The Reds announced that they have selected the contract of right-hander Jake Wong and recalled righty Eduardo Salazar from Triple-A Louisville. In corresponding moves, righty Levi Stoudt was optioned to Louisville while righty Randy Wynne was designated for assignment.
Wong, 26, was drafted by the Giants and spent his entire career there prior to this season. In December, the Reds took catcher/outfielder Blake Sabol from the Pirates in the Rule 5 draft and flipped him to the Giants for cash or a player to be named later. About a week later, the Reds announced that Wong would be the PTBNL from that Sabol deal.
The right-hander had pitched in the lower levels of the Giants’ system in 2018 and 2019 but then missed two entire seasons. The minor leagues were canceled by the pandemic in 2020 and then Wong spent all of 2021 on the injured list. Last year, he tossed 97 2/3 innings at High-A over 25 appearances, including 17 starts, with a 4.52 ERA. His 10.3% walk rate was a bit high but he struck out 25.3% of opponents and got ground balls at a 53.3% clip.
This year, the Reds have essentially moved Wong to full-time relief work, as his only start was 2 2/3 innings. On the whole, he’s tossed 34 1/3 innings over 17 appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A, but has struggled in his first taste of the upper levels of the farm. He has a 7.60 ERA this year between those two stops, striking out 22.6% of opponents but walking 13%.
Despite the poor results so far this year, the Reds have called him up since they need fresh arms. In their three-game set against Atlanta over the weekend, they allowed 24 runs and none of their starters lasted longer than four innings, leaving relief corps to absorb 16 2/3 frames over that series. They now have a three-game series in Baltimore before their next off-day and have called up Wong and Salazar to help them push through.
In order to get those arms onto the roster, the Reds have bumped Wynne off of it. He himself was added as a fresh arm just yesterday and made his major league debut. He tossed 2 1/3 innings, allowing three hits, a walk and one earned run without registering a strikeout. Despite that respectable showing in his first big league game, he’s quickly been bounced due to the club’s overtaxed pitching corps.
The Reds will now have a week to trade Wynne or pass him through waivers. Prior to getting called up, he tossed 31 2/3 innings in Triple-A this year with a 5.12 ERA, 12.9% strikeout rate, 5% walk rate and 31.8% ground ball rate.