Cincinnati Reds Tyler Mahle takes his shot at making the rotation

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Thanks to an injury to Anthony DeSclafani, Tyler Mahle has a change to make the Cincinnati Reds rotation.

Coming into spring training, four or five of the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation spots appeared set.  Since then Anthony DeSclafani has been injured and Robert Stephenson has pitched himself onto Louisville’s roster.  That leaves two spots in the rotation open potentially.

One spot is trending towards Sal Romano.  He averaged five and a half innings in sixteen 2017 starts.  He has also looked ready to start in the majors.

That leaves one spot open in the rotation.  In addition to Tyler Mahle and Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett, who started last season in the rotation, was in the hunt.  Garrett, though, appears currently to be headed to the bullpen, if Brandon Finnegan is healthy.

That left Mahle battling Stephenson for the last spot in the rotation, unless two lefty starters is an option.  This is a familiar story for Stephenson. He entered last spring training with a shot in the rotation only to lose out to Garrett and Rookie Davis.

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Mahle has dominated in the minors. He has done so, though, with a lower strikeout rate that usual for a top prospect.  This may play well in a Cincinnati rotation that needs someone to eat innings.

The Cincinnati Reds have seen Tyler Mahle impress this spring.

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Mahle is 1-0 with a 2.75 ERA this spring.  That has come over six games including two starts.  He has only allowed 10 hits in 19 ⅔ innings.

That has resulted in allowing seven runs, six earned.  Mahle has only walked three and struck out fifteen. His .152 batting average against has led to a minuscule 0.66 WHIP.

On his way up through the minors Mahle has bounced back and forth between averaging five and six innings.  Last season in Cincinnati Mahle averaged exactly five innings per start. That number has to go up, if he makes the rotation.

Mahle has four complete games to his credit from the minors.  

He also has pitched about 150 innings each of the past three seasons.  The complete games are nice, but the Reds want to see 175 or more innings from their starting pitchers.

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The injury to DeSclafani and the ineffectiveness of Stephenson has opened the door for Mahle to step into a more prominent role.  Mahle’s ability to get better over time will serve him in 2018. He is just hoping that in 2018 he will start every fifth game in Cincinnati instead of Louisville to start the season.