Robert Stephenson
Robert Stephenson
27-Year-Old PitcherRP
Cincinnati Reds
10-Day IL
Injury Back
Est. Return 8/11/2020
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Stephenson might not have been done as a big-league pitcher after 2018, but he was extremely crispy. The Reds transitioned him to the bullpen, and while it's not exactly a novel idea to see a struggling young starter thrive as a reliever, the degree of Stephenson's transformation was startling. Not only did he post good overall numbers, but he dominated over the second half. From the All-Star break to the end of the season, covering 26 innings, Stephenson posted a 1.38 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 28:7 K:BB. Pitching coach Derek Johnson was able to get Stephenson to generate more velocity and spin on his slider and four-seamer, and encouraged him to use that wipeout slider even more than he had in 2018, throwing it a whopping 57.7% of the time. It was a positive change -- opposing hitters hit a paltry .122 and slugged .245 against that slider, whiffing 52.2% of the time. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#583
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Placed on injured list
PCincinnati Reds
Back
July 28, 2020
Stephenson was placed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday with a back strain.
ANALYSIS
Stephenson had a rough outing in his first relief appearance of the season, giving up two runs on two hits and no walks while recording one strikeout as the only out he logged. However, the injury may have had something to do with his struggles, and he'll be sidelined for a minimum of 10 days. It's unclear exactly how much time he'll miss.
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Pitching Stats
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2020
2019
2018
2017
2020 MLB Game Log
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Pitching Appearances Breakdown
Average Pitch Count
8
Last 10 Games
8
Last 5 Games
8
How many pitches does Robert Stephenson generally throw?
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
What part of the game does Robert Stephenson generally pitch?
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
% Games Reaching Innings Threshold
% Games By Number of Innings Pitched
Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2018
 
 
-16%
BAA vs RHP
2020
 
 
-100%
BAA vs LHP
2019
 
 
-26%
BAA vs RHP
2018
 
 
-4%
BAA vs LHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2018vs Left .236 147 38 24 29 10 1 6
Since 2018vs Right .199 181 55 12 33 11 1 6
2020vs Left .000 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
2020vs Right 1.000 2 0 0 2 0 0 1
2019vs Left .214 115 31 17 21 7 1 4
2019vs Right .159 147 50 7 22 8 1 5
2018vs Left .333 31 6 7 8 3 0 2
2018vs Right .346 32 5 5 9 3 0 0
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2018
 
 
-39%
ERA on Road
2020
 
 
-100%
ERA on Road
2019
 
 
-60%
ERA on Road
2018
 
 
-17%
ERA on Road
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2018Home 6.15 1.43 33.2 2 1 0 12.3 5.9 1.6
Since 2018Away 3.77 1.16 43.0 1 3 0 9.8 2.9 1.3
2020Home 54.00 6.00 .333333 0 0 0 27.0 0.0 27.0
2020Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Home 5.40 1.26 31.2 2 1 0 12.2 5.1 1.4
2019Away 2.18 0.82 33.0 1 1 0 10.4 1.6 1.1
2018Home 10.80 3.60 1.2 0 0 0 10.8 21.6 0.0
2018Away 9.00 2.30 10.0 0 2 0 8.1 7.2 1.8
More Splits View More Split Stats
Stat Review
How does Robert Stephenson compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 30 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
0.00
 
K/9
27.0
 
BB/9
0.0
 
HR/9
27.0
 
Fastball
94.0 mph
 
ERA
54.00
 
WHIP
6.00
 
BABIP
1.064
 
GB/FB
0.00
 
Left On Base
0.0%
 
Exit Velocity
85.1 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
0.0%
 
Spin Rate
2776 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
33.3%
 
Swinging Strike
12.5%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Robert Stephenson
Rounding Third: Targeting Relievers for Wins
42 days ago
Ross Stripling heads the list of relievers to help you keep up in wins without sacrificing too much by avoiding shakier starting pitchers in the process.
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74 days ago
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The Long Game: Potential NL Central Breakouts
116 days ago
Erik Siegrist sifts through NL Central rosters for sleepers and thinks Corbin Burnes shouldn't be judged by last year's ERA alone.
Collette Calls: 2020 NL Central Bold Predictions
208 days ago
Jason Collette offers predictions for the NL Central. Are fantasy owners guilty of recency bias with Ian Happ?
Regan's Rumblings: 2020 Value Trending Up?
343 days ago
Dave Regan focuses on guys who’ve been hot lately and might go higher in 2020 drafts than one would’ve thought in the first half of the year, including Jonathan Villar, who’s put up an elite season.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
Last year we expressed concern about the extremely negative results Stephenson had with his fastball (17.1 runs below average per Fangraphs). The Reds and Stephenson noticed those results as well, and adjusted by having him throw it less frequently, down to 36.2% from 54.3% in 2017. He replaced his fastball use with more sliders, his best pitch. Unfortunately he still had the same negative results. In 11.2 innings he managed to be -6.0 runs below average with that fastball. Command and control are both issues for him. Stephenson can't reliably throw his slider for strikes, and he can't locate his fastball in the right spot in the strike zone. Occasionally Stephenson has had good stretches at Triple-A Louisville, but even those were marred by the occasional high-walk game. New pitching coach Derrick Johnson will have his hands full to see if he can turn Stephenson around.
Is Stephenson's strong finish to the 2017 season (2.50 ERA, 1.27 WHIP over 50.1 innings) real or a mirage? The 2011 first-round pick was routinely getting cuffed around at the big-league level prior to that end-run, frequently falling behind in the count and then getting punished after putting runners on. He stopped throwing his curveball, and started using his slider and changeup more often, bringing positive results. His fastball remains a big problem -- it was a whopping 17.1 runs below league average last year, albeit not quite as bad later in the season. And therein lies a problem -- it's not as if Stephenson can scrap his fastball. Maybe he can change his grip, or find a better way to improve his location, but at the end of the day, he's going to need a decent fastball to get by. The Reds owe it to themselves to see if he can do that, but you owe it to yourself to invest no more than an endgame pick to find out if he'll be successful.
Stephenson is one of the Reds' most highly-touted prospects, but the window for him to make it as a starting pitcher is closing. He can miss bats with a three pitch-mix -- highlighted by a fastball that routinely sits in the mid- to upper-90s -- but he struggles to locate with consistency. Stephenson made eight starts for the big club in 2016, seeing mixed results. His tenure with Cincinnati started well enough, as he went 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in his first two starts in the big leagues. He was sent back to Triple-A afterward and stayed there until September, and he was far less successful upon his return. In six September starts, he only got through five innings once and amassed a 7.56 ERA and 1.88 WHIP thanks to a 5.4 BB/9 and 2.5 HR/9. Stephenson is still an intriguing arm, but if he doesn't take that next step in his development, we could see him in the Cincinnati bullpen before the end of the year.
Stephenson's start to the 2015 season at Double-A Pensacola raised a lot of concerns in Reds-land. It began in spring training, when a sore shoulder prevented him from seeing any meaningful action against big league hitters. That spilled over to the regular season, where he really struggled to throw strikes despite repeating the level. However, he made an adjustment in late May and with that came a big spike in his strikeout rate along with a semblance of control. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Louisville at the beginning of July, but missed out on a September callup to the big leagues due to a forearm strain that put him on the DL. He'll probably start 2016 back at Louisville, if for no other reason than to slow down his service time, but expect him to be up with the Reds by midseason.
Stephenson hit the Double-A wall in 2014, and the wall hit right back, giving him his worst professional season. Stephenson's command, in part defined by how he uses his stuff, was his big problem. His walk rate skyrocketed to 12.3%, and all too often he would fall behind hitters and resort to challenging them with his 97 mph fastball high in the strike zone. Shockingly enough, Double-A hitters were better equipped to handle it when they knew it was coming. The Reds seem confident that he'll adjust accordingly with another year of experience. Keep in mind that he hit Double-A as a 21-year old, and remain optimistic about him despite the down year.
After a couple of rocky starts in April, Stephenson dominated both Low-A and High-A last season before landing in Double-A Pensacola to finish the year. The Reds took a slow approach to developing him after making him their first-round pick out of high school in the 2011 draft, and it is starting to pay dividends, as most prospect lists out there have him leapfrogging Billy Hamilton as the Reds' top prospect. His fastball has been clocked as fast as 101 mph (albeit on scoreboard radars, which are notoriously fast) and he typically works in the 96-98 mph range. A hamstring injury limited his innings last year, which isn't all bad given that he was just 20 years old. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him spend most of the year in Double-A, but a 2015 major league debut seems likely.
The Reds' first-round pick in 2011, Stephenson made his professional debut last season and impressed at two levels, striking out a combined 72 batters in 65 innings. The Reds will probably take a deliberate approach with Stephenson, though they're faced with the conundrum of going from an extreme pitcher's park at Low-A Dayton to a hitter's park at High-A Bakersfield. The Reds avoided that with Daniel Corcino, skipping him right from Dayton to Double-A Pensacola, so we'll see if they take that approach here as well.
Stephenson was the Reds' first-round pick in the 2011 June draft. A high school pitcher from California, Stephenson signed late and will make his professional debut in 2012. He's a big right-hander who throws in the mid-90s. The Reds tend to move their high school draftees along slowly, so Stephenson may not even make it to Low-A Dayton this season, barring a stretch of dominance in rookie ball.
More Fantasy News
Rough outing
PCincinnati Reds
July 25, 2020
Stephenson allowed a homer to Austin Romine and a subsequent single to JaCoby Jones on Saturday, with Jones later coming around to score in the Reds' loss to the Tigers.
ANALYSIS
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Throwing live batting practice
PCincinnati Reds
July 13, 2020
Stephenson (wrist) hasn't appeared in a scrimmage yet, but threw live batting practice Sunday at the Reds' secondary training facility at Prasco Park, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Returns from sore wrist
PCincinnati Reds
July 9, 2020
Stephenson returned to Cincinnati's summer camp Thursday after missing time with a sore wrist, C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Holding opposing runners
PCincinnati Reds
February 20, 2020
Stephenson spent a good part of his offseason working on improving against opposing baserunners, who were six of seven in stolen-base attempts against him, Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
ANALYSIS
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Sent home with illness
PCincinnati Reds
Illness
September 21, 2019
Stephenson was sent home Saturday with flu-like symptoms, C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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