Spring training 2019 will be critical for several pitchers in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Tyler Mahle will be in a battle for the final spot in starting rotation.
Tyler Mahle had pretty high expectations around him coming into his rookie season last year with the Cincinnati Reds. Even though he had only seen 4 games in 2017, he was 1-2 and sporting a 2.70 ERA during the September call-ups. Mahle was solid from April through June last season, with June being a particularly good month. Mahle was 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA. Can he recreate some of that magic as he’ll battle it in Spring Training for the final spot in the rotation.
Things started to go downhill for Tyler Mahle in July last year. A particularly rough outing for the entire Cincinnati Reds team was Game 2 of a three game set against the Cleveland Indians on July 11th. Mahle was the starting pitcher that day, though he only pitched a little over 2 innings.
All of Cleveland’s 19 runs that night were definitely not charged to Mahle, but his confidence was not quite the same after that. Mahle would only start 2 more games in Cincinnati through August and September, spending the rest of his time with the organization in Triple-A Louisville where he was 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA.
The Cincinnati Reds front office has surprised us this offseason by fulfilling promises to get quality starting pitching after yet another 90-plus loss season. Starting pitching seemed to be the biggest deficiency heading into the offseason and the team now has three new pitchers who are certain to be in the starting rotation, as well as several pitchers from last season who are good candidates to start this season.
Reds fans pretty much assumed that Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani would retain their spots in the rotation, however, I think at this point anything could happen. Mahle, like many pitchers on the roster, will have the chance during Spring Training to prove himself capable of handling starting a game. David Bell and the rest of the coaching staff will definitely have their eyes on Mahle, DeSclafani, and Sal Romano.
I think Mahle more than proved last year that he can make some noise in the major leagues. He was a reliable starting pitcher for the majority of his rookie season. Tyler Mahle has shown incredible potential to be a strong piece of the starting rotation and he’s is only 24-years-old. There is still time for him to grow and improve his technique under the tutelage of pitching coach Derek Johnson and his assistant Caleb Cotham.
Writing Mahle off at this point would be unfair. The Reds have Sonny Gray locked down for a while, but Alex Wood and Tanner Roark each only have one year on their contracts. It would be nice to see Mahle and some of the other young pitchers already with the Cincinnati Reds become contenders for those starting spots rather than having to spend next offseason trading and dealing for starting pitching again.