Cincinnati Reds: Anthony DeSclafani will follow in Luis Castillo’s footsteps

MONTERREY, MEXICO - APRIL 14: Anthony DeSclafani #28 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the second inning of the second game of the Mexico Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey on April 14, 2019 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images)
MONTERREY, MEXICO - APRIL 14: Anthony DeSclafani #28 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the second inning of the second game of the Mexico Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey on April 14, 2019 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
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Luis Castillo was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April. With the start that fellow Cincinnati Reds’ starter Anthony DeSclafani is having, he’s not far behind.

Cincinnati Reds ace, Luis Castillo, was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April. There’s no doubt that La Piedra deserved the award, but fellow starter Anthony DeSclafani could be making his case for the award during the month of May.

Before we dive too deep into how both Castillo and DeSclafani have pitched for the Reds this spring, can we give some credit to Derek Johnson and the entire pitching staff. The team was at the bottom of the NL in nearly every pitching category last season, and now the squad ranks at or near the top.

Not only is the starting rotation better, but the bullpen, a strength of the Reds last season, appears even better in the early going this year. It’s very early, but 7 of the Top 10 players leading the Reds in WAR are pitchers. Only Jose Iglesias, Derek Dietrich, and Eugenio Suarez rank highly in that category among Reds regulars.

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Okay, back to Castillo and DeSclafani. Castillo has been one of the best pitchers in all of Major League Baseball to begin the season. Luis Castillo has a 2.2 WAR, a 3-1 record and a 1.45 ERA in 7 starts this season. Castillo has one of the most devastating changeups in all of baseball.

Anthony DeSclafani, who entered the 2019 season as the No. 4 starter in the Cincinnati Reds’ rotation is quickly becoming the second best pitcher on the team. In fact, an honest look at the statistics over the past three starts for both La Piedra and Disco would give a slight edge to DeSclafani.

In his last three starts, Luis Castillo has thrown 18.2 innings, allowed 17 hits, and struck out 18 batters. Castillo allowed just 3 earned runs and 2 homers in those three games. Anthony DeSclafani has pitched 17.2 innings in his last 3 outings, allowing just 9 hits and 1 earned run. He has a 0.51 ERA in those 3 games and has struck out 20 batters.

Don’t forget, even last year it’s debatable as to whether or not Anthony DeSclafani was fully healthy. He was shut down at the beginning of Spring Training in 2017 and did not return to the Reds roster until last June following rehab from a sprained UCL.

Right now, Castillo and DeSclafani don’t look like a 1-2 punch, but more like 1A and 1B. While Castillo relies heavily on his changeup and mixes it with a 95-plus MPH fastball, DeSclafani has been using his two-seam fastball and locating his four-seamer up in the zone. In short, Castillo has mixing speeds to keep the hitters off balance and DeSclafani has been locating his pitches perfectly.

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If Anthony DeSclafani continues to dominate opposing batters the way he did on Wednesday (5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 8 K), he’ll be well on his way to being named the National League Pitcher of the Month for May. Let’s hope some more of Derek Johnson’s magic rubs off on Disco.