Cincinnati Reds: Ranking the best pitchers for late-game situations

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 4: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 4: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Robert Stephenson #55 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts during team scrimmage
CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 18: Robert Stephenson #55 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts during team scrimmage (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

4. The Reds need Robert Stephenson back.

The Cincinnati Reds bullpen was at full-strength for just one game. Right-hander Robert Stephenson pitched less than one inning before landing on the 10-day injured list with a back injury. Stephenson has been sidelined since late-July and the Cincinnati Reds need Stephenson back in the bullpen.

Stephenson was sidelined with a wrist injury before the season even began. One has to question whether or not the former first-round pick was healthy enough to even be on the Opening Day roster. His only outing lasted just three batters, as Stephenson gave up a homer on his first pitch to the Detroit Tigers Austin Romine.

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Stephenson’s current ERA of 54.00 is an unfair representation of his performance thus far. Last season was Stephenson’s last chance to make an impact and he did just that. After years of not producing as a starter, Stephenson was moved to the bullpen and the results were night and day. No longer in need of a third pitch, Stephenson relied on a combination of his fastball and slider.

Robert Stephenson also drastically cut down on the number of walks he issued. After claiming that to be part of his game back in 2018, thee right-hander changed his tune and the results were evident. According to FanGraphs, Stephenson’s walk-rate dipped from 19.1% (2018) to 9.2% (2019). The Cincinnati Reds need Stephenson back in the bullpen.