The Reds traded Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon earlier today to help shed dollars from the payroll and to get younger. The players the Reds have brought in certainly do that, giving them some cost controlled players and prospects that have some high upside. The Simon trade seems to have brought in players that look better on paper, but did it? The big question is how you fill the holes in the rotation. The first thoughts are Cingrani, Axelrod, or Iglesias. Cingrani is an obvious answer, but the player we got in return for Latos could be right there with him.
So, who is Anthony DeSclafani other just some guy the Reds got for Mat Latos?
DeSclafani is a 24 year old out of Freehold, New Jersey. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of the University of Florida by the Toronto Blue Jays. A reliever in college, the Blue Jays turned him into a starter after refining his approach, and traded him to the Marlins in the Reyes/Buehrle/Johnson trade. He would make his major league debut for the Marlins after Jose Fernandez went down with season ending Tommy John surgery.
DeSclafani is listed around 6'2 and 195lbs. He can dial up his fastball to 95-96 MPH, but works lower than that. He couples his fastball with a future plus slider to keep hitters off balance and change eye level. His changeup is considered average at best. He used to throw a curveball, which was later scrapped for his slider but may be making a comeback.
DeSclafani is considered more of a workhorse pitcher. He has been given good marks for his control and endurance. He has the ability to work strikeouts, but uses his fastball and slider to generate ground balls.
Tony has moved quickly through Toronto and Miami's minor league system, which is expected coming out of college. Until 2014, he has kept his BB/9 under 2.0 and has kept his K/9 above 8.0. At AA Jacksonville, he posted a 4.19 ERA in 43 innings with an 8.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, and 9.5 H/9. He was promoted to the majors without logging any innings at AAA. He pitched 33 innings with five starts and some innings from the bullpen. The overall numbers weren't pretty with a 6.27 ERA in 33 innings pitched. He would pitch one inning against the Reds, giving up no runs and striking out two. His FIP, however, was 3.77. Tony had a 7.1 K/9 with a 1.4 BB/9, which is good for a K/BB ratio above 5. His HR rate and hit rate were inflated from his minor numbers, his HR rate especially. I'd look for those numbers to regress with more innings.
DeSclafani would go back down to AAA where he posted a 3.49 ERA in 59 innings. His walk rate rose to 3.2, but his K rate was good at 8.9. His hit and home run rates also regressed back to his minor league averages. DeSclafani pitched in the Arizona Fall League this summer where he worked on his curveball to give him a four-pitch arsenal. He was also named the Arizona Fall League pitcher of the week during his time there.
Tony has a ceiling of a #3 or #4 starter at the Major League level. At worst, he could work as a reliable bullpen arm. With some early speculation, DeSclafani looks to challenge Tony Cingrani, among others, for the 4th and 5th spot in the Reds' rotation. He was listed as the #6 prospect in the Marlins system by John Sickels, and an updated Reds prospect ranking by MLB.com has DeSclafani listed as the Reds fifth best prospect just behind Nick Howard.
Have fun with that last name. I butchered it about ten times while writing this.