It has been a forgettable season so far for the Cincinnati Reds.
At 23-43, the team is in last place in the NL Central.
Reds fans likely knew that their team wasn’t going anywhere this season as soon as the club went 3-22 over its first 25 games.
Cincy has played better ball since then, but the team still isn’t likely to crack the playoffs.
However, there are still some things Reds fans have to look forward to this season, including a big one: the debut of Justin Dunn.
It has been over a year since Dunn last pitched in the big leagues.
A shoulder issue cut the righty’s 2021 season short, with his last outing coming on June 17 of last season.
That also ended up being his final start with the Seattle Mariners before they traded him to the Reds earlier this year.
Reds fans have been excited to see Dunn make his debut with his new team ever since the deal went down, but they’ve had to wait, as he’s still dealing with the same shoulder issue that ended his 2021 season.
But the wait isn’t expected to last much longer.
The 26-year-old has taken some encouraging steps lately and is building toward a rehab assignment.
There had been some speculation about whether the Reds were aiming to use Dunn as a starter or reliever, but it sounds like the plan is for him to build up to be a rotation piece.
Given the potential Dunn has displayed as a starter throughout his MLB career so far, Reds fans should be excited to see what he has to offer to their rotation.
Don’t sleep on Justin Dunn. The forgotten piece in the Winker/Suarez trade was looking like a good 4 or 5 for a rotation before injury. https://t.co/V0IC0I9fY5
— Claiborne Snowden (@Clay_sno) June 12, 2022
After all, Cincinnati could use some rotation help.
The club’s 5.37 rotation ERA ranks 29th out of 30 MLB teams.
Dunn certainly has what it takes to help the team improve in that department.
What To Expect From Dunn
In the 2021 season, Dunn pitched to a 3.75 ERA over 11 starts.
He did struggle with command (and had a 4.74 FIP as a result), but he seemingly always found a way to get out of trouble.
In the end, he allowed three runs or fewer in 10 of his 11 starts, which is a very impressive accomplishment.
He’s an exciting player to watch.
Justin Dunn, 94mph Fastball (foul) and 81mph Slider (Sword/K), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/QpEvgGOYwu
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 15, 2021
Still, in order to take the next step, the Boston College product is going to need to make life easier on himself by issuing fewer walks.
That’ll definitely be something to keep an eye on when his 2022 season gets rolling.
Of course, patience will be key since Dunn hasn’t pitched on a big league mound in over a year.
When he returns, he likely won’t be the same guy right away, which is just part of the process.
But in due time, if the Reds give the hurler a chance to get his footing, they may end up finding that they have an extremely solid rotation piece on their hands.
So, while it has been a rocky season for Reds fans, Dunn’s debut is something to look forward to.
With any luck, he’ll be able to take the mound sooner than later.