Game Breakdown: Robert Stephenson

Season Stats

Tm W L ERA IP H HR BB SO BF WHIP K/BB
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)

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