Remember when the Cincinnati Reds had too many pitchers? When all the prospects they acquired from flipping veterans seemed to be arms? Well here we are, five weeks into the 2017 season, and the Reds currently have just three arms in their starting rotation after announcing Wednesday that Rookie Davis had been optioned to AAA Louisville.
Today the #Reds optioned to Class AAA Louisville RHP Rookie Davis.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 10, 2017
Davis, 24, has pretty well earned the demotion. He's logged just 19 innings in his 5 games started, and after being drubbed by the team that drafted him over the weekend - the New York Yankees - he now owns a 7.58 ERA and unsightly 2.21 WHIP.
And that WHIP isn't just due to being hit hard - he sports a 13.7 H/9 and is walking 6.2 batters per 9 innings, which isn't helping anyone but the opposition.
Rookie's demotion comes on the heels of both Cody Reed and Amir Garrett also being optioned to Louisville, as the Reds continue to shuffle the cards in hopes that more young arms than just Garrett can begin to adapt to big league hitters. Garrett, it seems, was optioned more to manage his innings (and service clock), but both Davis and Reed appear to have been sent down to work towards categorical change in the way they do business - and those kinds of things usually don't happen overnight.
That leaves just Scott Feldman, Bronson Arroyo, and Tim Adleman in the Cincinnati rotation, perhaps the three least inspiring names that were in the rich mix for rotation spots back in February, back before the bulk of the starters in the system began to both falter and fall apart. Even with today's off-day and another scheduled for Monday, that means the Reds will have to find another arm to fill a starting spot, and neither Garrett or Reed will be available yet since they're required to spend at least 10 days down after being optioned. The most likely name would be Robert Stephenson since he's been groomed as a starter for most of his career and is already on the active roster, but The Enquirer's Zach Buchanan has heard that's not going to happen.
A quick perusal of pitchers on the 40-man roster leads to a group consisting of unlikelies, unprovens, and unimpressives, the likeliest of which is Lisalverto Bonilla, who could fill in on Saturday while on regular rest.
As for Davis and how the rest of the rotation shakes out going forward, well, it will come down to who can actually begin to consistently throw strikes and show the capability of actually getting through 5 innings in a start. Some 30 games into this season, the Reds can count on that from almost none of the dozen or so original rotation candidates, Davis included. This will be his chance to begin to right that ship.