Cincinnati Reds starting pitchers have a curious number of injuries recently

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

After several years with few injuries to the starting rotation, the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation has fallen apart in recent years.

The Cincinnati Reds had sixteen pitchers start at least one game for them in 2017.  Several of the pitchers started because they were rookies deserving a start.  Unfortunately, several more were injury replacements.

Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, Amir Garrett, Rookie Davis, Scott Feldman, Bronson Arroyo, and Robert Stephenson all spent time on the DL last year.  DeSclafani missed the entire season.  Arroyo, Davis, Feldman, and Finnegan all saw early ends to their seasons.

Worse than that the starting rotation heading into spring was supposed to include DeSclafani, Bailey, Finnegan, Feldman, and Arroyo.  Only Bailey was healthy at the end of the 2017 season.  The rest of them were planning for 2018.

Actually, sixteen isn’t such a big number when you realize that eight of the starting pitchers spent time on the DL.  Add to five and you get thirteen.  Then you just have three pitchers making spot starts down the stretch.

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The Seattle Mariners are the only team in baseball that had more starting pitchers.  They started seventeen pitchers in 2017.  Their issue, too, was injuries, as only one pitcher made more than 25 starts in 2017.

This is a new issue for the Cincinnati Reds, so it probably is something other than minor league training.

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In 2012 only one start was made by a pitcher outside of the opening day rotation.  2013 was similar with Tony Cingrani and Johnny Cueto essentially sharing the last spot in the rotation.  Cingrani and Mat Latos basically did the same thing in 2014.

Then the wheels came off in 2015.  The Reds were doing OK through July.  Then they traded away Cueto and Mike Leake.

By the end of 2015 the Reds had used fourteen different starters, including both Finnegan and Cingrani.

Finnegan is now a starter, when healthy.  Cingrani spent 2016 as the Reds closer and is now playing in the World Series with Yasmani Grandal for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The pattern is clear, if you take a step back.  What do Latos, Cueto, Leake, and Bailey circa 2012 have in common?  They were good.

Next: Rookie Davis to miss spring training

No disrespect, but Bailey, Arroyo, Feldman, and Davis circa 2017 are not in the same league with their 2012 counter parts.  That doesn’t explain the number of injuries, but it does explain some of it.  Lesser talent at the beginning and end of careers doesn’t usually stay healthy over the long haul.