Cincinnati Reds enter 2017 with more youth on the pitching staff than anywhere else

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

The Cincinnati Reds have almost all of their experience focused on three pitchers entering the season.

No one on the Cincinnati Reds’ roster has more MLB experience than opening day starter Scott Feldman.  He made his debut with the Texas Rangers in 2005 as a middle reliever.  Since then he has made 183 starts and 138 relief appearances in the American League.

After Feldman, the most experienced pitcher is new closer Drew Storen, who has 98 career saves.  He made his MLB debut in 2010 and spent his entire career with the Washington Nationals, prior to last season.  Storen has 369 career strikeouts over 385 2/3 innings, including his rough 2016 season.

The third  most experienced pitcher only hit arbitration this year, Tony Cingrani.  Cingrani made his debut in 2012 and has split his time between the bullpen and the rotation.  He appears set to be a middle reliever in the Reds newly planned out bullpen in 2017.

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Among the starters, no pitcher has more MLB starts than Feldman with Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey on the DL.  He has 183 starts compared to 35 by Brandon Finnegan and 13 by Tim Adleman.  The new back end relievers each have 21 career starts, showing how inexperienced the actual starting rotation is headed into 2017.

The Cincinnati Reds have a long list of non-roster invitees and true rookies to fill out the pitching staff.

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The Reds made a big media splash by signing former ace Bronson Arroyo to a minor league deal.  He has about the same number of career starts as the rest of the staff combined at 369.  His experience and observations will be worth more than his output on the mound, if he can be good enough to justify his existence on the team.

After Arroyo, Louis Coleman has the most MLB experience of the non-roster pitchers with 213 relief appearances.  Coleman has pitched in low leverage situations for both the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Dodgers.  He has 28 career holds, which is more than any of the incumbent pitchers.

On the rookie front, top pitching prospect Amir Garrett looks like a shoo-in for a spot in the rotation.  Rookie Davis, who came over from the New York Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal last off-season, could also end up in the rotation this spring.  Sal Romano also could make his MLB debut in the rotation to start the season.

That’s what makes Tim Adleman and Robert Stephenson so important to the staff.  If neither of them can establish his spot in the rotation, then the Reds are looking at potentially having three pitchers with zero MLB experience in the starting rotation.  The injuries already forced the Reds to shift Feldman back into the rotation.

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As tough as it sounds, this is exactly where the Reds want to be.  They want to be able to test their prospects and see who will be in the next generation of aces.  Hopefully, there is enough experience to mold these young talents into MLB starting pitchers.