Top 30 Cincinnati Prospects: No. 7

Mat Latos trade return Anthony DeSclafani is the next prospect in this countdown as he prepares to win a spot in the Reds rotation this spring training. He’ll have a much different presence on the mound than Latos, but he’s shown good command over a multiple pitch arsenal that he’ll use to try and sustain success that Cincinnati has enjoyed on the mound over recent seasons.

Key to Cincinnati’s chances of returning to contention in 2015 will be their ability to rebuild the back end of their rotation. They would have liked to have kept Mat Latos longer, but payroll constraints most likely led to the deal that sent him to Miami. He is a top rotation MLB pitcher with an arm that can find a spot in any rotation in the league, so there must have been multiple suitors when he hit the market. Among the options the Reds had to get a return from him was number seven on this countdown, Anthony DeSclafani.

The right-hander DeSclafani, who will turn 25 soon after opening day, is coming off a nice AAA debut with a mid-three ERA in a dozen Pacific Coast League games. Before that he put up a low-four ernie in AA and made a couple of MLB appearances. The second half of his season was interrupted by a couple more trips to the parent team before joining them full time after roster expansion.

Stats from his brief MLB tenure are nothing to write home about and most of his appearances came out of the bullpen. He did have a quality start out of the gate, finished with a nice K/BB ratio over five, and issued only five walks in 33 MLB innings suggesting that he’s not afraid to attack the plate. Actually his 1.364 WHIP seems low considering he had an ERA over six. Most impressive was his work in relief where seven of his eight appearances were scoreless. Perhaps a foreshadowing of that was his performance in AAA during July when he kept a 3.10 ERA over twenty innings.

Now as he enters spring training it appears he has the inside track on the five-man job in the Cincinnati rotation. When on the mound he won’t remind anyone of Latos. He’s much smaller, standing 6’2”/190#, and his fastball tops out in the low-90’s. However, even though the upper 90’s heater makes it easier, it’s not required for success. DeSclafani relies on a two-seamer to induce ground balls and also has confidence in his slider. In addition he’s working on both a curve and changeup to add a fourth pitch to his repertoire.

DeSclafani actually started his minor league career in the Toronto system after they picked him out of the University of Florida in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. After one year he made his way to Miami in a package of prospects that was traded for a considerable talent dump by the Marlins when they shipped out five veterans including Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, and Jose Reyes. He made a fast track up the minor league system with an MLB debut in his third season and now he’s hoping the third organization is a charm with the door is wide open to a spot in the Reds rotation.

Cincinnati saw something they like in DeSclafani and he’s another pitcher that falls under the “In Price We Trust” category. There’s no doubt that during Bryan Price’s tenure as the Cincinnati pitching coach the Reds enjoyed the best staffs that the franchise had seen in a long time, which eventually led to his promotion to the team’s manager. GM Walt Jocketty also has a nice track record of extracting talent from other organizations from his St. Louis days where he benefitted from pitching coach Dave Duncan’s magic. No front office is going to make a hit with every move they make, but in 2015 Cincinnati needs someone new to stick in the rotation. Time will soon tell if Anthony DeSclafani will fill that need.

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