The Cincinnati Reds have optioned right handed pitcher Robert Stephenson to Triple-A Louisville. Taking his place on the roster will be right handed pitcher Jackson Stephens, who has played all season with the Louisville Bats. C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer was the first person to report the move.

Jackson Stephens was added to the 40-man roster last offseason to protect him from the Rule 5. He got out to a rough start in 2017 with the Bats, posting an ERA of 10.13 in his first three outings. However, he’s turned things around since then.

Over his next seven starts with Louisville he has thrown 38.0 innings with a 4.26 ERA, 12 walks and 26 strikeouts. He doesn’t seem like he will start any games in his call up, but is likely to fill out the long-man role that Robert Stephenson vacates with his being optioned. Stephens has gone at least 6.0 innings in six of his last seven starts, so he’s fully stretched out and capable to handling any long outings if needed.

Jackson Stephens was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 18th round of the 2012 draft. He’s worked his way up through the system, pitching at every stop along the way with the lone exception being in Billings. Stephens skipped that level and jumped from the Arizona Rookie League to join the Dayton Dragons in the Midwest League as a 19-year-old. When he takes the mound in the big leagues it will be his Major League debut.

Jackson Stephens Scouting Report

Jackson Stephens is a 4-pitch pitcher. He’ll work with a fastball in the 90-93 MPH range and touch 94-95 every so often. His main secondary offering is a big, slow curveball in the low-to-mid 70’s. It’s mostly an average offering, but can flash better at times. He tends to locate it well. He will also mix in a slider and a change up, both in the low 80’s.

What happens with Robert Stephenson?

For Robert Stephenson, it’s unknown at this point in time how he will be used in Louisville. There’s a chance he’s back up before he would be used and this is just a move to get someone in the Reds bullpen to fill innings in a long role if needed. However, as I wrote earlier today, a change of some kind needs to take place between the Reds and Robert Stephenson moving forward.

Zack Weiss activated

Right handed relief prospect Zack Weiss has been activated from the disabled list and will join the Daytona Tortugas according to Jamie Ramsey.

Zack Weiss was absolutely dominant the last season he was on the mound, blowing through the Double-A Southern League. However, he wound up missing all of the 2016 season and the first seven weeks of the 2017 season with an elbow injury. He would eventually have surgery to clean things up in his elbow, but did not have Tommy John surgery. His assignment to Daytona is likely a short-term move just as a bit of a “rehab” assignment for him to get back in the swing of things, and if he pitches well will likely be moved up quickly.

Mark Armstrong activated

Right handed pitcher Mark Armstrong has been activated from the disabled list and assigned to the Daytona Tortugas. He pitched well for the Dayton Dragons in 2015, posting a 3.20 ERA in 64.2 innings before injury cost him the rest of the year. He missed all of the 2016 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. I’ve been hearing some good things out of Arizona on the 22-year-old as he’s been working his way back.

Jose Lopez promoted to Pensacola

After making nine starts for the Daytona Tortugas to start the 2017 season, 23-year-old Jose Lopez has been promoted to Double-A Pensacola. The right hnader posted a 2.84 ERA in 50.2 innings pitched, allowing just three home runs, walking 14 batters and striking out 48.

Austin Ross promoted to Louisville

Austin Ross was outstanding in nine starts for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos through nine starts. He posted a 1.21 ERA in 59.2 innings with 21 walks (two intentional) and 44 strikeouts. The 28-year-old has only spent part of one season in Triple-A, in 2015 when he was in the Brewers organization.

5 Responses

  1. Steve

    Stephenson should be kept in the Louisville rotation to build his innings. Same with Reed. Cingrani and Garrett should be joining the Reds soon with Bailey possibly sometime soon after them. Disco and Finnegan wild cards this season. Hopefully Romano and Davis join Reed and Stephenson soon and they should make up 4 of the 5 starters in Louisville. Travieso hopefully back in the second half too.
    Praying for a healthier 2nd half of the season for the Reds organization.

  2. simon cowell

    Absolutely without a doubt the right move in who they sent down and who they sent up. You can’t blame the Reds for squat. Mismanagement? Oh Please save the indignation. Robert Stephenson is an employee on the Reds roster, they will use him as they see fit. It is up to the employee to learn, perform, and impress. Just like the rest of us he either puts up or shuts up.
    Now that He is back in AAA hopefully he will get the attention he so richly deserves. Stick to my recipe: require him to throw at lower velocity until his command is mastered. Once command is mastered slowly increase velocity until you lose control then back down until you find control again. Scrap pitches you can’t throw for strikes at 70 mph and learn a cutter.

  3. Steve

    Ross and Armstrong pitched well today with Lopez taking the mound tomorrow. Weiss did not see action. Louisville doesn’t have any starters available for tomorrow and may start relievers like Guillon and then Astin on the 1st before we see Stephenson make a start. Mahle lights out again today and should be on the move to Louisville soon. A few starters at AA, A+ and A pitching well this season and could be in line for promotions soon. A good problem to have with all the injuries in Cincinnati and Louisville this season.