The 2018 season was an important one for Tyler Stephenson. The catcher stayed healthy all year for the first time in his professional career, and the strides he made by being able to play all year with the Daytona Tortugas showed.

When the 2019 season began the Cincinnati Reds sent Tyler Stephenson to join their new Double-A affiliate in Chattanooga. The season started out fine for the catcher, who hit .278 in the first five games with just one strikeout. Over the next 10 days though he went into a slump, going 3-22 (.136) – but did walk as often as he struck out, just three times. In the final week of the month he would run off a 6-game hitting streak, going 8-22 (.364) with his first two home runs of the season. In the 16 games during April he would post a .273/.344/.436 line with six walks and eight strikeouts.

When May began the hit streak ended with the first game. But another one started right back up, running off another 6-game streak from the 3rd through the 11th. A mini-slump followed, though, as Tyler Stephenson went 1-13 in the next four games. The catcher turned things up for the final two weeks of the month, going 10-28 (.357) with four extra-base hits and four walks. During 19 games in May he would hit .284/.360/.403 with seven walks and 15 strikeouts.

June began with a slump and a short stint of missed time. From the 1st through the 11th, Tyler Stephenson only played in five games – not playing from the 5th through the 9th before returning on the 10th. He would go 1-20 in that stretch. After that, though, he picked it up and had hits in 11 of the remaining 12 games, going 16-42 (.381) with four extra-base hits and more walks than strikeouts. The month was inconsistent, but over the 17 games played he hit .274/.356/.371 with seven walks and 12 strikeouts.

July began with a prolonged slump. Over the first two weeks of the month Tyler Stephenson went 3-26 (.115). The second half of the month was the opposite side of the spectrum as the catcher went 10-31 (.323) with more walks than strikeouts. In total he would hit .228/.353/.333 with nine walks and 12 strikeouts in 18 games played.

The hot hitting that ended July carried into August. From the 1st through the 13th Tyler Stephenson hit .500/.629/.615 with more walks than strikeouts. After going 0-7 on the 15th and 16th, Stephenson finished off the year with an 8-game hitting streak that included four doubles and a homer. In the final 18 games of the season he would hit .353/.430/.500 with seven walks and 13 strikeouts.

For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Tyler Stephenson Spray Chart

Tyler Stephenson Scouting Report

Position: C | B/T: R/R

Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 225 lb | Drafted: 1st Round, 2015

Born: August 16, 1996

Hitting | He’s got an average to slightly above-average hit tool.

Power | He’s got above-average to plus raw power.

Running | He’s a well below-average runner.

Defense | He’s a solid defender behind the plate.

Arm | He shows plus arm strength.

For the second season in a row, Tyler Stephenson stayed on the field and remained healthy. And just like the year before, he made strides throughout the season – as you’d expect as he continued to get reps and experience.

At the plate he posted an OPS of .782, which was good for a 131 OPS+ during the year. He cut down on his strikeout rate significantly from the 2018 season – going from 21.8% to 16.5%. His walk rate remained the same, 10%. The power was down a little bit, and that’s without accounting for the difference in the two leagues. Still, his overall season at the plate was much better than the year before.

The power for Tyler Stephenson can be obvious in batting practice, and even in games at times. There’s the potential for real thunder in there, with 25+ home runs down the line if he fully develops his raw power. Right now, though, there’s plenty of development to go between where his power is today and where it could be in the future. Right now he shows more power to the pull-side, but goes the opposite way (at least to the outfield) more than he pulls the ball. That will probably need to change in the future to get the most power out of his bat.

The full field approach, though, is what allows him to get more out of his hit tool. He can and does use the entire field. Couple that with his strong understanding of the strikezone and you can see where he could hit for both a good average and power in the future at the Major League level.

Defensively is where the most strides have come for Tyler Stephenson in the last few seasons. While he will need to continue to improve, there are fewer questions about whether or not he can remain behind the plate than ever before. He’s gotten better across the board with his defense. His receiving has gotten quieter, and he’s improved in his blocking abilities. The arm has always been plus, though it doesn’t always play out as at times there can be added time between receiving the pitch and releasing his throw that could be shortened.

The overall package could have Tyler Stephenson as a future All-Star caliber catcher who is good at everything and even better in a few areas. To get there he’s going to have to continue to develop, but all of the pieces are there and there currently don’t seem to be any real weaknesses in his game moving forward.

Longest Home Run of the Year

428 Feet on April 29th.

Interesting Stat on Tyler Stephenson

He hit much better at home than on the road, posting an .826 OPS in Chattanooga and a .741 OPS on the road in the Southern League.

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16 Responses

  1. Bill

    The Reds top four prospects are very talented and all at highly valuable positions and it’s not out of the question that all could be in Cincinnati during the 2021 season or sooner. These are the kinds of players that can extend a contending window if the approach their potential and all have very, very high ceilings.

    However, to obtain player like Lindor, Corey Seager or Correa will take moving players of top value. It’s going to take a player of this caliber to make the Reds a division favorite, but here we are, perhaps one “star” player away from being the front runner. We’ll have much to debate in the days ahead.

    • jbonireland

      Then we shouldn’t get any of these shortstops. Why trade 6 years of major league value for 2. Garcia & Stephenson fill two of the needs we will have and Lodolo should be in the rotation as early as some time next season. Greene the jury is stil out on, at best probably 3 years away if his arm healed well.

  2. Linkster

    Stephenson is the only Reds prospect that I wouldn’t trade unless absolutely necessary. He will be able to take over for Barnhart when his contract ends…or sooner. I’m not convinced he will be a star. But, an easy and solid transition at a position that is hard to come by.

    • Gaffer

      I agree, and sine it looks like the Reds are trying to get Lindor I would give up Greene, India, and even Lodolo before Stephenson or Garcia. I am not saying they are better, just that they are too hard to replace and will help sooner.

  3. Doc

    Wouldn’t trade Lodolo either, and maybe not Greene. Pitching in 2020 should be strong, but will need replacements in 2021 for Bauer, Disco, 2022 for Miley, give or take a year. Lodolo already has performed better than anyone else in the farm system. With Greene, I’d see how he returns for a season before giving him up, especially given that both he and Lodolo will be big league ready when Lindor is a free agent. Greene and Lodolo could be our Castillo and Gray three years from now.

  4. Hoyce

    Doug- I’ve been saying for months now that Francisco lindor should be the reds #1 target over any free agent or other trade target (Willson Contreras would be my #2)
    But since a trade for lindor would assuredly change the refs minor league system
    What would/do u see a trade for lindor looking like?
    An actual trade proposal??
    I think Senzel, India and a lower prospect like Gutierrez would prob do it
    Senzel would be tough to give up. Would u??

    • Oldtimer

      MLB All-Decade Team:

      1st Team — Francisco Lindor (CLE): Lindor has only been in the Majors since 2015, but in his half-decade he’s ascended to the top of the shortstop position and become one of the leaders of MLB’s youth movement. The Indians’ star has been an All-Star the last four seasons, with two Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger Awards.

      • Alex

        lindor is still in the prime on his career! its possible he could even be better than he has shown so far! Would take a ton to get him but ti might be worth it. I personally think id like to see a three team trade where we get seager from dodgers and lindor to dodgers. Wont hurt our farm nearly as much

  5. Hoyce

    MLB network thought that lindor and DeShields jr
    For Senzel, India, Santillan and Galvis work prob work. So I wasn’t too far off from what they think

    • Wes

      Looks like a 3rd place offer to me behind LA and SD. I wouldn’t want any of those dudes if I’m Cleveland. Not for Lindor.

    • Oldtimer

      (Clipped) Who says no? The Indians. They would find Senzel’s bat and defensive versatility alluring but might want more upside than prospects India and Santillan offer.

  6. Wes

    From a decade of following prospects- just about every top catcher ends up hitting 240 w 20 some homers and not to many rbi. If another team is willing to credit above market value for TySteve then trade him. Pirates and Indians should be all over him.