The Cincinnati Reds have made it official, calling up right-handed pitcher Lyon Richardson and optioning reliever Daniel Duarte to Triple-A Louisville. Richardson is scheduled to make the start this afternoon against the Washington Nationals in what will be his Major League debut.

It has been quite a rise this season for Richardson. The 23-year-old missed all of 2022 after he had Tommy John surgery late in 2021. He returned in the fall last year and pitched during minor league fall instructional league. In his limited outings he showed velocity on his fastball that he hadn’t shown since high school. When he was drafted he had a fastball that works in the mid-to-upper 90’s as a high school senior. But the 2nd round pick never showed that same kind of velocity after he was drafted. But last October in Goodyear he was throwing 97-99 MPH in short outings. That prompted the club to add him to the 40-man roster to protect him from another team selecting him in the Rule 5 draft.

Fast forward this spring and the start of the year and Cincinnati sent him to Single-A Daytona to begin the year. The assignment was a little bit of a two-fold approach. First, it was sort of a rehab stint to get him back on the mound. But perhaps more importantly it was to keep him in the warm Florida weather rather than send him to Dayton or Chattanooga where it can still be quite cold early on in the season. After three dominant starts in Florida with the Tortugas, Richardson skipped over High-A Dayton and joined the rotation in Double-A with the Lookouts.

He made 15 starts with Chattanooga and posted a 2.15 ERA with 22 walks, two home runs allowed, and 58 strikeouts in 46.0 innings. Last week he was promoted to Triple-A Louisville where he made one start and allowed a hit in 3.0 innings with no walks and with five strikeouts.

When Richardson has been on the mound, he’s been dominant. But coming off of Tommy John surgery, the Reds have been very cautious with his workload. He’s had six starts in which he threw 45 or fewer pitches. Another five starts saw him throw fewer than 50 pitches. Three more starts saw him throw less than 60 pitches. Only two starts have seen him throw more than 65 pitches, and only one of them – coming on June 17th – saw him throw more than 67 pitches.

In no start has he pitched beyond the 4th inning. With such a limited pitch count that’s not terribly surprising. But it’s also a sign of what to expect from him today – he’s likely going to throw a few innings before the game is turned over to the bullpen.

When it comes to his stuff – it’s quite good. His fastball has averaged just over 97 MPH this year and he’s touched 100. He mostly uses a 4-seamer, but he’s got a 2-seamer that he will show every so often, too. His change up may be his second best offering and it works in the upper 80’s. He’s also got both a slider and a curveball – both solid offerings, with the slider coming in around 85-86 and the curveball in the 78-81 MPH range.

14 Responses

  1. Redsvol

    Let’s go Lyon – make us proud! Just keep the walks to a minimum and you’ll be fine!

  2. LDS

    It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. If they get 3 out of Richardson, does someone else come in and go three. Or do we see the usual parade of 1-1.1 and done that is Bell’s typical approach. Maybe Weaver can become the long reliever, with an expectation of maybe 3 innings. Might still be throwing batting practice, just for a shorter time.

    • Ted Alfred

      So dumb the way the Reds have avoided having a long guy in the bullpen. I thought Kennedy could have been really good for that role after his start at Wahington 5 weeks ago

    • DHud

      I wonder if going with some kind of piggy-backing situation with all these rookie pitchers could have benefit. You effectively would lose an arm out of the bullpen, but if you can team up two guys to go 4 and 4, maybe Richardson-Weaver or Williamson-Richardson, instead of 4 than 1-1-1…you wouldn’t burn as many guys in the bullpen

    • Rob

      Your point makes a lot of sense since Weaver never goes more than 3-4 innings. Just have Weaver and X pitch 7-8 innings every fifth day. Doesn’t get you any better results except it does preserve the other 7 bullpen guys for more leveraged opportunities rather than burn them out while Weaver pitches. Should result in better bullpen efforts the other 4 games. But a trade would have accomplished the same thing or better.

  3. Indy Red Man

    Phillips is more stretched out, but its always interesting to see young talent. He’s being rewarded because he’s had better control then Phillips. They still need a long man though? I’d go with youth and make Stoudt the long man. DFA Farmer or whoever

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t think it’s a reward for having better control. It’s as simple as Richardson’s on the 40-man and Phillips isn’t. And the team has a lot of 40-man moves they’re going to need to make with Greene, Lodolo, Antone, and Gutierrez all returning in the next 30 days (less on the non-lefties here).

      • Optimist

        Yep – still hope and expect Phillips and Marte to be the Sept. additions – but it’s the same 40-man spot issue for Phillips.

        Busenitz, Kennedy, Weaver and perhaps Casali are the first to go to open spots, but then it gets a bit more difficult.

      • Old-school

        This is a good development

        Wasn’t richardson a question as to if reds would even protect him on the 40 man with prior injuries and nothing above A ball? Hes had a great year of development.

      • Rob

        With all of the expected August additions to the 40 man roster, and maybe as many as 4, I can’t see anyway that Phillips makes it to Cincy this year. We also still have Dunn to activate from the 40. He and Hopkins or Barerro would be my guess to get the September call ups. I just can’t see us putting a 6th guy on the waiver wire to get Phillips up here. Some of these borderline 40 guys like Siani, Richardson, and Stoudt are valuable trade chips. Don’t get me started on that.

      • David

        Yeah, I think we were all hoping to see Connor Phillips, but the squeeze on the 40 man roster probably is the main reason he was NOT called, and we probably won’t see him until next Spring, when more people are cleared off the 40 man roster…..unless another starter gets hurt.
        Richardson starts today, and maybe pitches 3-4 innings (pitch count), but unlikely he slides into the long reliever role, unless he has plenty of time to prepare and warm up. Part of his recovery from TJ surgery is to make sure he is really loose/warm prior to pitching.
        I would sort of expect Ian Gibaut to follow him, as he is likely the closest the Reds have to a long reliever. Maybe two innings from him, then a parade of 1 inning pitchers.
        Riever San Martin also had TJ surgery early in July, it has been announced, so he will not be back until possibly late 2024, if ever.

  4. Ahimsa

    Congrats and good luck Lyon.

    Hope you have lots of family and friends for your debut.

    Always enjoy Jim Day interviewing the parents.

  5. Tim

    May you have a wonderful career and may it begin asap