A rudimentary glance at the season stats of Lucas Sims in 2019 won’t exactly wow you. A 4.04 ERA is nice enough in a ‘2015-2018 Cincinnati Reds pitcher’ sort of way, but is hardly inspiring, as is his 1.33 WHIP.
That said, a dive a tad deeper shows that Sims has, in fact, been largely impressive for AAA Louisville this year in a way you’d hope to see from a former 1st round draftee. If you pinpoint his April 26th start against the Norfolk Tides, for instance, you’ll see a thorough shellacking, one where he allowed 6 ER in just 1.1 IP. It was bad, it was gross, it was the kind of blow-up that most every pitcher will slog through at least once a season. It’s the work that Sims has done both before and after that start that has earned him a promotion to the Reds, as the club announced late last night.
In his 4 starts prior to that Norfolk debacle, he sported a 3.15 ERA with a dominant 34/6 K/BB in his 20 IP. In the 4 games post-Norfolk, it’s been much of the same - a 2.74 ERA across 23 IP, with a rock solid 28/7 K/BB in that span. All told, it appears the shoulder issues that ended his 2018 campaign prematurely haven’t derailed what he’s been able to accomplish, in large part, at the AAA level, and there absolutely was no more deserving member of the 40-man roster to get the call for tonight’s start, as the doubleheader yesterday has thrown a minor wrench into the overall Cincinnati rotational plans.
Frankly, I’m still irrationally high on Sims’ potential, especially given that he just turned 25 years old earlier this month. Getting to see him work his groovy breaking ball with Derek Johnson’s magic is something that I don’t anticipate we’ll see for long beyond tonight’s start, but I do still hold out hope it’ll be simply the start of something.
Also down in Louisville, prospect Brian O’Grady has been on some kind of power run of late, and the slugger credits a swing tweak courtesy of Hall of Famer Barry Larkin for his surge, as MiLB.com’s Brian Stultz reported. As the lead picture in that story also reveals, O’Grady’s mustache game is growing, too.
While Sims will join the Cincinnati rotation today (for a time), the hope is still that lefty Alex Wood will at some point in the future, too. As MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reported, Wood is going to rejoin the Reds for the time being to begin ramping up his rehab work, with the idea that he’ll be able to go out on a rehab assignment in the minors in the near future beginning to finally be a real one. Obviously, Wood’s a great talent, but the Cincinnati rotation hasn’t exactly sputtered without him, so it’ll sure be interesting to see how the Reds juggle his eventual return alongside the ever-nearing July trade deadline.
In other news, the MLB Draft is less than a week away, and The Athletic’s fleet of baseball writers served us up a full 1st round Mock Draft. They weren’t serving as their own GMs of the teams they cover, per se, but rather were trying to anticipate what the teams themselves might do with their primary selections next week. C. Trent Rosecrans seems to be hearing what most Reds fans have heard lately, too, that lefty Nick Lodolo from TCU at #7 overall appears to be the most likely prospect to be picked by Cincinnati, even though the Reds would love if one of the projected top 6 picks slips to them somehow.
For a bit more on Lodolo, here’s MLB.com’s draft profile of him in video form. As they note, he was the highest unsigned draftee from the 2016 draft class, as he spurned the Pittsburgh Pirates to head to college instead...just in case you needed any additional reason to like the kid.
Finally, the Reds have alternated wins and losses for 11 consecutive games, as Former Fearless Leader Joel Luckhaupt relayed earlier on Twitter dot com. This team has obviously seemed to start clicking more offensively of late, but that still hasn’t translated into a string of victories that their overall play suggests probably should’ve happened by now, so hopefully that’s something they can change beginning as early as...today, perhaps?