Competition for the final spots in the 2023 Reds rotation really isn't that close

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Luke Weaver.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Luke Weaver. / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The Cincinnati Reds came to Goodyear, Arizona with 60-percent of their starting rotation already accounted for. Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft, if healthy, will be part of the teams' 2023 starting rotation.

The other two spots, however, are up for grabs. But are they really? Among those competing for a spot in the Cincinnati rotation are veterans Luke Weaver and Luis Cessa, second-year pitcher Connotr Overton, and prospect Levi Stoudt and Brandon Williamson/

While both Stoudt and Williamson are likely ticketed to make their major league debuts at some point in 2023, it seems highly unlikely that either will break camp with the big league club.

Competition for spot in Reds 2023 starting rotation isn't really that close.

If all things are equal, look for Luke Weaver and Luis Cessa to emerge as the No. 4 and No. 5 starters once spring training is over. While injuries among starting pitchers are not uncommon, that's about the only way that Connor Overton, Brandon Williamson, or Levi Stoudt will be part of the Reds Opening Day roster.

Weaver is a well-respected veteran with 81 career starts to his name. A career-ERA of 4.79 isn't ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but the former first-round pick has been with three other clubs throughout his career and could be a solid anchor at the backend of the rotation.

Cessa got to audition for a spot in the Cincinnati rotation at the end of last season. There were several games in which it looked like Cessa should take the ball every fifth day. Of course, there were others where it was apparent why he had been relegated to a relief role while part of the New York Yankees organization.

Brandon Williamson did not have the best season in the minor leagues last season. After torching the competition at High-A Everett and Double-A Arkansas while part of the Seattle Mariners organization in 2021, Williamson took a step back in terms of on-field production while pitching for Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville last season.

Levi Stoudt has a nice repertoire, but it's almost a certainty that the right-hander will begin the 2023 season back at Triple-A Louisville. Stoudt has a four-pitch mix with two effective breaking balls and a nice changeup as well.

With Weaver and Cessa on the club, there's no need to rush Williamson or Stoudt to the big leagues in 2023. If one of the two veterans struggles or suffers an injury, Connor Overton feels like a solid contingency plan to occupy a spot in the starting rotation.

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