If Justin Dunn’s Shoulder Would Act Right, The MLBbro Would Be A Lock For Cincinnati Reds Starting Rotation

If Justin Dunn’s Shoulder Would Act Right, The MLBbro Would Be A Lock For Cincinnati Reds Starting Rotation

Justin Dunn is hoping to become another formidable MLBbro on the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff. The 27-year-old melanated mound marauder has been on the verge of a breakout season since entering the league with a live arm and high expectations back in 2019. Fast forward to 2023 and Dunn’s ascension has been slowed by the injury bug. The former Seattle Mariners star prospect hasn’t pitched more than 50.1 innings in a season. 

When the Cincinnati Reds acquired Dunn in the Eugenio Suárez trade with the Seattle Mariners last year, general manager Nick Krall knew that Dunn was battling a major shoulder injury, but Reds’ brass was being optimistic and taking a chance on a pitcher who hasn’t logged many innings in his career. They projected the Freeport, NY native as a solid rotation piece as the Reds try to rebuild into a contending squad. 

It’s not like Dunn hasn’t had prolonged stretches where he’s proven that he can be a top starter. 


Dunn Has Shown Stretches Of Brilliance


From August 23, 2020, through May of the 2021 season, Dunn allowed three or fewer runs over 15 starts to lead the American League.


Justin Dunn Is A Masterful Pitcher | His 15 Straight Quality Starts Leads The American League



Dunn’s streak was also the fourth-longest such streak in Mariners’ history trailing Seattle legend Felix Hernandez, Roenis Elías and Erik Bedard. It appeared as if Dunn had found his next level, along with his budding Mariners squad. In 2021, Dunn and his former Seattle teammate MLBbro Justus Sheffield were part of only two rotations in baseball to feature multiple Black starters. The Mets featured the charismatic technician Marcus Stroman and heat-toting Taijuan Walker.

Then came the shoulder injury, which derailed his ascension and now, a year after the Reds took a shot on him, Dunn is dealing with the same issue in his right shoulder, a combination of inflammation and subscapularis. 

The team expects him to be out for a few months rehabbing. Dunn has never been the most intimidating pitcher, so he’s used to people doubting him and knocking him for not measuring up to the metrics. Those funny numbers that overlook winning attributes such as natural talent and heart.





Reds Doctors Won’t Rush Dunn Back To The Mound


According to spring training reports, Dunn is positive about a quick recovery, but doctors are guarding against a premature return. 

“(The specialist) was making it seem that the inflammation wasn’t as bad but I believe there might be an actual tear in there, which is why it’s taking so long,” Dunn told reporters. “He said my shoulder actually felt pretty good. It was just a couple of tests that he did that I didn’t pass. He was like, we’ve got to let it heal before we can let you pick up a ball.” 

The Reds could certainly use Dunn sooner rather than later. He’s only pitched in seven games since the middle of the 2021 season.

“I just have to get with the team and get a plan of action for what we’re going to do,” Dunn said. “Give it the right amount of time for it to heal and if I rush this, it’s not going to be a good situation. Unfortunately, it’s just the situation we’re in. One day at a time.”

Ironically, Dunn’s specialist told him that he has only seen one other pitcher with a similar injury and that was NY Mets Black Ace Dwight Gooden, who had a brilliant 16-year MLB career. 

“(The specialist) explained the surgery and it scared the (heck) out of me frankly,” Dunn said. “He said, ‘I don’t want to do this. I don’t think you need it. You’re too young. You have a lot of  baseball ahead of you.’ That’s for when your back is against the wall, and you’re fighting for a couple of more years. I was very thankful to hear that.”

This is a rough luck situation for Dunn who basically had an open lane to a starting position in the Reds’ rotation. In his last real action, the former Top 100 prospect had a 3.75 ERA. 

Let’s hope this talented pitcher can get healthy and put together a full season on the mound. If he ever does, he’s sure to finally get his due.

MLBbros Bringing the Arm Support | Pitchers Mychal Givens & Jay Jackson Are Moving With a Purpose

MLBbros Bringing the Arm Support | Pitchers Mychal Givens & Jay Jackson Are Moving With a Purpose

This year’s MLB trade deadline was one to remember, with several stars finding new homes. While it is easy to think that positional players and big bats are what you need in October, the real unsung heroes are the elite pitching with not just the starters, but in the bullpen. Whenever your team gets in a jam, it’s critical for the bullpen to try and get out of it and keep the team in the game.

Two moves that could be really crucial for the upcoming playoffs, but not as discussed compared to the bigger names, is Mychal Givens getting dealt to the first-place Mets, and Jay Jackson getting promoted to the team nipping at the Mets’ heels. Jackson’s promotion to the defending World Champion Atlanta Braves bullpen came with the departure of both Will Smith and Jesse Chavez.

Givens started this season in Chicago with the Cubs. He spent the first six seasons of his career in Baltimore, getting traded to the Rockies back in 2020, and had brief stints with them and in Cincinnati with the Reds, before ending up on the north side of Chicago.



During his tenure in Chicago, he earned a 6-2 record, with a 2.66 ERA. The Cubs are currently 15.5 games back from the final wild card slot, so it makes sense that they would be willing to relinquish one of their best relievers. 

His debut in Queens could not have gone any worse. He made his first appearance on August 3rd in D.C. and got in the game in the ninth inning with the Mets having a comfortable 9-0 lead. He gave up five runs in two-thirds of the inning and couldn’t finish the game. 

He ended up pitching again on Friday against the Braves and did significantly better. He pitched one inning, giving up no runs, no hits, with just one walk in the 9-6 loss. A much-needed bounce back performance and huge confidence booster for the eight-year vet, who was obviously a bit nervous in his first outing for a contending team. 

The Braves are 4.5 games behind the Mets and five games up in the wild card race, so they are still making adjustments to the roster as they chase NY.

Going down south within the division, Jackson got promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett as the trade deadline came to a close. This is the 34-year-old’s fourth run in the majors, as he played with the Padres back in 2015, then made his return in 2019 with the Brewers, once again in 2021 with the Giants, and finally now with the Braves. 



With Jackson posting a 1.80 ERA in 10 appearances with the Stripers, the Braves clearly felt that they could trust him to help carry the load for one of the best bullpens in baseball. However, as he turns 35 in late October, this could very much be Jackson’s last shot to have a permanent place on an MLB roster. He has been an underdog throughout his entire career, bouncing throughout the minors, spending brief time in the majors, and part of his career in the Japanese league. It’s time for him to finally overcome that obstacle and stay up in the majors.

The NL East is going to be an absolute force in the playoffs, as it looks like both the Braves and Mets will be playing in the postseason, and the Phillies are looking like they may sneak in as well. All three teams have reasons to believe they can be in the Fall Classic, but it will be the elite bullpens that will separate the contenders from the pretenders.