You'd probably be reasonably OK with a current starting rotation of Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, John Lamb, Michael Lorenzen, and Jon Moscot, all maladies cast aside. Heck, I'd probably be reasonably OK with it, especially given the parameters in place of a team in the midst of rebuilding. None of those guys are currently available to the Cincinnati Reds, of course, and that's thrown a wrench into sorting out the starting rotation for any sort of foreseeable future. It's why Robert Stephenson cracked his big league eggshell last week, and why Tim Melville was on the mound yesterday for the start of the team's comeback win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
So, a week into the season, where's that pitching kerfluffle stand?
DeSclafani was originally thought to be the first one set to return, his oblique injury thought to be slight enough to make a very quick recovery. He was originally in-line to start yesterday's game, however, and that obviously didn't happen. MLB.com's Mark Sheldon caught up with Bryan Price to talk about Disco's near-term future, and it sounds as if that spot's next turn through the rotation - Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals - may not involve Disco on the mound, either. With his oblique still an issue, a trio of factors make him starting on Friday not likely. For one, the lack of expectations for this season mean rushing anyone back - much less a talented young pitcher - seem like an unnecessary rush. Lump that in with the rust he'll have to shake off and Melville's seemingly cromulent presence, and a rehab stint in the minors seems like the obvious decision to make.
That's where Jon Moscot's path has taken him, as he pitched for High-A Daytona on Thursday and is likely set for his second and final rehab start on Tuesday with AAA Louisville. That would put him in line to return to the Reds for Sunday's start against the Cardinals.
As for the Reds as a whole, the team's 5-1 start has raised a few eyebrows around the baseball world. CBS's Eye On Baseball took notice, with R.J. Anderson anointing them as the league's most surprising team so far. He describes what we've watched, which is bend-don't-break pitching paired with timely hitting, the result being perfectly timed usage of being the home team and a pile of early wins. The only thing that catches me off guard is the slight lobbed at Jay Bruce, which is something that still befuddles me. Bruce is a multiple-time All Star, the owner of a Silver Slugger, has twice finished in the Top 10 in NL MVP voting, and had over 200 career dingers to his name as just a 28 year old. He struggled with a knee injury in 2014, was fantastic for 2/3rds of the 2015 season, is still just 29 years old, yet still gets largely poo-poo'd despite a skillset that once had him ranked as the top overall position prospect in all the game. Jay Bruce is not a bad baseball player, he's a damn good baseball player who had a damn bad 2014 season and a damn bad finish to last year. Him thumping heads should not be a surprise.
Now, Eugenio Suarez thumping heads is pretty surprising, especially at the rate in which he's done so to start this season. FanGraphs has seen it, and Owen Watson attempted to break down what Suarez has done to go from glove-first middle infielder to offensive power in such short order. It's a nifty read, if the GIFs embedded in the post don't completely crash your computer.
Over at Redleg Nation, Nick Carrington took a look at the fabric of the current Reds rebuild.
Farmhand Tyler Mahle got a mention from Baseball Prospectus in their Monday Morning Ten Pack.
If you've got a Baseball America membership, you can read C. Trent Rosecrans waxing poetic about Reds farmhand and super-prospect Cody Reed. Reed will make his AAA debut tonight (since weather has wreaked havoc on the Bats' early season schedule).
Finally, MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis outlined the Top 10 minor league team rosters in terms of prospect talent, and the Louisville Bats checked in at #6 on his list. Callis noted that once Robert Stephenson was optioned back to AAA, the Bats became the only team in all of the minors with four Top 100 prospects (according to MLB.com's list). It's nice to finally have a AAA squad that's packed with talent, since the Bats roster has seemingly consisted of AAAA guys and emergency backups for most of recent memory. With Reed, Stephenson, Jose Peraza, and Jesse Winker on board, it could be an exciting few months at Slugger Field.