After bursting onto the scene at the end of the 2012 season and pitching 104.2 innings at the big league level, Tony Cingrani posted an impressive 2.92 ERA. Last season, he played the role of not only starter, but also late-inning left-handed neutralizer.
It all began for Cingrani back in 2011 when he was drafted in the third round out of Rice University in Houston, Texas. His numbers at the collegiate level were not staggering, but rather he was selected based on potential. He grew up in New Lenox, Illinois, a White Sox fan, and during this past season, Fox Sports Ohio’s Jim Day even interviewed Tony’s father in the stands during his start at Wrigley. According to the elder Cingrani, the young Tony never would have set foot in the ivy-walled cathedral had he not gotten the opportunity to toe the rubber himself.
Now that Cingrani has established himself as a member of the roster after his dynamic rookie year, the question of where he fits in comes into play. He posted a 7-4 record with a 2.92 ERA over 104.2 innings, as well as averaging over one strikeout every inning. Assuming Bronson Arroyo leaves via free agency, the Reds rotation projects out as so:
Aroldis Chapman has made it known that while the fan base may be drooling over the chance to see him start; he feels much more comfortable coming out of the pen late. It is only December and things can certainly change before the team heads to camp, but for now, the Cuban Missile seems relegated to the bullpen.
Other options for the rotation realistically can include Greg Reynolds and the newly acquired, David Holmberg.
Reynolds is a former number two overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Colorado Rockies, who has remade himself completely by focusing on burying his sinker more than humming his fastball by people. He did an unbelievable job at Triple-A Louisville last season, posting a 12-3 record and a 2.42 ERA before making five starts with the Reds down the stretch.
Holmberg, on the other hand, is the newest Red, as he was added to the club after being swapped for catcher Ryan Hanigan. In order for Holmberg (and Reynolds really) to make the Opening Day roster, an outstanding spring would be required.
Overall, it would be shocking to see Cingrani as not a member of the Reds rotation come April, and his sophomore season may just be even better than expected.