The 2018 season was an important one for Tyler Stephenson. The catcher stayed healthy all year for the first time in his professional career, and the strides he made by being able to play all year with the Daytona Tortugas showed.
When the 2019 season began the Cincinnati Reds sent Tyler Stephenson to join their new Double-A affiliate in Chattanooga. The season started out fine for the catcher, who hit .278 in the first five games with just one strikeout. Over the next 10 days though he went into a slump, going 3-22 (.136) – but did walk as often as he struck out, just three times. In the final week of the month he would run off a 6-game hitting streak, going 8-22 (.364) with his first two home runs of the season. In the 16 games during April he would post a .273/.344/.436 line with six walks and eight strikeouts.
When May began the hit streak ended with the first game. But another one started right back up, running off another 6-game streak from the 3rd through the 11th. A mini-slump followed, though, as Tyler Stephenson went 1-13 in the next four games. The catcher turned things up for the final two weeks of the month, going 10-28 (.357) with four extra-base hits and four walks. During 19 games in May he would hit .284/.360/.403 with seven walks and 15 strikeouts.
June began with a slump and a short stint of missed time. From the 1st through the 11th, Tyler Stephenson only played in five games – not playing from the 5th through the 9th before returning on the 10th. He would go 1-20 in that stretch. After that, though, he picked it up and had hits in 11 of the remaining 12 games, going 16-42 (.381) with four extra-base hits and more walks than strikeouts. The month was inconsistent, but over the 17 games played he hit .274/.356/.371 with seven walks and 12 strikeouts.
July began with a prolonged slump. Over the first two weeks of the month Tyler Stephenson went 3-26 (.115). The second half of the month was the opposite side of the spectrum as the catcher went 10-31 (.323) with more walks than strikeouts. In total he would hit .228/.353/.333 with nine walks and 12 strikeouts in 18 games played.
The hot hitting that ended July carried into August. From the 1st through the 13th Tyler Stephenson hit .500/.629/.615 with more walks than strikeouts. After going 0-7 on the 15th and 16th, Stephenson finished off the year with an 8-game hitting streak that included four doubles and a homer. In the final 18 games of the season he would hit .353/.430/.500 with seven walks and 13 strikeouts.
For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Tyler Stephenson Spray Chart
Tyler Stephenson Scouting Report
Position: C | B/T: R/R
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 225 lb | Drafted: 1st Round, 2015
Born: August 16, 1996
Hitting | He’s got an average to slightly above-average hit tool.
Power | He’s got above-average to plus raw power.
Running | He’s a well below-average runner.
Defense | He’s a solid defender behind the plate.
Arm | He shows plus arm strength.
For the second season in a row, Tyler Stephenson stayed on the field and remained healthy. And just like the year before, he made strides throughout the season – as you’d expect as he continued to get reps and experience.
At the plate he posted an OPS of .782, which was good for a 131 OPS+ during the year. He cut down on his strikeout rate significantly from the 2018 season – going from 21.8% to 16.5%. His walk rate remained the same, 10%. The power was down a little bit, and that’s without accounting for the difference in the two leagues. Still, his overall season at the plate was much better than the year before.
The power for Tyler Stephenson can be obvious in batting practice, and even in games at times. There’s the potential for real thunder in there, with 25+ home runs down the line if he fully develops his raw power. Right now, though, there’s plenty of development to go between where his power is today and where it could be in the future. Right now he shows more power to the pull-side, but goes the opposite way (at least to the outfield) more than he pulls the ball. That will probably need to change in the future to get the most power out of his bat.
The full field approach, though, is what allows him to get more out of his hit tool. He can and does use the entire field. Couple that with his strong understanding of the strikezone and you can see where he could hit for both a good average and power in the future at the Major League level.
Defensively is where the most strides have come for Tyler Stephenson in the last few seasons. While he will need to continue to improve, there are fewer questions about whether or not he can remain behind the plate than ever before. He’s gotten better across the board with his defense. His receiving has gotten quieter, and he’s improved in his blocking abilities. The arm has always been plus, though it doesn’t always play out as at times there can be added time between receiving the pitch and releasing his throw that could be shortened.
The overall package could have Tyler Stephenson as a future All-Star caliber catcher who is good at everything and even better in a few areas. To get there he’s going to have to continue to develop, but all of the pieces are there and there currently don’t seem to be any real weaknesses in his game moving forward.
Longest Home Run of the Year
428 Feet on April 29th.
Interesting Stat on Tyler Stephenson
He hit much better at home than on the road, posting an .826 OPS in Chattanooga and a .741 OPS on the road in the Southern League.
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