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NYR Fan 116894

Robert Stephenson - SP CIN

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This kid has always had the stuff... if he pairs even league average command, watch out.

Conceivably, they could give him a shot later this year when they've traded everyone away.

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This kid has always had the stuff... if he pairs even league average command, watch out.

Conceivably, they could give him a shot later this year when they've traded everyone away.

That's what I'm hoping, as long as he keeps pitching effectively. There should be an opening in the rotation at some point.

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http://redlegnation.com/2015/06/11/bayfront-ball-stephenson-shines-for-pensacola/

The Reds’ consensus top prospect has carried an aggressive approach into his last few starts. Where he would try to focus on painting the corners last season, Stephenson is using more of the plate and trusting his infield.

“When I get behind in the count, [i’m] just going after the hitters and just letting them hit the ball,” Stephenson said. “I think that approach really got me out of some situations where instead of trying to nibble on the corners, just throw the ball over the plate and let them get themselves out.”

Granted, opponents aren’t finding much luck against Stephenson lately. In six starts since May 13, Southern League hitters are batting just .135 (17-126) against the right-hander. His last 25.2 innings have been just south of elite; he has allowed three runs, one unearned, on eight hits, five walks and 34 strikeouts.

Stephenson has two Major League caliber pitches: a fastball that sits between 91 to 94 mph and a biting curveball that Baseball America and MLB.com consider the best among his peers. Stephenson has made the biggest strides with his two-seam changeup, which he pairs with the fastball for a deadly strikeout combination. Though he can dial his fastball up into the triple digits, Stephenson has backed off this season.

“I haven’t felt like I’ve been able to command my fastball at higher speeds, so I’ve been comfortable throwing a little bit slower this year,” Stephenson said. “But I’m able to throw it in the zone. It seems to be working a lot better for me. I’m still getting hitters out like that, so I have no problem with that.”

Stephenson also credits a fastball adjustment for his recent string of success. After walking four batters in the first inning on May 23, Fassero told Stephenson to stay on top of the ball.

“When I got my fingers on top of my fastball I wasn’t cutting balls and pushing them to the outside,” Stephenson told MiLB.com. “It made both my off-speed pitches a lot better, too. Ever since then, we’ve made sure we worked on that.”

“I think the biggest thing is being able to get ahead of hitters,” said Stephenson, who is challenging hitters earlier in counts. “As soon as I can get ahead, then I can pretty much do anything I want with the hitters. I can go [with] either an off-speed pitch or come back to the fastball. But when you’re behind in the count, you pretty much go at them with the fastball, and that’s when you get in trouble.”

Would highly advise reading the entire article (only quoted a portion of the full article) as it provides a ton of good detail on Stephenson's turn around over the last 5 or so starts. Kudos to Kundahl for the detailed piece.

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Yeah, he's back to walking hitters. Let's hope he just had a bad day.

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updates on Stephenson? Still having control issues? Had a stellar start to the season, hoping he's in line for a callup before September

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Anxious to see how his next start goes. He was on a roll for a while, but he started walking guys the last time out. Hope he bounces back and gets a call up- maybe when Cueto is dealt.

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10 Ks with only 1 BB is a really good sign. His arrow is pointing up.

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Decent start today vs Mississippi.

6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB's, and 3 K's.

3.68 ERA on the season.

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Do you think he is called up if Cueto gets dealt?

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Do you think he is called up if Cueto gets dealt?

I think it is going to greatly depend on how his outings go until Cueto gets dealt. If he can continue to get through outings only walking 1-2 batters a game, then I think he will be called up when Cueto is dealt. Stephenson is one of the few pitchers in the minors that have the making as a legit #1 starter; however, getting his command under control is still the biggest issue. It'll be interesting to see how the next 4-5 starts go and I'll be following this situation pretty closely.

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http://redsminorleagues.com/2015/07/01/reds-promote-rhp-robert-stephenson-to-triple-a/

Stephenson, the Reds #1 prospect, had posted an ERA of 3.68 on the season with Pensacola. He had allowed just 53 hits in 78.1 innings to go along with 89 strikeouts and 43 walks. Since May 6th, a span of 10 starts, the right hander posted a 2.36 ERA with a .166 batting average against.

The real big run spans back six starts for Stephenson where he’s thrown 39.0 innings with a 2.08 ERA, a WHIP of 0.87 and 43 strikeouts with 14 walks. He’s improved his control over the course of the season, though he did have some struggles at times earlier in the year.

In total, the 2011 1st round draft pick made 45 starts at the Double-A level with the Blue Wahoos between late 2013, 2014 and the first half of the 2015 season. The 2015 season was easily his best of the three and while his overall numbers aren’t overly impressive, his early struggles hide what he did down the stretch.

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Nice AAA debut for Louisville- 5IP 4H 2ER 3BB 6K. Left with a 3-2 lead.

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I like Berrios, Severino, Norris a lot better than Stephenson. Seen him pitch a few times in person for AA and not very impressed with his command and ability to get out of jams...if his control gets in check definitely has the potential to be a high end #2 type SP but I just don't see it. Not like I'm an expert scout or anything but I like some of these other high upside SP prospects better for fantasy and that ballpark hes gonna be pitching in sure doesn't help.

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Just curious, why do you like Norris a lot better than Stephenson? Stephenson has 2 plus big league pitches in his arsenal already. While he has had control issues in the past he's starting to work through that. Norris has had control issues so far this year and has been extremely hittable. I don't know much about Severino, but id definitely agree with Berrios > Stephenson.

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Yea you are right on, I probably shouldn't have mentioned Norris with those other two, I just like his make up--struggled initially in pro ball but made big adjustments and improved immensely. I see his current situations as similar, another big adjustment period that could take a while but come 2017 I see Norris being very good. But definitely a step down from Severino and J.O. Berrios, as he is really having trouble controlling. Stephenson frustrates me because he will show these glimpses of greatness but then just gets hammered the next few starts--as if he is not really making big adjustments but rather just real inconsistent. I'd rank them 1. Severino, 2. Berrios, 3. Norris, 4. Stephenson. A lot of it personal preference though.

Who knows, if Reds end up selling I could see Cueto going to Toronto potentially and Norris and Stephenson both being Reds!

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6 IP 4 H 0 R 1 BB 6 K

ERA now stands at 1.64

This is great news. If he keeps this up I think we see him in Cincy within a month

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Nice to see only 1 BB.

Agreed, it's really the only thing holding him back right now and he's showing lots of improvement lately.

I'm excited about him.

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http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20150708&content_id=135638438&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb&sid=milb&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

The 2011 first-round pick (27th overall) had a particularly tough time gripping his fastball early in the year, leading to control issues. He worked with Pensacola pitching coach Jeff Fassero to stay on top of the ball while sacrificing some velocity in exchange for command.

The adjustments have Stephenson trending in the right direction. After walking 6.7 batters per nine innings over his first eight outings, he has posted a 3.2 rate over his past eight starts.

Still, Stephenson said he struggled with that grip Wednesday. He fell behind each of the four batters he faced in the first inning and faced two 2-0 counts. He didn't throw a first-pitch strike until the seventh batter of the game and managed first-pitch strikes to just eight of 22 batters.

"To be honest, I had a hard time again," he said. "It's pretty humid out here and the ball kept slipping out a little bit, so I think there's some work to be done to get ahead in the [count]. That's probably why I gave up a couple of those hits, falling behind 2-0 a couple times."

The ability to recover from those 1-0 and 2-0 counts marked a nice turnaround for Stephenson. While the control issues sabotaged entire outings earlier in the year, the only one Wednesday was a high pitch count -- he threw 102 pitches over his six frames.

"I want to be able to go deeper into games," he said. "I want to be able to go seven or eight innings. Obviously, the goal is to go out there and throw nine innings, but at this point, I'll take six innings. Going out every single time, I want to be able to throw more innings, keep the pitch count down.

"I still need to work on throwing more strikes, but it's definitely better than it was before. If I feel comfortable where I'm able to throw a lot of strikes, then maybe at some point, I'll dial it up a bit. For right now, I'm just kind of easing back and making sure I'm throwing strikes and getting outs."

Despite all the 1-0 counts, Stephenson faced just two over the minimum in the first four innings. In the fifth, Elias Diaz led off with a ground-ball single, but was caught stealing by catcher Ramon Cabrera. Stephenson then sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around Gift Ngoepe's single to end the frame.

Interesting about the grip issues. Will need to keep an eye on that going forward.

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