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Robert Stephenson - SP CIN

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Jeremy Rauch ‏@FOX19Jeremy 1h1 hour ago

Man, Robert Stephenson's changeup is filthy.

Doug Gray ‏@dougdirt24 1h1 hour ago

#Reds Robert Stephenson showed off all three pitches in that strikeout. Good breaking ball, real nice splitter.

Doug Gray ‏@dougdirt24 1h1 hour ago

The offspeed stuff is working early for Robert Stephenson, just recorded his second K of the game.

Doug Gray ‏@dougdirt24 1h1 hour ago

The 2nd inning for Robert Stephenson was much better, even though he had to work around a triple. Needed less than 10 pitches.

John Fay ‏@johnfayman 56m56 minutes ago

Stephenson: 2 ip, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 Ks. Price said today that Stephenson is a candidate for bullpen, rotation. And will pitch ML in 16

So it sounds like Stephenson has more of a split finger, which sort of explains that article above about the pitching coach being slightly worried about the excess stress on the arm.

Filthy? FILTHY??? I literally jumped for joy reading that. I reached for him precisely because I had faith in his improved changeup, and now to hear that makes me happy. I'll have to see it with my own eyes before I break into my happy dance.

How did his command look?

I watched Stephenson's two innings and came away impressed.

The changeup fooled some guys, the curveball had good drop, and the heater was there. I wish the telecast featured a radar gun, but this wasnt the case for a ST game. I'm really really interested in watching his off speed pitches as we work through spring.

I dont think his command is a finished product. He needs more work, but there is progress. I've mentioned it a few times in this thread, I see a young Trevor Bauer. His command looked good, but still inconsistent. When he wants extra velocity, he is learning to grip with his fingers closer together. To paint the corners, he uses a slight split grip for the fastball. I believe this is a new adjustment so I need to see him use the two variations more before I call it a success.

I think he has a shot at the starting rotation to start the year, but I would expect many ups and downs. Especially if he starts the year in the majors.

Tons of talent, I like him a lot. He's competing with a lot of other Red's young arms but i think his ceiling is the highest.

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I watched his first inning last night (didn't watch the second yet), and here's my take:

The changeup looked good. At least a 55. Maybe a 55/60. I'm sufficiently convinced that he now has the arsenal to be an impact starter. The question is command. I thought his command in the first inning was inconsistent. In Lindor's AB the catcher barely moved his glove at all. But against the leadoff man (Ramirez?) he struggled to get the ball to the right area. In the third batter he showed a little bit of both. If he can capture whatever he was doing in the Lindor AB and repeat it consistently, watch out.

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He's got a really nice change up. I'd grade it at least a 65. Command is poor. Breaking ball average. And a timing issue. I'd project him as sp3 in reality right now. Room for more growth there but the command is going to have to take a step forward meaning the delivery will have to be further tweaked.

Front side is out of control leading to the poor command.

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Dan Farnsworth recently:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-2016-prospects-cincinnati-reds/

Reds officials believe his command issues aren't really a problem with command, but a pitch selection issue. He is still learning when to throw pitches in what situation, and an inordinate number of those times came in 3-ball situations.

And Kiley McDaniel last year:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-prospects-cincinnati-reds/

The command really isn't the issue, so much as it is usage of his pitches, getting into good counts and challenging hitters in the right way, not always with a flat upper-90's fastball up in the zone.

Both echo the same sentiment: It's not that the command is terrible, but that his pitch selection doesn't reflect the limitations of his command.

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Dan Farnsworth recently:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-2016-prospects-cincinnati-reds/

Reds officials believe his command issues aren't really a problem with command, but a pitch selection issue. He is still learning when to throw pitches in what situation, and an inordinate number of those times came in 3-ball situations.

And Kiley McDaniel last year:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-prospects-cincinnati-reds/

The command really isn't the issue, so much as it is usage of his pitches, getting into good counts and challenging hitters in the right way, not always with a flat upper-90's fastball up in the zone.

Both echo the same sentiment: It's not that the command is terrible, but that his pitch selection doesn't reflect the limitations of his command.

Interesting theory but I don't necessarily agree. I've only seen him once but the ball isn't near the target consistently. That has nothing to do with pitch selection, that's mechanics.

Now pitch selection affecting walk rate I could understand a bit more, but command? Not buying it but willing to listen.

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Dan Farnsworth recently:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-2016-prospects-cincinnati-reds/

Reds officials believe his command issues aren't really a problem with command, but a pitch selection issue. He is still learning when to throw pitches in what situation, and an inordinate number of those times came in 3-ball situations.

And Kiley McDaniel last year:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-prospects-cincinnati-reds/

The command really isn't the issue, so much as it is usage of his pitches, getting into good counts and challenging hitters in the right way, not always with a flat upper-90's fastball up in the zone.

Both echo the same sentiment: It's not that the command is terrible, but that his pitch selection doesn't reflect the limitations of his command.
Interesting theory but I don't necessarily agree. I've only seen him once but the ball isn't near the target consistently. That has nothing to do with pitch selection, that's mechanics.

Now pitch selection affecting walk rate I could understand a bit more, but command? Not buying it but willing to listen.

I've only watched him once, so I don't have enough basis to take a side on this matter. Just reporting something interesting I read.

I think it's possible that he has better control than the numbers show because his pitch selection inflates his BB%, but I still don't think his command is very good (I'm hoping he improves it).

I think it's possible a guy with his caliber of stuff can get by with decent control even if the command isn't there.

Tim Lincecum, for one, never had all that great of command but was obviously lights out nonetheless. But then again, they didn't call him "The Freak" for nothing

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Dan Farnsworth recently:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-2016-prospects-cincinnati-reds/

Reds officials believe his command issues aren't really a problem with command, but a pitch selection issue. He is still learning when to throw pitches in what situation, and an inordinate number of those times came in 3-ball situations.

And Kiley McDaniel last year:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-prospects-cincinnati-reds/

The command really isn't the issue, so much as it is usage of his pitches, getting into good counts and challenging hitters in the right way, not always with a flat upper-90's fastball up in the zone.
Both echo the same sentiment: It's not that the command is terrible, but that his pitch selection doesn't reflect the limitations of his command.
Interesting theory but I don't necessarily agree. I've only seen him once but the ball isn't near the target consistently. That has nothing to do with pitch selection, that's mechanics.

Now pitch selection affecting walk rate I could understand a bit more, but command? Not buying it but willing to listen.

I've only watched him once, so I don't have enough basis to take a side on this matter. Just reporting something interesting I read.

I think it's possible that he has better control than the numbers show because his pitch selection inflates his BB%, but I still don't think his command is very good (I'm hoping he improves it).

I think it's possible a guy with his caliber of stuff can get by with decent control even if the command isn't there.

Tim Lincecum, for one, never had all that great of command but was obviously lights out nonetheless. But then again, they didn't call him "The Freak" for nothing

Agree 100%.

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3.0 IP today 2 ER, 3 K 0 BB

Part I love is in bold

My thoughts exactly. Not worried about his K ability, and K and BB are the only things that matter in spring/minors in my opinion. I'm all in on Stephenson in dynasties. ALL IN.

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3.0 IP today 2 ER, 3 K 0 BB

Part I love is in bold
My thoughts exactly. Not worried about his K ability, and K and BB are the only things that matter in spring/minors in my opinion. I'm all in on Stephenson in dynasties. ALL IN.

If his control improves in any significant way he has #1 starter upside. Hope he keeps it up.

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3.0 IP today 2 ER, 3 K 0 BB

Part I love is in bold
My thoughts exactly. Not worried about his K ability, and K and BB are the only things that matter in spring/minors in my opinion. I'm all in on Stephenson in dynasties. ALL IN.
If his control improves in any significant way he has #1 starter upside. Hope he keeps it up.

It's really the only remaining concern. Plus velocity, plus breaking ball, New change looks great. If he can command it he'll be a beast

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5:1 K:BB on 20 BF over 5 IP this spring. Loving the lack of walks. And I think his stats from the "B" game he pitched aren't included in that (2:0 on 6 BF over 2 IP)

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Roster Resource projects him to start the year in the rotation....seems crazy, right?

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Roster Resource projects him to start the year in the rotation....seems crazy, right?

What are their other options. DiScalfini, Iglesias, and...?Lorenzen is hurt. Finnegan? Bailey is out. Reed would be rushed as well.

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March 2 vs Indians

First Inning:

Jose Ramirez:

Lots of fastballs this at bat. First pitch was a nice change located well (low and away) and then 6 straight fastballs, most of which missed the target, some more than others, to get to a 3-2 count (strike 2 was off the plate but he got the call). Located his first 3-2 pitch (also a fastball) well at the knees, and then missed up with the fastball but was fortunate to miss enough that the pitch was up out of the zone and Ramirez hit a lazy fly ball to center.

Lindor:

This was the batter, more than any other that showed off his ace upside. First two pitches were fastballs, one was in the area of the mitt but missed the zone by a little, and the second was very well located at the knees. Lindor fouled off a nice breaking ball at the knees, and then Stephenson fanned him with a NASTY change off the outside corner.

Kipnis

He missed to the exact same spot with two fastballs up and away (target was set low), and then through a nice, well located change low and away. He then missed up and in with a fastball, but his velocity got him a whiff. His next fastball was well located down and in but fouled off by Kipnis and then he tried to freeze him with a curveball up but it didn't break enough and Kipnis drew a walk.

Napoli

This was a solid batter for him, though it started with a fastball missing up and in. The next one was well located down and away, and then he barely missed low and away with a curve, and then tried to run a curve onto the inside corner but it barely missed inside (I thought it was a strike). He got a chase on a fastball up that misssed, and then located a fastball down for a groundout to end the inning.

Second inning

Jesus Aggular (spelling?)

Missed up with first pitch fastball, but got a lazy fly.

Cowgill

First pitch fastball missed up and away, and then located one on the inside corner (thought it was a great pitch) for strike one. He threw a curveball for strike two that was just an inch or two higher than he wanted it but was still just above the knees for strike two, and then buried the curve for strike three.

Robbie Grossman

First pitch was a curve that missed barely down (at the shins) and then he missed just above the zone on a fastball (target was down). Third pitch was a fastball middle-in that got crushed for a triple.

Roberto Perez

First pitch fastball middle in, hit hard on the ground, nifty play by Suarez.

This was his spring debut.

His offspeed stuff looked great (I could go on forever about the change he threw to Lindor or the curve he whiffed Cowgill with), and he located it quite well, but his fastball command was the problem. It has enough velocity and life to still get whiffs but he struggled to get it over, often missing up. He needs to work on staying on top of the ball (something he acknowledged in a pre-recorded interview). All the stuff is there to be an ace, but his command may eventually limit him to SP3 status.

*Note: If I say miss, that's relative to where the catcher set the target.

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Not good.

2.1 IP, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO

And the icing on the cake is the Reds signed Alfredo Simon today and will insert him into the starting rotation.

We entered Spring Training with Stephenson most likely starting the year in AAA and now it looks to be confirmed.

Will probably be between him and Reed for any holes due to injury (Lorezen will be returning at some point too).

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Guess we might have to wait till June to see Stephenson. So much potential but he's too violatile it seems.

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Roster Resource projects him to start the year in the rotation....seems crazy, right?

Wrong guess by RR. Optioned to AAA.

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walked 'em loaded on 14 pitches to start the game. almost got out of it on next 2 batters, but allowed them to score.

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Via Doug Gray:

http://redsminorleagues.com/2016/04/03/robert-stephenson-make-mlb-debut-thursday/

Robert Stephenson will be called up to make his Major League debut for the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday afternoon against the Philadelphia Phillies according to an anonymous source. The Reds haven’t announced the move, currently only listing three starters on the big league roster. The move will be made official on Monday when the team can officially place Homer Bailey on the 60-day disabled list.

It would appear that this spot is only going to be needed once, and that after the start, good or bad, that Stephenson will head back to the minor leagues. The move won’t use an additional option as the team has already used it on him this year. As long as he does indeed head back to the minor leagues and remain there for two weeks, it will also give the team enough time in the minor leagues to keep him for an additional year – avoid a situation like they had with Mike Leake and having a situation like the Cubs had last season with Kris Bryantwhere they get that additional year of service time down the road.

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Any chance he stays up if he really dominates on Thursday?

Well of course it's the Reds

He's up until he either Has 2 straight weeks of wretched numbers or Homer comes back and the other Reds staters are much better than him

My hunch is he's here for at least 3 starts so the big boys can get a look see

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Zach Buchannan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports Stephen will start TH and then return to the minors for more seasoning and may get a look later in the season

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