Reds: Recipe for redemption vs Rockies requires more Tyler Stephenson

DENVER, CO - MAY 13: Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Jonathan India #6 after hitting a two run home run during the eighth inning . (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MAY 13: Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Jonathan India #6 after hitting a two run home run during the eighth inning . (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – JUNE 01: Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Reds rookie Tyler Stephenson is presenting a good problem for David Bell.

If there was one positive to Joey Votto’s month-long stint on the injured list it was the increased playing time for Cincinnati Reds rookie Tyler Stephenson. In addition to his regular backup catching duties, the right-handed slugger found himself playing first base for the first time in his professional career.

Even though he’s only hitting .227 over his past 15 games, Tyler Stephenson has a mature approach at the plate that belies his rookie status, as evidence by his .358 on-base percentage over that period. Wednesday night’s contest versus Milwaukee was a perfect example of what Stephenson brings to the club.

In four plate appearances, Tyler Stephenson doubled twice and drove in three runs leading the Reds to a 7-3 win over the Brewers. However, with the return of Votto to the active roster, will Stephenson garner the playing time he deserves?

My fear is that David Bell reduces Stephenson’s role to that of strictly a backup catcher where he receives the starts versus left-handers and the obligatory day start following a night game. This is absolutely the worst path Bell could choose.

Tyler Stephenson is going to be an integral part of the next contending Cincinnati Reds team. At 24-years of age, it’s time for him to develop at the major league level by receiving regular playing time. David Bell, I implore you, set Tyler Stephenson free.

Prediction

The 2021 Cincinnati Reds continue to tease Reds Country. Are they the team that swept a four-game set in St. Louis last weekend, or the one that appeared mostly overmatched versus the Milwaukee Brewers this week.

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This weekend will likely not be a defining moment for the Reds in 2021, but if they desire to compete in the NL Central race, this is the type of series where they need to take care of business against a lesser Colorado Rockies club. Look for the Reds to take two of three this weekend and inch closer to .500 before a challenging road trip that includes stops in Milwaukee and San Diego.