Robert Stephenson will be called up to make his Major League debut for the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday afternoon against the Philadelphia Phillies according to an anonymous source. The Reds haven’t announced the move, currently only listing three starters on the big league roster. The move will be made official on Monday when the team can officially place Homer Bailey on the 60-day disabled list.
This spring saw Robert Stephenson perform well in his first three starts of the spring, but struggle in his final two, particularly in the final one of the spring. Over the first three appearances he allowed two earned runs with one walk and had seven strikeouts.
It was the final two starts where things went south for the right hander. On March 17th he allowed five earned runs in 2.1 innings with a walk and two strikeouts. He was optioned to Triple-A after that, but more injuries to the starting rotation got him a final audition for a spot in the rotation and he took the mound on March 28th. In 3.0 innings he allowed four earned runs on two hits and five walks with four strikeouts. The first inning of that game was the biggest struggle as he walked the first three batters of the game on a total of 14 pitches, needing 34 pitches and throwing just nine strikes to get through the inning. He settled in after that, mostly, but the damage had been done.
It would appear that this spot is only going to be needed once, and that after the start, good or bad, that Stephenson will head back to the minor leagues. The move won’t use an additional option as the team has already used it on him this year. As long as he does indeed head back to the minor leagues and remain there for two weeks, it will also give the team enough time in the minor leagues to keep him for an additional year – avoid a situation like they had with Mike Leake and having a situation like the Cubs had last season with Kris Bryant where they get that additional year of service time down the road.