The Cincinnati Reds are looking much, much better than their 2022 version at this point of the year.
Let’s remember that last year, the franchise opened the year with a 3-22 record.
This time, they are 7-9 with a +2 run differential.
They are still not quite contenders, but progress is progress and should be pointed out.
They have given more playing time to prospects and young players like TJ Friedl, Spencer Steer, Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan India, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, and others.
They are adding one name to the mix this week: right-handed pitcher Levi Stoudt.
“The Reds’ No. 14 prospect has been added to the taxi squad and is scheduled to start tomorrow and make his MLB debut!” the team tweeted on Tuesday.
Welcome to The Show, Levi Stoudt‼️
The Reds' No. 14 prospect has been added to the taxi squad and is scheduled to start tomorrow and make his MLB debut! pic.twitter.com/dkwZ4GSZqp
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 18, 2023
Stoudt was a big prospect in the 2019 Draft, but Tommy John surgery somewhat lowered his status and draft position.
Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs suggests his changeup lost quality due to the surgery, but says he still has good command and should be able to “push for a permanent back-of-the-rotation role in ’24 and beyond.”
His curveball is, per Longenhagen, “loopy”, and his fastball is good but not explosive enough to give him a top-of-the-rotation ceiling.
In other words, Stoudt has all the tools to be a solid major league arm but not quite an ace or even a mid-rotation starter.
Still, those kinds of arms have tangible value for a franchise, as Stoudt will surely have for the Reds.
As it always happens, his stay in the rotation for the long-term will depend on his performance.
He is sporting a 4.09 ERA in 11 Triple-A innings.NEXT: Video Shows Big Opening Day Crowd For The Cincinnati Reds