Monday, February 15, 1999

STARTING PITCHING: Does depth exist?




        With three quality starters in Denny Neagle, Pete Harnisch and Brett Tomko, the Reds are better off than most teams. They'll dedicate the spring toward finding two others to complete the rotation. Finding a sixth starter to perform in the bullpen or Triple-A until somebody's injured or traded is another task.

        Jason Bere has a solid shot at winning one of the jobs. All he has to do is sustain the efforts he turned in last year. Bere impressed the Reds with that late-season trial, displaying some of the velocity he had when he broke into the majors with the Chicago White Sox and compiled a 24-7 record in 1993-94.

        The same could be said of Steve Parris and Dennys Reyes, which enhances the competition. As a left-hander, Reyes could have an edge if the Reds want to add variety to the rotation.

        They all could be eclipsed by Steve Avery if the left-hander approaches his early '90s form with the Atlanta Braves. Signed as a free agent last December, Avery will work extensively with pitching coach Don Gullett at regaining his fastball, restoring his confidence and returning to his straight-overhand delivery.

        Everybody will want to drool over right-hander Rob Bell, the highly regarded prospect obtained with Neagle from Atlanta in last November's Bret Boone trade. Bell pitched in Single-A last season but could make a significant jump.

        In this crowded group, Mark Thompson and Scott Winchester would have to pitch spectacularly to nudge somebody aside.

       



Reds Stories
REDS SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW
CATCHER: Who's No. 1?
INFIELD: How fast can kids grow?
OUTFIELD: Softball, anyone?
RELIEF PITCHING: Who throws the ninth inning?
- STARTING PITCHING: Does depth exist?

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