Cincinnati Reds in Review: SP Dylan Axelrod

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One of the many pitchers who appeared in a pinch for the Cincinnati Reds this season, Dylan Axelrod introduced himself to a fan base, but did he make a lasting impression?

Dylan Axelrod – Starting Pitcher

 

Not much about Axelrod is imposing. He doesn’t feature a blazing fastball, nor a knee-buckling curveball, but he does display above-average consistency.

Axelrod’s journey to the bigs is one of endurance. Undrafted out of high school, he found his way to junior college before matriculating at UC-Irvine. From there, the San Diego Padres took him in the 30th round. Not granted the countless opportunities of an early-round selection, he scratched and clawed his way to the show, eventually making his debut on September 7, 2011, with the Chicago White Sox.

Even more difficult than grinding through the minor leagues to reach the bigs, is staying there once you’ve made it. Unable to solidify one of the five golden slots in the White Sox rotation, he was shipped over to the Reds midway through 2014. With both Mat Latos and Homer Bailey going down with injuries, suddenly those golden slots became an opening.

His first start came on the backend of a doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies in the one place no pitcher wants to go—Coors Field. Yet, it was no trouble for Axelrod, who went six innings strong of two-run, seven-strikeout baseball. He was in life for the win before his bullpen destructed on him.

He would make only four starts all season before having his year delayed by arm troubles as well.

Axelrod’s Stat Line:

 

2-1, 2.95 ERA, 18.1 IP, 20 K, 5 HR allowed, 0.98 WHIP, 125 ERA+

Top Dylan Axelrod Moment:

 

Axelrod would truly make only one start at home (his other on September 8 against the St. Louis Cardinals lasted all of one batter) and defeat the Chicago Cubs on August 28. It would take 100 pitches to get through five, but Axelrod would justify the high pitch count by striking out eight. His five scoreless innings earned him his first victory of the season.

That win would be his first since August 7, 2013, and his first as a starter since May 26, 2013.

Low-Point of the Season for Dylan Axelrod:

 

Like a plague sweeping the clubhouse, nearly every pitcher on the staff spent time on the disabled list. With this in mind, it makes the run during 2012 where five starters made 161 starts all the more impressive.

The aforementioned start on September 8 wouldn’t last all that long for Axelrod. He would retire just a single batter before heading for the showers with arm and shoulder discomfort. Potentially, he missed out on two-to-three extra starts in the month of September due to the injury.

Final Grade: C

 

In the extremely small sample size, Axelrod impressed with the time he had in Cincinnati.

Whether or not there is a future with Axelrod as a Red, we will always have 18 solid innings to remember him by.