As the 2016 MLB season draws closer to September call-ups, many teams are looking at which players they will call up from the minors with anticipation and excitement. For the Reds, though, it must be getting seriously nerve-wracking.
For most of the season, the Reds have been looking forward to enjoying the talents of star pitching prospects Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson. For Stephenson’s part, he performed admirably in his cups of coffee above the triple-A level. Reed did not do as well in an extended amount of time and was sent back to Louisville last week. This was troubling to begin with. But now news has come out of Louisville that Bats manager Delino DeShields is considerably displeased with the effort that Stephenson has shown lately. And he probably has good reason.
Stephenson only pitched two innings in his start on Saturday night and gave up six earned runs to bring his minor-league ERA to an ugly 4.66 on the season. All of this (plus, maybe the hour-long rain delay that the game between the Bats and Indianapolis Indians suffered midway through) caused DeShields to say that Stephenson should be “embarrassed.”
So now a difficult position has been made much more difficult than before for the Reds. Where there was once excitement about the prospect of having both Reed and Stephenson starting regularly in September there might now be unease and uncertainty over making the wrong decisions in either pitcher’s development.
Perhaps Stephenson is just bored and a change of scenery will wake him up. And perhaps Reed has and will figure a few things out before making his return. For now, though, the plans that the Reds had cannot be looking as attractive as they had been, and it would not be surprising to see both Stephenson and Reed relegated to bullpen work.