After being selected in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft, Bryce Bonnin would have to wait over a year before he would make his first professional appearance. An injury during the spring kept the right-hander off of the mound until June 29th when he made a rehab start for the Arizona Complex League Reds. It went well as he struck out seven batters in 4.0 innings.

His next start came for Daytona and it was the best of his season as he tossed 5.0 perfect innings with 11 strikeouts. While he wouldn’t be that good again, he dominated over the next six weeks for the Tortugas as he allowed just five earned runs in six more starts and he struck out 33.

That performance got him a promotion to High-A Dayton. He would only make three starts for the Dragons before the season came to an end. The first start did not go well as he walked five batters and allowed four earned runs in 2.2 innings. The next time out he struck out nine batters in 4.1 innings while allowing just one hit. But the final start of the season was a struggle as he allowed his first homer over the season. And then three more after that as he was charged with five earned in 4.0 innings.

Bryce Bonnin Stats

For all 2021 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Bryce Bonnin Scouting Report

Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R

Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 190 lbs | Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020

Born: October 11, 1998

Fastball | A plus offering that works in the mid-90’s and reached 99 MPH this season.

Slider | A second plus offering that works in the mid-80’s that has some sweeping and biting action.

Change Up | A below-average offering that he doesn’t use often.

With two plus pitches there’s plenty of upside for Bryce Bonnin. It also gives him a high floor, assuming health of course, as a potential elite reliever if starting doesn’t work out.

That last sentence is one of the reasons that a guy with two plus pitches is rated a bit lower than he may otherwise be. There are some reasons to wonder if Bonnin will remain a starter in the long run. His change up, a pitch that he will almost assuredly need to remain as a starter, not only must improve but it must also be incorporated into his usage more. On top of the change up needing improvement, he’s not shown the ability to throw a full starter’s workload yet, either. As a sophomore he threw 64.0 innings at Texas Tech, but that is his high for both college and as a professional.

Interesting Stat on Bryce Bonnin

He made starts in four different months during the 2021 season. August saw batters hit .214 against him and it was by far the highest average against him during any of the four months he pitched in. (He only made one start in June and only two starts in September)

This article was first sent out to those who support the site over on Patreon. Early access is one of the perks that you could get be joining up as a Patron and supporting the work done here at

16 Responses

  1. Matt

    He also walked 45 guys in those 64 innings at Texas Tech, and still managed to have a 4.08 ERA. He showed good control in Daytona, but will have to repeat that to find success in the upper levels / MLB. Hard to walk a bunch of guys and find success.
    He did only give up 1 homer in those 64 Texas Tech innings though. And didn’t give up any until his last start of the year. Good signs overall.

  2. Stock

    I am a lot higher on Bonnin and Boyle than most. The stuff these two have is over the top.

    You can teach a player a third pitch. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. See Michael Wacha When he first came up he threw his FB and Changeup 92% of the time. His FB did not compare to that of Bonnin or Boyle. He developed additional pitches in the majors and is still starting.

    In 2002 (1st year fangraphs tracks pitches) Randy Johnson averaged 114 pitches per game. He three he #3 and 4 pitches (change up and split finger) an average of 1.8 times a game. Otherwise batters saw the fastball or slider. Randy Johnson threw the FB or Slider well more than 90% of the time in his career, yet he is in the hall of fame as a SP. He is proof that if your first 2 pitches are good enough then you don’t need a third pitch. In the minors Randy Johnson had 7 BB/9 IP and 9.4 K/9 IP. At the age of 22 in A ball Randy Johnson struck out 10 batter per 9 and walked 7.1 batters per nine. Bonnin walked 12.4 batters per 9 and walked 2.3 batters per nine in A ball this year at age 22.

    Bonnin had a 15.5 K/ 9 IP and a 3.3 BB/9 IP this year in full season leagues (Daytona/Dayton).

    As for the pitchers Doug currently has in front of Bonnin:

    Greene dominated AA in 2021. His stats were 13.2 K/9 IP and 3.1 BB/9 IP. Bonnin had a 15.5 K/ 9 IP and a 3.3 BB/9 IP this year in full season leagues (Daytona/Dayton).

    Lodolo was even better than Greene in AA this year. As good as Lodolo was he struck out only 13.9/ 9 IP in AA this year.

    Graham Ashcraft was fantastic in Dayton last year and quickly was promoted to AA. He struck out 12.8 batters/ 9 IP in Dayton at the age of 23. Bonnin struck out 16.4/9 IP in Dayton at the age of 22.

    Christian Roa struck out 10 batters/ 9 IP and had 4.1 BB/9 IP between Dayton and Daytona at the age of 22. Bonnin struck out 13.4/9 IP and had a 3.3 BB/9 IP between Dayton and Daytona at the age of 22. Bonnin was clearly better than Roa in both categories.

    I can see Bonnin being ranked below Greene and Lodolo. Those two are perfoming in AA/AAA. But I don’t see him behind Ashcraft and without a doubt not behind Roa. In fact, in part because of his 15.1% K% – BB% I have Roa at 21 in my ranking.

    For comparison Bonnin K% – BB% is 28.5%, Greene 28.5% in AA/19.6% in AAA, Lodolo 34.1%/28.6%, Ashcraft 26.1 A+/17.1 in AA, Andrew Abbott 30.6% in A ball, and Joe Boyle 26.3% in A. Thomas Farr was at 31.5% but in only 9 innings.

    • DaveCT

      I’m going to persist in pointing out the low number of professional innings (just 47 in Bryce’s case). Roa is also on the lower side, 58 professional innings. And while Lodolo has handled a starters workload in college, he only has 67 pro innings.

      Doug has commented on Lodolo that ‘when you’re ready, you are ready.’ And I can appreciate that in Lodolo’s case, but just to a degree. His situation is a bit different overall.

      It just seems to me that both Bonnin and Roa have a time consuming path in front of them to build up their pro innings, if for nothing else than to prevent breakdown and injury, let alone develop their pitches, command and control. While both are college guys, it may still be a stretch to think they’ll move quickly without a move to the bullpen.

      • Stock

        I agree to a point. I would limit Bonnin and Roa to about 125 – 130 innings in 2022 and 150 – 175 in 2023. But I see no problem with either pitching 190 innings come 2024.

        That said there is a very good chance that Roa’s best chance at success is via the bullpen. I think Bonnin will be a ML starting pitcher (assuming he can stay healthy).

      • DaveCT

        Stock, I’m a bit more bullish on Roa. I can see him as a four pitch innings-hungry guy at the back end of the rotation. Similar to Vlad Gutierrez in some respects, though there might be more to his fastball as indicated last spring training.

        I do agree that Bonnin’s stuff, like Ashcraft’s, is more electric and can see both he and Ashcraft with ceilings of solid #3 starters with a chance for more.

        I don’t know enough about innings increases to make an informed comment. I just hope to avoid serious injuries with this wave of arms.

      • Stock

        The general rule is to increase innings from your previous max up to 30 innings to be conservative. But the 2020 season presents so many unknowns. How many innings did Bonnin throw in 2020? How do the innings he threw on his own compare to game innings. If you cap it at 65 – 70 then he should probably be limited to 100 innings in 2022, 130 in 2023 and 160 in 2024. Either way he should be ready for the show in July 2024.

      • Redsvol

        Stock I live your enthusiasm! But It will take some time to build up these guys to starter load snd there will be bumps along the way. I still don’t see Lodolo having the innings history to be a starter this year.

        But it’s really exciting to have so man young pitchers with such good potential. I can’t recall having so many pitchers with high strikeout rates and reasonable walk rates / greeene, lodolo, Ashcroft, Boyle, bonnin, roa, Abbott, and Farr. We used to struggle to have 2 pitchers with these type of stats. If 80% of them stay healthy, we’re going to have a very strong bullpen in 2-3 years and possibly 2-3 very good starters.

  3. Tom

    So…on the MLB lock out. The minors will still play it sounds like, right?

    I ultimately hope we’re all watching the minors until an actual fair system is set up league wide similar to the NFL. I’ll wait 2 years for it.

    • Matt

      I’m pretty sure that minor leagues can still play so long as their players aren’t on an MLB club’s 40 man roster. So, we won’t see Hunter Greene, Allan Cerda, Marinan, etc.

      • Doug Gray

        40-man players won’t be playing in the minors unless they cross the picket line. Non-40-man players aren’t a part of the union and won’t be seen as crossing the picket line to play *Minor League Baseball*.

      • Stock

        I would think with a lockout there is no picket line to cross. MLB locked out every player on the 40 man roster and therefore, even if they want to play they can’t.

  4. RedsGettingBetter

    Could Bonnin be compared with Lucas Sims when he was a prospect ?

    • Stock

      Sims struck out 9.3/9 IP in the minors for the Braves and when promoted he threw 4 pitches at least 10% of the time.

      Bonnin strikes out 13.6/9 IP and according to Doug throws only 2 pitches with any regularity thus far.

      Sims walked 4.1/9 IP while in the minors with the Braves. Thus far Bonnin has issued 3.3 BB/9 IP.

      Sims had a 40.9% GB% in his time in the minors with Atlanta. Bonnin has had a 47.3% GB% thus far with the Reds.

      Sims was much more hittable in the minors allowing 7.56 Hits/9 IP vs. 5.17 for Bonnin thus far.

      Sims had a 3.78 ERA with the Braves. Bonnin has a 2.87 ERA in his career thus far.

      • RedsGettingBetter

        Excellent, this numbers put Bonnin in a better perspective, however , it is a very small sample size for him at this moment. How about the Bonnin’s upside vs Sims when he was an intriguing prospect at Atlanta? I insist trying to compare them just because Sims is a good reliever and was projected as starter too some time ago and maybe could be the closer by 2022 so we could get an idea about the scope of Bonnin for near future

  5. Stock

    Comps for Bonnin. I looked at pitchers who threw two pitches 90% or more of the time from 2018 – 2021 with a minimum of 300 Innings.

    The following 9 pitchers fit this criteria Jhoulys Chacin, Chris Archer, Jakob Junis, Patrick Corbin, Jose Berrios, Joey Lucchesi, Kyle Hendricks, Rich Hill and Drew Pomeranz.

    Pomeranz is now a RP. Corbin was one of the best in baseball for several years. If Rich Hill would not have been constantly injured early in his career he could have been special. Berrios is good.
    Archer had some good years. These 9 are not good comps in my opinion because none of them missed bats either in the minors or the majors the way Bonnin does.

    Four pitchers came close to 90%. Jack Flaherty, Carlos Rodon, Chris Paddack and Jose Quintana. of these 4 the best comp is Rodon. He actually misses bats. Rodon’s WAR this year was 4.9 and when he was healthy he was probably the best pitcher in the AL in 2021. For comparison’s sake, Luis Castillo’s best WAR ever was 4.2.

    Randy Johnson would also be a good comp for Bonnin except Johnson had major control problems in the minors. But in his ML career he was pretty much exclusively a FB/Slider pitcher. Randy Johnson would actually be a good comp for Joe Boyle.

    Best comps I can think of from the Reds system are Don Gullett and Tony Cingrani.

  6. Stock

    An interesting comparison between Bonnin is Castillo. Back in 2016 Castillo had not two pitches (fastball and slider). The change-up was a work in progress. Because of this when the Reds traded for Castillo he was projected as a probably RP and Doug ranked him at #9.

    Castillo did not have the quality of FB and Slider as Bonnin based upon K/9 and he was considered a borderline prospect. However, once he developed the change-up in 2017 his career blossomed.