Two prospect relievers are opening the eyes of Bryan Price this spring – at least according to his recent words to the media. Tanner Rainey hasn’t gotten any questions asked about him by the media this spring (though, maybe if Bryan Price would start listening to me on every podcast on the planet, he’d know that I’ve been pumping him up as a guy with a longshot, but a guy to absolutely watch because that stuff is insane), so he decided to talk about him and put out there what he was seeing. Here’s what Mark Sheldon of Reds.com reported from Price about Rainey:

“He’s a guy worth really watching closely,” Price said. “That’s a big arm, big slider. I think he’s going to be a good one. I volunteered that because I haven’t really spoken about him. He’s been very impressive in camp the way he’s handled himself.”

This spring has had a mix of good and bad thus far for Tanner Rainey. He’s made three appearances and thrown 3.1 innings with a 2.70 ERA. He’s allowed just two hits and he’s struck out six batters. All of those things fall into the good category. But, the right hander has also walked four batters, and that hasn’t been good. He’s only had half of a season above A-ball, and I’d expect him to return to Double-A to begin the 2018 season. But, don’t be surprised if he reaches the Majors later in the year.

Jimmy Herget has also been a name out there this spring among the non-40-man roster guys. Mark Sheldon also wrote about him this week for Reds.com. Herget, like Rainey, has had a little bit of the good and the bad going on this spring. He’s made three appearances and thrown 3.0 innings without allowing an earned run. But, he’s been charged with three unearned runs, allowed a home run and walked three batters with two strikeouts. The performance, however, isn’t what is worth noting. It’s that the Reds are having him work on his change up in order to give him a better look against left handed hitters.

We’re really trying to focus on his effectiveness against left-handed hitters, which to me makes him more Major League valuable for us, as opposed to simply a right-on-right situational reliever,” Price said. “He’s working hard on it, cross-firing the fastball inside and being able to come more over the top as opposed to trying to do it from the side. The lower arm slot to lefties, unless you’re extremely acute with command, I think is typically easier to handle.”

Looking back at the 2017 Minor League season, Jimmy Herget dominated right handers. They hit .220/.278/.293 with 12 walks and 49 strikeouts against him. Lefties, however, performed much better. They hit .238/.319/.425 with nine walks and 23 strikeouts against him on the season. In Triple-A, lefties hit .304 against him and his ERA against them was 6.94 – granted we are talking about just 11.2 innings. Improving against lefties would be huge, and as noted by Price, would allow him to be used in a more traditional role than just as a guy who should be facing only right handers.

Big day for Robert Stephenson

While the Reds aren’t saying it, and maybe they aren’t even thinking it, from 2800 miles away and sitting in Cincinnati, today feels like a big day for Robert Stephenson. He’s scheduled to pitch today after Luis Castillo. Stephenson is battling for the #5 spot in the rotation with four others.

Sal Romano has posted a 4.50 ERA in 8.0 innings with a walk and eight strikeouts. Tyler Mahle has a 4.05 ERA in 6.2 innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. Both are performing at the level of expectation. They aren’t showing anything that would leave you concerned based on any sort of past issues. Michael Lorenzen has an ERA of 14.73 in 3.2 innings – he ran into problems the last time out. And then there’s Amir Garrett. He finally looked human on the mound yesterday, but he’s thrown 7.0 innings with a 2.57 ERA, two walks and 11 strikeouts. His stuff has been dramatically better this spring than it was at any point last year while battling an injury.

For Robert Stephenson, he’s thrown 3.0 innings and has an ERA of 15.00. It’s just three innings over two appearances. Small sample size alerts abound – but it’s spring training and every sample is going to be small. He’s struck out five batters, which is good. But he’s also walked four batters – and that’s a problem. And it’s the walks that have been the issue for Stephenson for the last several years. With others performing well, it could be a big day for him to put a good appearance under his belt and throw plenty of strikes. If he struggles to throw strikes again later today, the possible starter innings could begin drying up. There are only so many to go around, and with 8-9 guys vying for those innings as starers, decisions will be made soon enough to dwindle that number down some.

DALTON AND GREEN IN 2018 T SHIRT

9 Responses

  1. IndyRedsFan

    On two somewhat related topics…

    1) has anyone heard what Lorenzen did in the B game the other day?. I’m surprised that none of Fay, Rosecrans or Sheldon had anything on it.

    2) I’m also surprised that Brandon Dixon hasn’t gotten any looks (at least that I’m aware of) at 2b. Unless I missed something, I believe all of his appearances have been at 1st, 3rd or corner OF.

    • Doug Gray

      Trent wasn’t in Arizona – he took a week off to come back home and see the family. Yet, somehow, he had the most to report on the start despite the others literally being able to go watch it. Here’s what he tweeted – “i was in the air at that time. i know shed said he had 3 hits. lorenzen had 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 28 pitches, 21 strikes”

  2. The Duke

    I’ve been as big a believer in Bob Steve as anybody, but I think you’re right. He need to show some control today. Keep him as a starter until the options are gone, but in a battle for a starting spot, he’s not exactly standing out (at least not in a good way).

  3. Michael W.

    Hey, how was Amir’s velocity in his last start? Still 94-98?

  4. Mk

    I think the Reds should make a run at Arrieta to get some innings out of him and then flip him at the deadline for cash and prospects.

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t write off this idea on face value – it depends on what it would take, money and years wise. The risk that you would be taking is that he one, stays healthy – because if not, you’re stuck with him, and two, he keeps performing, because if he doesn’t, you’re stuck with him.

  5. Justin

    Doug, which players have minor league options left on the 40 man?

    • Andrew

      Not Doug – but I think all of them except D Herrera.

  6. William Kubas

    “Two prospect relievers are opening the eyes of Bryan Price this spring – at least according to his recent words to the media. Tanner Rainey hasn’t gotten any questions asked about him by the media this spring (though, maybe if Bryan Price would start listening to me on every podcast on the planet, he’d know that I’ve been pumping him up as a guy with a longshot, but a guy to absolutely watch because that stuff is insane), so he decided to talk about him and put out there what he was seeing. Here’s what Mark Sheldon of Reds.com reported from Price about Rainey:

    “He’s a guy worth really watching closely,” Price said. “That’s a big arm, big slider. I think he’s going to be a good one. I volunteered that because I haven’t really spoken about him. He’s been very impressive in camp the way he’s handled himself.”

    This spring has had a mix of good and bad thus far for Tanner Rainey. He’s made three appearances and thrown 3.1 innings with a 2.70 ERA. He’s allowed just two hits and he’s struck out six batters. All of those things fall into the good category. But, the right hander has also walked four batters, and that hasn’t been good. He’s only had half of a season above A-ball, and I’d expect him to return to Double-A to begin the 2018 season. But, don’t be surprised if he reaches the Majors later in the year.”

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