Tyler Stephenson had a three-hit day on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs. It was Stephenson's fifth three-hit performance of the season, but his second in the last eight games.
Since his three-hit outing on August 26th against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Stephenson has slashed .500/.556/.875 with three extra-base hits and four RBI.
Stephenson's recent uptick in power is very encouraging, and could certainly reshape the way the Reds will approach the upcoming offseason.
Tyler Stephenson's power-surge could change the Reds approach this offseason.
Heading into the 2023 season, the Cincinnati Reds had one mission - keep Tyler Stephenson healthy. With Joey Votto on the IL to begin the season, Stephenson was supposed to rotate between first base, catcher, and also act as the team's designated hitter.
The Reds made their intentions very clear after signing both Curt Casali and Luke Maile to major league contracts during the offseason. Casali's deal contains a mutual-option for 2024, and Maile's performance this season certainly warrants bringing him back next season as well.
While the Reds have since abandoned the idea of Stephenson logging time at first base, catcher, and DH, he has remained healthy all season. Stephenson has played in over 120 games, and since early-July, nearly all of his starts have come as the team's backstop.
There might not be a more pivotal player in the Reds longterm plans than Tyler Stephenson. At just 27 years old, Stephenson is entering what many would consider the prime of his career. He'll be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and will be handed a rather substantial raise.
Cincinnati doesn't have anyone in the minor leagues even close to being ready to take on the duties of a full-time major league catcher, which makes Stephenson's recent surge all the more important for the future of this Reds franchise.
If the Cincinnati Reds are satisfied with what they've seen from Tyler Stephenson this season, expect to see the club run it back with their former first-round pick and one of either Luke Maile or Curt Casali hanging the signs in 2024.
However, it wouldn't be completely surprising to see the Reds look to add a young catcher via trade during the offseason. If Stephenson can sustain his recent power-surge over the final few weeks of the 2023 season, expect to see him behind the plate for the Reds on Opening Day next season.