Cincinnati Reds: Five bold predictions for the 2020 season

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 14: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 14: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
DENVER, CO – JULY 14: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

3. Tyler Mahle starts more games for the Reds than Wade Miley.

In case you can’t tell, I’m very bullish on Tyler Mahle. Every time I watch this youngster pitch, he seems to have that “it” factor. However, sometimes, he cannot get out of his own way. We saw Mahle make tremendous strides in 2019 and I expect more of the same from the California native in 2020.

Wade Miley was a nice add for the Reds this past offseason, but the move does not come without questions. While Mahle’s ERA (5.93) over his final six starts in 2019 was not great, he at least bested Miley’s 12.60 ERA. To Miley’s credit, the left-handed admitted that her was inadvertently tipping his pitches over his final few starts. He had a 3.13 ERA in his first 26 starts last season.

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Miley and Mahle seem somewhat interchangeable to me during this shortened MLB season. I could easily see David Bell playing the matchups and resting Miley when the opponent’s right-handed batters are much more imposing than their left-handed sluggers. Miley’s BAbip against lefties was .217, while right-handers owned a .309 BAbip against him.

Mahle’s record last season (3-12) was not reflective of his performance. During 10 of Mahle’s 25 starts, the offense provided two runs or fewer. Sonny Gray was in a similar boat, but also saw 12 different occasions when the Reds bats provided six or more runs. That happened for Mahle only six times last year.

Tyler Mahle may have the best control of any starting pitcher in the Reds rotation. With Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani entering free agency this winter, it’s a good bet that Mahle will supplant one of them in the 2021 starting rotation. He could supplant Miley this season.