Jackson Stephens got his 2016 season out to a nice start. In his Double-A debut he allowed two earned runs in 5.0 innings with two walks and nine strikeouts. In his next two starts he allowed four runs in 12.1 innings with two walks and 12 strikeouts. He would miss out on his next start, returning for the final day of April. He struggled on that day, allowing six runs in 4.0 innings with three walks. The final start dampened the month as it led to a 5.06 ERA in 21.1 innings with seven walks and 24 strikeouts.

The right hander would rebound well the next time out. Jackson Stephens started May out with 6.0 innings where he was charged with an unearned run with five strikeouts. On the 10th he threw 6.0 more innings, allowing two runs with three strikeouts. He struggled a bit the next time out, allowing four runs in 5.0 innings. Stephens must have taken it personally as he dominated the final three starts of the month, allowing just two runs in 19.0 innings with two walks and 14 strikeouts. On the month he posted a 2.00 ERA in 36.0 innings with just four walks and 25 strikeouts.

June didn’t begin well for Jackson Stephens as he was charged with three earned and three more unearned runs in 4.1 innings. The 22-year-old rebounded quite well, allowing just two earned in the next two starts, spanning 12.0 innings with two walks and 12 strikeouts. He would miss the next time through the rotation, but return on the 26th of the month. He struggled, walking five batters in 5.0 innings and he allowed three runs. Stephens had a 3.32 ERA on the month in 21.2 innings, walking 10 batters and striking out 18. He also allowed his first home run of the season.

The month of July started out with some struggles for Jackson Stephens. In his first three starts he allowed three runs in each, walking seven batters and striking out 11 in 17.2 innings. Things improved in the second half of the month for Stephens. He threw 17.1 innings, allowing just six runs (3.12 ERA) to go along with five walks and 14 strikeouts. For the month he posted a 3.86 ERA in 35.0 innings pitched with 12 walks and 25 strikeouts.

After a somewhat slow July, Jackson Stephens took off when the calendar flipped to August. In his first two starts he threw 7.0 innings with just two combined walks and 13 total strikeouts, allowing two total runs. He saved the best start of the season for his next outing, firing 7.0 shutout innings without a walk and striking out 10 Tennessee Smokies. That was followed up with a rough start against Mississippi where he gave up six runs in 4.2 innings. He would rebound well, being charged with only one unearned run in 5.0 innings. On the 28th Stephens would have his worst start of the year, not making it out of the 1st inning while walking three batters and being charged with four earned runs. In his final start of the year he pitched well, allowing one earned run in 6.0 innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. There were some ups and downs in the final five weeks of the season, but overall he posted a 3.13 ERA in 37.1 innings with eight walks and 39 strikeouts.

It was a pivotal season for Jackson Stephens as he was eligible for the Rule 5 draft following the year, unless he was to be added to the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster. He went out and performed well in Double-A, posting a 3.33 ERA in 151.1 innings for Pensacola. He had 41 walks on the season to go along with 131 strikeouts. The performance led to him being added to the 40-man roster in November.

PEN 151.1 148 3.33 7 41 131

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Jackson Stephens Scouting Report


Fastball | Stephens works with his fastball in the low 90’s, touching 94-95 on occasion. The pitch has a little bit of late movement to it.

Curveball | It’s an average offering with 12-6 breaking action.

Slider | The pitch is fringe-average to average depending on the day. It can get a little slurvy at times.

Change Up | It’s an average pitch that works in the low 80’s.

When you look at Jackson Stephens on the mound, nothing he throws jumps out at you. He’s got four pitchers, none of which are better than average. What he does do well is pound the strikezone and mix things up quite well. He knows how to pitch better than most guys his age and he can go to any of his four pitches whenever he chooses. He’s likely a back-end of the rotation starter, but could find himself in the bullpen where his stuff may play up some. With the depth that the Reds have when it comes to starters, the bullpen may be the quickest way for Stephens to find action in the big leagues.


12 Responses

  1. Kap

    Seems to have put up good numbers over the last couple seasons. Any reason he’s not higher on prospect lists? Low ceiling maybe?

  2. The Duke

    If he can continue to imprudent his command and pitchability, then he could find a spot in the back of the rotation over prospects with more heralded arms. Stephens has been very productive the last two years, and last year he increased his K rate and had a phenomenal 0.42 HR given up per 9 over 150+ IP. I wonder if he ends up back in Pensacola or if he gets bumped up to AAA. With average stuff, you have to reprove yourself at every level.

  3. MK

    To me Jackson has always reminded me of a guy the Reds had in the early 70s Jim McGlothlin. He was a back end of the rotation guy, never spectacular but you could count on him for 200 innings and a 3.5 to 4 ERA

    • cinvenfan

      I guess you also mean Bronson Arroyo. I take that from a pitcher every day of the week. Saturdays too. :)

    • DaveCT

      He signed for 100,000 instead of heading to college, so he perhaps rated in the 6-10 range.

      Thinking Doug’s info of Stephens limiting hard contact is key for this player. Impressive, too, with both Romano and Stephens limiting hard contact is that both are always among the younger guys in their leagues. With both 40-man additions this year, I can see either given a crack at bullpen roles into the season, especially if good command pitchers are scarce.

  4. Arnold Ziffle

    Having Jackson Stephens at #25 is just too low. The over-hyped, over-heralded, and over his head Robert Stephenson is #3 and the steady as she goes Stephens gets the Rodney Dangerfield treatment at #25. He only gets #25 because Yorman Rodriguez became a free agent and dropped out of the top-25. Stephens should have been in that #16-20 grouping. Free Jax. Free Jax from DG’s prospect shackles that are holding him down.

    • Gaffer

      I agree, also I may be wrong but wasn’t Jackson not in the top 25 when Doug released it at the end of the year. I may be wrong or is it that YRod was removed?

      • Doug Gray

        Rodriguez was not included once I started doing the actual write ups. He became a free agent before I got to his spot, so there was one extra spot. Came down to Stephens, Jose Lopez and a few other guys.

    • Doug Gray

      Also, let’s check back in ten years and see how the reasons play out….

      • gaffer

        You may totally be correct I admit that. The comments are more related to value I suspect. If I were another team I would rather trade a small amounty for Jackson S. right now that a lot for some of the guys at the top of this list. Hence he seems undervalued.