The Cincinnati Reds signed a pitcher yesterday. No, it wasn’t Dallas Keuchel, but Rob Wooten will add depth to the Reds minor league system.
The Cincinnati Reds signed Rob Wooten, the former Louisville Bat and 13th round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers, to a minor-league contract on Tuesday. It’s highly unlikely that Wooten will compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he can provide depth in the Reds’ minor-league system.
There’s nothing spectacular or flashy about Wooten’s Major League career. Since being drafted by the Brewers in 2013, Wooten has only appeared in 71 career games, all out of the bullpen. The right-handed from Chapel Hill, North Carolina has a career ERA of 5.03 with 53 career strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.412. No, nothing about those numbers are going to blow you away.
However, there’s little to no risk involved in this signing, and anything that adds to the Reds pitching staff should be viewed as a positive. While the bullpen was one of the bright spots on last year’s team, injuries occur, and having a veteran presence in the bullpen is something that should never be dismissed.
Wooten has thrown a pitch at the Major League level since the 2015 and pitched only 3 innings out the Louisville Bats bullpen last season. In his lone game for the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, Wooten allowed 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 2 batters during a September game agains the Indianapolis Indians.
What should Reds’ fans expect from Wooten next season? Eh, that’s hard to say. You never what the new coaching staff may be able to get out of the journeyman right-hander. After Wade Miley turned in an 8-15 season with a 5.61 ERA in Baltimore, former Brewers and current Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson turned Miley’s career around last season.
After signing a minor-league deal with the Brewers in 2018, Miley pitched 80.2 innings with a career 2.57 ERA. Miley went 5-2 in 16 starts while allowing only 3 home runs and striking out 50 batters. His ERA+ of 159 was a career-high, and Miley hadn’t even been close to that good since his All-Star season of 2012.
Now, I’m not saying that Wooten will put up similar numbers to Miley, he may not even get the same kind of opportunity. But, it’s worth the Reds minimal investment on a player that they feel could give them something positive next season. At the very least, Wooten gives the club added depth to their bullpen in Louisville.