Tyler Mahle, Reds right-handed pitcher
Tyler Mahle is not yet a household name among baseball fans, but I expect that to change in 2021. Since he was called up to the big leagues in 2018, we’ve seen glimpses of Mahle’s skillset, but there was always reason for doubt. After the strides the 26-year-old made last season, Mahle looks poised to take his game to the next level.
Mahle was an afterthought heading into spring training last February. Everybody had the right-hander pegged to start the season at Triple-A Louisville, but an injury to Anthony DeSclafani paved the way for Mahle to make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster. Mahle turned that opportunity into a successful 2020 campaign, and there’s no doubt he’ll be part of the 26-man roster in 2021.
The top two positions in Cincinnati’s starting rotation are set. Luis Castillo will likely take the hill on Opening Day for the second time in three years, and he’ll be followed by last year’s Opening Day starter, Sonny Gray. Mahle will occupy the No. 3 spot in the Reds starting rotation. Remember, after leaving camp last season, that was Trevor Bauer’s spot in the rotation.
Now, I’m not expecting Mahle to win the Cy Young Award in 2021, but the numbers he put up last season should be very encouraging to Reds fans. The California native went 2-2 with a 3.59 ERA, striking out 60 batters over 47.2 innings of work. Mahle’s K9 jumped from 8.95 in 2019 to 11.33 in 2020 according to FanGraphs. His strikeout-rate also soared to a career-best of 29.9%.
Tyler Mahle’s presence on the Cincinnati Reds roster is one of the reasons you heard Sonny Gray’s name emerge in trade talks this offseason. With Castillo, Mahle, and the young duo of Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene ascending through the farm system, Cincinnati’s starting rotation looks to be in good hands moving forward.