Cincinnati Reds 2015 All-Minor League Team: Pitchers


With the minor league season all wrapped up, it’s time to name the Cincinnati Reds’ all-minor league team for the 2015 season. Here’s part two, where we reveal the pitching staff of the all-minor league squad:

Starting Rotation

Amir Garrett (High-A Daytona)

The best pitcher in the Reds organization all year long was Garrett, who built on his breakout year in 2014 with an even better campaign in 2015. Garrett, the Reds’ No. 3 prospect according to, had a 2.44 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 140.1 regular season innings, and his 133 strikeouts ranked second in the the Florida State League. He saved his best performance for the playoffs, when he lifted the Tortugas to a win in their first postseason game by taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning and striking out 12. Garrett was recently named the Reds’ Pitching Prospect of the Year by MLB Pipeline.

Tyler Mahle (Low-A Dayton)

Although Mahle is relatively unknown to Reds fans right now, that might not be the case for much longer. The 20-year-old went 13-8 with a 2.43 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 152 innings with the Dragons in his second full year of professional baseball. While his strikeout numbers were good (135), it was his stinginess with walks that really sticks out when you look at his stats. In his 152 innings, Mahle walked only 25 batters, a rate of 1.5 per nine innings. If it hadn’t been for Garrett, Mahle would likely be the favorite to win the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year award.

Robert Stephenson (Double-A Pensacola, Triple-A Louisville)

An injury slowed down Stephenson toward the end of the season, but the Reds’ top-rated pitching prospect made big strides in 2015, and should get heavy consideration for the big league starting rotation next year. Stephenson saw action at two different levels this year, showing a vast improvement from his disappointing 2014. The 22-year-old went 8-11 overall, with a 3.83 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, striking out 140 batters in 134 innings. He had flare-ups of erratic control, but largely did a much better job of limiting the free passes.

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Nick Travieso (High-A Daytona)

Travieso, along with Garrett, helped form one of the most formidable rotations in all of minor league baseball. In terms of runs allowed, it was Travieso’s best season as professional, boasting a 2.70 ERA in 93.1 innings. Like Garrett, Travieso had one of his best starts of the season in the playoffs, allowing one run in seven innings as he picked up the series-clinching win in the Tortugas’ first-round matchup. He’ll head to the Arizona Fall League to get more innings after missing two months with a fractured right wrist and should start next season in Double-A.

Seth Varner (Low-A Dayton, High-A Daytona)

Varner is another pitcher that Reds fans may not know of, as the team’s 10th round pick of the 2014 draft is nowhere to be found on the many top prospect lists. But that might not be the case for long. In just his first full season as a professional, Varner made it to High-A due to his pinpoint control on the mound. In 138.2 innings this season, the lefty walked 11 (yes, you read that right) batters for an insanely low BB/9 rate of 0.7. Additionally, the Miami University product also put up an ERA of 2.92 and struck out 134.

Honorable Mentions: Josh Smith (Louisville, Pensacola), Tim Adleman (Pensacola), Cody Reed (Pensacola) Jackson Stephens (Daytona), Jake Paulson (Daytona) Wyatt Strahan (Dayton), Tejay Antone (Dayton), Jose Lopez (Billings)

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Zack Weiss (High-A Daytona, Double-A Pensacola)

One of the breakout minor league performers of the year was Weiss. The 23-year-old put up Aroldis Chapman-like numbers, saving 30 games between High-A and Double-A, while boasting a career-best 2.26 ERA and striking out nearly 13 batters per nine innings. Weiss could be a dark-horse candidate to grab a bullpen spot with the Reds in 2016.

Layne Somsen (Double-A Pensacola, Triple-A Louisville)

Somsen logged a career-high 62.1 innings and put up a personal best 2.74 ERA in 2015. The 26-year-old will need to work on his control moving forward, but the Reds clearly see something in him as he’ll be one of their seven prospects heading to play in the Arizona Fall League.

Alejandro Chacin (Low-A Dayton, High-A Daytona)

After struggling in Dayton, Chacin headed to Daytona and dominated to the tune of 56 strikeouts in 36.2 innings (13.7 K/9) while serving as the Tortugas closer down the stretch. The Venezuela native had a 3.33 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 11 saves in 51.1 total innings on the year.

Collin Balester (Triple-A Louisville)

Before Balester earned his promotion to Cincinnati, he served quite nicely as the Louisville closer after being traded over from the Pirates. In 22 innings, Balester had seven saves to go along with a 2.05 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.

Brian Hunter (Low-A Dayton)

When Hunter went down in late July with injury, the Dragons lost their best bullpen piece. The 2014 ninth-round pick struck out 41 in 32.2 innings while posting a 2.20 ERA and seven saves.

Jimmy Herget (Rookie Billings)

This year’s sixth-round draft choice acclimated well to professional baseball, going 3-0 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 26 strikeouts and 15 saves in 25.1 innings against Pioneer League competition.

Honorable Mentions: Carlos Contreras (Louisville), Miguel Celestino (Louisville, Pensacola), Stephen Johnson (Pensacola), Carlos Gonzalez (Pensacola, Daytona), Michael Sullivan (Dayton), Sarkis Ohanian (Billings)

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