The Triple-A debut for Lyon Richardson couldn’t have gone much better than it did given what he was allowed to work with. The 23-year-old allowed just one hit in three otherwise perfect innings for Louisville on Friday night. He struck out five batters during the outing and he sat 96-98 MPH with his fastball. Richardson would get four swings and misses on the fastball, but he’d also get three more on his change up, and two more on his slider.

The outing was mostly more of the same for Richardson, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery that cost him the entire 2022 season. He made a quick stop in Single-A Daytona to begin the season and made three starts there before moving up to Double-A Chattanooga. The right-handed starter pitched in 15 games for the Lookouts and posted a 2.15 ERA. He only threw 46.0 innings as the organization is limiting his usage as he returns from the injury. While in the Southern League with Chattanooga, Richardson struck out 58 of the 188 batters he faced. His 22 walks were a few more than you’d like to see, but he was dominant at his last stop.

In total, Richardson has now made 19 starts, but only thrown 58.0 innings. His ERA dropped to 1.86 and he now has 81 strikeouts to go along with 23 walks on the season. Added to the 40-man roster last winter, and now in Triple-A, he very well could become an option out of the Cincinnati bullpen at some point in the final two months of the season if he continues to pitch anything like he has this year in the minors.

Richardson, and Chase Petty have both been handled cautiously as they return from injury. While Richardson is coming back from Tommy John, Petty’s injury wasn’t as serious but he did miss the first month of the year with an elbow problem. I’ve been told that both will remain on their current program the remainder of the year, so don’t expect to see them stretched out in outings further than they have been up to this point in the season.

Sheng-En Lin is in Arizona

After signing with the Reds for $1,200,000, Taiwan’s Sheng-En Lin didn’t get immediately assigned anywhere. Last month he was placed on the Dominican Summer League Reds roster but didn’t appear in any games. He’s now in Arizona at the Reds complex and he’s expected to get into games at some point next week for the ACL Reds. I’m told to expect to see him play all over – all three outfield spots, second base, shortstop, and third base. Not at the same time, of course – that would be crazy. He’s only 17-years-old. Maybe in a few years he can play seven positions at once.

18 Responses

  1. Andrew

    Some of complained about it, but with Richardson coming back from TJ, I appreciate how he’s been handled this year. I think it is just as important to get acclimated to pitching into September as it is to rack up innings. The grind of the season is long and the Reds shouldn’t burn through whatever their training staff deems the appropriate number of innings they want a guy to throw by August 1.

    I’m curious – does Richardson project as a #3 or higher SP? Because if he doesn’t, seems like he could be a right now leverage arm in a depleted MLB bullpen and for future years filling a big hole. Greene, Abbott, Lodolo, Petty, Phillips all seem to be the #3 ceiling or better so some of these starters are going to need to be traded or converted to the pen

    • Doug Gray

      I’d say that he could be that kind of starter, yes. Obviously there’s some risk there because his control has been mediocre and he’s limited so we don’t know if he can maintain this stuff for 150+ innings yet (his stuff was nowhere near this good prior to his injury). That said, I still don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that he winds up in the Reds bullpen this year, before moving back into the rotation next spring (be it in Triple-A or MLB).

      • DaveCT

        My thought is he may only be available on a starter’s 5-day regimen, especially with the TJ recovery. So we might not see him until rosters expand, or he could shuttle back and forth between rosters.

      • DaveCT

        And thanks for the follow-up on Petty’s usage/innings limit. Much appreciated.

  2. MBS

    Lin should be an interesting guy to watch over the next few years. I really like what the Reds have been doing in the international market, hopefully we are expanding our scouting in Asia like we have seemed to do in Latin America.

  3. fatboy567

    Is there a plan to have Lin to pitch in AZL this year ?

  4. Laredo Slider

    What is Lin’s height/weight and is he a contact or power? TIA.

    • MK

      5′ 11″/185. At age 17 he will probably continue growing.

  5. Indy Red Man

    Wow. They should consider bringing up this Richardson kid in the pen. Idk how he’s situated for back to back appearances, etc., but he might react well to high leverage

    • BK

      Something our current pen lacks is a “long reliever.” By that, I mean someone who thrives when pitching multiple innings. If he were able to pitch two to three innings every third day or so, it could be helpful to the Reds.

      • DaveCT

        I’m hesitant to expect the Reds to do anything but keep him on the 5-day starter’s regimen.

      • MK

        The only thing I could see them doing is starting him every 5th day pitching 2 innings, then following him up with Lodolo or Greene, but not until September.

        Andrew Moore the last piece of the Castillo trade is starting a rehab assignment in the ACL.

        Seems like the young guys are losing innings with the 4 rehabbers there. Dont get why some couldn’t rehab in Daytona.

      • DaveCT

        MK, I can see that with Richardson for September with a Tampa Bay style opener, using Weaver, perhaps Stoudt, and anyone on innings limits.

        I really wish MLB would open the wallets for a Fall Rookie League at the complexes. Have it before the AFL, maybe combine it with the instructional camps but make the games count toward something. Use the existing coaches and staff while they are up and running. The kids are right there already, too. Ever since the draft was pushed back, there has been lost development time. But what do I know.

      • MBS

        @MK/Dave, If he makes it to the Reds, the rehab regime falls away. It seems like a tough thing to ask for a team in a playoff hunt to do with one of their bullpen arms. Now if he can go 2 twice a week, or 3 once a week, that’s doable for the last man in the pen. At least imo, I don’t want to handcuff the manager too much.

      • jon

        That will be Weaver if the Reds trade for a starter in the next few days.

      • SteveAReno

        No, we have long relievers, also called middle relievers, but coaches are not letting them go more than one inning but they are trained and ready to do two or more.