The Reds recalled Tyler Stephenson and designated Matt Davidson for assignment.
A collective sigh of relief is likely to be heard throughout Reds Country this evening, as the decision was finally made to promote top catching prospect Tyler Stephenson to the major league roster for the second time this season. In addition, the Cincinnati Reds made a corresponding move, designating Matt Davidson for assignment.
While little has been said about Stephenson’s role going forward, I think it’s safe to say that the Reds view Stephenson’s bat a the primary means for his promotion to the majors, likely signaling that he’ll see more time as the team’s designated hitter rather than catcher. The Reds still have Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali on the 28-man roster.
In addition, Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati’s do-everything utility player, has the ability to don the tools of ignorance as well, and hang the signs. The Reds front office has hesitated to promote Stephenson to the bigs, presumably due to his inexperience behind the plate.
Barnhart and Casali are both incredibly gifted at calling a game, and I find it hard to believe that Stephenson will see much time as the team’s catcher this season. However, inserting Stephenson into the Reds lineup as the designated hitter would allow Stephenson to utilize his best attribute and possibly elevate Cincinnati’s poor offense.
At 6’4″, 225-pounds, the 24-year-old Stephenson is an imposing player. Finding two at-bats in his lone game back on July 27th, all Stephenson did was go 2-for-2 with a home run in his first major-league plate appearance. He also drew a walk and snagged a single in his first and only game at the big league level.
With Matt Davidson no longer with the team, expect Tyler Stephenson to draw the assignment of designated hitter against left-handed pitchers. David Bell seems quite comfortable, as he should be, with Jesse Winker handling DH duties against right-handers. However, Davidson would oftentimes get his hacks in when a southpaw was on the bump. Expect the same with Stephenson on the team.
Whether or not Stephenson makes a huge impact remains to be seen, but it’s good to see the rookie be given the opportunity. The Cincinnati Reds are not yet out of the playoff hunt, and perhaps Stephenson will give the offense the boost it needs to make a postseason push.
Stephenson joins a Reds team loaded with first-year players. José García, Shogo Akiyama and Tejay Antone have all made their major league debuts in 2020. We’ve also seen Mark Payton make his big league debut this season as well.