Lyon Richardson Shows Off Revamped Fastball
At the time that righthander Lyon Richardson was drafted in the second round in 2018 from Jensen Beach (Fla.) High, he featured a fastball that sat in the mid 90s and touched 98 mph.
But in his first two pro seasons he sat 89-92 mph and at times touched 94.
The lowered velocity didn’t hold the righthander back in 2019 when he was a 19-year-old at Low-A Dayton. In his final 16 starts he posted a 3.49 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 69.2 innings.
With the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season, the Reds developed plans for pitchers who missed game action prepare for 2021.
“Coming off of the shutdown, we believe pretty firmly across the board that we didn’t skip a beat,” Dayton pitching coach Brian Garman said.
With the new minor league classifications, the 21-year-old Richardson was back in Dayton, only this time it represents a promotion from Low-A to High-A.
Richardson looked like an entirely different pitcher than the one who took the mound there in 2019, when he made 26 starts with a 4.15 ERA and had 106 strikeouts in 112.2 innings.
“He’s back up to 98 (mph),” Garman said. “It was impressive stuff. We added a slider to the arsenal for him, so now we’ve got another dimension to play with for him. It’s going to be a pitch he’s going to be able to use, and nobody’s seen it from him.
"I’ve got some pretty high hopes for Lyon.”
This season, with the 6-foot-2, 192-pound Richardson's fastball working in the 93-97 mph range and touching a tick higher, hitters have needed to stay honest on the velocity.
But the addition of a slider in the low 80s to go with a mid-70s curveball and a mid-80s changeup sets up hitters to look at a wide range of velocity.
— Shortstop Jose Garcia’s early-season success at Double-A Chattanooga was encouraging after the struggles he had last season at the plate in Cincinnati. Garcia hit .323/.394/.645 with 11 extra-base hits through his first 16 games for the Lookouts.
— Outfielder Brian Rey got out to a torrid start for High-A Dayton, hitting .423 and slugging .904 before getting promoted to Double-A on May 21.
— Lefthander Nick Lodolo’s professional career began with 43 strikeouts before he walked a single hitter. That streak came to an end when the 2019 first-rounder out of Texas Christian walked a batter on May 12.