Inbox: Is Mahle an option for Reds' rotation?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers questions from fans

Inbox: Is Mahle an option for Reds' rotation?

Do you think Tyler Mahle could get a shot in the Reds' rotation soon, or at least sometime this year?
-- @KB_48

With Rookie Davis getting optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday morning, questions about Mahle have come quickly. This one was actually sent before that roster move, and it's understandable. Mahle, 22, is 5-0 with a 1.44 ERA, 23 hits, nine walks and 48 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings over seven starts for Double-A Pensacola. The Reds' No. 9 prospect as ranked by MLBPipeline.com also threw a perfect game last month and had a no-hitter for Class A Advanced Daytona last season. I could see him up with Cincinnati later this year, but perhaps not yet.

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Manager Bryan Price recently expressed his desire for Double-A pitching prospects like Mahle and Luis Castillo to get some time at Triple-A Louisville before coming to the big leagues. It's not a requirement, but it couldn't hurt. Mahle is also not currently on the 40-man roster, which adds an extra -- but not insurmountable -- hurdle.

Why are the Reds optioning their seemingly best new pitchers to Louisville?
-- @Minidriver1Ron

Besides Davis, the Reds have also optioned Cody Reed and Amir Garrett. But only Garrett was pitching great among the three. For Reed, it was about his struggling with command and his composure. Garrett had more to do with limiting his innings total, since he was already at 36 through six starts and Cincinnati didn't need five starters with two off-days in less than a week. But there is also the issue of service time. By sending some of the young pitchers down intermittently, the Reds can gain an extra year of control before arbitration eligibility and free agency. So that helps in the long-term.

Should the Reds and Bengals agree to a showdown for the fastest man in Cincinnati?
-- @roll_tide250

Oh, how it would be fun to watch Billy Hamilton and Bengals first-round pick John Ross race in a 40-yard sprint. I would even offer my services to fire the starting pistol. We know what Hamilton can do, and Ross set a new 40-yard dash record of 4.22 seconds at this year's NFL Scouting Combine.

Alas, this showdown is not going to be a reality. Even though athletes expressed their willingness to a speed duel through the media, their respective teams were not so eager. That's what happens when millions of dollars are invested in professional athletes. It becomes too much of a risk.

If you want to see a race involving a former Reds player, check out Billy Bates racing a cheetah in a 100-yard dash at Riverfront Stadium in 1990.

Bates vs. cheetah

I know this might seem to be a rush to judgement, but it appears that the pitchers the Reds received in the Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman deals, among others, seem to be major disappointments. It makes one wonder who is evaluating the talent and if they have missed big time on most of these guys.
-- Tony D., Northern Kentucky

Patience, Tony. These pitchers are mostly 22-25 years old and aren't finished products. Once they get a bigger body of work, then it's time to assess the trades. The only pitcher who could be considered a disappointment thus far from the Cueto deal is John Lamb, who was moved out after last season. Reed is struggling now, but he has made 11 big league starts, and he still has time to reach his potential. Brandon Finnegan -- while injured now -- had a decent first full year as a starter.

Davis came in the Chapman deal -- which wasn't as great as it could have been for the Reds, because they moved Chapman following an off-the-field incident that drove demand for the hurler downward -- and he was Cincinnati's best pitcher in camp and has all of five starts. Castillo, who came over in Dan Straily trade this offseason, has been sensational at Double-A. Among non-pitching acquisitions, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez are also establishing themselves well in the regular lineup.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.