2016 Reds / 2017 Reds

Raisel Iglesias: Starter or Reliever?

We’ve debated this one ad nauseum, but Mark Sheldon’s piece on the starter/reliever question for Raisel Iglesias is here:

One of the offseason questions the Reds must answer is what type of role pitcher Raisel Iglesias will have: starter or reliever? And if he winds up in the bullpen, can Iglesias be their closer?

Iglesias already knew what his vote would be as the 2016 season was winding down.
“I prefer being a reliever,” Iglesias said via interpreter Julio Morillo. “I feel very comfortable right now. I’ve enjoyed pitching from the bullpen.”

Not a whole lot new here, but Sheldon did look at the question in the context of what we’ve seen in the playoffs, with some managers using their relief pitchers in a manner to which modern fans are unaccustomed (notably Kenley Jansen and Andrew Miller).

I don’t really have much to add, since we’ve talked about this issue a number of times, such as here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. We think Iglesias needs to be starting if his shoulder can handle the workload, full stop.

15 thoughts on “Raisel Iglesias: Starter or Reliever?

  1. In 2015, there was a stretch where Raisel was really impressive as a starter. A lot of our impressions on Raisel as a starter were formed in that period, and rightly so. And then he got hurt.

    But does he have the physical stamina and sturdiness to pitch +200 innings as a starter, start 30 plus games ? Can he avoid shoulder problems which would make his value as a pitcher….zero?

    He began this year as a starter….and then his shoulder gave him problems after he piled up a modest number of innings.

    We all would love him to do for a season what he did for a stretch in 2015, but I don’t think that is realistically what is in the cards for him.

  2. Iglesias’ shoulder has failed then starting test twice, once in 2015 and again in 2016 in less than a month after he was on a shoulder strengthening protocol over the winter.

    As great as it would be to see him at the top of the rotation, I don’t think the Reds should push the envelope too hard in the spring. I’d rather see him getting in 100 or so meaningful innings being used like he was this year than sitting in the dugout while recovering from shoulder surgery.

  3. Last year’s World series and this year’s playoffs show the importance of a solid bullpen. The Reds have a lot of uncertainty with the starting rotation – inconsistent performances from young pitchers, guys who can only do so much (Straily), others who struggle to go beyond 5-6 innings (Finnegan) and those coming back from long term injury (Bailey). The first part of the 2016 season showed how bad the team is going to be when the bullpen can’t pitch.

    Iglesias has demonstrated an ability to pitch in whatever role he is put in, reliever or starter. There aren’t too many others like him on the staff. While a reliever will throw less quality innings than a starter, a reliever can impact more games.

    The real crime wasn’t in banishing Chapman to the bullpen. It was straight jacketing him in a strict closer’s role, where he often appeared at the end of games with the team sitting on a 2-3 run lead instead of using him at the most critical juncture of the game. We never really found out how he would perform in 1+ or 2 inning appearances. We know Iglesias can pitch multiple innings when needed.

    I have no idea if his two injuries prove his shoulder can’t handle a starter’s workload. But if he is used right, Iglesias can stabilize a bullpen which the Reds need to support a developing starting rotation.

    The Reds need to put somebody who is decent into the bullpen. In my mind, it comes down to a choice between Iglesias and Lorenzen. I have confidence Iglesias will perform well in that position and would like to see Lorenzen given one more shot at starting with his expanded pitch selection.

  4. If his heart is in relieving, then so be it. I wanted to see him in the rotation. But as has been stated, he does no good on the DL if his shoulder cannot withstand the rigors of starting. The odd thing is, that Iglesias was a bit shaky in the closer role. He was lights out in the set up role. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out.

  5. If it turns out that Iglesias is used in relief, he will be the key to a good Reds bullpen. And it’s positive, that so-far, he’s been used in multiple innings.

  6. He is not a big fellow and his Shoulder has acted up twice. Go with the bullpen and closer. Using him in the 8th/9th or 9th is perfect and we have a better Team for it..

  7. It has been suggested that the use of Miller and Jansen in the postseason only works because of the scheduled off days (no 3 games in a row runs) and because each win/loss is magnified in a best-of-5 or best-of-7 series. A lot of the analysts don’t think the usage pattern would work during the regular season. It remains to be seen how many managers agree and how the bullpen is used might change during the regular season next year, considering how well the use of Jansen and Miller has worked out here in the postseason.

  8. I don’t need to see both Lorenzen and Iglesias starting, but I need to see one of them starting.

    We’ll probably have our answer before spring training based on the actions or non-actions by the GM to shore up the bullpen.

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