Cincinnati Reds: Vladimir Gutierrez could be in line to be a starter in 2020

CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 31: Hats a lined up for sale in the stadium before the Cincinnati Reds game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 31: Hats a lined up for sale in the stadium before the Cincinnati Reds game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The starting rotation seems to be set, but Cincinnati Reds are still trying to iron out the bullpen for 2019. Several pitchers have been impressive in spring training, one of the most impressive has been non-roster invitee Vladimir Gutierrez.

Vladimir Gutierrez was ranked as the ninth best prospect in the Cincinnati Reds farm system, then moved up to the seventh spot after Jeter Downs and Shed Long were traded to acquire starting pitching. In 2018, Baseball America ranked his breaking pitches and pitch control as some of the best in the Reds organization. Gutierrez is set up to make a big impact very soon.

Gutierrez spent his 2018 season in Double-A Pensacola where he racked up 145 strikeouts over 147 innings spanning 27 games. He gave up 18 home runs and walked 38 batters, finishing with a 4.35 ERA. That was good enough to earn an invitation to this year’s Spring Training.

Vladimir Gutierrez has appeared in 4 games during Spring Training thus far and has been great. He had a bit of a rough outing in his most recent game against the Kansas City Royals on March 8th, but otherwise has been solid. He’s has even made a couple of starts.

Pitching a total of 5.2 innings, Gutierrez has a 7.94 ERA with 5 strikeouts and has not yet walked a batter or given up a home run. Gutierrez has given up 9 base hits, but only 5 of those runs eventually scored. Remember, this is his first big test and he’s only 23-years-old.

Both Alex Wood and Tanner Roark are on expiring contracts this season. Fans are hoping to see if some of the young pitchers already in the Cincinnati Reds organization will be ready to step in and fill those open roster spots in 2020 rather than spending another offseason trading for starting pitchers again.

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I highly doubt that we’ll see Gutierrez  with the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day next season since he’s not yet played above Double-A, but if he gets to Triple-A Louisville this year we’ll see him make his way to Cincinnati sooner rather than later. It’s refreshing to see that the Reds have solid pitching prospects in their organization like Gutierrez. There is definitely a lot to be excited about in Reds Country!