The Cincinnati Reds Tyler Mahle began the season with some question marks in Double-A. He’s ending his season as part of the Reds MLB rotation.
The 22-year-old right hander has had a season to remember. He began the year once again in the Blue Wahoos rotation after a rough end to 2016. Mahle made his Double-A debut in 2016 and the 14-game stint was the worst span of his career. His notorious command wasn’t there and he was uncharacteristically hit pretty well against more advanced batters.
He remedied that this season by having one of the best runs of his career. Mahle went 7-3 with the Blue Wahoos over 85 innings. He had a 1.59 ERA and a microscopic 0.87 WHIP behind a nice .190 batting average against. The righty also struck out more than a batter per inning for the first time in his career, as his walk rate returned to his career-norm at 1.80-per-nine.
Mahle started the season with a bang, throwing an 88-pitch perfect game in April. His last pitch of the outing hit 99 miles per hour.
(video courtesy of Minor League Baseball)
The only blemish this season is a losing record in Triple-A, but wins and losses are hardly an indicator of a pitcher’s talent. Mahle has continued to do what he does best, keeping runner’s off base with his spot-on command and tough-to-hit pitches.
Mahle has a four-pitch arsenal that he uses very effectively. The six-foot-three, 210 pound righty seems to add more velocity each year. Our own John Sickels reported he had his fastball between 87 to 94 miles an hour to start the season, but he’s been reported more in the 96 range this year, reaching back to hit 99 in the perfecto. His curve and slider come off differently, which helps him keep batters off balance, and plays to his command. Now that the fastball seems up a tick, his changeup has become more effective as well.
He seems to be pretty balanced in his batted-ball profile. Both his ground ball and fly ball rate are usually right around the 40 percent mark. He’s also been pretty balanced against lefties and righties throughout his career, neither having an advantage over him. Impeccable control is the cure for all.
(video courtesy of Christopher Blessing at Baseball HQ)
He seems to have little issues with his mechanics, nor in repeating his delivery. Mahle works the first base side, but comes more across the mound, landing in the middle to third base side. He uses his whole arm, so not being an overly hard-thrower, injury may not be a concern. He has a little pause with his leg before releasing, perhaps adding to his deception.
Mahle has the ceiling of a mid-rotation arm and his floor is now likely a fifth-starter who can throw a ton of innings behind solid control and a balanced arsenal. Though he won’t win any awards for the league’s best stuff, he knows how to use it. Most importantly, he seemed to learn his limitations in his 2016 Double-A debut.
The Reds have seen ups and downs from their youthful pitching this season. But Mahle gives them even more hope after names like Amir Garrett, Rookie Davis, Sal Romano and Luis Castillo all showed promise at points this year.