The Cincinnati Reds announced that right handed pitcher Jackson Stephens will make his Major League debut on Saturday as the starting pitcher against the Chicago Cubs. This won’t be the first time that the organization has called up Stephens, but in his previous call up he didn’t get into a game.

On the season he’s posted a 4.97 ERA in 15 games for the Louisville Bats. On the surface, that doesn’t look so good. And for the totality of it, it’s not. But, that stat line doesn’t tell the whole story. Over his first there starts the International League gave Jackson Stephens a very rude welcome. He posted a 10.13 ERA in 13.1 innings, allowing 21 hits, four home runs and he walked seven batters.

In the 12 games since then he’s posted a 3.88 ERA in 62.2 innings pitched, allowing just five home runs, walking 26 batters and striking out 46. There have been some inconsistent performances mixed into that stretch, but his overall numbers are still recovering from that first two week stretch of the season.

Jackson Stephens Scouting Report

Jackson Stephens fastball works in the low 90’s and it’ll touch 94-95 on occasion. There’s a little bit of armside run on the pitch. His go-to pitch is a 74-76 MPH curveball. It’s a big looping pitch that will flash itself as an above-average offering at times. He will utilize it against right handed hitters most of the time. When facing lefties he will go to his change up. It’s a fringe-average offering that works in the mid 80’s that has some sink/run to it, but can be a bit firm at times. He will also mix in a slider at times.

On the year he’s thrown strikes 64% of the time, though he’s had some games where he was below 60%. Jackson Stephens is not going to blow guys away with his fastball, and while his curveball is a quality pitch, it’s not an elite one that’s going to dominate big leaguers. To be successful he’s going to need to avoid the games where he’s struggled to find the strikezone. He’s done that over his last three starts for the Louisville Bats.

Minor League releases

The Cincinnati Reds released several players over the last week. The biggest one happened earlier today when the team released catcher Rob Brantly. In 46 games this season with the Bats he was hitting .298/.335/.435. He had also thrown out 31% of attempted base stealers and only allowed one passed ball in 342.1 innings behind the plate.

They also released right handed pitcher Nick Christiani, infielder Manny Cruz and outfielders Edgar Herrera and Leon Landry.

Podcasting again

On Wednesday evening I joined Reed Ketring on his podcast for 1410 AM in Dayton to talk a little bit about the Cincinnati Reds and the farm system. It’s just under 10 minutes, so if you’re into that kind of thing, go give it a listen.

Trading Zack Cozart?

The Cincinnati Reds have been in a bind much of this season as Zack Cozart has been having the best year of his life, but no contender has had a need for a shortstop. That all changed when the Washington Nationals lost Trea Turner to injury.

They current’y lead the NL East by 9.5 games over Atlanta, so they may not feel a need to truly pay a lot as they are probably quite safe in terms of losing their lead. But if they do want to make a move, Zack Cozart is likely to be a prime target. He’s on a short term deal, he’s played very well this season, he’s got an established relationship with their current manager and he’s relatively cheap.

The Nationals farm system is solid and there are pieces in there that you would like to target. They could also use some relief pitching and the Reds certainly have that as well, if Washington really wanted to step up and offer back an elite level prospect such as Victor Robles. To get a player back like that, the Reds would probably have to offer up one of Michael Lorenzen or Raisel Iglesias in return, which may be a non-starter for the organization. The Reds and Nationals do seem to be a good match up in terms of big league needs/wants, though.

49 Responses

  1. Kindell

    I think Stephens was the right choice for this start, but it will be interesting to see what happens going forward.

    The Nationals farm system is interesting because they have some prospects in the top 10 that I really want (Robles, Soto, KieBOOM) but a lot of others that don’t think the Reds should bother with. I would imagine they would be much more ready to trade Soto or Kieboom. All three of those position players would be great additions for the Reds.

    • Cguy

      I’d be happy with Andrew Stephenson & Kieboom for Cozart . Heck even throw in Drew Storen. But to include Iglesias or Lorenzen with Zart, Nats need to include Robles.

      • The Duke

        I’d rather get Luis Garcia than Andrew Stevenson as a secondary piece. Garcia is in rookie ball, but has upside and got $1.3 million last July and is already stateside. The Reds have some depth right now, it’s time to go for some upside.

      • Cguy

        The Reds have very little cf depth after Hamilton. Andrew Stephenson provides good to very good cf defense, plus top of the order batting skills.He’s at AAA. as for ss talent, the Reds just signed 1 plus they just drafted 1. Reply to Duke below.

      • Norwood Nate

        Hamilton is virtually unrivaled in defense and base running. Those aspects alone make his floor that of an everyday player. If the Reds are going to upgrade from Hamilton (and it’s really 1 of 2 areas they really need to seek an upgrade at this point) they will likely need to upgrade in the area where Hamilton is deficient, offense.

        Stevenson’s BB% at AAA is 4.6%, his ISO is .078, and he has a wRC+ of 73. All that while carrying a BABIP of .321 (so it’s not back luck).

        When Hamilton last played in AAA, he had a better walk rate at 6.9%, better ISO at .087, and a (still well below average) wRC+ of 82. Hamilton played that season at 22 years of age. Stevenson turned 23 the beginning of June.

        I don’t see any aspect of Stevenson’s game that looks to be any better than Hamilton’s.

      • Cguy

        I wish I could reply to posts that reply to me. To Nate: So the answer to Billy Hamilton is that regardless of how he performs at the ML level after almost 4 years, it’s senseless to acquire another prospect who can play cf unless that prospect is clearly superior to Billy H? Reds have no cf back-up at the ML level, or the AAA level, arguably no replacement at the AA level. But we got Billy, What we need is another rookie league ss with upside?

      • Norwood Nate

        It’s not a bad idea to target a CF. You’re right, there’s not much CF depth. Right now, if Billy were hurt, we’d probably see some Schebler (not ideal defensively), maybe Alcantara gets a couple games. Maybe Peraza to get Gennett into the lineup more. In the minors there’s not much. Ervin has struggled to adjust to AAA. Friedl’s at least two years away if he continues to progress.

        But if Stevenson isn’t an upgrade to Hamilton,in any way and he’s already in AAA, and you have a chance to add a better prospect, take the prospect. Don’t go for depth in case Hamilton gets hurt. If you can’t land a near ready prospect that’s an upgrade, take the upside or best value regardless of position.

        Personally, I think the Reds would be wise to ask about Brian Goodwin and maybe a lower level pitcher for Cozart. Goodwin gets on base at a decent clip, has a little pop and good speed. He’s 26 and entering his prime.

      • MK

        Friedl and Siri offer some pretty good CF depth in lower minors. Fairchild might also be an alternative.

  2. Josh

    I was really hoping for Mahle honestly, but whatever. Guess they will just let this guy get rocked for a start or two and let Mahle get a couple more AAA starts and ruin our bullpen arms even more. Yay!

    • Doug Gray

      The problem with Mahle is if you call him up, you are basically saying we can’t send him back. They aren’t going to use an option on him for a start or two. It’s an all or nothing endeavor.

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      yeah the reds keep shooting themselves in the foot. Todays starter is going to get killed out there. Mahle was the guy. Reds aren’t very good front office people.

      • Doug Gray

        If you brought up Mahle, you aren’t sending him back down this year. There’s a ton of risk in that plan. The front office probably made the right call, even if they believed that Mahle would be a better option right this second.

  3. The Duke

    If we could get Robles and some other non top 100 pieces for Cozart and Iglesias, you do that immediately. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Nationals would. If we could get him for Cozart and Lorenzen, well, that’s just not believable.

    • MK

      Not sure Cozart helps them immediately as he isn’t healthy enough to play either. Are they going to pin their hopes and give up a top prospect for an oft injured player having a surprising career half season? Not an exec but I would not.

      • Marc

        Cozart should be coming off the DL today or tomorrow.
        Should be healthy now.

    • Tampa Red

      I knew this a website dedicated to prospects and the minor leagues, but man, I just don’t get the constant desire to trade very good, established big leaguers w multiple years of control for some minor leaguer who might be good someday, maybe. Between here and RLN over the last week or so, I’ve seen suggestions that we trade Iglesias, Suarez, Schebler, Meseraco, Gennett and Duvall. That’s in addition to the obvious — Cozart and Hamilton.

      In principle, I agree w Doug that no one should be untouchable, but as a fan I would not be happy about trading any established, talented, productive big leaguer w multiple years of team control for anything but the same. As my favorite football coach Bobby Bowden always used to say, potential just means you ain’t done nothing yet.

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t think any reasonable person wants to trade all of those guys for prospects. But if you can move one of them for a truly elite prospect, it makes tons of sense. To a lesser degree, moving Gennett, who may never touch this value again, for a good prospect, would also make sense. Trading all of those guys for prospects would be insane. But, that won’t happen. The Reds might trade two out of that group.

  4. Case

    I agree with you Duke. If we can get Robles for either one of those packages then you do that!! Doesn’t Iglesias have an opt out soon?

    Nice podcast Doug. Nice to hear your voice once in a while.

    • Marc

      He has a pseudo opt out.
      If he opts out, he will be able to file for arbitration.
      He will NOT be a Free Agent.
      So the years of control are still there.

  5. Brock

    Is Stuart Turner really that much better than Rob Brantly?

  6. Jeff

    Why did the Reds release Brantly? His numbers seem to indicate he was hitting and his defense was solid. Was it something other than his game?

    • Tom Diesman

      I was wondering if maybe Brantly had a July 1 opt out. Because he was added to the White Sox AAA roster the same day.

  7. AJ

    Robles is a prospect and only a prospect right now. Iglesias is a big leaguer on the verge of stardom that is under team control for 4 years so including him in that deal would be beyond stupid. Lorenzen yes Igelesias no.

    • MK

      Agreed. He is going to still be important in future championships,

      • MK

        Signed with White Sox quickly.

        Tromp moving up leaves Daytona without another of their .300 hitters.

  8. Champ Summers

    in other news

    Jon Moscot?Verified account @JonnyMoscot 48m48 minutes ago

    1 year ago I threw my last pitch before going under the knife. I’m back on the bump today for the first time and am ready to get it again!!

  9. Greg

    What about Cozart, Lorenzen, Iggy, and Storen for Turner, Robles, Fredde. Is that too outrageous for both clubs? Nats should be in win now mode and this will help win now and next 2/3 years. Plus they wouldn’t be taking on that much salary after this year.

    • Doug Gray

      The chances the Nats trade Turner are the same as the chances the Reds trade Joey Votto. Non-existent.

    • Tyler

      This is a fantasy baseball or MLB the Show 17 type trade.. Definitely won’t happen. I think the most you’ll see is a Cozart +1 reliever to sweeten our return, or a Cozart by himself for a prospect or 2 deal.

    • Tyler

      Not to mention our entire bullpen would be destroyed if you traded our best 3 relievers in 1 deal.

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      Hey doug, why did they let Manny Cruz and Edgar Herrera go? Looking at their past numbers, they looked serviceable.

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t have that answer, and it’s not one you’re ever going to get someone to give you from the Reds, either. My guess: They simply didn’t have room for them and wanted to prioritize playing time for other guys.

  10. Pat Mac

    Cozy and Lorenzen for Robles would be a dream come true. For the Nats, Lorenzen has the ability to be a starter down the road too, so that’s some added allure for them.

    • Pat Mac

      Going off what Greg said, toss in Storen and/or Feldman too. Both are prime flip candidates

  11. daTrojan

    Im not sure what the rush is in trading Iglasias, he only really has had 1 bad outing all season, No way in hell you trade a proven guy for a prospect unless control is running out,
    Send them a package of Cozart and Storen and see what they offer back

    • Jasonpdragon

      I think after this year we have three more years left of Iglasias. 2 of those are going to be arbitration years where he will end up making between 9 and 12+ mil a year if he keeps it up playing well.

      So the question is an elite reliever like Iglasias going to be more of a worth to the Reds, who are for the third strait year on of the worst teams in baseball, over the next 3 years. Or could you trade him off now for a player in the minors you think can be an above average to a star player who could be under control for 6 years after he gets to the majors.

      So 3 years and 25 mil to 30 mil to an all star reliever on a team that is 2-3 or more years away from contending or someone you think can be a star but might not be an all star for 6 years during the years you will be contending. + other parts we get back in such a deal.

      • Tampa Red

        I don’t agree that it’s inevitable that the Reds are 2-3 years away from contending. Yes the Cubs are good even if they are underperforming a little this year. However their starters are getting older and they don’t have ready replacements. And the rest of the Central isn’t full of teams that “clearly” have a brighter future than the Reds.

        But if the Reds keep trading their established and controllable big leaguers for prospects then they probably will be 2-3 years or longer away from contention. So for me, if we’re gonna trade those guys then it’s time we start getting back big leaguers at positions of need. Or we keep what we have and let it play out a little while. I’m definitely good with that.

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      Dude i agree with you. We all have opinions in this forum, but people want to trade for prospects too much. There is no reason to trade him right now.

  12. Norwood Nate

    If the Reds trade Iglesias, they should get back nothing less than Robles. Otherwise, no need to trade a controllable elite level closer.

    I do wonder if the Nats would have any interest in Cingrani. He’s quietly putting together a nice season. SSS applies, but in 14.1 IP he’s posting a 8.79 K/9 against a 1.88 BB/9.

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      I think the “one pitch” hurts him. He flashed a good slider that looked “chapman like” the other day. Why he doesn’t use it more often i’m not sure. I would trade him to the nats too. When he threw that slider, the tv guys couldn’t believe it looked so good.

  13. Clammy

    I think Cingrani has a good chance to be traded. He had great outing last time vs. the Nats and a being a lefty is an added bonus. Also some kind of 2 players (from the Reds) for 1 or 3 for 2 might make sense due to the impending 40 man roster crunch.

  14. Alex Reds

    I just looked at the Nationals top 30. Robles is a top 5 prospect in all of baseball and a likely future star. I don’t think Cozart is enough for him. Iglesias and Cozart would be fair for Robles.
    Fedde is one of the Nationals best prospects, but I think they overvalue him. He’s similar to a lot of the starter prospects the Reds have. Cozart for Fedde is fair but I don’t really want him that badly.
    Soto is super young at 18, and crushing it. But he’s got a long way to go so I wouldn’t trade Cozart for Soto straight up. But he could be a throw in.
    Kieboom is dominating and in my opinion based on the stats the Nationals second best prospect. Cozart for Kieboom is fair. I’d love to have him. The challenge is Kiebooms whole family have been Nationals so I doubt they’d want to trade him.
    Andrew Stevenson I wouldn’t touch. Sure he can play defense but so can waiver wire pickups. He’s got a sub 300 OBP and no power whatsoever.
    Other than that there’s a lot of poor seasons by their top 30. Daniel Johnson was one of the best performers, a 21 year old outfielder in single A with a 944 OPS. Pitcher Tyler Watson is also putting up good numbers in A ball.

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      They’ll want suarez and senzel with pitching prospects. Too much to give up.

  15. about uidai

    you are actually a excellent webmaster. The website loading
    velocity is amazing. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick.
    Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a magnificent activity in this subject!

  16. funny time quotes

    Hello! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make
    your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when viewing
    from my iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this issue.
    If you have any recommendations, please share. Many thanks!