Reds: 5 prospects who could open 2022 in the starting rotation

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 23: Starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez #76 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 23: Starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez #76 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 5
Next
Cincinnati Reds non-roster invitee pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez (76) delivers in the first inning.
Cincinnati Reds non-roster invitee pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez (76) delivers in the first inning. /

4. Vladimir Gutierrez, Reds right-handed pitcher

After being suspended for the entire 2020 season and the first 18 games of the 2021 season, Vladimir Gutierrez is back. The right-hander was part of Cincinnati’s 2016 international class, and he looks poised to make it in the big leagues.

In all likelihood, Gutierrez may receive a call in the coming days to be Cincinnati’s replacement starter for the injured Wade Miley. While David Bell has touted the positive attributes of Tony Santillan and José De León, Gutierrez has been the organization’s best pitcher at Triple-A Louisville.

Gutierrez owns a 31.3% K-rate and 11.12 K/9 according to FanGraphs. Much like Santillan, Gutierrez has been part of the Reds farm system for some time now, and the front office has been waiting for the 25-year-old to take that next step.

Many scouts believe Vladimir Gutierrez has the best curveball of any prospect within Cincinnati’s minor league ranks. That pitch, along with a plus-fastball and average changeup might be enough to find Gutierrez a home on the back-end of the Reds rotation.

Gutierrez may be one of the most intriguing names on this list of young hurlers, as he has the potential to be incredibly good, or fizzle out quickly. This boom or bust type of makeup could be very rewarding for a club that’s stuck with Gutierrez through a rough patch and a bout of PED use. Cincinnati’s hoping their persistence pays off.