Tyler Stephenson To Miss 4-6 Weeks With Fractured Thumb
Reds manager David Bell told reporters, including Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, that catcher Tyler Stephenson has a fractured right thumb and will miss 4-6 weeks.
Stephenson was removed from today’s game after taking a foul ball off his throwing hand and it seems that testing has now resulted in this diagnosis that will keep him sidelined for over a month. It’s yet another frustrating injury for a Reds team that has been particularly unfortunate in the health department this year. The club currently has 14 players on their injured list, with Stephenson surely to make it 15 in the next 24 hours or so. Even among players not currently on the IL, many of them missed extended periods of time earlier in the year, contributing to the club’s disappointing 20-37 record on the season so far.
The loss of Stephenson, 25, will be particularly deflating to the team as he’s been one of the few positive stories in this otherwise-frustrating season. After a strong showing in his first 140 MLB games over 2020-2021, the Reds felt good enough about his ability to take over as the regular catcher that they traded Tucker Barnhart to the Tigers as soon as the offseason began, literally the day after the World Series ended. Stephenson has justified the club’s faith in him by putting up a slash line of .305/.361/.468. That production amounts to a wRC+ of 128, or 28% better than the league average hitter. Since catchers typically hit a little bit less than the other players in the lineup, that production is especially valuable. Among backstops with at least 150 plate appearances this year, only Willson Contreras and Alejandro Kirk have been better with the bat this year.
Subtracting that level of production would hurt any team but will especially sting the Reds. The team’s overall batting line was .236/.308/.380 coming into today, amounting to a wRC+ of 90 that places them ahead of just four teams in the league. Without their star catcher, the lineup will likely drop down by another couple of pegs.
Aramis Garcia has been the primary backup in Cincy this year, getting into 25 games but hitting just .169/.194/.231 for a wRC+ of 13. His career line is a bit better but still amounts to just a 57 wRC+. The only other catcher on the 40-man roster is Mark Kolozsvary, who made his MLB debut this year but didn’t impress in a small sample of just six games. If the club were to consider options not on the 40-man roster, they have veteran Sandy Leon in the organization on a minor league deal. He’s only hitting .193/.309/.281, 66 wRC+ in Triple-A this year, but that’s in a small sample of just 20 games. Even if he wouldn’t provide a ton with the bat, he’d at least bring 10 years of MLB experience to the club. Of course, if the Reds aren’t satisfied with that group, they could look outside the organization for an addition of some kind.
Published at Thu, 09 Jun 2022 21:05:35 +0000