Reds: Tyler Stephenson should be leading the Rookie of the Year voting

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson (37) screams as Jonathan India (6) crosses the plate on his game-winning single.
Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson (37) screams as Jonathan India (6) crosses the plate on his game-winning single. /

If it’s not already, Tyler Stephenson‘s name needs to be in the National League Rookie of the Year conversation. After last night’s walk-off single, the third walk-off of Stephenson’s young career, the Cincinnati Reds‘ catcher deserves the accolades and should be the leading vote-getter among rookie position players in the NL.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the San Diego Padres, for the second time in the game, decided to intentionally walk Nick Castellanos to get to Stephenson. The Reds rookie stepped up to the plate and shot a laser into right field, Jonathan India crossed the plate and Cincinnati won the game 5-4.

Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson deserves to be mentioned among the top rookies.

While Jonathan India deserves some recognition as well, what we’ve seen from Tyler Stephenson since debuting in the big leagues is unfathomable. Not only is he a quality backstop, but the Reds’ catcher comes up huge in the biggest moments. We have a word for that, and it’s “clutch”.

To give you an idea of the disrespect that exists among the national media, which is nothing new for Reds Country,’s most recent rookie rankings doesn’t include Stephenson or India among the its Top10. For goodness sake, can the pundits and so-called experts stop snubbing Cincinnati? ranks St. Louis Cardinals’ rookie Dylan Carlson among the best rookies in the National League. I’m sorry, are we talking about the same Dylan Carlson that trails Tyler Stephenson in batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS? Okay, just making sure. Even Baseball America rates Carlson ahead of Stephenson. Are you kidding me?

Then there’s Pittsburgh Pirates’ third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who’s great, but has only played in 26 games. Despite Stephenson platooning with two-time Gold Glove Award-winner Tucker Barnhart, the Reds’ rookie catcher has still appeared in 63 games and has nearly double the plate appearances as Hayes. He also bests Hayes in on-base percentage and OPS.

Reds’ catcher Tyler Stephenson’s biggest competition is Trevor Rogers.

The only rookie in the National League who should be ranked higher than Tyler Stephenson is Miami Marlins pitcher Trevor Rogers. What that young man is doing on the mound is impressive. The Marlins’ southpaw is 7-5 with a 2.14 ERA in 16 starts this season. Rogers has 110 punch outs over 92.1 innings. That’s not only Rookie of the Year, but Cy Young-type stuff.

That said, I always have a problem with starting pitchers garnering so much attention for these types of awards, specifically because they only play every fifth day. That may be a tired argument for some, and I’m fully aware Stephenson is not the Reds’ everyday catcher, but the body of work over his 60-plus games should carry more weight than Rogers’ limited number of starts.

At this point in the season, I’d settle for the just the mention of Tyler Stephenson’s name among the elite rookies in the National League. And it’s not just Stephenson, Jonathan India is having a terrific rookie campaign as well. The fact that neither Reds rookie is in the conversation among the national pundits is ludicrous.

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But, we saw both Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos voted to start in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game, so I’m holding out hope that eventually folks will come around and realize that Tyler Stephenson should be atop the conversation for the National League Rookie of the Year.