Reds vs. Pirates: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 20: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning during a game between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on September 20, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 20: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning during a game between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on September 20, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Jonathan India #6 after hitting a two run home run during the eighth inning.
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) /

The Reds’ rookies excelled in 2021.

While Nick Castellanos, Joey Votto, and a healthy Jesse Winker received, and rightfully so, much of the headlines this year, there’s no denying the incredible contributions the Redlegs received from the new guys on the block. Hopefully, this will be remembered as the year the nucleus of the next great Cincinnati Reds team first appeared on the scene.

Second baseman Jonathan India is the favorite to become the Reds’ first NL Rookie of the Year since Scott Williamson was honored following the 1999 season. If India claims the prize, he’ll be the first Cincinnati rookie position player to be crowned since 1988, when Chris Sabo won the award.

Even though he didn’t have the number of opportunities as India had, there’s no denying Tyler Stephenson’s time has arrived.  Regardless of the front office’s decision regarding Tucker Barnhart’s future, it’s obvious Stephenson should be the club’s No. 1 backstop for next season.

Let’s not forget the outstanding performance of right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez as well. Despite pitching on fumes the last few weeks of the season, the 25-year-old Cuban proved to be more than capable of being a successful pitcher at the major league level.

Finally, we haven’t even mentioned Tony Santillan and Jose Barrero, who both saw time with the club this year, and who isn’t excited to see top pitching prospects Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo hopefully take the next step in their development and open the 2022 season in the Queen City. So it’s an exciting time for Reds Country.

Prediction

Look for the Reds to take two of three from the Pirates at PNC Park and conclude the 2021 season with 84 victories which will be the fourth most in a season for the club in the last 20 years.

Next. Don't be so quick to write off Sonny Gray

On a personal note, a huge “thank you” to Reds Country for reading and commenting on all 52 series previews in this roller coaster of a ride known as the 2021 Cincinnati Reds. The readers of Blog Red Machine are among the most passionate of any fanbase in the game, and I’m grateful to be a small part of the team. How about we do this again in March of 2022?