8. Lyon Richardson, Reds starting pitcher
Lyon Richardson was a strange addition to the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster this past offseason. A lot fo fans didn't really understand. What was the point in protecting a young pitcher, who hadn't even played above A-Ball, and was coming off Tommy John surgery?
Well, Richardson showed why the Reds' faith in his was justified. Richardson, a former second-round pick of Cincinnati back in 2018, has all the raw talent to be a frontline pitcher in the big leagues. What he lacks is experience.
Richardson was able to get some experience this past season and is a player that is only going to get better with more reps. The Reds were taking it very easy with Richardson in 2023, and rightfully so. Injuries have taken hold of Richardson's career to this point, so there was no need for the Reds to press their luck.
Lyon Richardson didn't get a ton of opportunities in the big leagues this past season, but when he did, there was a lot to like. The right-hander had plenty of gas, averaging 94-plus on his fastball, and was able to keep the ball on the ground. Richardson had a 48.1-percent ground ball-rate in 16.2 innings pitched.
Reds fans will have to maintain patience with Richardson, and next season's role will be a curious one. Do the Cincinnati Reds foresse Richardson as a starting pitcher or a reliever? It'll be a story to watch during spring training next year.