If the veterans come to camp healthy, the Cincinnati Reds have too many starters and too few spots.
The Cincinnati Reds didn’t have enough starting pitchers in 2017, as nearly every starter missed time on the DL. Heading into 2018, the opposite may be true. With Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, and Brandon Finnegan reportedly at 100% there isn’t a clear spot for many of the prospects that got a taste of the big leagues last year.
Those three alone only leave two spots open in the rotation. You also have 2017 breakout star Luis Castillo. Considering he is in the running for the number one spot in the rotation, his spot is nearly cemented in place.
Usually in a situation like this, a team would just leave the almost made it starters to the bullpen. That won’t work for the Reds because they recently signed set-up men David Hernandez and Jared Hughes. If anything, that puts more pressure on Michael Lorenzen to make it as a starter.
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With Hughes and Hernandez joining Wandy Peralta and Raisel Iglesias in the bullpen, half of the spots are set. Lorenzen will have a spot if he doesn’t make the rotation and Kevin Shackelford likely did enough last season to have a spot. That would only leave one spot for half a dozen pitchers.
The Cincinnati Reds have to decide who will be with the big league team and who will fill out Louisville’s rotation.
If the Reds don’t sign a veteran to fill out the rotation, then Amir Garrett, Robert Stephenson, Sal Romano, Cody Reed, Jackson Stephens, Keury Mella and Tyler Mahle all have a shot at the rotation in addition to Lorenzen. That’s nine starters for one spot in the rotation. As many as two could end up in the bullpen. The rest would make up Louisville’s rotation in Triple-A and this doesn’t include the injured Rookie Davis.
There’s more to it than that, though. Ariel Hernandez and Austin Brice are both trying to land in the Reds’ bullpen to start the season. That may knock a sixth starter down to the minors. One of these pitchers could go from a shot at the Reds’ rotation all the way down to starting for Double-A.
This is a great place for the Reds to be in. They can finally let some of their prospects develop in Triple-A. Not to mention the veterans in the rotation are now truly 100%.