Battle for the final spot in the 2023 Reds rotation likely comes down to these 2 prospects

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Levi Stoudt, Brandon Williamson
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Levi Stoudt, Brandon Williamson / Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

It would seem as though the 60% of the 2023 Cincinnati Reds starting rotation is set. Barring any unforeseen injuries, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft will toe the rubber every fifth day for the Reds next season.

But after that, all bets are off. The Reds have a few veterans like Luis Cessa and Justin Dunn who could sneak into the rotation. However, Cessa's role throughout most of his career in Cincinnati has been that of a reliever, and Dunn struggled to stay healthy in 2022.

Connor Overton is another name to watch, and the Reds could certainly add another veteran starter or two before spring training. But two of the club's top pitching prospects have a great opportunity to secure a spot in the rotation heading into the 2023 season.

Brandon Williamson and Levi Stoudt will be in the mix for the Reds starting rotation.

Brandon Williamson is the highest-rated pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds farm system according to MLB Pipeline. Despite a dip in production last season, the left-hander still draws high marks. Williamson spent all of last season at Triple-A Louisville and posted a 4.11 ERA in 27 starts for the Bats.

Levi Stoudt, whom the Reds acquired from the Seattle Mariners at the trade deadline, spent most of his 2022 campaign in Double-A. However, after being dealt to Cincinnati, the Reds front office quickly assigned the right-hander to Triple-A Louisville. After the trade, Stoudt started seven games and put up a 2.63 ERA over 24 innings of work.

Both Williamson and Stoudt were added to the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster just last month. The former Mariners' prospects each have a four-pitch mix; while Williamson relies on his fastball/ curveball combo, Stoudt uses his heater and pairs it with a plus-changeup.

It seems highly unlikely that Cincinnati will enter next season with stable of first and second-year starters, but one of either Williamson or Stoudt could make their major league debut in early-April next season. How the duo produces during spring training will go a long way toward their status with the club on Opening Day.

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