Robert Stephenson, Tony Santillan dominate Wednesday night Doug Gray April 12, 2018 22 Comments Tony Santillan took the mound on Wednesday night hoping to pitch the Daytona Tortugas to a sweep of a double header. In the first game his team exploded for 11 runs in a victory. The offense wasn’t as helpful in game two and the 20-year-old right-handed pitcher had no margin for error. Without much offense working for him, Tony Santillan took up the challenge. Through the top of the 6th inning he allowed just one hit and two walks. No runners crossed the plate, and he struck out eight batters along the way. But, as he walked off the mound after the inning, his team had also managed just one hit and the game was scoreless. TJ Friedl would triple to lead off the bottom of the inning and took a 2-0 lead before the inning was over. That would end the night for Santillan, but put him in line for his first win of the season. Through his two starts this year, Tony Santillan has not allowed an earned run. In his 10.0 innings pitched he’s struck out 13 batters and allowed just five hits. Opposing batters are hitting just .139 against him. On Wednesday night it wasn’t just Tony Santillan that dominated. In Louisville Robert Stephenson took the mound for the Bats in his second start of the season. The Bats offense helped out Stephenson more than the Tortugas did Santillan. The Bats scored eight runs while Stephenson was on the mound, but he would only need two. Over the span of his 7.0 innings, Robert Stephenson only saw one run come across the plate, and it went down as unearned in the scorebook. The right hander allowed just three hits and he walked three batters during the outing, all while striking out 10. He would also record six outs via the ground ball, with just two outs recorded by fly ball. The recently turned 25-year-old worked with his fastball in the 93-96 MPH range with his fastball for most of the night. In the final inning he dropped down to the 92-94 range, but hit 96 when he reached back for a little extra. It wasn’t the fastball that stood out on the night, though. Not that the fastball didn’t work well for the most part on the night, but the slider was the pitch that gave the Clippers hitters fits throughout the game. Over and over they swung over the top of the offering. Here’s video of each of his 10 strikeouts from the night. http://www.redsminorleagues.com/video2/Stephenson%20Strikeouts.mp4 22 Responses Simon Cowell April 12, 2018 He’s pretty good at AAA level. Not so good at the next and most important level. Let him have a year or two success in Louisville. RedsKoolAidDrinker April 12, 2018 Two years? How about like a span of 6 out 7 really good starts? Jonathan Linn April 12, 2018 Two years??!! He’s already 25…i think he should take Sal’s place pretty soon if Sal doesn’t pitch better The Duke April 12, 2018 He had a 3.41 ERA as a starter for the Reds last year. He got knocked around in the bullpen, but as a starter he was an above average MLB pitcher last year. You can say he needs to improve his consistency, but he’s shown he can get outs at the big league level. What he can’t do is have the lapses in control he is prone to still. Until he can build that consistency, he’s going to make fans pull their hair out every now and then. Doug Gray April 12, 2018 Well, as The Duke pointed out, he was actually pretty good in the Majors last year as a starter. Also, he’s out of options after this season, so there aren’t two years left. Cguy April 12, 2018 Great comeback start by R. Stephenson after an ineffective OD start last week. I still believe Castillo, Romano, Mahle, & hopefully Finnegan should get 10-12 ML starts this season before aany rotation changes are made. What’s the rush? On another note, back to back 0-4 efforts by Senzel. Please don’t bring him up yet. Shawn April 12, 2018 I agree. He’s hitting .160, although I don’t think this will continue, he needs to be brought up when he’s having a hot streak. Raise his confidence. The Duke April 12, 2018 Santillan needs to keep making steady improvement with his control and consistency. His raw stuff can be top of the rotation if he really puts it all together, but even if he doesn’t reach his ceiling, he could still be a good MLB pitcher. Outside of Hunter Greene and Robert Stephenson, he probably has the best raw stuff of anyone on the farm right now. MikeD April 12, 2018 The fact that Stevenson has stayed healthy is also a positive. Let him get 10 to 12 starts and then determine his promotion. I believe if he is told to settle in at Louisville and he learns to pitch consistently, things will come together. MikeD April 12, 2018 Off Subject. I am a huge Devin Mesoraco fan but it safe to say his days are numbered as a Red. Too no fault of his (injuries) have relegated him to a backup, while Barnhart has earned his promotion to the starter. The Mets are off to a great start and just lost their starting catcher for what looks like the season. Maybe the Reds should work something with the Mets for Mez. Who knows maybe they can grab Nimmo! :) Colorado Red April 12, 2018 Depends on how much of the Devin’s salary they pick up The Duke April 12, 2018 I’d eat the entire salary if we could get a near MLB ready SS or CF that upgrades the offense without hurting the defense too much. SultanofSwaff April 12, 2018 The slider as an out-pitch is somewhat new for BobSteve. He used to throw that big looping curve, but I like this pitch much better as it is generally easier to control. His body language was much more relaxed as well. We know he has the full arsensal, but to me harnessing his antsiness is the final hurdle of his development…….similar to Jay Bruce in that regard. Given the choice, I’d take him over Finnegan for the rotation. The Duke April 12, 2018 I’d have Garrett in the rotation now and move Finnegan into the bullpen if we have to have a second lefty. Crockett might earn himself a shot at some point too, that was a pickup I liked over the offseason. Stock April 12, 2018 3 walks in 7 innings in AAA doesn’t bode well for ML performance. He reminds me of Tyler Glasnow with inferior stuff to Glasnow. Last year the Pirates probably thought Glasnow turned the corner when he went on a 7 start steak where his BB/9 was 2.19 and his K/9 was 16.15. However ML hitters would have nothing to do with it. I have no doubt Stephenson will do well in AAA. But his lack of control means he will not succeed in Cincinnati over an extended period. He needs to obtain some control or understand he will not succeed in the majors. As for Senzel, I think you need to prove you can hit AAA pitching before you get promoted. He will be in Louisville until June (at least). I could even see him spending the entire year there. AirborneJayJay April 12, 2018 Stephenson is regaining some trade value with that performance. A change of scenery might be what is needed for Stephenson. The 3 BB’s are a problem as that is usually his downfall. The Reds have to find some pitchers who are not adept at giving out free passes. Doug’s mention that Stephenson is out of options after this season is also a motivating factor in moving him this season. he is from California, and there are 5 teams in CA and all 5 need a starting pitcher. Amir Garrett has earned a starting spot and the next opening should be his. Not Finnegan, not Reed and not Stephenson. Jack April 12, 2018 Why move him? He was successful as a starter last year and I think he is better than Romano. AirborneJayJay April 12, 2018 I hope everybody gets behind Big Sal tonight in his start vs. the Cards. He is pitching for his aunt who passed away a couple of days ago. It’ll be a big emotional game for him. Hope he has a good start tonight, for him, for his aunt and for the team. RMR April 12, 2018 The strikeouts are nice, but we know he can miss bats. I want to see some 6+ IP with 0 or 1 BB starts. That’s when I’ll start believing he can be an effective major league pitcher. Michael B. Green April 12, 2018 Every single pitcher and pitching coach in the Reds organization needs to focus on getting ahead in the count and pounding the bottom part of the strike zone. We give up way too many homers in comparison to other teams and the ballpark argument is not useful in the cold weather at this time. This is a systematic, fundamental/mechanical issue in the organization. We have the talent in terms of players and staff to address this. Doug Gray April 12, 2018 I can promise you that throwing strikes and getting ahead is an absolute focus, and has been since the first day I started covering the farm system. It’s something they’ve always preached. The ballpark absolutely is an excuse, though. Cold or not, it’s still smaller than most ballparks, and it still has a wind tunnel to right field. As for pitching at the bottom of the zone…. well, that depends. Do you want contact? If so, pitch at the bottom of the zone with the fastball. If you want swings and misses, pitch at the top of it with the fastball. The Duke April 12, 2018 If Stephenson’s slider can be that consistently, that’s a plus MLB out pitch. And while he did get hitters to chase a few of those, several of them would have been called strike 3’s as well. Missing bats on pitches thrown in the zone is vital against MLB hitters. More of this and he’ll work his way back to the show. Just have to build consistency and keep the walk rate to a manageable level.