Robert Stephenson
Robert Stephenson
28-Year-Old PitcherRP
Colorado Rockies
2021 Fantasy Outlook
While the dream of Stephenson blossoming from top prospect into ace starter died long ago, the right-hander seemed to be finding his niche in relief in 2019. In fact, he ranked third among all qualified relievers in swinging-strike rate that year (18.9%), behind only Josh Hader and Nick Anderson. This past year saw Stephenson battle a wrist injury in summer camp, allow five homers in his first five appearances and earn just a single hold. Homers aside, Stephenson was good, posting a 23.3 K-BB% and ranking among the elite in terms of expected outcomes. Regardless the Reds sent their 2011 first-round pick packing to Colorado in November. Coors Field is a terrible place to pitch, but there is opportunity for advancement in the Rockies' bullpen and saves are not out of the question in 2021. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
#598
ADP
$Signed a one-year, $805,000 contract with the Rockies in January of 2021.
Comes to terms with Colorado
PColorado Rockies
January 15, 2021
Stephenson and the Rockies agreed to a one-year, $805,000 deal Friday, avoiding arbitration.
ANALYSIS
Stephenson came over in a trade from the Reds in November. Where exactly he fits into the Rockies' bullpen depends on whether or not he looks more like he did in 2019 (3.76 ERA) or 2020 (9.90 ERA).
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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
18
Last 10 Games
18
Last 5 Games
17
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
 
 
-18%
BAA vs RHP
2020
 
 
-2%
BAA vs LHP
2019
 
 
-26%
BAA vs RHP
2018
 
 
-4%
BAA vs LHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2018vs Left .245 164 41 25 34 10 1 10
Since 2018vs Right .201 201 63 14 37 11 1 9
2020vs Left .294 18 4 1 5 0 0 4
2020vs Right .300 22 8 2 6 0 0 4
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
 
 
-54%
ERA on Road
2020
 
 
-94%
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 7.54 1.54 37.0 2 1 0 12.4 5.6 3.2
Since 2018Away 3.47 1.07 49.1 1 3 0 9.9 2.9 1.1
2020Home 24.55 3.00 3.2 0 0 0 14.7 2.5 19.6
2020Away 1.42 0.47 6.1 0 0 0 9.9 2.8 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
4.33
 
K/9
11.7
 
BB/9
2.7
 
HR/9
7.2
 
Fastball
94.8 mph
 
ERA
9.90
 
WHIP
1.40
 
BABIP
.165
 
GB/FB
0.43
 
Left On Base
107.1%
 
Exit Velocity
86.3 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
14.0%
 
Spin Rate
2642 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
32.6%
 
Swinging Strike
18.8%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
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.
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
Bound for Colorado
PColorado Rockies
November 25, 2020
The Rockies acquired Stephenson and outfielder Jameson Hannah from the Reds on Wednesday in exchange for pitchers Jeff Hoffman and Case Williams, Robert Murray of FanSided.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Struggles Friday
PCincinnati Reds
August 29, 2020
Stephenson gave up three runs in the ninth inning while retiring only one batter against the Cubs on Friday, forcing the Reds to turn to Raisel Iglesias to close out the game.
ANALYSIS
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Tosses clean inning in return
PCincinnati Reds
August 24, 2020
Stephenson did not allow a baserunner in a scoreless eighth inning during Monday's 4-2 loss to the Brewers. He struck out one.
ANALYSIS
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Back on active roster
PCincinnati Reds
August 24, 2020
Stephenson (back) was activated from the 10-day injured list Monday.
ANALYSIS
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Activation imminent
PCincinnati Reds
Back
August 23, 2020
Stephenson (back) is with the Reds on the current road trip, and manager David Bell said he'll be activated soon, Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
ANALYSIS
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