Next season is a critical year for the talented, but oft-injured Cincinnati Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani. Is Disco in the club’s long term plans? The 2019 campaign will answer that question.
Since arriving in the Queen City following a December 2014 trade from the Marlins for pitcher Mat Latos expectations have been high for Anthony DeSclafani. At times the 28-year-old right-hander has teased Cincinnati Reds fans with tantalizing stretches, but far too often injuries and inconsistency have plagued the New Jersey native. As the Reds front office makes a push toward relevancy they need to ask themselves who exactly is Anthony DeSclafani.
Disco had an encouraging start to his Reds career during the 2015 season. Starting a career-high 31 games DeSclafani also tossed a career best 184.2 innings while only surrendering an impressive 0.8 home runs per 9 innings. The Reds had every reason to believe they had a potential top of the rotation fixture in place.
However, injuries began to derail DeSclafani’s progress beginning with his 2016 campaign. Disco did not make his season debut until June 10th following a lengthy stint on the disabled list to begin the season due to a strained oblique.
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Once he returned, the hurler immediately reminded Reds fans what they had been missing. DeSclafani was easily the club’s best starter for the remainder of the year. Winning 9 games and establishing a career best 130 ERA+, the Cincinnati Reds front office and fans believed Disco was alive and well.
Unfortunately, DeSclafani failed to throw a pitch for the Reds the following season. The club’s potential ace suffered a UCL strain in his right elbow during Spring Training and missed the entire campaign. The only positive from the 2017 season is that Disco was able to avoid surgery, but his long-term potential was certainly now filled with question marks.
DeSclafani entered last year’s Spring Training healthy and primed to regain his spot in the starting rotation. Nevertheless, his body had other plans. Following an outing against the Rangers on March 9th, an MRI revealed another strained oblique and it was back to the disabled list for the third time in as many years.
The right-hander eventually made his 2018 debut on June 5th in a start versus the Colorado Rockies. Taking the mound for his first MLB start in nearly two years DeSclafani tossed five innings striking out five and walking only one batter. Finally, at long last, it was a step in the right direction.
As should be expected his 2018 season was filled with inconsistent results. DeSclafani finished the year starting 21 games and compiling 115 innings. However, he posted a career worst 4.93 ERA, while giving up nearly two homers per 9 innings pitched.
Should the Reds judge Anthony DeSclafani strictly by his numbers from last year? Certainly not, however, as he gets older and more expensive, the 2019 season is a make or break year for him. For the Reds’ sake, let’s hope Disco Fever takes over the city of Cincinnati next summer.