As a starting pitcher playing at the professional level, there’s no operation more time consuming than Tommy John Surgery. Luckily, Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani avoided exactly that. DeSclafani missed the entire 2017 recovering from a sprained ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow suffered during spring training and opted for rehabilitation instead of surgery. Now, he officially begins his comeback bid in 2018.
The Reds weren’t expected to be postseason contenders last season but a starting rotation of DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Scott Feldman, Brandon Finnegan brought promise and hope to the organization. That’s before injuries absolutely decimated the Reds’ pitching staff. Bolstering the youngest roster in the majors at the time, the inexperience directly correlated to struggles on the mound. The Red finished the season with the second worst team ERA of 5.17 and ended the 2017 with an extremely disappointing record of 68-94.
A new season shows promise for DeSclafani. At 27-years old he’s only pitched for three seasons in the majors. Since being traded from the Miami to Cincinnati in 2014, DeSclafani has posted a nine-win season in both years with the Reds. He’s a career 3.99 ERA pitcher and has seen that number drop in each of his three seasons.
A season off can be concerning but DeSclafani is not coming off any major surgeries. UCL injuries are never a positive thing but plenty of pitchers have returned and played up to their past production. The Reds will monitor his return but there’s no reason to believe DeSclafani can’t do the same, especially with the positive trend in his pitching stats.
The Reds will continue their rebuild under general manager Dick Williams but DeSclafani is expected to slot in behind Homer Bailey in the starting rotation this season. He can be a middle to late-round fantasy acquisition for your team this season. There’s the chance DeSclafani could fall because of his recent injury which gives you the opportunity to grab him as a value pick.
The wins won’t match up to the top pitchers in the MLB but DeSclafani will give you starts and that’s what you ask for with fantasy implications on the line. It’s also to important to mention that Reds’ pitchers received around five runs per start last season. If that trend continues in 2018, DeSclafani’s starts could turn into wins. He’s shown the ability to start 20-30 games a season and with a 162 games to get through, that’s positive news for your fantasy team going forward.