Reds: Vladimir Gutierrez has secured spot in 2022 starting rotation

CINCINNATI, OHIO - AUGUST 22: Vladimir Gutierrez #53 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - AUGUST 22: Vladimir Gutierrez #53 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds starting rotation has been solid this season. The starters rank 1st in the league in innings pitched, 3rd in strikeouts, and 6th in ERA. With every current starter under team control through next season and two of the organization’s top prospects on the cusp of their major league debut, it’s anyone’s guess who’ll be in the Reds’ starting rotation next season.

While there are those who will want to see Wade Miley’s team option picked up, and the trade rumors surrounding Luis Castillo are sure to return, the one thing that’s a near certainty is Vladimir  Gutierrez‘s presence in the Reds’ 2022 starting rotation.

Gutierrez was called up earlier this season and has since been a fixture in the Cincinnati starting rotation. The right-hander has started 16 games and owns a 3.68 ERA. Even more impressive has been Gutierrez’s performance since the All-Star break.

Over the past month, Gutierrez has been the team’s best starting pitcher. Gutierrez owns a 5-1 record with a 1.86 ERA over the last 30 days. Only Castillo (41) has more punch outs than Gutierrez (37) during that timeframe, and the rookie’s 38.2 innings pitched are more than any other starter since the Midsummer Classic.

Vladimir Gutierrez has secured a spot in the Reds 2022 rotation.

Vladimir Gutierrez entered the 2021 season with a bit of an interesting set of circumstances. After being added to the 40-man roster over the winter, Gutierrez was forced to serve the remainder of an 80-game suspension for PED use.

Gutierrez pitched in three games this spring for Triple-A Louisville before being called up to The Show. Gutierrez posted a 2-0 record with a 2.65 ERA with 21 strikeouts over 17 innings with the Louisville Bats.

Gutierrez has thrown six or more innings in 11 of his 16 starts this season. Gutierrez has gone six or more innings in eight of his last nine appearances, posting a 2.80 ERA, 19.5% strikeout-rate, and 7.2% walk-rate.

The Reds starting rotation in 2022 could be loaded.

There are currently eight pitchers on the Cincinnati Reds roster who could be part of next year’s starting rotation. Vladimir Gutierrez, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, Wade Miley, Tony Santillan, and Tejay Antone are all under team control heading into next season. Miley has a $10M team option for the 2022 season.

The Reds also have their top two pitching prospects, Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo, ready to make the leap from the minor leagues to the big leagues. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Reds call upon Greene next month to be part of the team’s bullpen. Adding a pitcher who can throw 100-plus for the stretch run in September might be too tempting to pass up.

I fully expect at least one of Cincinnati’s veteran hurlers (Miley, Castillo, Mahle, or Gray) to be dealt this offseason. Any of that quartet would save the franchise millions of dollars in payroll and likely net the Reds a nice return of prospects.

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Regardless of which mix of veteran starting pitchers are on the Cincinnati Reds roster next season, expect Vladimir Gutierrez to be part of the team’s starting rotation. Gutierrez has solidified his spot with his stellar play over the second-half of the season, and the Cuban native may only be scratching the surface of what could be a fantastic major league career.