Cincinnati Reds have sneaky good pitching depth for 2018

(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /

Thanks to two seasons of sub par play, the Cincinnati Reds have a plethora of young pitching talent.

The Cincinnati Reds had two of the worst pitching seasons in franchise history over the past two years.  In 2016 it was the worst pitching staff that the franchise had ever seen for most of the year. In 2017 the rotation was among the worst in baseball.

Heading into 2017 the pitching staff was in shambles.  Every one who was initially penciled into the rotation was down by the All-Star break.  Over the course of the season sixteen pitchers made starts for the Reds.

Now, ten of those pitchers will either start games for Cincinnati or Triple-A Louisville at the beginning of the 2018 campaign.  Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey both look healthy for the first time, at the same time since DeSclafani joined the Reds. Brandon Finnegan also appears to be back to his old self.

That’s not the story here, though.  The real story is the last two spots in the rotation and all of the young guys that have a chance to compete for them.  Luis Castillo appears to be the ace of the next generation.

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After that the team has a top prospect in Tyler Mahle, a former top prospect in Robert Stephenson, who is throwing his way out of the rotation, and Sal Romano, who looks like a big league starter.  These three will likely contribute this season. All three of them have something that looks like a weakness for this season.

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The rest of the talent that the Cincinnati Reds have in the starting pitching arena could help for years to come.

The great secret weapon on Reds’ current roster may be Keury Mella, who made his MLB debut last year.  He is the other guy that came over in the Adam Duvall for Mike Leake deal.  He has only pitched one inning this spring, but will likely start the season in Louisville’s starting rotation.

Jackson Stephens is also in a similar situation.  He made his MLB debut last season and looked impressive with a 1.12 WHIP.  This spring Stephens has only pitched 5 ⅔ in four games.

Of course, there is also Amir Garrett.  He was in the opening day rotation last season, but a hip injury ended his effectiveness after two months.  Some more development could make him a factor.

Next: Reds sign Oliver Perez

The Reds literally have a now and later rotation.  Five pitchers look ready now and five more look like they need more development.  Hopefully, the Reds are positive about who is ready and who isn’t.