Righthander Lyon Richardson didn’t pitch in 2022, and when he last pitched in a game he left the game after the first inning.
That was Aug. 25, 2021. The next day he was placed on the injured list. Shortly after that he had Tommy John surgery.
Still, the Reds added the 22-year-old to their 40-man roster in November to protect him from being selected by another team in the Rule 5 draft.
The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Richardson spent his 2021 season with High-A Dayton. He struggled to find consistency during the year. His control wavered at times and led to 38 walks and an additional seven hit batters in just 76 innings, contributing to an ERA of 5.09.
“Before the injury he was 91-95 (miles per hour), touching 96,” Reds vice president of player development Shawn Pender said. “He has a slider and a curveball, and both are average, with the slider having a chance to be a good pitch. His changeup has a chance to be above-average.”
“What we thought we were getting pre-injury was a No. 3 or No. 4 starter on the high end.”
After putting his energy into the rehabilitation process, the 2018 second-rounder from Jensen Beach (Fla.) High got back on the mound this fall in instructional league.
“His velocity was actually as good or greater than what he had shown us before, so we really feel confident that he’s healthy,” Pender said.
While his time in instructional league was viewed more as a continuation of his rehab from his surgery, Richardson flashed velocity that he hadn’t shown since his time in high school, when he peaked at 99 mph.
Richardson’s outings in Arizona during instructional league were shorter than a typical start would be, but if he can carry some of that velocity into longer outings in 2023, it could raise his profile and help him bounce back quickly from his up-and-down 2021 campaign.
— Elly De La Cruz completed his winter league season with Licey in the Dominican League, hitting .274/.386/.405 with nine stolen bases, 16 walks and 27 strikeouts. He posted an OPS of .791 as the youngest everyday player in the league.