Sep 25, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher David Holmberg (36) throws against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
With just 36 days until Cincinnati Reds pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, it’s time to start getting excited about the possibilities of a new season by counting down the days, via the guys who wear (or wore) the corresponding uniform numbers. Number 36 on our countdown team is left-handed pitcher David Holmberg.
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Holmberg was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2009, but was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the Edwin Jackson deal the next summer. He ranked high on Baseball America’s list of organizational prospects for both clubs, and stood as the Number-7 D’backs youngster when the Reds acquired him in a three-team deal that also included the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Reds are stacked with pitching in the minors, and Holmberg couldn’t crack Cincy’s Top 10 list of prospects right off the bat, but he was promoted to Triple-A Louisville for the 2014 season.
Toiling for the Bats, Holmberg got roughed up for really the first time in his professional career, finishing with a 2-6 record to go along with 10 no-decisions. He pitched to a 4.66 ERA and allowed better than 1.6 runners per nine innings while his strikeouts tumbled to 5.4 per nine.
Despite those struggles, he was called up to Cincinnati late in the year and made five starts, picking up two victories. The peripherals in the Majors looked about the same as they did in Triple-A, which you could view as a positive or a negative.
In a lot of ways, Holmberg looks like the Reds as a whole — he still has potential, but he’s getting older and may not reach his ceiling. Then, too, there are questions surrounding both the pitcher and his club : How will Holmberg be used in 2015? Will he be in the Majors? In Louisville? Will he start? Will he relieve?
And for the Reds, are they contenders, rebuilders, or something in between?
We’ll start to get our answers in 36 days.