When the 2018 season began for Lyon Richardson was halfway through his senior year of high school at Jensen Beach High School. After a strong year he was selected in the 2nd round by the Cincinnati Reds. They were a tad more aggressive with his assignment than usual and sent the 18-year-old to join their new affiliate in Greeneville.
The Cincinnati Reds sent Lyon Richardson to pitch in the Appalachian League out of the draft – something that’s been out of the norm for how they’ve treated high school pitchers right out of the draft in many cases. His professional debut was a struggle. Working on a limited pitch count he barely made it through the first inning, allowing four earned runs on three hits, a walk, and a hit batter. His only other start in June came a week later, and he allowed two hits and two walks in an inning of work, needing 37 pitches to get through the inning. For the month, over two starts, he only had those 2.0 innings pitched where he had three walks and three strikeouts.
In the first start of July, Lyon Richardson allowed two runs in 2.0 innings. The next time out his pitch count went up and he made it through 3.0 innings – being charged with two unearned runs without a walk and with four strikeouts. A week later he had his longest start of the season. Against Elizabethton he allowed a run in 4.1 innings, but did walk three batters in the outing. A week later he would struggle against Princeton, allowing three earned in just 1.1 innings pitched. The righty closed out the month by allowing two earned in 2.0 innings with a walk and a strikeout. He finished the month with 12.2 innings over five starts with six walks and nine strikeouts to go with a 5.68 ERA.
On August 6th Lyon Richardson would return to the mound against Bluefield and allow two earned in 4.0 innings with a walk and three strikeouts. Six days later would be rather similar as he allowed two earned in 3.2 innings with a walk and four strikeouts. Holding true to where August had gone to that point, Richardson allowed two earned against Danville on the 18th in 4.0 innings with a walk and two more strikeouts. In his final start on August 24th things went south. He closed out his year with five earned runs in just 2.2 innings with four walks and three strikeouts. August finished with a 6.91 ERA in 14.1 innings over four starts with seven walks and 12 strikeouts.
For all 2018 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Lyon Richardson Scouting Report
Fastball | In high school he was up to 98 MPH with the pitch and sitting 93-95 at times. But other times he was in the 89-93 MPH range. As a professional that’s where he found himself, working in the low 90’s.
Curveball | Potentially his best pitch in the future. At times it’s a power breaking ball with good biting action in the low 80’s. But it’s also inconsistent at times. It can get slurvy and lack bite.
Change Up | It didn’t show up as often as the other two pitches, but flashed average at times. Mostly, though, it was a below-average pitch.
To say that the debut for Lyon Richardson didn’t go well would be an understatement. The 18-year-old didn’t pitch well, which you can clearly see in the numbers. But scouts noted throughout the season that he looked tired. That would explain some of the struggles.
On the good side of the ledger, the upside is there. He’s pumped upper 90’s on the fastball this year. He’s shown a plus curveball at times this year. The athleticism stands out on the mound. When it comes to the pure, raw talent, you can see all of the right things with Lyon Richardson. If things go right, he could be an above-average starting pitcher down the line.
The results, however, showed that there’s plenty of room for improvement in his game. He struggled to consistently find the strikezone. Richardson walked 11.5% of opposing batters he faced, and at times he also struggled to put hitters away. Like most high school pitchers he’s going to have to build up his stamina over the years. But that his stuff went backwards once he turned pro is another box he’s going to have to check in the future. There’s obvious upside here, but there are a lot of questions to be answered after his debut, too. Fortunately at just 18-years-old there’s plenty of time to get those answers.
Interesting Stat on Lyon Richardson
He faced 139 batters during the 2018 season. Only four of them were younger than he was. They went 1-4 with a single.