Set to continue a rebuild, some of the Reds’ bright stars have begun to make their way to the MLB level. The rotation is no exception, as two powerful Cincinnati arms established themselves as names to watch going forward. But how else does the Reds rotation shake out? Let’s take a look.
A Look at the Reds Rotation Options
- LHP Nick Lodolo (4-7, 3.66 ERA, 11.4 K/9 in 2022)
- RHP Hunter Greene (5-13, 4.44 ERA, 11.7 K/9)
- RHP Graham Ashcraft (5-6, 4.89 ERA, 6.1 K/9)
- RHP Luke Weaver (1-1, 6.56 ERA, 8.8 K/9)
- RHP Luis Cessa/RHP Connor Overton
Despite the exits of Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle last summer, Reds fans should be rather excited when glancing at the top of the Cincinnati rotation. That’s because the Reds do have two of the best up-and-comer starters in the game today in Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene.
Let’s start off LHP Nick Lodolo, who pitched to the tune of a 3.66 ERA over 103.1 MLB innings in 2022. The former TCU standout struck out 131 batters in his first seasons, thanks in large part to a devastating slurvish-looking curveball that Lodolo can pound to his glove side with efficiency. The pitch yielded a gaudy 46.0% Whiff% rate, and 65 of Lodolo’s 131 strikeouts came off the pitch.
Then, there’s fireballer Hunter Greene. In our fantasy outlook of Greene for the 2023 season, we highlighted how dominant the young right was in 2022, just by pounding the zone with his elite arsenal. However, Greene did deal with command issues in his rookie campaign.
Still, it’s hard not to be excited about Greene and Lodolo, who finished last year with the second and third-best K/9 rates among rookie pitchers that logged at least 100 innings in 2022. Only Braves sensation Spencer Strider owned a higher K/9 (13.8) last year.
From there, things get curious for the Reds. Cincinnati will need young right-hander Graham Ashcraft to come along in what will be his second season in the Majors. The 25-year-old boasted a very hard cutter, to go along with a slider and mid-90s sinker. Ashcraft has the stuff to be an effective MLB pitcher, so it will be interesting to see how the righty develops going forward.
New Reds pitcher Luke Weaver should slot in as the fourth starter. Weaver made 26 appearances in 2022, with all but one being out of the bullpen. However, the right-hander does 81 starts under his belt in the Majors.
RHP Justin Dunn seemed like a good candidate to be the fifth starter, but persistent shoulder problems may keep him off the Opening Day roster. That should leave that fifth spot up to the likes of Luis Cessa, Connor Overton, or former second-round pick Brandon Williamson. Last season between Chattanooga (AA) and Louisville (AAA), Williamson struck out 123 over 122.2 IP, but also walked 77.