Tyler Stephenson Is Ready For Next Step
Reds top catching prospect Tyler Stephenson has had no shortage of work even before reporting to his first big league camp.
Stephenson said he's already caught new Reds pitcher Tanner Roark, as well as Matt Wisler, Lucas Sims, and White Sox righthander Dylan Cease, among others.
"The other day I caught nine different guys," Stephenson said days before reporting to camp. "The next day I didn't even want to move. But it just gets me ready for spring training, because I'll be catching a whole lot of bullpens when I get to Arizona."
Stephenson, 22, had his first fully healthy season in 2018 after being taken with the No. 11 overall pick in 2015. He played just 39 games in 2016 and 80 in 2017. Perhaps most importantly, Stephenson caught more than 100 games last season.
"I feel so much more comfortable back there now," Stephenson said. "That's the thing, minimizing the nerves. When you're 18, 19 years old, the game can really speed up. It's part of growing up and learning. I've been in those spots where the game speeds up. I remember a few years ago when I was talking to Corky (Miller) and the game felt 180 miles per hour right now. It's just having fun and slowing the game down."
Stephenson has already started talking to new catching coach J.R. House, as well as manager David Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson.
"We've been in contact a handful of times this offseason just talking about stuff from what we've done in the past to things he wants to incorporate into the new things, the analytical side of catching in terms of pitch framing," Stephenson said. "It's going to be cool to see everything change. And it's going to be fun to be a part of that and see it first hand, especially with all the moves this offseason and everyone's excited. Just to be in the locker room the time I'm there and to be a part of it is going to be a ton of fun, I'm looking forward to it."
— CF Jose Siri won the Most Valuable Player Award for the Dominican Winter League Championship series, going 11-for-17 with a home run, three doubles and five stolen bases. He was not on the roster for the Caribbean Series.
— low Class A Dayton will celebrate its 20th season with a prospect game between the 2019 Dragons and other minor leaguers from the Reds system on March 30.