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Return of Three Cy Young Candidates Yet Another Reminder of Cincinnati's Embarrassing Pitcher Evaluation

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Cincinnati Put More Value On Yasiel Puig Than Left Hander Alex Wood


Usually opposing pitchers are a little wary when they visit Cincinnati, where the stadium always ranks among the top three in yielding home runs. This year it is at the very top in that dubious category, but their current opponent's pitching staff should not be fazed at all by the offensive reputation of Great American Ball Park.

More than half of the rotation of the first place Giants once pitched for the Reds, a trio that has San Francisco owning the best record in the national League. Johnny Cueto, Anthony Desclafani and Alex Wood are combined 10-2 so far, thanks primarily to Wood's having won all five of his decisions.

Seeing these great arms return to GABP as members of the visiting team has to be disheartening to the Reds, who have fallen far short of the preseason projections that had them winning the N.L. Central. Cincinnati has spent nearly all season under .500, and currently reside one spot from the cellar in their division. What makes the San Francisco even more bitter is that fact that, in spite of what was considered to be the best rotation, Cincinnati's starting pitchers have sadly underperformed.

Their top ace, Luis Castillo, is having the worst season of his career. The right hander is 1-5, translating to the league's lowest winning percentage, along with a whopping 7.71 earned run average.

Veteran Sonny Gray, the Opening day starter last season, is winless in his six starts. Jeff Hoffman has notched just two wins of eight starts, primarily due to his 4.67 ERA.

Aside from a Wade Miley no-hitter, the Reds have struggled with the league's second worst pitching staff. Fans are therefore left to wonder what if, especially as San Francisco comes into the Queen City with the third best staff.

Cueto, who won almost a hundred games in his eight years with the Reds, left Cincinnati through a trade. Kansas City sent forgettable pitchers like Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed to the Reds from the Royals, who lost Cueto to the Giants through free agency.

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Free agency also claimed Desclafani, who had won thirty five games in his five years with the Reds. Last season Desclafani suffered a career worst 7.22 ERA, more than five runs higher than the 2.14 mark he has with San Francisco so far.

As for Alex Wood, Cincinnati really never gave him a chance. The left hander had come to the Reds from the Dodgers in the Yasiel Puig trade, after which Cincinnati mistakenly Puig's value well over that of Wood.

After just one season Cincinnati allowed Wood to become a free agent, signing with the Dodgers for a mere half of what he had made with the Reds. San Francisco wisely picked him up for even less last winter, and his perfect 5-0 record indicates he has been worth every nickel of it.

Letting its only Cy Young Award winner in its history bolt Cincinnati was understandable, for Trevor Bauer was going to get a bigger contract than the Reds could afford. Allowing these other three arms to leave reinforces a long series of poor decisions Cincinnati has made about pitchers, either overvaluing or undervaluing.

Fans in Cincinnati have seen good pitchers flourish after leaving the Reds, who for some reason gave a huge contract to the mediocre Homer Bailey a few years ago. An organization that took over a hundred twenty years to get its first Cy Young winner now has to face three candidates for that award, all of which used to play for the Reds.

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