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The Red Report 2018 - Anthony DeSclafani

He might ace ya. He might ghost ya. Let’s hope for the former.

Cincinnati Reds Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Fast Facts:

  • Born on April 18, 1990 in Freehold, New Jersey
  • Threw pitches in 2017, though not for the Cincinnati Reds
  • Intends on throwing pitches again in 2018, though preferably for the Cincinnati Reds instead of while rehabbing from an injury
  • Drafted in the 22nd round of the Boston Red Sox in 2008, but opted to attend the University of Florida instead
  • After again being drafted - this time by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 - he was eventually traded to the then Florida Marlins in the massive Jeff Loria-induced salary-dump trade that included Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, et al
  • Traded to the Cincinnati Reds alongside Chad Wallach in exchange for Mat Latos at the end of 2014
  • Led the National League in fWAR (3.1) among all rookie pitchers in 2015

Organizational History:

Drafted By the Toronto Blue Jays in the 6th round in 2011.
Debut May 14, 2014.
Rookie Status: Exceeded Rookie status during 2015 season.
2017 Contract Status: Signed thru 2018, 1 yr/$860K.
Arb Eligible: 2019
Free Agent: 2021

Career Stats:

Scouting Report:

According to Brooks Baseball, DeSclafani relied on a mixture largely of just four pitches, using his sinker (94 mph), slider (88 mph), four-seam fastball (94 mph), and a curve (82 mph), though he occasionally mixed in a change (89 mph). Of course, those numbers are based on his 2014-2016, and it’ll be interesting to see if his repertoire is tweaked at all this year after his forearm issues in 2017.

(For a more thorough glance at his usage rates, I highly suggest you check out the interactive charts over there, since they provide much more usable data than the mere JPEGs we’re allowed to use here these days /groans.)

Two JPEG charts that are worth looking at, however, are the Zone Profiles of both his swing rates and whiff rates since coming over to the Reds - in essence, showing where he throws his pitches, how often he gets batters to swing at those pitches, and how often they whiff.

And, finally, his Zone Profile showing batters’ ISO against him, which gives a pretty good indication of which areas around the plate he should avoid like the plague.

2018 Projections:

Disco Jam Potential

Depth Charts 24 24 146 7.05 2.51 4.52 4.54 1.7
Steamer 24 24 151 7.86 2.62 4.52 4.47 1.9
ZiPS 19 19 109.3 6.17 2.39 4.53 4.62 1.2

Just go ahead and throw out those projections, honestly. Given how many injuries Disco has fought through, they’re pretty well meaningless if he’s at all healthy.


“If he’s at all healthy,” typed the author, which had become increasingly complicated to do while crossing his fingers.

Anthony DeSclafani has fired two seasons of particular note in his career, and in doing so has managed to confound the two clearinghouses that do their best to account for Wins Above Replacement (WAR). His 2015 was loved by FanGraphs, his 184.2 innings good for 3.1 fWAR despite Baseball Reference thinking it only worth a measly 1.3 bWAR. After returning from an oblique injury to fire 123.1 innings in 2016, it was Baseball Reference who doted on him, valuing it at 3.0 bWAR (with a 130 ERA+) while FanGraphs graded him at only 1.9 fWAR.

While that’s a case that clearly highlights how imperfect and hard to calculate WAR is, it’s also one that helps to describe Disco in the only way we know how at this point - rather, that he’s damn hard to define. Even when healthy, valuing him has obviously been hard to accomplish, and we all know how hard it’s been for him to stay healthy at all, with oblique and elbow issues having sabotaged much of his time since becoming a Red.

The fact is, though, that during his healthy stints, he’s been quite adept at getting outs and keeping runs off the board relative to his peers, and has done so despite not piling up the kind of strikeout numbers some valuation-metrics choose to love. He’s a pitcher who has never tossed a 200 inning season, but he’s a guy who has managed to have both ways of valuing him think him capable of 3 WAR seasons in pro-rated innings totals. And while even a healthy Disco shouldn’t be counted on a 200 inning season this year after missing some of 2016 and all of 2017, if he’s good for 25 starts and 150 plus innings, you can pretty well bank on those innings being good enough to fill the role of a solid #2/3 starter that any team would want.

All points suggest he’s healthy at the moment and that his elbow - which didn’t require major surgery - has him in good enough shape to fill that role. If that’s the case, that’s a major cog the team has been looking for, and one that’ll help them more rapidly dig themselves out of the NL Central basement in a hurry. And given that the likes of Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb are out there on the market with zero interest shown in them by the Cincinnati Reds, it’s safe to say the Reds are still banking on Disco to live up to that cog-desire.

I’ve got my fingers crossed, my toes crossed, my eyes crossed, and my T’s crossed, but I do think the 2018 version of Disco is poised to once again fill that role for the Reds. In fact, he’s my pick to win the Opening Day start for them out of spring training, a role he would’ve twice filled in recent years had he wrapped up Cactus League play a healthy man. This is his year, dammit, and I’m quite excited about it.