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Bryce Bonnin Shows Off Revamped Fastball

The canceled 2020 season kept righthander Bryce Bonnin off the mound last year after the Reds drafted him in the third round out of Texas Tech. An injury in spring training this year kept him out of games until late June.

Once he took the mound, the 22-year-old Bonnin had a different look than the last time he was on the mound in the Big 12 Conference in the spring of 2020.

“His fastball is very different this year,” Reds director of pitching Kyle Boddy said. “He now has a high vertical carry fastball. Basically he only threw cutters last year.”

It isn’t just that the fastball moves differently now, but it’s also got more velocity. The pitch has averaged 96.1 mph this season and topped out at 99. Both the movement and uptick in velocity seem to be coming from mechanical changes the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Bonnin made in 2021.

“Delivery changes led to that as well as much higher fastball velocity,” Boddy said. “So he is adding the old fastball back in as an actual cutter.”

Along with his fastball, the righthander relies on his slider as his main secondary offering. With velocity in the mid-to-upper 80s, it’s a second quality pitch he shows to opposing hitters.

With two potentially plus pitches in his fastball and slider, Bonnin had found plenty of success early in his career. It hasn’t left much room for him to throw his changeup or cutter, though.

“Bryce’s fastball and slider are both far ahead of his other pitches—they’re both potential big league offerings,” Boddy said. “It makes it hard to get to his cutter or changeup, but he’s finding spots to do so.”

With limited pitch counts this season—Bonnin has thrown more than 75 pitches in only one start this year—his usage of the cutter and changeup has been limited to fewer than 10 combined in any start.

Continued development of those offerings could be the difference between a future in the rotation or one in the bullpen.


— Outfielder Allan Cerda missed a month with a quad strain. When he returned he went 0-for-17 in his first six games back. He hit .333/.443/.693 with 21 extra-base hits in the 32 games since then and earned a promotion from Low-A Daytona to High-A Dayton.

Dauri Moreta has split the 2021 season between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville. The 25-year-old reliever has allowed an earned run in just three of the 34 games he had pitched this season, posting a 0.79 ERA in 45.1 innings. He had not given up an earned run since July 4.

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Baseball America Prospect Report—July 8, 2021

Bryce Bonnin throws five perfect innings, Reid Detmers cruises, Julio Rodriguez handles Double-A pitching and more.

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