Cincinnati Reds watch, as opening day nears, the starting rotation becomes less clear

Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds have a developing situation as Rookie Davis and Cody Reed come from behind to lead the rotation race.

The Cincinnati Reds have been in a pickle all spring long as projected starters Tim Adleman and Robert Stephenson have had awful springs.  Adleman was only in the mix because of the injury to Homer Bailey.  Now the Reds have six starters who could be in the rotation not counting veteran Bronson Arroyo.

Cody Reed had a tough season for the Reds last year and didn’t get off to the best start this spring.  Since then, however, he has been the best starter in camp.  After his latest appearance, he is leading the Reds in WHIP for all pitchers who have pitched more than one game and is second on the team to phenom Sal Romano in strikeouts.

Rookie Davis has yet to make his MLB debut, but was the primary return when the Reds traded Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees.  He is third on the team in strikeouts and has only walked three batters in four starts.  Davis has a middling spring batting average against (BAA) of .258.

The pitcher that has fallen down in the race of late is Amir Garrett.  He looked like a shoo-in to make the rotation when the Reds traded Dan Straily to the Miami Marlins.  Since the start of spring training however, he has seen his WHIP slowly rise to an unsustainable 1.45.

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The Cincinnati Reds have to decide whether to focus on the long term or the short term in making the rotation decision.

Right this second Reed and Romano appear the most ready to pitch at the MLB level.  Stephenson and Adleman look too hittable and Davis and Garrett don’t look composed enough.  Reed can easily be allowed to start over Adleman or Stephenson as he already made his MLB debut last year.

Romano is a bit of a stickier situation.  He has never pitched above Double-A.

He could use more seasoning, even if he appears ready now.

Do the Reds let an unimpressive Stephenson or Adleman start so that Romano can get more seasoning?  If so, which one do they go with?  Adleman looks like a made for TV number five starter and Stephenson looks like half elite prospect and half washout.

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The way it stands now, Reed has to be in the rotation.  Adleman has been too weak to start the season in Cincinnati.  That just leaves the question whether the Reds will go with Garrett, Romano or Stephenson.  Whoever it is will pitch ahead of Arroyo in the rotation.