Cincinnati Reds: The rise of starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

As the Cincinnati Reds wrap up this home series with the San Francisco Giants, they face a daunting seven-game road trip against division foes. In what could be a bright spot on a rather dark season, at least one game every five days has a strong chance for victory at the hands of Anthony DeSclafani.

As if last nights’ game was any indication, Cincinnati Reds‘ starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani has been on a whole new level this season. Following an extra-inning walk-off win at the hands of Phillip Ervin in the eleventh inning, DeSclafani pitched a gem. It was his longest outing of the season at 7 2/3 innings. Over those innings, he ended the night giving up only one run on six hits, while striking out five with just one walk.

Unlike any other starter on the staff, “Disco” as he is called, is the only one to pitch seven or more innings, all happening in his last three starts. Aside from last nights’ no decision, DeSclafani is 6-3 this year with career highs in AVG (.247), and WHIP (1.18).

DeSclafani was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2008 and decided to forgo the majors to play college ball at the University of Florida. In 2011, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays where he spent one season in the minor leagues. Following the season, he was packaged in a deal to the Miami Marlins for veterans José Reyes, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, Josh Johnson, and Emilio Bonifácio.

Trending. Three players the Reds could trade this winter

The Marlins quickly gave him an opportunity for his first major league start after calling him up from Triple-A, and he got a win while collecting his first and second career hits. He was optioned back to the Class-AAA Pacific Coast League where he would continue to spend most of the season in the minors.

A new journey in the Queen City

In the offseason of 2014, DeSclafani was traded in a package deal for pitcher Mat Latos and began his time with the Reds. In his first season with the club (2015), DeSclafani pitched in 31 starts with a 9-13 record over a total of 184.2 innings pitched. In 2016, he went 9-5 in 20 starts with a 3.28 ERA over 123.1 innings pitched but spent some time on the disabled list throughout.

The 2017 season was a rocky one for DeSclafani where he caught the injury bug big time. Coming off of an injury-plagued 2016 season, in spring training he noticed pain in his right elbow. This pain was eventually diagnosed as tendinitis and a sprained UCL ligament. After the nagging injury never seemed to subside, he was effectively shut down for the entire 2017 season.

Fast forward to the 2018 Season

His first start of the season came against the Colorado Rockies on June 5th following a combined season and a half on the disabled list. Against the Chicago Cubs, he became the first Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher since Bob Purkey to hit a grand slam. He also got the win as well.

In a common case where the starting pitching isn’t lasting long in games, it’s refreshing to see at least one guy locating his pitches consistently. If he continues to go longer in games, he provides a higher percentage of winning, he just needs run support when he does.

Looking ahead to the 2019 season, there will be many questions surrounding who will be in the starting rotation after free agency, new signings, and injury. One thing is for sure though, I agree with Blog Red Machine contributor Drew Koch when he said that he could be our opening day starter next year if he is able to stay healthy.

Next. Ervin should start every game for the Reds

It will also be interesting to see if he can sustain a full season of consistency and eventually become the ace of the pitching staff. I am excited to see if DeSclafani can keep it up and continue to allow two or fewer runs and maybe even win over 10 games, which would be a career high for him. Anthony DeSclafani’s next start is on August 23rd in Chicago against the Cubs. He will be facing off against newly acquired Cole Hamels. Game time is 8:05 pm.