In this ongoing series that will last most of spring training, we’re going to look at each player that will be in Major League camp with the Cincinnati Reds. Each post will have some information on the player. There will be some background information, profiling, projections, and more. To see all of the posts in the series, you can click here. Today we are going to look at catcher Tyler Stephenson.
Tyler Stephenson’s Background
Acquired: 1st Round, 2015 MLB Draft.
Height/Weight: 6′ 4″ / 225lbs
Years of MLB Experience: Zero.
Tyler Stephenson was drafted out of high school in Georgia by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1st round of 2015. He has worked his way up through the farm system since, topping out in Advanced-A last year with the Daytona Tortugas.
Tyler Stephenson’s 2018 Season
After two straight years of missing significant time due to injuries, Tyler Stephenson was able to put together a full season for the first time in his career. He got out to a quick start, OPSin’g .959 in April for the Advanced-A club in Daytona. Things slowed down in the pitcher friendly Florida State League after that, as he had some inconsistency at the plate. Over his 450 plate appearances he hit .250/.338/.392 with 32 extra-base hits, 45 walks, and 98 strikeouts.
Tyler Stephenson’s Playing History
After being drafted the Reds sent Tyler Stephenson to join their advanced Rookie-level team in Billings. As a teenager he showed off a lot of gap power, hitting 15 doubles, but didn’t quite get the ball over the fence much. The next season was one that went as poorly as could be imagined. A concussion, followed up shortly thereafter by a wrist injury led to Stephenson missing nearly the entire season. In 2017 he returned to Dayton and things went better. He hit better, across the board. And his defense began showing improvements, too. But his season was cut short once again by injury. A thumb injury while sliding into a base put him on the disabled list for the final seven weeks of the season. Last year he remained healthy. The power began to show up, even if the surface numbers don’t quite show it. The league he played in suppresses power in a big way. The defense took another step forward, too.
Projecting Tyler Stephenson for 2019
The projections for players who haven’t had success in Double-A, much less Triple-A, are never good. Tyler Stephenson hasn’t even reached Double-A yet. Systems looking at a guy who hasn’t played there yet are obviously going to be down on a player who would make the jump from A-ball to the Majors and we see that here. Two systems didn’t even project him due to the lack of experience.
How could Tyler Stephenson fit in Cincinnati in 2019?
As noted above, Tyler Stephenson has not yet reached Double-A. That’s where he’s slated to start the 2019 season. With the Reds set at the position in the Majors with Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali, there’s no need to rush the 22-year-old Stephenson. With a big season there is a chance he could potentially see a call up very late in the year when rosters expand. The expectation, though, is that he’ll likely spend the year in the minor leagues.