It's hard to pin down another point where the Reds had a team like they have had in 2015. There's still the deluge of veterans, some here temporarily and some for a long time to come, but the Reds pitching staff is kind of unprecedented. After going for it in 2013 and 2014 with one of the best rotations in baseball, the Reds find themselves beginning August of 2015 with 5 rookies in their rotation.
|2014 Reds (August)||2015 Reds (August)|
|Johnny Cueto||Anthony DeSclafani|
|Mike Leake||David Holmberg|
|Mat Latos||Michael Lorenzen|
|Homer Bailey||Raisel Iglesias|
|Alfredo Simon||Keyvius Sampson|
Amazing to see, right? Bailey's still with the team, of course, but the other 4 starters from the 2014 rotation are now gone. The 2015 rotation seems like an interesting ragtag team of rookies, all with completely different backgroudns. Where did they come from?
Drafted: 6th round, 2011, Blue Jays
Disco has been the best of the Reds' rookies so far this year, but took a long road to the majors. He was drafted by Toronto all the way in 2011 from the University of Florida, and had a strong debut in the Midwest League in 2012. He was then traded for the first time, as a prospect piece in the huge Marlins/Blue Jays trade that took Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle to Toronto, and moved up quickly in the Marlins system. He made his debut in 2014 before being traded in the offseason for Mat Latos (along with Chad Wallach, a catcher currently in AA).
Reds fans have already seen him so far this year, but he looks like he has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter for the Reds for years to come.
Drafted: 2nd round, 2009, White Sox
Holmberg has been around a little longer, but was drafted out of Port Charlotte HS in Florida, so he wasn't as ready. Like DeSclafani though, he was traded the year after he was drafted, mostly as a throw-in in the Daniel Hudson/Edwin Jackson trade. He dominated the lower minors, but saw his strikeout rate drop as he faced better competition closer to the majors. The Reds traded Ryan Hanigan for him before the 2014 season, and after a few spot starts early in the year, he came up and pitched well in September well after the Reds were out of the playoff hunt. This year looks to be similar, and as long as he continues to improve, he could carve out a nice career as a back-end starter.
Drafted: 1st round, 2013, Reds
It's interesting to me that the Reds have an all-rookie rotation right now, yet only one of them was actually drafted by the current regime. Lorenzen was a sandwich pick after the first round in 2013, and shot up the minors in 2 years after pitching for an elite program at Cal State Fullerton. Lorenzen might be the highest-ceiling arm in the rotation right now, but has had growing pains so far in 2015 as injuries dictated his spot in the rotation. It's still not decided if he'll be a starter or a reliever long-term, but he's another guy that the Reds will likely have for a long time.
Signed out of Cuba in June of 2014, Iglesias is another guy who was thrust into the spotlight quickly. He has the stuff to be a big leaguer for a long time, and probably has the most potential for long-term staying power with this crew. Iglesias has 4 pitches right now, and his delivery does kind of have a Chapman-esque air to it, although it's from the right side. Let's hope the Reds stick with him in the rotation, as he's the most fun to watch of the Reds' starters right now.
Drafted: 4th round, 2009, Padres
Sampson was a longtime Padres farmhand until the Reds claimed him off waivers in the offseason before 2015. Drafted out of high school in 2009, Sampson took the long road to the majors, spending a full season at every level despite putting up impressive numbers. He started to come out of the bullpen sporadically in 2014, but it seems like the Reds are going to give him a look in the rotation this year. He has a few good pitches, but time will tell how sustainable it will be at the big league level.