FB to LF Middle Inside Fly out to LF
48 CV Hit Foul Middle Low
49 CV Missed Swing K Low Outside
50 CV Hit Foul Middle Inside Broken bat
51 FB Hit Foul Middle Inside 95 MPH
52 CV Missed Ball Low Outside Stolen base on pitch
53 CV Hit GB to 3B Low Outside Throwing Error – Unearned Run
54 FB Missed Ball Low Inside
55 FB Missed GB to 1B Low Outside Ground out to 1B
56 FB Missed HBP Middle Inside Hit Batter
57 FB Missed Ball Middle High 92 MPH
58 FB Hit Called K Low Outside
59 FB Missed FB to LF Low Inside Fly out to LF
60 FB Missed Ball High Outside
61 FB Hit GB to SS Low Inside Ground out to SS
62 FB Hit Ball Middle Outside 94 MPH
63 FB Hit Foul Low Outside
64 CH Hit Called K Middle Outside
65 CV Hit Called K Low Outside Strikeout

Statistical Breakdown

Pitch Selection Strike Rate Ball Called K Swing K Foul In Play
Fastball 73% 60% 18 4 4 11 10
Curveball 22% 71% 4 3 3 3 1
Change up 5% 100% 0 1 2 0 0

Overall Impressions

Having watched this game twice now, once when it was happening and now when I went back to chart it, I have to admit that I am not really sure if Stephenson or Daniel Corcino is our best pitching prospect, but I really like the fact that I am unsure about it. With the amount of strikeouts and the few walks in Billings, I will admit that I was a bit surprised by the fastball control of Stephenson. Of the 48 fastballs that he threw, he missed the target on 23 of them. His stuff was simply overpowering though and it was close enough to the zone that guys weren’t able to do much to lay off anything close. His curveball is already a plus pitch with two plane break. He can locate it well already and has plenty of confidence to throw it inside, outside and in just about any count. While he didn’t throw the change up much, it was a good looking pitch with some fade/sink to it. Stephenson is still a bit more raw than you would think based on his numbers in Billings, at least he was in this outing, but his stuff is unquestionably the best of any pitcher in the Reds system right now and I am not sure that it is really that close. He admitted to overthrowing a bit early in the game due to his nervousness, so it will be interesting to see him again later this week in Dayton in person to see how he does in his second start at a new level. Overall he clearly has ace potential and a very special arm. Improving his fastball control could be a key for him though, but like most 19 year olds, that is something they all need to work on.

Video (not from the start above)

30 Responses

  1. The Duke

    That fastball is wicked. Nice downward plane, especially with that kind of velocity. I wish I could get out there Wednesday, but I doubt I can get free. He’s my top reds pitching prospect now, so much upside.

  2. Sultan of Swaff

    It goes without saying that you can miss your target when you throw in the upper 90s. Just ask Chapman, right? I would say as he grows into his body, the mechanics will be more consistent and the control will come.

    Question is, which timeline—Mat Latos or Homer Bailey?

  3. Dusty

    Celing wise he has to be the top prospect in the organization. I know Doug will disagree, but I think he is the only prospect in the oragnization with #1 starter potential.

    • The Duke

      I doubt he will disagree with that at all. The only reason it’s a tossup is that Corcino is 21 in AA with a track record approaching 400 IP and good stuff of his own. Corcino and Cingrani are in that 2-3 starter upside, but Stephenson could be an ace if he puts it all together.

    • CoachD178

      Based on pure stuff I don’t think anyone would disagree. But when a guy is that raw it’s hard to put him above guys like Corcino and Cingrani, who are older and a bit more proven.

      • Doug Gray

        It is a tough game to play, but I have more faith in Stephenson being a starter than Cingrani. Corcino makes it tougher because he has plenty of upside, is for sure a starter and is pretty polished for his age.

  4. rgslone

    Well, we all know that Stephenson or any other pitching prospect might not pan out (due to failure to develop further, injury, etc.). But you have to really give it up to the Reds scouting these days. I remember a time not too long ago when the Reds seemed like the most clueless organization in baseball when it came to scouting and developing pitching. I know there’s some luck involved, but it has to be a little more than that. So, what’s the difference – where does the credit lie?

    • The Duke

      Chris Buckley. I’d give that guy a lifetime contract.

    • Doug Gray

      It probably goes to a lot of people. First, you have to scout the right kind of guys. Avoid the good stuff, bad mechanics guys. Sometimes they work out, but they are at more risk. Then you have to also be willing to pay up for the right guys. That means paying $500,000 for a JC Sulbaran if your people tell you that he is worth it. That means signing a Robert Stephenson and the likes for over slot money if the scouting staff tell you they are worth it. Then you need to put the right coaches in the system who can help develop these guys. The Reds used to be known as an organization who would hire whoever would work the cheapest. That isn’t the case anymore. The front office staff, the owner, the GM, the coaches, the scouts, they all deserve the credit.

      • Greg

        I agree 100% with your statement! They may not have the most guys in the top 100 but over the last 3-5 years I would put that system up there with anybody in MLB. Not sure but I would think that the Reds would have to have the most home grown players on the 25 man roster. Plus look at some of the guys that they have that were traded for using home grown players. This team should be a model to all organizations in MLB.

  5. redsfannorth

    I love RS and his potential. He will be worth the wait at the MLB level.

    On the trade deadline front, what is the max you would give up for Pierre? Someone in the 8-13 prospect range? I would hope that our top prospects would be off limits in this type of deal. I would give up more for Pence.

    • Greg

      Cairo would be the only guy I would give up(just kidding). No way would they give that high of prospect right for Pierre. More like package the Reds got from Washington last year for Gomes, maybe mot even that much!

    • Sultan of Swaff

      I wouldn’t give anyone inside the top 20 for Pierre. He doesn’t bring anything to the table that Hamilton couldn’t do and do better. I mean really, Hamilton couldn’t put up a .637 OPS??

      • Doug Gray

        Pierre has a .719 OPS with a .346 OBP. I don’t think Hamilton could do that right now.

    • The Duke

      Probably just a mid level relief prospect or two. Guys like Drew Hayes, Kyle Mcmyne, maybe a low level starter with a little potential like Radhames Quezada. Players of that ilk.

      • redsfannorth

        I am not a big fan of Pierre and don’t like the trade idea to begin with. I am glad to hear the general thought is the cost would be minimal.

      • Doug Gray

        I am not a fan of Pierre either, but I am more not a fan of not having anyone on base for Votto. Dusty will at least bat Pierre in front of Votto and the guy can get on base.

      • BaBull

        Stephensons fastball is just filthy. Add a Soto changeup and he is Cy Young material hopefully. After much thought, he is untouchable.

      • Doug Gray

        Soto worked with him on the change. It looked pretty good the few times he threw it.

    • Doug Gray

      I doubt I would offer anyone inside the Top 15 for him.

  6. Tim

    Peter Gammons a few minutes ago said on MLB Network that the REDS have inquired on Jacoby Ellsbury!!

    • BaBull

      Ellsbury? I believe we passed over him in the draft awhile back. I think we took one Andrew ‘Stubby’ Stubbs instead. I could be mistaken, though.

      • Tim

        If Walt can sneak in and get him who wouldnt like that? Would u trade Hamilton for him??

        We drafted Bruce at 12 when boston took him at #23

      • Dusty

        He was drafted in 2005. We took Bruce that year.

  7. Scott from upstate NY

    I’m more in the stand pat camp, however, if the Reds are serious about Ellsbury I might loosen the prospect belt. Two obvious concerns though; has an injury history, and Red Sox fans tell me he definitely wants to test the free agent market when he is eligible. Sox would surely be looking for quality pitching in return.

    • RB

      Sounds like the Reds might make a move for Garza. I like it for the playoffs. I truely hope tonight was the last start for Cairo and his .144 avg.

      • Dusty

        Sounds like Overbay may take Cairo’s roster spot…