Notes: 'Disco' to paternity list; Sonny's spin

August 26th, 2020

Prior to their game Tuesday in Milwaukee, the Reds placed right-handed pitcher on the paternity list and selected the contract of left-handed reliever . They also added infielder Jose Garcia to the taxi squad.

DeSclafani has up to three days to be away from the team on paternity leave. The right-hander last pitched on Aug. 21 in a start at St. Louis, allowing two runs over 4 1/3 innings in a 4-2 win.

If he takes the allotted three days off, DeSclafani would return to the team on Friday, when Cincinnati opens a four-game home series with the Cubs. Reds manager David Bell said the club hasn’t decided yet when DeSclafani will make his next start, or how the rotation order will shake out of the next series.

"'Disco' is on paternity leave, and we’re going to let all that play out, let him enjoy that, and then see where he is in a couple days, when he gets through that, and then make that determination,” Bell said. “Before we announce any rotation beyond Thursday, we’re going to wait a little bit more.”

The 28-year-old Biddle, who first joined the Reds during Spring Training as a non-roster invite, gives the Reds a second left-hander in the bullpen, in addition to Amir Garrett.

A 2010 first-round Draft pick by the Phillies, Biddle has limited Major League experience with the Braves, Mariners and Rangers.

Biddle is optimistic that after having shoulder surgery to repair a labrum tear last offseason, he’ll be able to make more of an impact this time around at the big league level.

“I've just kept my head down and found an organization that really believes in me and has given me an opportunity that I'm just going to do the best I can and make the most of,” Biddle said. “But I'm just very, very grateful to this whole organization they've been unbelievable since Day 1.”

Biddle had been working out at the club’s alternate training site at Prasco Park, hoping to be a callup while maintaining realistic expectations. Bell praised the left-hander for putting in the work that earned him the callup.

“He’s been pitching well,” Bell said. “He has experience, and he made the most of his time at Prasco. We lost Cody Reed yesterday, and it’s good to add a left-hander, but more importantly, he’s been pitching really well, and all the reports have been great.”

No trouble with the curve
Reds starter 's natural ability to spin his curveball has clearly served him well over his big league career. But over the past few seasons, as he’s learned more about this particular metric, the extra knowledge seems to be helping him.

Gray increased his spin rate significantly from 2018 to ’19, and the dividends are continuing to show up this year.

Gray joked that while he loves talking about spin rate, he doesn’t necessarily want to know how good his has been in recent times. But he might be interested to know that, according to Statcast, he has thrown 63 curveballs in 2020 at an “elite rate” of 3,000 rpm or more, the second-most in baseball. Only Houston’s Framber Valdez (78) has more. Reds reliever Lucas Sims is third with 57, followed by Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly (44) and Padres reliever Pierce Johnson (38).

Related

Gray’s average curveball spin rate this year is 2,966 rpm. For context, the MLB average curveball spin rate in 2,525 rpm. That puts Gray's curve in the 95th percentile in spin, per Statcast.

Gray said once he understood how to align his mechanics and get his hand in the proper position to spin the ball, he was able to better execute his pitches.

“I heard about it, but I didn't understand how to do it,” he said. “So I think the more time you put in, the better understanding you're going to get.”

Redsfest canceled
The Reds announced that their annual winter soiree, Redsfest, has been canceled this year because of the pandemic.

"We have made the difficult decision to cancel Redsfest, scheduled for Dec. 4-5, 2020," Reds president and chief operating officer Phil Castellini said in a statement. "Planning and hosting Redsfest with the same bravado that our 15,000-plus guests have come to expect is simply not possible given the current limits being recommended by public health officials for large mass gatherings.

"Although we are very disappointed by this reality, we are pleased to announce that we have locked in the Duke Energy Convention Center for Redsfest to return Dec. 3-4, 2021. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate through the unknowns of 2020 together."