By Illya Harrell on August 10, 2014
Robert Stephenson is supposedly the best pitching prospect in the Cincinnati Reds farm system. He's got a live arm, capable of touching the high 90's. Let's go a little further in depth and look at five things Reds fans should know before Stephenson hits the Queen City.
Stephenson graduated high school with a 4.2 GPA and had plans to study engineering if his right arm didn't throw near triple-digits. Stephenson was also smart enough to go directly into the 2011 MLB Draft where the Reds drafted No. 27 overall and gave him a couple of million bucks as a signing bonus. He waited until the last possible day to sign so it's likely the Reds upped his signing bonus for fear he'd elect to take his big brain to college.
Stephenson's command is not very good. His first year, the 2012 season, he started seven games in rookie league ball and did well. In 2013, in low-A in Dayton in eight starts he allowed 32 hits and four long balls in 34.1 innings. In 2013, he started 14 games for Dayton and pitched well but got knocked around in his four high-A and four in double-A. 2014 has seen him throw exclusively in double-A and has allowed 14 jacks in 115.2 innings.
In short, Stephenson's control is horrid. This season with double-A Pensacola he owns a walk rate of 1.8/9, he has trouble spotting his fastball and even more trouble getting his curve over the dish. His 0.77 GO/AO ratio will not fare well in Great American Ball Park.
Robert Stephenson's stuff is not even close to major league level. He throws a very good mid to upper-90's two-seamer but his four-seam fastball lacks the life it takes to get by most big leaguers. His huge breaking 12-to-6 curve is his best pitch. He needs work on his change and doesn't throw a slider. He did throw a split finger pitch in high school, but the Reds decided it wasn't effective enough to pitch even in minors.
The Reds have three starters in the minors who aren't nearly as heralded as Stephenson in Michael Lorenzen, Ben Lively and Nick Travieso. The team should seriously think of dealing him in the offseason while his stock is still high. If packaged with Aroldis Chapman they could score an All-Star Major League left fielder -- a position the Reds have needed for years.
May 5, 2015 by Tim Letcher
Michael Lorenzen seems to have what it takes to replace injured Cincinnati Reds' pitcher Homer Bailey. Read More
May 5, 2015 by Jason Fletcher
The New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez seem to finally be able to tolerate each other, but that may not be the case for long. Read More
Every MLB playoff team has a designated ace at the front of their rotation. These five teams need to find an ace in order to make the playoffs. Read More
May 5, 2015 by Bryan Zarpentine
New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores needs to emerge from three straight days off a more consistent and reliable player, or he could have trouble holding onto his job. Read More
May 5, 2015 by Samantha Riley
The Oakland Athletics' relievers have had a lot of issues lately, so the A's need a new arm in the bullpen. Read More
May 4, 2015 by Jacob Kornhauser
Troy Tulowitzki is one of the most talented hitters in baseball, but is always hurt. Here are five teams that could take the chance to deal for him. Read More
Cole Hamels is surely on the trading block for the Phillies, but where will he land? Here are five teams that could make a serious play for him. Read More
May 4, 2015 by Tim Letcher
Who should be on the Cincinnati Reds' trade block? Read More