The Cincinnati Reds pitchers and catchers have reported today and while there rotation has been essentially been known for weeks now, there is still one pitcher who may have a shot at earning a spot.
Tony Cingrani, a 23-year old lefty from Illinois, was drafted by the Reds in the third round in the 2011 Amateur Draft. He shot up through the minor league system and turned heads so quickly that he ultimately ended up with him earning a spot in the Reds’ September call-ups.
During his time in the minor leagues in 2012, Cingrani had a combined 10-4 record between Single-A and Double-A with an ERA of 1.73 in 25 starts. He walked 52 batters and struck out a whopping 172 batters in just 146 innings pitched (that’s a batter per inning for those keeping track at home).
When Cingrani got the call-up for September, he continued to amaze people. In just five innings pitched, Cingrani struck out nine batters, walked two, gave up four hits and only allowed one run.
So the question I have to ask is if he destroying the competition at the minor league level, why would he not be deserving of at least a chance to make the Opening Day roster for the Reds?
It was said back in January that Cingrani would most likely end up pitching in Triple-A Louisville. But for someone who has absolutely dominated the minor leagues, why shouldn’t he be at least considered for a spot in the starting rotation, or maybe even a relief role?
Now, I’m sure that most of you are probably thinking, “Whose spot would he take?” The answer to that would be Mike Leake. With the struggles Leake had for the majority of the season last year, the Reds would at least have to put some pressure on him to make him earn his spot. Cingrani would be the perfect fit for that fifth and final spot in the rotation.
If Leake were to struggle and Cingrani were to impress or at least do better than Leake, I would most certainly expect the Reds to at least consider Cingrani over Leake.
Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter @bs_rant1