You never know what the future holds, but the addition of Nick Lodolo has the Cincinnati Reds’ starting rotation looking very solid going forward.
With the No. 7 overall pick during the 2019 MLB Draft, the Cincinnati Reds made left-hander Nick Lodolo their first-round selection. Being a college pitcher the last three years at TCU, Lodolo could conceivably move up the Reds’ farm system very quickly. The Reds’ future rotation looks to be very solid.
Lodolo is probably at least two years away from making his major league debut, but don’t be surprised if he finds his way onto the Cincinnati Reds’ roster sometime during the 2021 season. The Reds have a legitimate chance to have one of the best starting rotations in the game when that time comes around.
Luis Castillo, if he remains healthy, is definitely the player that the Reds’ rotation will center around. He has ace-level stuff and has been one of the best pitchers in the National League during the early part of this season.
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Castillo possess the stamina to go deep into games, has a fastball that can sit in the upper 90s, and he has, perhaps, the best changeup in the game. Luis Castillo is the best pitcher on the Cincinnati Reds and over the next few years, he may be viewed as one of the best in the National League.
Sonny Gray will be in a Reds’ uniform for the next four seasons. Cincinnati made a trade with the New York Yankees this past offseason to acquire Gray and immediately signed the right-hander to a three-year contract with an additional option year as well.
Gray has all the makings of a solid No. 2 starter. The one-time All-Star is 2-5 on the season with a 3.54 ERA. Gray struggled early this season, but seems to have hit his stride over his last couple of outings. Gray has thrown 17 innings over his last 3 starts, allowed only 3 runs and struck out 20 batters.
With Tanner Roark and Alex Wood up for free agency this offseason, their future with the team is a bit murky to say the least. While Roark has pitched admirably this season, signing him to an extension this offseason seems a bit unlikely. In fact, depending on the Reds’ standing in the division at the trade deadline, Roark could find himself pitching for another team later this year.
Left-hander Alex Wood has yet to take the field for the Cincinnati Reds this season after missing the beginning of 2019 with a back injury. It always felt as though Wood was a one-year stop gap anyway, so it’s doubtful that Wood returns to Cincinnati next season.
That leaves Cincinnati with a quandary going forward as to who fills out the rotation going forward. Tyler Mahle has flashed a lot of potential. While he’s been inconsistent early in his career with the Cincinnati Reds, Mahle looks the part of a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
Anthony DeSclafani is another story. Disco has never seemed to get back to the type of pitcher he was before injuries robbed him of nearly two years worth of action. DeSclafani must show the front office that he’s up to the task as the season wanes on. This is a make or break year for the Reds’ right-hander and a 4.97 ERA isn’t going to cut it.
The Cincinnati Reds have two Top 10 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, in their minor league system that profile as starters at the major league level. Tony Santillan and Vladimir Gutierrez are the next in line to make a jump from the minors to the majors. Santillan (5) is ranked higher than Gutierrez (7) in the Reds’ farm system, but Santillan is still in Double-A Chattanooga while Gutierrez began the season at Triple-A Louisville.
Neither right-handed pitcher ranks among the Top 100 prospects in all of Major League Baseball, but Tony Santillan’s plus-fastball consistently hits the upper-90s on the radar gun. Gutierrez has a fastball that can reach the upper-90s as well, but he relies more on his curveball to strikeout opposing batters.
Both Sanitllan and Gutierrez will be given opportunities with the Cincinnati Reds soon, however, they may be behind the young right-hander that Reds’ fans saw last week. Lucas Sims, part of the trade that sent Adam Duvall to Atlanta last season, showed what he was capable of in 7.1 innings of work with 9 strikeouts against the Pirates last week.
With a core of Castillo and Gray looking to lead the Reds rotation into the future, bringing in a left-handed starter like Nick Lodolo will be a nice addition to this Cincinnati rotation going forward. Given that he spent three years honing his craft in the college ranks, look for the Reds front office to accelerate Lodolo through the minor leagues rather quickly.
Oh yeah, there’s also this player named Hunter Greene. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? The No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but if Greene returns to form, he’ll no doubt be a big part of the Cincinnati Reds’ starting rotation going forward as well.
I don’t know about you, but a future rotation of Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Hunter Greene, Tyler Mahle, and Nick Lodolo sounds pretty good to me. Provided all five players remain healthy and continue to improve, this Reds’ rotation could be very intimidating in the next couple of years.