The Cincinnati Reds had their season fall apart when their rotation did and they have the same pitchers in 2017.
The Cincinnati Reds are going into 2017 with four of the same five starting pitchers penciled into the rotation. Last year at this time Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani were supposed to be the first two starters. Brandon Finnegan and Robert Stephenson were penciled in as two of the other starters, if they proved themselves in spring training. John Lamb and Cody Reed were supposed to fight for the last spot, as Dan Straily wasn’t with the team yet. It looked bleak then, but nothing like it ended up being.
Fast forward to now. Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan and Robert Stephenson are in the starting rotation, if Stephenson proves himself in spring training. Homer Bailey is a hopeful starter. Dan Straily is in the mix for the opening day start, but is starting off behind Anthony DeSclafani.
Straily and Finnegan made all of their starts in 2016. That was 31 for Straily, as he was in the bullpen for the first two times through the rotation. For his part, DeSclafani made each of his last twenty turns in the rotation.
That probably means that three spots in the rotation are in good shape. DeSclafani may need an extra day off here or there, but let’s be optimistic. That leaves 64 starts that the Reds have to cover.
The Reds cannot count on Bailey to make 30 starts. Stephenson is also questionable after appearing to fall apart from fatigue down the stretch. Success for the Reds is getting 40 starts out of that duo.
The Cincinnati Reds have an army of young pitchers that can try to start at the MLB level, but none that are sure things.
This is why the general manager has mentioned picking up a veteran starter. If they fine someone to make 30 starts and pitch 150 innings, the Reds’ prospects can start the season in the minors.. In that scenario, Stephenson stays in Triple A to make the starts that Bailey couldn’t.
Instead the Reds have to figure out who among Rookie Davis, Amir Garrett, Tim Adleman, and Vladimir Gutierrez could make a potential 24 starts. Adleman can probably hold down the fort again, but what happens if both Stephenson and Bailey are down at the same time? Then who gets the call-up?
Amir Garrett is the likely solution. He is the top pitching prospect in the Reds’ system surpassing Stephenson during the 2016 season. He appears the most ready to produce for the Reds, but the team can’t be sure.
Gutierrez is the wild card in all of this. He projects very similar to Raisel Iglesias. The question with Gutierrez is whether the Reds have finally found a Cuban starter instead of a reliever.
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This a neutral assessment. Bailey and Stephenson could end up making most of their starts or they could both be non-factors. Either way the Reds will only go as far as the starting rotation can carry them.