Cincinnati Reds saw 2017 season fall apart due to pitching injuries

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

The Cincinnati Reds have an unusual number of starting pitchers for third year in a row.

For each of the past four seasons the Cincinnati Reds have had at least ten different starting pitchers.  Eight to ten is the MLB norm.  2015-2017 was not the norm.

2014 was fairly normal.  Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Alfredo Simon all made all of their starts.  The number was high because the Reds couldn’t find a suitable replacement for the injured Mat Latos.

2015 saw a year of trades and inconsistency.  Cueto and Leake made their starts until the Reds traded them.  Homer Bailey, though, only made two starts thanks to injuries.

2016 was a disaster.  Only Brandon Finnegan made a start every time that he spot came up.  The only other pitcher to remain healthy and effective was Dan Straily, who the Reds traded at the end of the season.

2017 wasn’t any better.  The projected Opening Day rotation was Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, Scott Feldman, and Bronson Arroyo.  None of them made it through the season healthy and the Reds began 2017 with the youngest roster in MLB.

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The situation here screams outloud.  The Reds have starting pitching, but they lack depth.  Last season Luis Castillo saved the day in the second half, but Feldman hurt his knee.

The Cincinnati Reds need starting pitchers that can stay healthy and pitch innings.

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Journeyman Tim Adleman led the staff in innings pitch in 2017 with 122 1/3, but left the Reds for Korea..  Free agent Scott Feldman led the team in 2017 with 21 starts.  He was also second on the team in innings pitched.

Castillo pitched a combined 170 innings between the minors and majors.  He also averaged right about six innings pitched per MLB start.  With a 3.12 ERA and 1.07 WHIP Castillo established himself as the ace.

Bailey, who is getting paid like an ace, made eighteen starts down the stretch.

He had to have several strong outings to inch his average innings pitched per start above five to end the year.  He is what the Reds will look to avoid going forward.

Robert Stephenson made a showing down the stretch as a starter.  He averaged over five and a half innings pitched over eleven late season starts.  This contrasts his earlier MLB output and how he performed in the bullpen to start the year.

Next: Reds sign Dylan Floro to minors deal

The Reds need more pitchers like Castillo and more pitchers like Stephenson to step up.  Right now they also don’t have the money or the relievers to make a five inning starting rotation work.  However, they really need pitchers that can challenge 200 innings like they did five years ago.