Tyler Mahle has been laboring far from the bright lights of the Major Leagues, but that may soon changes. He's been mowing down AA Southern League hitters at a pace so staggering a pace that the big righthander may not be a Pensacola Blue Wahoo much longer.
Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Tyler Mahle makes case to join Reds in 2017

The Reds rotation has been a seemingly endless rearranging of chairs. Luis Castillo, the young gun, has perhaps been the lone bright spot.

So why not add one more in Tyler Mahle? The Reds’ No. 3 prospect has been shining in Triple-A Louisville. His latest outing – five innings of one-run ball – was just another day.

Mahle is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA and holding opponents to a .138 average in his past five starts, as pointed out by Baseball America. His velocity has hovered in the low-90s (though he topped at 95 mph in his last outing), but his fastball control is the key.

The 22-year-old has two no-hitters in his minor league career, including one this season on April 22. He still hasn’t maximized his repertoire, which contributed to a rough start in Louisville (5.02 ERA in his first three starts).

Cincinnati could promote Mahle in a bullpen capacity, giving him a short look at the majors while keeping his innings down. There’s no indication the Reds are considering that formerly common method, however.

Mahle’s changup and slider are still a work in progress. Their development is what will determine his ceiling.

"His off-speed pitches still need to be better," Louisville pitching coach Jeff Fassero said. "They're not outstanding yet. They're maybe average, maybe a little bit below. His fastball is above-average with the way he uses it pitch for pitch, and that's big. You have to have a fastball, command and control to pitch in the big leagues and be a good pitcher in the big leagues."

But given his recent outings, Mahle could get a taste of big league baseball in September. The Reds have used 14 starting pitchers this season.

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