Robert Stephenson strikes out a career high 13 Doug Gray August 4, 2018 34 Comments Robert Stephenson was dominant on Friday night for the Louisville Bats. The Cincinnati Reds Triple-A affiliate was on the road and taking on the Columbus Clippers and it wouldn’t be a good night for the Indians affiliate. Stephenson allowed just one hit, a single to Yandy Diaz, in 6.0 innings. He would walk three batters and he had a career best 13 strikeouts on the night. In total the righty threw 88 pitches with 57 strikes on the night. It was just another step forward for Robert Stephenson, who lowered his ERA to 2.87 on the season with the Bats. In 113.0 innings this year he’s allowed just 74 hits, walked 57, and he’s now struck out 135 batters. Opponents are hitting just .184 against him this season through 20 starts. Inconsistency with control is still something that pops up every so often, but Robert Stephenson is putting together an outstanding year for the Bats. At this point it’s tough to figure out what is left for him to do in Triple-A. The 25-year-old will be out of options following this season, and in a season at the big league level that means nothing other than some good feelings, it would make a lot of sense to get him into the big league rotation and see what happens for the remaining eight weeks of the year. Rylan Thomas keeps on keepin’ on Friday night was more of the same for Rylan Thomas in Greeneville. The Reds first baseman went 2-4 with a walk, two doubles, a run scored, and he had three RBI. That gives him nine doubles and nine home runs on the season in 32 games played. The power has been incredible since the Greeneville Reds season began. He’s slugging .667 on the year. But he’s not just hitting for power. He’s also hitting .303 with more walks, 30, than strikeouts, 24. His on-base percentage is .466. That gives him an OPS of 1.132 on the year. 34 Responses redlegs4ever August 4, 2018 #FreeBobSteve Also, aren’t the Clippers the Indians AAA affiliate now? Doug Gray August 4, 2018 Sure is. Thanks for the heads up… Not sure what I was thinking. redlegs4ever August 4, 2018 No problem man, I do stuff like that all the time. I haven’t gotten use to Las Vegas not being the Dodgers anymore and I still call the xfinity series the busch series lol. Norwood Nate August 4, 2018 Pretty pitch efficient for 13 strike outs as well. Stephenson has gotten to the point where he’s pretty much unhittable in AAA. He’s allowed 4 hits in his last three starts spanning 20 IP. Come on Reds, get this guy in Cincinnati! Redsvol August 4, 2018 Doug and all – I’m sure Stephenson will get another chance but overall our starting pitching is awful. What about us going after one of the better free agent pitchers for 2019? I like the stats for Happ, Corbin, Gonzales, and Lynn. Seems like all could be had for a contract in the 12-15$MM range. DW has to do something to stabilize this rotation and counting on better years from the current crop aint gonna get it done. Heck, even Harvey’s numbers aren’t that much worse than Lance Lynn once he got to Cincinnati. I wouldn’t mind seeing him back at all. Need 2-3 veterans and 2 youngsters in the rotation – just rotate the rooks out until one of them figures it out. Mahle and Romano had extended looks, we know what they are now. Bill August 4, 2018 I’m not sure we really know what we have in Mahle or Romano. He was our best and most consistent pitcher for three months and then dropped into the abyss in July. Romano has been mostly on a positive trajectory with May being his poor month. His numbers from June forward have been much improved. Young pitchers are typically inconsistent. The Reds have 13 pitchers currently being used as starters on their 40-man roster including 3 veterans: 1. Bailey … I can think of 28 million reasons in addition to his post DL performance to expect him back next year. 2. DeSclafani … he’ll get a modest raise in his second arbitration year, but his performance must improve to retain his slot. 3. Harvey … free agent Three young pitchers with inconsistent results in the majors: 4. Castillo … strongest lately, with ace potential…he’ll be back and starting for his third year in the majors next year. 5. Mahle … just used his first option yesterday 6. Romano … has an option left Ready in Louisville: 7. Stephenson…dominating at AAA w/ front of the rotation potential. He’s out of options next year; expect him to start in the rotation. 8. Sims … has an option next year 9. Reed … the only LHP in the bunch; he has an option next year. 10. Wiser … out of options, perhaps to the bullpen next year as a multi-inning reliever. 11. Mella … would benefit from more time at AAA, but is pushing his way into the conversation Minors, but long shots 12. Lopez…clearly behind the others from a pitch quality perspective, but has pitched well at times. I don’t think he’s in the conversation right now. 13. Davis…injured and likely DFA candidate this offseason when the Reds have to reinstate him from the 60-day DL. In summary, the Reds have 9-10 internal options for the rotation thus far with 3 very likely already penciled in. More than a free agent, we need to get ML starts for Sims, Reed and Stephenson and continue our evaluation of our internal options. Fish August 4, 2018 Agree with this, the year to bring in a high priced veteran is likely 2020 or 2021, they need to see who their internal keepers are, maybe trade for a stud and sign a free agent. I think the previous model was done right, Bailey & cueto were developed internally, Latos was traded for, leake was a fast riser. I think romano is a bullpen arm long term, possibly a setup guy, I see Mahle in AAA for the rest of the year to get an extra year of control, I’d love to see Reed & Stephenson in the rotation after they trade harvey so we can see if they can get major leaguers out. RedsKoolAidDrinker August 4, 2018 Maybe I’m judging it wrong, but it looks like Rylan Thomas has some wheels. Does he play anything other than 1B? Redsvol August 4, 2018 RKD – I saw him play couple games so far. He definitely has some speed. I would say he is miscast currently. He isn’t tall enough to play 1st and is quite thick. My guess is he moves to left field. Mike August 4, 2018 Agreed. Rylan is built like Matt Stairs. First and left field will be his calling card. RedsKoolAidDrinker August 4, 2018 Thank you. Glad to hear it from someone who’s seen him in-person. Jim t August 4, 2018 As A reds fan I am very excited about the next 2 years. A good portion of our future should be arriving. Senzel, Winker, Siri,Trammel and Tyler Stephenson from the position side of things. Some arms as well, Stephenson and Reed look to have got things figured out with Santilan not far behind them. Brad August 4, 2018 I’m curious why the Reds, knowing game was cancelled well before start time, didn’t have Robert Stephenson skip last night’s start and use him as 26th player today to start 1 of the 2 games. Or if plan is for him to start Wednesday in New York. Stock August 4, 2018 Just a typical day in Redsland. Rylan Thomas has another good game. A SP in Louisville who should be in the majors dominates in Louisville. Claudio Finol takes advantage of the playing time created by the departure of India in Greeneville. Randy Ventura gets on base via a BB, hit or both. Bromleyjake August 4, 2018 Doug, Correct if wrong, but wasn’t the hangup on Stephenson when he was first called up that he really hadn’t dominated any level above A-ball? No season with a sub 3.6 ERA. Does his recent performance indicate a big step in his development or just an aging prospect dominating younger players? Doug Gray August 4, 2018 Anyone who said he hadn’t really dominated above A-ball wasn’t paying attention. If the premise was he had never had a full season of dominance, sure. But Robert Stephenson destroyed Double-A for 5 weeks before he was promoted to Triple-A a few years ago to the tune of a 1.87 ERA in his final 43.1 innings that saw him allow 21 hits, walk 14 batters, and strike out 54. Stephenson is still younger than the league average player in Triple-A. Lots of older guys in that league, so he’s certainly not out there dominating only younger players. Kap August 4, 2018 54 walks and 113 innings. Just remember that major league players are a lot more patient than triple A player’s. I’m hoping that he’s done enough to rebuild his trade value and another team is sold on him Stock August 4, 2018 I am hoping he has turned the corner and can be a #2 SP while in a Reds uniform. Alex Reds August 4, 2018 I’d rather keep him. Our biggest need by far is a starter. We finally have one that looks to develop at AAA and instead you suggest we should trade him? You may be correct on the value but you won’t get a better starter back for him. I’d take the chance and let him prove it out in the majors. If he develops, he’s worth a ton more, and can be kept to lead us to the playoffs. I would keep Reed too. Don’t trade off extra starters until you have more than 6 proven ones. I’d argue we have none. Kap August 4, 2018 It would be quite a gamble to bring him up and him struggling with control once again. With him almost out of options, the reds are risking not getting value at all from him Doug Gray August 4, 2018 It’s also quite the gamble to not put him in the Majors and risk getting next to nothing for him because other teams know what you know: He can get guys in Triple-A out, but we don’t know if he can get out big leaguers. And then you go into the spring not having any information at all to answer that question. Alex Reds August 4, 2018 Crazy to say this, but I’d rather have Bailey than Cueto moving forward. I wouldn’t trade Bailey for Cueto. Everybody has been bashing Reds for signing the wrong player. Turns out neither should have been signed. Moving forward, Bailey is a better asset than Cueto – although no team would trade for either without salary relief coming back. redlegs4ever August 4, 2018 I don’t think anyone without the benefit of hindsight or just being a Brennamouth would have wanted to sign Cueto over Bailey at the time the pen was put to paper. Bailey was coming off back to back good seasons of durability and big game pitching. Cueto had 3 major injuries in the past 16 months and dropped the ball in the wildcard game, LITERALLY. Alex Reds August 5, 2018 There were tons of fans wanting Cueto over Bailey, not just in total – but percentage wise. Cueto was pitching a ~2.25 ERA and Bailey a much higher ERA. Even with Cueto’s injuries – back and shoulder – both were expected to be short term. IMO most fans wanted Cueto. I would assume the Reds did too. However, I think Cueto wanted $200M or so, and that’s why the Reds chose Bailey at half that cost + It also bought an extra year of contention as Bailey’s contract expired a year earlier. I also wonder if the Reds did have an insurance policy and what the stipulations were with Bailey. redlegs4ever August 5, 2018 Maybe you’re confused when the contract was signed? It was signed in February of 2014 when Cueto was coming off 11 starts of 2.82 ERA, 2 Lat strains, a shoulder strain, and the epic fail of the wild card game. That doesn’t include him bowing out of his 2012 playoff start as well. The argument could be made the Reds shouldn’t have signed anyone. But signing Cueto over Bailey at that time would have been downright insanity. Also all contracts over 1 year contain some sort of insurance. Sometimes it’s just if the player misses the whole year which amazingly Homer never did so how much money, if any, the Reds were able to recoup we probably will never know. Alex Reds August 4, 2018 Great to see Robert performing this well! Not sure how the Reds aren’t basically forced to bring him up to the majors for his next starter. Great job by Robert to force the issue. Pretty stellar numbers. He’s well ahead of where he was in AAA the last time he was brought up. Cody Reed not far behind at all. Glad to see the comebacker and injury wasn’t an impact to his season. Garrett is sitting in the bullpen, and struggling moderately there when he could be developing into a starter. Huge mistake by the Reds and for what benefit? If he had a 2 ERA you could argue he’d have some value as a reliever. But at a 3.5+ ERA it’s just a waste. Reds need starters badly. You can’t just force your best starting prospects to be relievers before they’ve been given a full chance to develop as a starter. Reminds me of the Chapman mistake. How good of a starter could he have been? Forcing them sooner to the bigs also means you get less control during the prime and peak years. Silly to run a team in this manner. RedsinWashst August 4, 2018 You remember that the Reds had decided to quit pitching him more then 1 inning because after 1 inning he was get hit hard. He seems to agree with being in the bullpen. He may still be dealing with a hip injury also. Alex Reds August 5, 2018 He was dominating AAA with a low ERA. He had some good outings but did struggle. Most pitchers are going to struggle coming to the bigs. Sometimes they need to go back to AAA and work on things as a starter. Similar to what Mahle is doing and Bob Steve has done. Not be devoted as a bullpen piece when we need starting pitching and he’s got the frame and make up to start. At least let’s find out what we got before we give up. The hip injury may have been a factor. Even then, it’s been a long time since then. If he’s not healthy by now, he should be shut down and get it corrected or rest. MK August 4, 2018 Homer Bailey was up and down 5 times before he completed an entire big league season. Robert has been up and down twice. Both came up too soon as fans were clamoring to see them. For me I leave Robert in Louisville until September and let him continue to dominate and if he needs to refine something, do it. Those #1 guys are not used to failure so his recent success is good to repair his confidence. Brad August 4, 2018 Reds are an ideal team for Hamilton Marx’s Army of Super Relievers. Starters go 4-6 innings. A 2-3 inning reliever. And potentially a 1 inning reliever. Easier to go 4 or 5 than 6+. Relievers can go 1 time though lineup. Keeps pitches on field and away from bullpen warm up every other day. Would make starters lives a bit easier and promote success. Reds relievers: Iglesias, Lorenzon, Hughes, Hernandez and potentially Peralta and Garrett can be multiple inning guys. The Super Reliever may be an ideal role for a guy like Romano and others. Good articles out there. Google: Army of Super Relievers. Hamilton Marx is now in front office of Tampa Bay Ray’s and is an important influencer of their pitching strategy. Alex Reds August 5, 2018 It makes a ton of sense assuming you don’t have a strong starter on the mound that day or if they typically get in trouble third time through the lineup. I always wondered why team’s didn’t do this with how much cheaper relievers were and how much more effective pitchers were in short stints. kevinz August 4, 2018 good job o’grady with the homer to LF that has really improved his Hitting overall. Goo O’grady baby lol kevinz August 5, 2018 I like how Williams closed his stance a little bit since came up. Felt like his stance was way to open. Seems like right leg not as far towards first. Today seen can drive ball better instead of just slapping it around. CP August 5, 2018 Looks like Reds are finally going to call up Stephenson. Wednesday’s start is TBA and lines up with his next scheduled start. Plus the Reds need another starter with the double header yesterday.