Tejay Antone will find his way into the Cincinnati Reds rotation in 2020

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 21: Tejay Antone #70 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 21: Tejay Antone #70 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Tejay Antone came in as a reliever in the Reds 8-7 loss to the Cubs.

Wade Miley didn’t have it last night. The Cincinnati Reds free agent acquisition looked awful during his 1.2 innings of work against the Chicago Cubs on Monday. However, Miley gave way to one of the Reds top prospects, Tejay Antone, who looked very impressive over 4.1 innings.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it, Miley’s performance on Monday night was atrocious. After a nearly two-hour rain delay, the Reds and Cubs met at Great American Ball Park for the first of a four-game set. Someone forgot to tell Miley, because the veteran left-hander lasted just 1.2 innings surrendered five earned runs.

Miley looked off his game from the jump. The southpaw’s control was erratic, walking two Cubs batters and hitting both Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. The Reds as a team hit five Cubs hitters. You’d have thought the Houston Astros were in the opposite dugout.

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All Wade Miley could muster was three strikeouts over his 1.2 innings. It was as if Miley was throwing the same pitch over and over and over again. To be fair, Miley is not a power pitcher who’s going to blow you away; he has to pick his spots. He wasn’t doing that on Monday night and hopefully that’s a not a sign of things to come.

If it is, David Bell has options. Tejay Antone entered in relief of Wade Miley in the top of the second inning. Antone, the Reds No. 20 prospect according to MLB.com, looked the part in his major league debut. Antone went 4.1 innings, struck out five and surrendered just one hit, a home run off the bat of perennial All-Star Anthony Rizzo.

The Cubs lineup was right-hand heavy with Miley on the mound to begin the night, so we didn’t see the likes of left-handed slugger Jason Heyward or switch-hitter Ian Happ in the game. But the Cubs two left-handed power bats, Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber were in the game.

Antone worked all over the zone. It was a welcome change of pace from the erratic pitching of Miley. The Reds rookie is sure to get more opportunities and could be used in a manner similar to Lucas Sims. If Miley continues to struggle, don’t be surprised to see Antone take his spot in the rotation.

Now, when you talk about organizational depth, the Cincinnati Reds have a lot in terms of starting pitchers. Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer form a three-headed monster that no opposing manager is going to want to face. Once healthy, Anthony DeSclafani adds a solid arm to the Reds rotation as well.

That final spot in the Cincinnati rotation was a bit of an enigma last season. We saw the likes of Sims, Alex Wood and Tyler Mahle all take their turn, with Mahle getting 25 starts in 2019. The right-hander will be on the bump tonight against the Cubs.

When healthy, Mahle is likely the next-man-up, but Antone certainly made his case last night. The right-hander is a ground ball pitcher who was working his fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s last night. Antone also has a plus-slider and will throw a curveball as well.

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Tejay Antone has great command and appeared to be in control of the game last night. The Cincinnati Reds have several young pitchers, but at 26-years old, Antone is one of the older players in the Cincinnati farm system. His age and maturity may help him to secure a spot in the Reds rotation as the season progresses.