While he maintains his prospect eligibility entering his age-24 season, Stephenson's prospect star has crashed and burned, as he has been unable to fix his control issues at Triple-A or in the big leagues. He posted a 6.50 FIP and 31:19 K:BB in 37 innings (eight starts) with the Reds last year and has posted walk rates above 11 percent at every stop above High-A. His changeup and curveball were effective offerings, but hitters posted a 205 wRC+ against his 93 mph fastball. He will need to significantly improve his command of that pitch if he has any hope of making it as a starter. Stephenson will compete with Cody Reed and Amir Garrett for the fifth spot in the rotation, with Tim Adleman serving as a fall-back option if the three youngsters don't impress in spring training.
In eight big league starts, Stephenson finished with a 6.08 ERA and 1.62 WHIP over 37 innings. He really struggled with his command and pitch selection, which led to 19 walks over 37 innings, and nine homers allowed. Many of those homers came after he fell behind, failing to locate his fastball. It's not a sure thing that he'll begin 2017 in the majors.
Stephenson (2-3) allowed five runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts over four innings Tuesday against the Cardinals.
Stephenson has given up four runs or more in all of his last five starts. He has surrendered at least one home run -- two Tuesday night -- in each of those starts as well. Stephenson's struggles in the minor leagues (4.41 ERA in 136.2 innings) have followed him to the next level. His ERA is up to 6.27 after Tuesday's stinker, and he has allowed nine homers in just seven outings.
Stephenson (2-2) gave up four runs on eight hits in just 3.2 innings Wednesday against the Cubs. He struck out two and walked two.
The rookie's now allowed four runs in three consecutive starts and four of six overall in the majors, and the homer he gave up to Dexter Fowler on Wednesday was his seventh in just 29 innings as a Red. After two consecutive seasons with an ERA over 4.00 in Triple-A, a lot of the shine has come off Stephenson's prospect status, and his tough start in the majors hasn't helped. That said, he's still only 23 and should get a chance to compete for a rotation spot next year.
It was a decent enough showing against a good lineup but the control remains a glaring problem. Stephenson has given up 10 runs on 15 hits and seven walks while striking out 17 in 13.1 innings (three starts) since returning from Triple-A Louisville.
|10/2/2016 vs Chicago|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2013||AA-Pensacola Blue Wahoo||0||2||4.86||4||4||0||0||0||16.2||17||10||9||2||0||13||18|
|2014||AA-Pensacola Blue Wahoo||7||10||4.74||27||26||0||0||0||136.2||114||81||72||18||5||74||140|
|2015||AA-Pensacola Blue Wahoo||4||7||3.68||14||14||1||0||0||78.1||53||36||32||8||4||43||89|