Robert Stephenson strikes out 12; other Reds notes Doug Gray July 6, 2018 50 Comments Robert Stephenson was absolutely dominant on Thursday night for the Louisville Bats. The right-handed pitcher threw 6.0 shutout innings against Indianapolis on the road. He allowed two hits – though if I were the official scorer it would have only been one hit on the night. Stephenson walked one batter and he struck out 12, throwing 96 pitches on the night. Everything was working for Robert Stephenson on the night. His fastball was being located on the night, while working in the 92-94 MPH range. But it was his secondary stuff that really stood out. He was able to locate and put hitters away with everything on the night. In total he had 19 swinging strikes during the game. On the season, Robert Stephenson has a 3.35 ERA for the Bats. In 16 starts he’s thrown 86.0 innings and allowed 64 hits, 11 home runs, 45 walks, and he has 109 strikeouts. The walks are still higher than you would like to see. With that said, his walk rate since the start of May has been better – with a 3.89 walks per 9-innings in 64.2 innings. In that span he’s also struck out 89 batters, good for a rate of 12.29 per 9-innings. Phillip Ervin homers, keeps on raking It’s been a big series for Phillip Ervin against Indianapolis. The two teams have split the last four games into a home-and-home set of two games each. Ervin has gone 5-13 with a triple and a home run. Last night he crushed a Mitch Keller fastball to put the Bats on the board in the 1st inning. http://redsminorleagues.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Ervin-Homer.mp4 Since June 19th, Phillip Ervin has been tearing the cover off of the baseball. He’s hitting .417/.482/.688 for the Louisville Bats. In that span he’s raised his OPS on the year in Triple-A from .655 to .815. Keury Mella promoted to Triple-A While this happened yesterday, the move itself wasn’t announced until nearly game time. The Cincinnati Reds promoted right-handed pitcher Keury Mella to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. Things had gone well for Mella in his time in Pensacola this year. He posted a 3.07 ERA for the Blue Wahoos in 85.0 innings across 16 starts. He allowed 70 hits, walked 31 batters, and he struck out 87. This won’t be his first time in Triple-A. Mella made a spot start to end the regular season in 2016 with the Bats, tossing 7.0 innings with just one earned run. 50 Responses Ryan July 6, 2018 The trade deadline is shaping up very well so far for the Redlegs. Harvey and Scooter are playing well, as are their logical replacements. The Orioles supposedly want to deal Machado sooner than later, hopefully true. Scooter will be a nice consolation prize for teams that don’t land Machado and it would be nice if the Reds weren’t forced up against the deadline, time to find the right deal. Harvey,I think you hold onto right up to the deadline. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but I believe he’s turned a corner. He is no longer Batman, but The Phoenix. Reviving his career a little more every time he takes the mound. 4 more good/great starts and teams will be lining up for his services, that’ll cost Major League minimum. I still like Romano but he needs an adjustment with his command. AAA for him until Harvey is gone would be ideal, I just dont know if you burn an option for just a couple weeks. Stephenson may force the Reds hand. Competition is a good thing. Joe July 6, 2018 Its been long sometimes rough ride but I been on the bob Steve hype train since the day it left the station man I hope these past few starts is him busting th ceiling n not looking back cuz he definitely has IT to be a stud redlegs4ever July 6, 2018 This has to be the last start for Stephenson in AAA right? Maybe?? Be different if the Reds had the 95 Braves rotation but even they would be thinking about Kent Mercker coming up with a “sore shoulder” at this point. #FreeBobSteve Colt Holt July 6, 2018 Looking at the trades proposed yesterday, I must be alone in this, but I fully expect the reds window to open next year. Scooter won’t bring squat back, you hang onto him. Harvey is the only guy that makes sense to flip for prospects. Hernandez and Hughes may only be under control for one more year, but they need to be competing with the reds for the playoffs. Bullpen has been a joke. Not this year. The only moves made (minus Harvey) should make this team better, not worse. Jim t July 6, 2018 Absolutely agree with you Colt. If we make a deal other then Harvey it needs to be a front line established starting pitcher. Unless I am completely overwhelmed by a offer for Scooter or Iggy I stand pat and wait to see how the off season market unfolds. Bill July 6, 2018 I think you’re exactly right. Harvey is the only player the Reds must trade. However, there will likely be demand for Hughes, Hernandez and Gennett among contending teams and all are at peak value right now. If the Reds can get solid value in return, I think they have to make those trades. That said, there is no pressure to move anyone but Harvey. Tampa Red July 6, 2018 Again, NO ONE should be untouchable, but the Reds have one guy scheduled to be a FA next year and that’s Harvey. That’s the only player they should be actively trying to trade. Trading Gennett doesnt make the Reds a better team in 2019 and probably not 2020, no matter who they get in return. Why not keep him and move him or Senzel to OF. I know Senzel is considered to be a better fielder than Gennett, but even with that, I still don’t think we should be ruling out moving Senzel to OF. Kris Bryant played a lot of outfield when he first came up. Ian Happ, same thing. I’m sure there any number of guys who’ve done the same thing, those two are just off the top of my head. An OF of Senzel-Schebler-Winker w Hamilton and/or Duvall double switching in and out of games is a high quality, highly productive outfield. Added to an IF of Votto-Gennett-Peraza-Suarez. Keep the bullpen largely intact and add 1-2 starters someway, whether it’s from trading prospect depth or FA, and the Reds can compete for the Central next season. Or we could keep stressing over that 2022 lineup….. The Duke July 6, 2018 I’d call Suarez essentially untouchable. If the Angels want to do a Suarez / Trout swap, I’d listen, but I’m not holding my breath on that one. Alex July 6, 2018 If we don’t trade gennet. Dilson Herrera needs to be traded then. The Duke July 6, 2018 I tend to agree that Harvey is the only one the is a must trade. If the value isn’t there, we don’t have to force a deal. It’s nice having a good bullpen. I don’t think finishing over .500 is an unachievable goal for this year, and it would really boost the teams confidence going into next year. If they can get Bob Steve straightened out and producing like he was the last 8 weeks of 2017 and commit and sign an arm like Keuchel, they are legitimate contenders next year. Losing Scooter in Free Agency and only getting a compensatory pick isn’t the worst plan in the world if we are actually competitive in 2019. Ghettotrout1 July 6, 2018 I agree with basically everyone under Colts comment. I really like Scooter and was a big believer in him going into the season. I would love to trade him and get a top 10 prospect in the game but that would be fantasy land. I don’t think we would get a good enough return to make it worth it he is young enough 28 that a 3 or 4 year deal won’t be insane and like everyone else said we won’t get better trading him in the next year or 2 and I’m ready to see some competitive baseball. Tampa Red July 6, 2018 Totally, absolutely 100% agree with all of that. Baileys contract will be off the books after next season. Time for ownership to step up, maybe go a little over budget in 2019. Time to stop dumping everyone and go for it next year. Cameron July 6, 2018 Hughes’ contract has an option year. If the Reds exercise it, they will control him through 2020. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hugheja02.shtml MikeD July 6, 2018 I have become a huge Scooter fan and would love to see him stay with the Reds long term. That said, the Reds have a logjam that is only going to get greater. They need to maximize opportunity and if that means moving Scooter, now, I believe that would be the smart move. I get that prospects are just that, but Senzel is going to be ready next season to play and unless there is a plan to move one of them to the outfield, the Reds need to be opportunistic and add talent. If they cannot get value, then I guess they have to decide what makes sense. I hope that behind close doors they have a blueprint that clearly shows what they see as their 2019 lineup. I also believe they have a few options for replacing Iggy and again, if they can add talent, they need to consider it. If they cannot get the value that the Yankees received with Chapman, don’t make the trade. This team is on the rise and if they continue to stock pile talent, they will be very good for many years, not just a quick window. RedsinWashst July 6, 2018 The Reds have been at this point in the past. They have kept players to long and then everyone screams. Injury’s and declining performance happens. Some players are as high as they are going to be. Scooter, Iggy, Duvall, Hamilton. Lets not make the same mistake again. MK July 6, 2018 A value for hapman that people forget is that there were people who bought tickets in hopes of seeing him pitch and have triple digits show up on scoreboard. Don’t think people come to just see Igggy, Kong July 6, 2018 Don’t expect Didk Williams to make a deal that provides any value to the Reds chances of winning anything. Aunt Phyllis July 6, 2018 Zing! Wes July 6, 2018 Yeah like when he extended Suarez and tucker to that terrible deals. Or signed those washed up bums Hernandez and Hughes. Or claimed scooter off waivers. Or signed india under value so they could sign siani and others. His whole body of work is a complete sham ! Or maybe kong, you just like to seek out negative attention based on a bias opinion without fact but erratic emotion. Joe July 6, 2018 I think th floro deal was perfect as well u never stop trying to get better even when the rebuild is “over” u still keep Flipping nothing into something. I know the front office has had there bad moments but I think their doing a good job with their resources they have unlike the big teams if they mess up a trade or draft the wrong guy they can cover it up with money n buy another. And every front office in mlb has had thr fair share of mistakes. it’s just magnified for the reds cuz it’s all we do is live and breathe reds so we c every little move they make and don’t havvtime to catch all the others little mistakes Ghettotrout1 July 6, 2018 I have to agree with Wes on this one. You also forgot the Castillo/Straily swap. I think some people just want to complain. Honestly how the Reds have played since removing Ding Bat Price from the helm is how I thought they would play for the whole season. I think this team is a lot closer to competing than people believe especially the national guys. Wes July 6, 2018 And most importantly, dw deserves no credit for the 15-6 run reds are on. He’s too incompetent to have anything to do with putting together this roster. Wes July 6, 2018 Oh I got another. He drafted hunter Greene who’s on pace to go into next season as the #2 prospect in all of baseball. Make sure u don’t give him credit for that either. AMDG July 6, 2018 Wes, I think Kong was talking about a trade, since a majority of the comments before his were involving trades with Harvey and Scooter. Bringing up draft picks and contract extensions has no bearing in a comment involving trades. Involving trades, the Reds have done a solid job getting good value when trading away lower tier players (a la the trades for Suarez & Castillo). But the Reds have done a poor job getting value when trading away their top players (Chapman, Cueto, Frazier, Bruce, etc…) If that track record holds, they should get a good player for Harvey, and a dud for Gennett. Wes July 6, 2018 Nice try 3rd version of kong. I’ll keep going though and pretend like u r a different person. DW doesn’t have anything to do with trades made before his time and to hold him accountable for that is rediculous. WAY more important- he can’t control the current market. If Machado can’t bring back a top 10/25/50 prospect- then how can u set the bar that high for iggy or scooter? If yelich Stanton Ozuna mccuthen Cole can’t bring back top tier prospects- how can u fault DW for not getting a great return for scooter or iggy?!? Only way is by twisting reality in your head to fit a narrative that you came up with AirborneJayJay July 6, 2018 Wes, if DW was so great, how come he couldn’t hold onto the GM job? He held 2 titles of GM and POBO, but he couldn’t handle it. If DW is so great, how did he get nothing for Cozart and just rode it out to free agency? He got 2 bum shoulders for Jay Bruce as one of those bum shoulders got released yesterday and the other got bounced from the 40-man roster. And Wes, tell us all about what DW got for Aroldis Chapman? How are those 4 “prospects” helping the Reds? Tell us how that Johnny Cueto deal is looking now? Three LHers and not a one on the 25 man roster helping the Reds win. How did all those resources Williams poured into a presentation for Ohtani work out? Wes tell us how that $17MM spent on 2 Cuban SS’s that will never see the light of MLB work out? It only propelled the Reds to a 2 year penalty phase in IFA they are currently in the middle of. It severely hampered any good IFA signing during this 2 year period while the Reds had a large pool of IFA money to spend. Williams is OK at getting the low hanging fruit. But when it comes time for something bold, Dick Williams is no where to be found. Except to be found huddling with Walt Jocketty taking notes. Dick Williams at best is a second rate GM and now POBO. There is not one baseball fan in existence anywhere in the world saying, “Boy I wish we had Dick Williams leading our front office.” Doug Gray July 6, 2018 If Theo Epstein was so great why couldn’t he hold onto the GM job? Stock July 6, 2018 I am on board with the Frazier trade now. Schebler and Peraza are a huge part of this current run. I hope they lock up Peraza long term ala Suarez this winter. The Jury is still out on the Bruce trade. Agree that it is not looking good at this point but there is still time. The Chapman trade is all on Bob and if you want to blame a GM then Walt and not DW. AirborneJayJay July 6, 2018 Epstein is in a very large market. Williams is in a very small market. The Cubs were going through a huge makeover of their stadium as well as their roster. Comparing apples to onions here. Not even close to same situations. I am not seeing the Stadium upgrades that Wrigley went through at GABP unless you want to talk about the Beer Garden. Wow, that was some project. With all that was going on in Chicago, I can see splitting the duties. I don’t think the Reds need a POBO and a GM with what the Reds have on their plate as compared to the Cubs. The Reds POBO and new GM still have training wheels on. I don’t see that in Chicago, not even from the start. Theo and Jed don’t have to run over to an overlord like Walt Jocketty to get every single move signed off on. Williams cannot take a dump without a plan and an approval by Jocketty. The Cubs brought in baseball people to run the front office, not friends and family. I don’t see any Ricketts in the Cubs front office in key positions, do you? Doug Gray July 6, 2018 My point was that the question posed was silly. Dick Williams has a position HIGHER than GM in the organization, and you posed the question about why he didn’t keep the lower position. The Duke July 6, 2018 A Peraza extension isn’t the craziest thing in the world. He likely isn’t that expensive to get a Suarez like deal right now (and probably for a solid bit less than Suarez) and do the Reds really have anything else even remotely close in the pipeline at SS? Not really imo. Wes July 6, 2018 I actually don’t think Dick Williams is all that great but he can be. he deserves credit when it’s due and critisism when it’s just. Where it isn’t just is blaming him for all those trades before his tenure. That’s twisting reality in your head to fit an agenda. He has nothing to do with that! There’s 10 moves he’s made that I don’t agree with but 8 of em involve 45 grade players so why complain about it ? It has no impact on the future. Retaining price and not going after girardi was terrible and bobsteve has been arguably the best pitcher in organization and should be in cincy. His tenure, his call- critisism is just. To blame him for other teams not having a need at short stop at last years trade deadline or expecting him to get 5x market value this year is distorting truth to fit your agenda. Rick July 6, 2018 Wes, Exactly Rick Mark July 6, 2018 Agreed wes on all points. I think this teams needs to somehow get a deal done for Kyle tucker j b boukaskas for iggy schebler genett outfielders in 19 Winker lf Siri cf and tucker rf Colt Holt July 6, 2018 Do you think that the Reds can compete in 2019 with a trade like that? Seems pretty dangerous to attempt to compete with that outfield, and Iglesias is a huge hole to fill in the back of the bullpen. Colorado Red July 6, 2018 Could move Amir to the closer role. Step down, but only if we get a real haul for Iggy. The Duke July 6, 2018 I’d feel great about Winker and Tucker in the corners. I don’t see Siri up with the Reds anytime in 2019 though. Colorado Red July 6, 2018 Reds call up Dilson Herrera. Can only play 2B, what to do with Scooter. Champ Summers July 6, 2018 I’m sure he’s up to give him a taste and because they couldn’t recall Dixon right away. Floro opened up a spot on the 40 and they had to get him back on before the end of the year anyway. Maybe he gets a start or 2. Scooter seems to get more rest than any other NL batting leader I’ve seen. This is likely a short term addition as a bench bat and reward for his smoking hotness in AAA. Champ Summers July 6, 2018 oops except that I forgot Herrera has no options so nix what I just said Doug Gray July 6, 2018 Not to give him a taste. Herrera can’t be sent back to the minors. RedsinWashst July 6, 2018 Interesting point, Herrera needs to stay. I wonder if something big is happening trade wise. Mark July 6, 2018 Colorado yes I was thinking Amir as the Closer next year as well if you trade Iggy. I would try and keep Hughes and Hernandez unless Hernandez is a piece in a big deadline deal coming up. I would prefer to keep Hughes. The guys at AAA have just got to get up here and pitch and learn and get the bugs out before next year. We need Rainey and Herget to come thru and pitch like they have up to this point in the minors. You have Finnegan and Reed as bullpen options if you trade Hernandez or Hughes. I was not 100% sold on the SIRI in CF but you would think the Reds might do something in CF before next year right? I think with Dixon he is being replaced by Herrera the brass was getting tired of Dixon striking out and in general not making good contact in PH situations so they are going to try Herrera. I like the young arm James Mariman they received from the Dodgers, serious potential there from what I have seen and read about him. AirborneJayJay July 6, 2018 RStephenson has earned a promotion. Time to get him up to Cincinnati. He should have been called up before Herrera was. Doug’s new top-25 comes out this weekend and on Monday too. Looking for Senzel, Trammell, Greene, Santillan, and India to lead the way. The next five are probably set too, but the order could differ some. Those five should be TStephenson, Long, Fairchild, Downs, and Josiah Gray. The 11-15 group is probably Siri, Vlad Gutierrez, Clemintina, Siani, and Packy Naughton. The 16-25 groups will have a lot of new names in there. It will be interesting to see how they shake out. Clammy July 6, 2018 I agree one of the 2b have to be traded, if not by the deadline, in the off season; whether it’s Scooter, Herrera or Shed Long. The last two would be attractive to any team in a rebuild or a couple years away. I hope Herrera gets more than 5 AB’s a week. Playing in Cleveland for three games next week should help. Scooter could DH on of those games. Stock July 6, 2018 Trade #1 Gennett, Hernandez and Duvall to Cleveland. Cleveland is clearly in their window and have gaping holes at 2B and LF. Also could use another RP Tristan McKenzie – Any trade the Reds make they need to supplement their SP. This does that Willi Castro (SS) – With Chang and Lindor in the system clearly Castro is excess. With the Reds he becomes our top SS prospect. Nolan Jones (3B) – 2nd round pick in 2016 is still a long way to go but is 19 and playing well in A ball. Tyler Freeman (SS) – probably a 2B long term. Never K’s and just turned 19. George Valera (OF) – signed 1.3 million bonus and is doing well (13.6% BB rate, 13.6% K rate, a .222 ISO and a .965 OPS) in a very small sample size in rookie ball. The fact that he is 17 and playing in the USA speaks volumes. Is the player I want from this group the most aside from McKenzie. This trade does not hurt our team much offensively in 2019. Replace Gennett with Senzel and go. It gives us a ML ready SP to give Santillan more time. Maybe Gutierrez has flipped the switch and he could be ready. Same with Stephenson. SP 2019: Disco, Mahle, Castillo, Stephenson and McKenzie. If Houston wants to trade Whitley I do that in a heart beat. Castillo becomes our closer. Castillo may be a better closer than Iggy. Whitley is a better SP than Castillo. Whitley replaces Castillo in the rotation. The Duke July 6, 2018 If Cleveland would do that trade, I’d be on board. I don’t think McKenzie is ready opening day 2019 though. He still needs more experience and ideally adds some muscle, the dude is crazy thin. Jbrat22 July 6, 2018 I like the sentiment here, but there’s no way the Reds get two top-100 prospects for Scooter, Duvall, and Hernandez. The package you proposed Is composed of 5 of their top 13 prospects. That effectively guys their system, not to mention it would add a good chunk of $ this year and about $13 million next year to their payroll. Since I like playing the trade package game, I think a more realistic trade package might be something like Iglesias and Duvall for Bieber, Jones and Chang, and I still don’t think the Indians would mortgage their future like that. Tom July 6, 2018 Reds stacking up some nice talent in the minors. Robert’s still having to wait. Don’t get stressed out people! Stack up the talent – always. Use options. Overcook prospects a little. They will be mature, confident, slightly angry, and ready to compete. Keep trading the vets and acquiring the young players. Hernandez, Hughes, Scooter and Harvey are the quintessential vet trade candidates. They are all performing well, not signed long term, and all have very viable replacements coming up. It the trade partner needs two of these vets and can offer a better young prospect, that is good. Patience with Stephenson and Ervin and Dixon and Blandino and Herrera and Rainey and Mella and Suarez and Schebler and Peraza and Reed and Finnegan and Bailey and many many others has, or will, likely pay off now – and in the future. Winning teams don’t have room to develop players in the majors. You get ready in AAA, even if it takes 2-3 years to break in. Think of 2019, with all the talent this year that is in A+ and AA then moving up to AA and AAA. It will be a little crowded. All the talent that is this year in AA and AAA either continuing to improve in AA and AAA or helping the Reds. All the 2017 and 2018 draft talent in Rookie ball or A ball this year will be knocking on A+ or even AA. 2019’s draft class will conclude a 5 year cycle of drafting early, which, when you think of it, makes for a completely loaded system. But that can’t be the end. You can’t abandon this advantage by selling prospects in 2019 or 2020 in favor of an ace or that one magical piece like Choo. You can’t abandon this advantage by not selling vets to acquire great young talent. Even during winning seasons. In 2019 the Reds may be in 2nd place a year from today with fresh bodies for the stretch. Every year after that for 5 years should have some more young draft talent coming up to replace vets who with 1-2 years of control are traded for more prospects. Always fresh players. When the winning starts again, it is essential you have young talent coming back in trades to supplement the hit or miss drafts that will occur – like 2011-2014. If you never trade prospects, and even make even the most mature ones like Senzel wait their turn and burn options if they are blocked, your major league club should always have great talent for over a decade. That should be the fruit of waiting 6 years to win again after just a short 4 year run in 2010-2013. Winning for 10 years is something that Cincinnati should be able to experience if they’ve drafted well during this historically bad stretch, saved money, increased TV revenue, implemented modern stats and coaching, signed the right vets, added key free agents, succeeded internationally, etc. 2014-2018 have been too expensive on the morale and the attendance and the talent and all the opportunity costs associated with tanking to at any point begin trading prospects for rentals. Let the rich market’s spend that because the Reds will never be able to sustain it. RedsinWashst July 6, 2018 Very nice points Tom.