Cincinnati Reds: Ranking the rookie performances of the 2020 season

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 27: Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 27: Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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ejay Antone #70 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch.
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 06: Tejay Antone #70 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

1. Tejay Antone, Reds pitcher

There may not have been a bigger surprise for the Cincinnati Reds in 2020 than the emergence of Tejay Antone as a potential cog in the starting rotation. While failing to earn a win in 2020, the 26-year-old owned a 2.80 ERA in 13 games including four starts. Antone has a real chance to grab the final spot in the Cincinnati rotation next season.

Antone was added to the 40-man roster this past offseason, so it’s obvious the Reds valued him and wanted to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. However, I don’t think in their wildest dreams they expected Antone to be one of the better options as either a spot starter or out of the bullpen. But that’s exactly what Antone was in 2020.

Tejay Antone works quickly and efficiently. There’s little wasted time when he comes set and little wasted energy when he delivers a pitch, which is usually a combination of his fastball or slider. But, according to FanGraphs, Antone went with his curveball 16.9% of the time.

What does the future hold for Antone? That’s unclear, but you can write his name in ink to be one of the 26 players on next year’s Opening Day roster. Trevor Bauer’s future with the Reds will certainly affect whether or not Antone is in the rotation. However, if the likely Cy Young Award winner leaves via free agency, Antone has the inside track for the No. 5 starter in 2021.

Next. 3 Reds who won't be back in 2021

The four Reds rookies certainly made an impact in 2020, and they all look to have a chance to expand their roles next season as well. The moves that Cincinnati’s front office makes this winter will greatly determine each player’s role with the team going into 2021.