The Cincinnati Reds rotation has taken a pretty big hit over the last two weeks. Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle were traded away and Hunter Greene was placed on the injured list. The team did have a short-lived 6-man rotation, so there was a little bit of wiggle room there but now they’ve also placed Robert Dugger on the injured list today with right shoulder pain. That leaves the rotation with just four current pitchers, and that’s including just called up today Justin Dunn, who will be pitching tonight for the first time in the majors since June of 2021.
Someone is going to have to pitch on Wednesday against the New York Mets. It’s possible that the team could go with a bit of a “bullpen day” on Wednesday afternoon. The Reds are off on both Friday this week and Thursday next week, giving them the slightest bit of wiggle room if they wanted to try something like that and buy some additional time to make a decision on who to call up from Triple-A.
And honestly, maybe they should take it because none of the options in Triple-A are particularly strong options right now. The current rotation in Louisville is Randy Wynne, Justin Nicolino, Deck McGuire, Brandon Williamson, and T.J. Zeuch.
Randy Wynne is 29-years-old and tops out around 91 MPH. His ERA this season is 4.86 and hitters have touched him up for 22 home runs while hitting .291/.332/.530 against him in 103.2 innings this year. Justin Nicolino was pitching indy ball earlier this year and has pitched in 12 games with Louisville now and the 30-year-old has a5.46 ERA while allowing 14 home runs in 56.0 innings. Deck McGuire is a 33-year-old with a 6.92 ERA in 40-.1 innings for the Bats.
Brandon Williamson is a good prospect, but he’s been inconsistent at best this year. The 24-year-old has now made six starts for Louisville after starting the year in Double-A Chattanooga. With the Bats he’s got a 4.10 ERA with 15 walks and 24 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. Then there’s 27-year-old T.J. Zeuch, who got released in May by the Cardinals after posting an ERA of 11.64 in five starts for their Triple-A affiliate. He eventually signed with the Reds and he’s made five starts in Louisville and had much better success, posting a 3.63 ERA in 22.1 innings. In his last start he struck out a career best 12 batters.
The pickings are slim. None of the pitchers are on the 40-man roster, so that won’t get someone the nod simply because they would avoid having to make a roster move.
Maybe the team goes with Brandon Williamson. He’s a real prospect, even if he’s not pitching like one who is ready to step into a big league rotation right this second. The team probably does have him in the plans for the future, which probably isn’t the case for anyone else in the rotation at Triple-A Louisville. Perhaps they’ll go with one of the other guys simply for the fact that if and when they need a roster spot they could designate that guy for assignment with a low likelihood that someone claims them (though some of those guys could opt for free agency if they are DFA’d).
It appears that the team could be going with T.J. Zeuch, who has joined the Reds in New York and is currently on the taxi squad.
RHP T.J. Zeuch, a Mason native, is here with the Reds in New York and expected to start Wednesday vs. Mets.
Zeuch had a 3.63 ERA in five Triple-A Louisville starts with 26 strikeouts and 10 walks in 22 1/3 innings.
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) August 8, 2022