What the Cincinnati Reds are calling a pitching summit, may or may not help the team succeed.
With the pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training in just about a month, the Cincinnati Reds got eleven young pitchers and four catchers together to discuss things in Arizona. The Reds held the summit back in 2016. That season was awful, but hopefully 2018 won’t be.
This year’s summit was an interesting combination of starters and relievers. It also included young veterans and players that haven’t reached the majors. The combination says something in and of itself.
Brandon Finnegan is the most veteran player of the group. In that disastrous 2016 season, he was the only pitcher to make every start in his spot. 2017 was disastrous for him as he injured both shoulders and missed essentially the entire season, but his flexibility could save the Reds in 2018.
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Robert Stephenson was also at the summit. He is at a crossroads in his career. He was the top prospect, but he hasn’t earned a spot in the Reds rotation yet.
Speaking of pitchers who have had chances that didn’t make the most of it, Cody Reed was at the summit, too. He looked good in the bullpen for the Reds last season. However, he has yet to show them that he can be a big league starting pitcher, despite the publicity that preceded his arrival.
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The rest of the pitchers at the summit represent the long-range future of the Cincinnati Reds.
Four pitchers that could comprise the bulk of Triple-A Louisville’s rotation were there in Amir Garrett, Sal Romano, Jackson Stephens, and Keury Mella. Each of them has an outside chance to make the Reds rotation. Each of them also has a fatal flaw that may hold them back.
Ariel Hernandez, Kevin Shackelford, and Zack Weiss represent the relievers. Shackelford is likely going to start the season in Cincinnati, but Hernandez and Weiss face an uphill battle. Weiss hasn’t even made his MLB debut, yet.
The goal of the summit was to get the pitchers talking to the catchers. The Reds also wanted the pitchers talking among themselves. Once camp breaks, these pitchers will likely be on three different teams.
Bringing together the right combination of pitchers and catchers could be extremely beneficial to the Reds in the long run. They need to be able to share information between starters and relievers, and in some cases across different levels of the organization. If nothing else, this gets the most important young pitchers starting to throw a little bit early to get ready for the 2018 season.