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Wolfson: Twins Scouting Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:49 PM
  Doogie Wolfson tweeted that the Twins are going to be scouting 22-year-old RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto, "one of the premier young pitc...
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2020 MLB (non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Yesterday, 08:22 PM
Feel free to chime in here about any of the (non-Twins) 2020 MLB postseason games!
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White Sox make changes

Other Baseball Yesterday, 10:44 AM
Both Manager Rick Rentaria and pitching coach Don Cooper were let go.     Was a bit surprised by this, because the White S...
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Not to add more doom and gloom

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:23 AM
This is interesting and sort of concerning. Article snippet comes from the incomparable Jayson Stark of The Athletic (Which is must read...
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Potential Twins Bullpen Trade Target: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds

It's no secret, the Twins will be seeking bullpen help as the trade deadline approaches. The current group of relievers has helped get the Twins where they are, but let's face it, there is plenty of evidence that suggests upgrades are required. Who may be available? Today we'll take a look Reds breakout reliever Robert Stephenson.
Image courtesy of © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Stephenson, RHP, 26-years-old
Cincinnati Reds (31-38, 5th in NL Central)
Four more years of team control via arbitration.

2019: 3.67 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 in 27 IP
2018: 9.26 ERA, 2.49 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 9.3 BB/9 in 11.2 IP in MLB (2.87 ERA in 20 Triple-A starts)

As we here at Twins Daily continue to profile every reliever under the sun, we reach a reliever for the Reds by the name of Robert Stephenson.

Now, I’ll answer what was most likely your first question; “what the hell is a Robert Stephenson”? Which is fair as he sounds more like a member of The Strokes or a young adult novel writer than a major league ballplayer but I digress.

Stephenson was a top pitching prospect for the Reds for a number of years but suffered the typical struggles of a pitcher adjusting to the major league game. He would walk too many guys and not go deep into ball games which is not really a great combination for a starting pitcher. Add onto this the fact that the Reds could not develop a pitcher if their lives depended on it and Stephenson’s struggles in short major league stints from 2016-18 are not hard to understand.

The Reds finally wised up and brought in Derek Johnson to be their new pitching coach for 2019 and Johnson took one look at Stephenson and decided to make him a reliever (or maybe someone else did. I’m not Johnson or Stephenson, just some random dude on the internet).

The results so far have been tremendous as the move to the bullpen added a tick to Stephenson’s fastball velocity (~93 MPH before, now ~94) and he dropped his curve and mostly dropped his change in favor of throwing his slider almost 60% of the time. This development has led to 2.59 FIP in 2019 so far along with the second-highest swinging strike rate in all of baseball among qualified relievers.

The downside is the Reds might not sell They find themselves last in the NL Central, but their run differential shows a better team than what their record indicates. And if they do sell, I don’t think the 26 year-old Stephenson would be at the top of the list of guys who would go.

Of course, anyone could be traded for the right price, but the Reds may direct teams to David Hernandez or Jared Hughes if they are looking for relief help. Another one of the knocks on Stephenson was that he had a hard time staying healthy and as I currently write this article, Stephenson is on a rehab assignment thanks to a cervical strain in his neck, so those injury concerns may still exist. Stephenson also lacks the kind of consistent performance that may be desired from a reliever. While his 2019 numbers are nice, he has not had a long history of success and there’s a chance that the league adjusts back to the changes he has made.

The upside is obvious, he has made tangible changes to his game for the better, has secretly become one of the more dominating relievers in baseball, and would obviously be a fresh breath of life to a bullpen that needs support. Not to mention that his small amount of MLB service time (free agent in 2024) means that he would not be a mercenary or a “hired gun” for a single-year playoff run but could instead be a contributor for many years down the road. The flip side is that he would cost more in the form of prospects but that’s an issue for the Twins and the Reds to hash out.

Now, here are a few clips of his slide-piece and just try not to tell yourself how much you want him:

See Also
John Gant, RHP, Cardinals
Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox
Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets
Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks
Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals
Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres
10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target

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Jun 17 2019 03:47 PM

Seems like there are plenty of options out there that could help the bullpen. It will be a crying shame if at least two relievers are not added to the roster.

Jun 17 2019 04:21 PM
I am interested in Stephenson, Garrett and Iglesias.

The Reds might not sell these controllable arms, but since they have three, they’d be crazy not to listen when they have so many other holes to fill.
    • brvama likes this
Jun 17 2019 04:31 PM

Thank you for mentioning Hughes. I was waiting for the appropriate time to drop his name into the mix. Controllable through next year, and he served well as a closer in Iglesias' absence last year.

I don't think this is the type of reliever to bring in during the season. During the offseason, sure.

I'm not sure if the Reds are going to be dealing Stephenson in the middle of his breakout year. I would, however, like to take a look at their other options. David Hernandez would be a great buy-low option (yes, he has a 4.80 ERA, but has a 2.48 FIP with a very good 12 K/9 without any major walking problems (3.0 BB/9)).

LA VIkes Fan
Jun 18 2019 10:06 AM

Not sure why this guy would be available and there's risk as this is his breakout year. How about Roenis Eilias in Seatlle? Good year last year, decent this year and has experience closing. Seattle is in sell mode and he won't cost a lot. 


Before everyone piles on, Elias would be the #2 RP get when/if we get 2. Number 1 would be a guy like Smith from SF, Giles when/if he comes off the IL, or even Sam Dyson from SF. I've read a vague rumnor that the TWins and SF are "getting closer: on a deal form BUmgarner,. Hope it includes Smith or Dyson. Bumgarner starts, Pineda becomes a BP power arm, Smith (or Dyson) a late inning BP guy and Magill, Morin and/or Little are gone.  

Jun 18 2019 12:35 PM

Sign me up for Amir Garrett.

Jun 19 2019 04:12 AM

I'd take Stephenson if they put him on the chopping block. It might cost a little more than I'd like but we could use his arm.

I'm going to keep punching the table for Vasquez and/or Iglesias!
Effing autocorrect it was supposed to be pounding not punching.

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