Gamespeed product Robert Stephenson is back again for his off season pitchers conditioning program at GS. In his seventh year of GS training with Aaron Thigpen he is closer than ever in his goal to reach the big leagues. He was very close this year but the organization wanted to see have more innings. He will be ready.
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No decision has been made — Reds manager Bryan Price wanted to make that clear — but connect the dots, and it sure seems the Reds, or Price at least, want top prospect Robert Stephenson joining the team when rosters expand in September.
Stephenson was scheduled to return from the disabled list at Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. He’s been on the DL since suffering cramps in his throwing wrist on Aug. 12.
The right-hander is not currently on the 40-man roster, but will have to be added this offseason anyway.
“Those are conversations I’ll have with (general manager) Walt (Jocketty) when we finalize the roster of guys that are coming up,” Price said. “I just don’t have the ability or the right to tell you guys who would be coming up because we haven’t had that final conversation. There’s a chance he could be a part of that September conversation.”
Stephenson, 22, has thrown 120 1/3 innings between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville this season. Last season, he threw 136 1/3 innings at Pensacola, and Price said he’d like to see Stephenson increase his innings this season. To do that, Stephenson would have to pitch for the Reds, since Louisville’s season ends Sept. 7.
“The importance of this for these guys is that so next year we’re not looking at guys and saying we can pitch them 150-165 innings because they’re going to finish the year here or stay the whole year, it’s a six-month season and you have to pitch in September,” Price said. “You’re seeing the issues we have here, guys run out of innings in September and then with the injuries we’ve had, in September you run out of guys that are options to start in the final month of the year. He needs to get those innings up to where we can say he can safely throw 185-190 innings next year and that should safely cover a six-month season.”
Stephenson is 8-9 with a 3.59 ERA in 22 starts this season and has been better at Triple-A than Double-A, going 4-2 with a 3.43 ERA in eight starts for the Bats.