After a season that saw the pitching stretched thin, there is nothing wrong with the Cincinnati Reds leaving some talent in Triple-A.
The Cincinnati Reds used an incredible number of pitchers in 2017. They had fourteen relievers and sixteen pitchers that started games. Some of those sixteen also relieved.
In a season like that plenty of pitchers saw time in the big leagues. Usually, that is a good thing. In this case it was not. This all makes pitching the biggest question for the Reds in 2018.
The Reds exposed too many pitchers that weren’t ready for the big leagues to too many major league innings. Of course, some pitchers shouldn’t have been pitching big league games at all. This was all caused by too many pitchers spending time on the DL.
Pivoting to 2018, there is no reason to force pitchers to earn experience. After the starting five and the best six bullpen arms, the Reds should feel justified in leaving talented pitchers in the minors. There’s no reason to run a shuttle between Louisville and Cincinnati in 2018 for the sake of giving everyone a taste of the majors.
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The Reds have three pitchers in Zack Weiss, Jesus Reyes, and Jose Lopez who haven’t even made their MLB debuts. Unless they dominate in spring training, they should spend the 2018 season in Louisville.
The Cincinnati Reds also have several pitchers that should re-prove their MLB readiness.
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For the first month or so of 2017, Amir Garrett was the ace for the Reds. He looked like he was strong enough to go late into games and skilled enough to get out of jams. Then his injured hip ended his season.
This year, the Reds should make him earn his spot again. He has almost no chance at a spot in the starting rotation. They should only keep him in the majors, if he wins a spot in the bullpen based on merit in spring training.
Jackson Stephens is another pitcher that is screaming for more seasoning. He looks like a true MLB starter in the making.
There is no development advantage to having him in the bullpen, unless the Reds think that will be where he ends up long term.
The Reds have plenty of young pitchers to continue to develop without stretching for pitchers that need more developmental time. They also have several veterans that need time to see if they are healthy. Then again, if someone looks totally dominant, he probably should be allowed to stay with the big league club.