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Robert Stephenson (RP/SP, CIN) - Week 4 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues

OWNED IN: 3% of leagues

ANALYSIS: Robert Stephenson has been a highly-touted, eagerly-awaited prospect within the Cincinnati Reds organization for what feels like (especially to Reds fans) a million years. The Reds organization seems to have an unfortunate habit of identifying fantastic relief pitcher starting pitchers. Stephenson has seen time at the MLB level for Cincinnati since 2016, with overwhelmingly disappointing results from someone who has supposed to be the franchise's ace of the future. However, much like teammates Michael Lorenzen and Amir Garrett, his true calling appears to be out of the bullpen.

In 10.2 IP this season in purely relief effort, Stephenson has produced a finely tuned 0.84 ERA and 0.56 WHIP. He has also yet to allow a HR so far for the 2019 regular season, is currently producing a career-high K/9 of 12.7, and is only allowing 0.8 BB/9. While that BB/9 figure may be destined to increase slightly, it is still a leaps and bounds improvement over his atrocious BB/9 of 5.67 across the first 133.1 IP of his major league career. With Stephenson now coming out of the bullpen, his average fastball velocity has catapulted up to 94.2 mph, and the shift of role seems to be a significant contributing factor to solving his long term issues with control of the strike zone. With other Cincinnati relief fixtures such as Raisel Iglesias, Jared Hughes, and Zach Duke off to particularly slow starts, the still-young Robert Stephenson could easily make his way to more high-leverage situations for the Reds with his shut-down innings of late.

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