Since Andrew Abbott burst onto the scene earlier this season, everyone throughout Reds Country has been waiting for the next pitching prospect to make his debut. Connor Phillips would seem to be that guy.
Acquired from the Seattle Mariners prior to the 2022 season, Phillips has been utterly dominant in the minor leagues. While he's had his fair share of struggles with command and control, the 22-year-old currently lead the minor leagues in strikeouts.
With Ben Lively placed on the injured list last week, Phillips seemed like a natural fit to take over in the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation. But instead, David Bell will turn to Lyon Richardson who has just one start in Triple-A this season. So why is Richardson starting over Phillips?
Why is Reds prospect Lyon Richardson starting instead of Connor Phillips?
The answer is a rather simple one, and at the same time, can be a bit complex. The short answer as is that Lyon Richardson is on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster and Connor Phillips is not. In other words, if Phillips were to named the starter, Cincinnati would need to subtract player from the team's 40-man roster.
Big deal, right? Are you telling me that little-used relievers like Alan Busenitz or Daniel Duarte are more value to the Reds at this point in the season than a starter like Phillips? Not exactly.
The Reds have four players who are currently on the 60-day IL that are scheduled to return this month. Hunter Greene, Vladimir Gutierrez, and Tejay Antone are all on rehab assignments at Triple-A Louisville. Nick Lodolo is said to be right behind and could be back before September 1st.
Players on the 60-day IL do not count against the 40-man roster. But the Reds will have to make some interesting decisions in the next few weeks when it comes to those valuable 40-man roster spots.
Players like Busenitz, Brett Kennedy, and perhaps even Curt Casali could be booted from the 40-man roster in order to make room for those players returning from the 60-day IL. So while Connor Phillips may have the better resumé, Lyon Richardson's spot on the 40-man roster is the primary reason he's starting today's game.