Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Highlighting the top Reds prospects for 2013: Robert Stephenson

by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer

#2 Robert Stephenson RHP

Next up on the list is 2011 first round pick Robert Stephenson. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound righty was drafted out of Alhambra High School in California and will be only 20 years old by the start of next season. In his final year in high school he began the year with back to back no-hitters -- a feat most fans are familiar with thanks to Johnny Vander Meer. At the conclusion of that year he had recorded 142 strikeouts, 23 walks & only 29 hits in 76 innings en route to a sparkling 1.19 ERA. Last season, splitting time between Billings and Dayton, he had a 3.18 ERA & 1.18 WHIP with a 10 K/9 in just 65 innings pitched.

Now, Stephenson has an electric arm with his fastball sitting 93-96, with the ability to run it up there in the upper 90's. He also has a change-up that is already a plus pitch with a great deal of deception, in addition to an above average curve that looks like it could be a plus offering also. If you put that all together, you get a pitcher who should be able to have a consistent delivery coupled with potential elite stuff. That’s what you look for in a front-line starter.

It is safe to say that Stephenson is a few years away, as most project his arrival in 2015. Stephenson will probably start the year in Dayton, giving Dragons fans a extra reason to visit Fifth Third Field this year -- not that Dragons faithful need any encouragement seeing as they hold the record for most consecutive sell-outs in all of professional sports, which stands at 913 straight games as of the end of the 2012 season.

It looks like with more experience, Stephenson should be able to reach his potential as a top of the rotation starter, someday.

Want to take a look back at previous prospect write-ups?

No. 1 - Billy Hamilton

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