Connor Overton's success will complicate Nick Lodolo's return from the IL

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Connor Overton (71).
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Connor Overton (71). / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Who would have thought that Connor Overton would give the Cincinnati Reds their first quality start of the 2022 season? Overton got his first major league win on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But Overton's success will soon pose a dilemma for the Reds. With Mike Minor making his second rehab start on Sunday, it would appear as though the left-hander is just about ready to rejoin the starting rotation.

Undoubtedly, Vladimir Gutierrez will be optioned to Triple-A Louisville once Minor is deemed healthy to return. But what about Nick Lodolo?

Will Reds LHP Nick Lodolo be the odd-man out?

Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Hunter Greene, and Mike Minor have to be considered locks for the starting rotation. I had my doubts about Greene after a few hiccups earlier this season, but his last start showed that the 22-year-old rookie is improving.

I don't see any way the Cincinnati Reds can option Connor Overton to Triple-A once Nick Lodolo is able to return from the back injury that placed him on the IL. Overton had his fair share of struggles in Thursday night's game, walking four batters and only striking out one, but the right-hander still didn't allow a single run to dent the plate.

Overton owns a 1.59 ERA on the season. You're not going to be blown away by his StatCast metrics, as there's not a hint of red anywhere on his Baseball Savant page. But you cannot argue with results and Overton is getting the job done.

Nick Lodolo may be more polished than Hunter Greene, but the lefty's ceiling is much lower. While Greene has been taken deep more times than I'd care to count, you can't teach 100 mph. Greene has also shown growth with his breaking ball as well.

Might David Bell go to a six-man starting rotation? That's certainly an option, especially considering the club's desire to keep their young arms healthy. There's also the possibility of a trade in the very near future. You'd have to assume that Luis Castillo, Mike Minor, and Tyler Mahle might all be on the trade block later this summer.

It'll be an interesting development to follow in the coming weeks. But one thing's for sure, the Cincinnati Reds cannot, in good conscience, remove Connor Overton from the starting rotation at this time.

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