Friday, February 19, 2016



When Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price met with reporters during his opening spring training address on Thursday, he confirmed speculation that pitching prospect Robert Stephenson would have a chance to stake his claim to a rotation spot for the 2016 season.  While Price also mentioned fellow prospect Cody Reed, moles in the Cincy front office have said that Stephenson is the guy they want to cement his spot in the rotation and start showing why he was the team's 2011 first round pick.  The spring training grind is where Stephenson will have to show he is ready and so now is a good time to get more of a familiarity with him as fantasy baseball drafts continue onward. 

As we noted in the previous paragraph, Stephenson was the team's 2011 first round pick which alone comes with it a high amount of hype and expectations.  Known for a fastball that touches the upper 90's, Stephenson looked more like a bust for the team both in 2013 and 2014 at Double-A when he registered ERA's of 4.86 and 4.74.  Clearly those ERA's were a letdown and it suggested that maybe Stephenson was anything but worth the first round pick he once cost. 

Now in digging deeper into Stephenson the prospect, there are a few things to take note of.  On the good side, Stephenson's fastball supplies a high rate of strikeouts, as evidenced by his K/9 rate being over 9.00 in each and every one of his minor league campaigns.  On the bad side, Stephenson's control has been horrific, with BB/9 rates of nearly five each of the last two minor league seasons which is ridiculously bad.  Still the Reds want to get a good look at Stephenson and the fifth starter's job is there for the taking.  Ultimately though, Stephenson will get pounded at Great American Ballpark which such horrible control.  That is one place you want to keep base runners to a minimum and Stephenson makes life very difficult for himself on that front with the walks.  Again on the plus side, Stephenson can strike out a solid amount of batters and the hit rate at a decent mark but overall this is a kid you really don't want to get involved with from a fantasy baseball angle.  While you surely can watch him for a bit as he gets his feet wet at the Major League Level, Stephenson is looking more like a guy who will get sent back down quickly as the ERA soars then sticking as a solid performing member of the team's rotation this season.  Leave him be. 


1 comment:

  1. I have been following him for quite some time. Exactly what you said, that his hit rate is pretty good, is a selling point in my opinion. I saw that the general consensus over at seems to be that Stephenson is a good catch. I would definitely roll with him!