Cincinnati Reds watch to see if Sal Romano can hold off Rookie Davis

Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports /

Rookie Davis and Sal Romano have been in a battle all spring for a spot in the Cincinnati Reds’ starting rotation.

Entering spring training, both Rookie Davis and Sal Romano were on the outside looking in at getting a chance to start for the Cincinnati Reds at the beginning of the 2017 season.  Now they have both positioned themselves as possible solutions to a thinned out rotation.  Perhaps even more impressively, Romano has taken the lead.

Davis has had a decent spring and was the primary return in the Aroldis Chapman trade last year.  At 23 years of age no one expects too much consistency from him, but Davis has shown the ability to be consistent so far.  The Reds held Davis back a couple of days following a twisted ankle.

Davis has been getting primed to be a starter all spring.  Three of his four appearances have been starts and he has thrown more pitches at each outing.  More importantly for pitching for the Reds, Davis hasn’t surrendered a home run all spring long.

The one concerning factor about Davis is that he has surrendered a .244 batting average against.  While he has maintained a low WHIP by only walking two batters in 11 spring innings, he may not be able to maintain that ratio.  That means the door is open for another pitcher.

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Sal Romano has kept his name in the running for a spot in the Cincinnati Reds rotation with a phenomenal spring.

Romano has been fighting an uphill battle all spring.  Unlike Davis who spent a month of last season in Triple-A, Romano spent all of last season in Double-A.  In fact, Romano only had a solid season in Pensacola, not a spectacular one.

However, the Reds put him on the forty man roster this off-season to protect him for the Rule 5 Draft.

The Reds have faith in Romano being an MLB starter someday because he has made 120 minor league starts over four seasons.  They just didn’t see it happening so quickly.

This spring, Romano has been trading the lead in strikeouts with Cody Reed, while leading all potential starting pitchers in WHIP.  He is second to Reed in batting average against among starters.  Romano has only allowed three walks in 15 1/3 innings.  This is in line with his minor league norm of averaging less than 2 walks per nine innings.

The Reds need to start to be aggressive in developing their starters.  There is only reason to put Davis ahead of Romano.  It is that Davis has spent an extra season on their forty man roster.

Next: Reds are waiting to see what will happen with Mesoraco

The Reds are at a crucial point of the rebuild.  They need to figure out who is going to be the long term players.  Then they need to try them out at the major league level.