Cincinnati Reds Spring Training Preview – Who will be the staff ace by the end of 2017?

Mandatory credit: Kareem Elgazzer/The Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK
Mandatory credit: Kareem Elgazzer/The Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK /

Who will be the staff ace for the Cincinnati Reds by the end of 2017?

In the starting rotation of the Cincinnati Reds Anthony DeSclafani is the ace. He was last year and he will be this year.  He is the one starter who could throw a shutout any time he takes the ball.

Last year DeSclafani injured his oblique in spring last year and only made 20 starts last year in his second season with the Reds. He came over with catcher Chad Wallach in exchange for Mat Latos and isn’t looking back.  He made all 31 of his starts his first year in the Reds’ rotation.

Last season DeSclafani set some important career records for himself. He had a personal all-time low in both WHIP and ERA at 1.22 and 3.28, respectively. He also surrendered less than one hit per inning for the first time in his three year MLB career.

With the injury to Homer Bailey proving his lack of reliability, Bronson Arroyo could end up being the second best starter in the rotation this year. During his first stint with the Reds he made every start over an eight year period winning nine or more games every year.  His IP low was 199 in 2011 when he only made 32 starts, his single season low with the Reds.

In the bullpen the Cincinnati Reds have their true ace, potential closer Michael Lorenzen.

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In the bullpen Michael Lorenzen will be the closer and ace if the Reds let him. He has experience as a college closer and was the best reliever on the team last year hands down.  When he joined the bullpen, it got dramatically better in very short order.

Last year Lorenzen had 35 appearances registering 10 holds. He had a team leading WHIP of 1.08 and was second in ERA to bullpen mate Raisel Iglesias with an ERA of 2.88.  He also surrendered only one home run per ten innings which is impressive with Great American Ballpark as your home field.

The one pitcher who might look better on paper is free agent signee Drew Storen. He has experience as a traditional closer and could rack up saves left and right.  By the end of the season, though, Storen will likely be a set-up man on a playoff contender, unless the Reds really surprise.

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Lorenzen will be the ace of the staff for years to come whether as a closer or as a starter. He was a first round draft pick in 2013 and pitches like one.  The question is whether the Reds will let his talent lead the way or not.