It’s debatable as to which Cincinnati Reds player will benefit the most from the delayed start, but Tyler Mahle certainly will see more playing time.
The delayed start to the season, while unfortunate, has offered a silver lining to a few players on the Cincinnati Reds roster. Eugenio Suárez and Nick Senzel should be back to 100% by the time the season begins, but perhaps no Reds player will benefit from the delayed start to the 2020 season more than starting pitcher Tyler Mahle.
Mahle’s spot on the Reds 2020 roster, barring an injury to one of the starting pitchers, was severely in question heading into spring training. With Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray and Anthony DeSclafani all but cemented in the starting rotation. Cincinnati added Wade Miley during the offseason as well.
Miley had an impressive season in 2019 with the Houston Astros. The left-hander was 14-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 33 starts. Miley’s 167 innings pitched were the most he’s thrown since 2015, and through August 24th, Miley was sporting an ERA of 3.13 through 27 starts.
Tyler Mahle was 3-12 last season with a 5.14 ERA. The addition of Miley to the Cincinnati rotation looked to be a clear indication that the front office felt as though Mahle could use some more seasoning in the minor leagues and his 2020 season was likely to begin at Triple-A Louisville.
But with the delayed start to the 2020 season, Major League Baseball is contemplating all kinds of alternative scenarios to help facilitate playing as many games as possible. Ideas have ranged from starting all 30 teams in Arizona while playing games at spring training sites to multiple doubleheaders throughout the season.
Regardless of which route MLB decides to take, there’s no doubt that rosters will need to be expanded. Whether it’s the brutal summer heat of Arizona, or six games played in five days, the addition of another starting pitcher is virtually a certainty. Enter Tyler Mahle.
While several fans will object to Mahle’s inclusion on the big league roster, rest assured that while some of the right-handers numbers from 2019 are not good, Mahle improved in several key categories. According to FanGraphs, Mahle’s strikeout-rate went up and his walk-rate went down. Both are positive signs for a pitcher who just turned 25-years old.
While Cincinnati’s starting rotation was already the strength of this team heading into 2020, the addition of Tyler Mahle will only help. Other teams may be reliant upon a young rookie to take the ball, but the Reds will have the luxury of sending out a pitcher with 52 career starts under his belt.