C Trent Rosecrans is reporting from RedsFest that the Reds are committed to using Raisel Iglesias AND Michael Lorenzen in the bullpen.

Unless there is a medical reason that the public is not aware of, it’s incredibly dumb, dumb, dumb to not give Lorenzen (age 24) a shot at starting. He was a totally different pitcher (and portfolio) in 2016 than he was in 2015. He may well be the *best pitcher* in the organization. Right now.

Recap: Reds taking their best arm and consigning him to bullpen role without serious tryout as a starter. Sounds depressingly familiar.

Barring the health unknown, this is the Reds seeking to put players into roles, roles, roles, roles, roles as soon as they can. No matter how small.


What’s the [edit: based on site profanity guidelines] rush?

Here are a couple articles we wrote at the end of the year on this topic:

Matt Wilkes, Health permitting, Iglesias and Lorenzen must get a chance to start

Nick Carrington, The Case for Michael Lorenzen, Starting Pitcher

Steve Mancuso, Learning the Wrong Lesson Backwards

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 86 Comments

  1. Even worse is that Lorenzen and Iglesias will, with high probability, be the best pitchers in the bullpen. This implies that they will be “reserved” for critical innings and may pitch fewer innings than other less talented pitchers in the bullpen. So not only will they not start, but they may end up pitching 65-75 innings. I really hope I wrong and that Price uses them like Miller, Jansen, and Chapman were used in the playoffs.

  2. Second verse, same as the first….

  3. Apparently none of you watched the World Series??? Where 2 teams used relievers in a Revolutionary manner! Instead of saving your “closer” until the 9th , bringing them in when they’re needed most, no matter when that is. And letting them pitch 2 even 3 innings instead of one. Bridges the gap when you have a lead until the end of the game. Takes a load off your starters back (thus keeping them healthy.) And also with a struggling Offense or young in our case, takes pressure off of them by shutting games down quicker and sooner. With a “see what we have” attitude with young position players, this is a PERFECT plan. And on top of that, the Reds have 2 pitchers capable of this revolutionary relief ‘role.’ Where only maybe 3 teams in baseball have 1. And on top of that, Iglesias and Lorenzen are the PERFECT pitchers for such a role. I’m not a fan of the ‘closer’ , left/right specialist, set up, relief roles. I am though a fan of a guy that can go out there 3 or 4 times a week earlier in the game and shut it down efficiently for 3 innings. We have 2 of those.

    • I watched the World Series. That bullpen use plan was only revolutionary to people who haven’t paid attention. Saber folks have been arguing for managers to use best bullpen arms in more innings and earlier than 9th inning for years. So have I.

      Best bullpen arm. Not best arm on the team. You’ll notice that Cleveland didn’t put Corey Kluber in the bullpen. Joe Maddon didn’t save Jake Arrietta and use him in the 7th or 8th inning. The best pitchers need to be starters, because math. 200>80.

      The Reds should find out if Lorenzen is the best starting pitcher on their team, because he might be. Brandon Finnegan might be fine as a good reliever. Dan Straily, too.

      A pitcher who throws “3 or 4 times a week” and for “3 innings” would pitch 10 innings a week, or 260 innings/year. Even if the Reds do use a reliever for 100 innings (I’ll believe it when I see it, they didn’t use Iglesias or Lorenzen that much last year), 200>100.

      Are you (and anyone else who agrees with you) saying that even if Michael Lorenzen is the best starter on the Reds roster, he should be a relief pitcher?

      • I was a huge proponent of Chapman being a starter precisely for the IP element. However, with Chapman it was clear that he preferred to be a reliever/closer. With Lorenzen and Iglesias it would appear that it’s more about their health and their ability to pitch 200 innings. In 2015, Lorenzen and Iglesias had 113 IP and 95 IP, respectively. In 2016 due to elbow and shoulder problems (respectively) they were only able to muster 50 IP and 78 IP. It’s safe to assume that, even if the Reds thought they could withstand the rigors of starting, they aren’t going to be able to pitch ANYWHERE CLOSE to 200 innings. With Lorenzen only pitching 50 innings last year, what number of innings would be considered “reasonably” safe for 2017? Likewise for 2018.

        I was also on the Iglesias should be a starter bandwagon. However, after two injury riddled years there is substantial doubt that he can remain healthy with a starter’s workload.

        If you had asked me at the start of the 2016 season, I would be all in on both Lorenzen and Iglesias being starters. Now with increased injury concerns, and certain innings pitched limits for the foreseeable future, I’m not going to presume that I know better than Reds’ management. It’s just possible that they have more information on the matter than we do.

    • World Series? Never heard of it.

  4. This will be a less terrible decision if Mike Stacy is prescient and Iglesias and Lorenzen are used in high leverage and extended inning situations as Francona did in the playoffs. But I’m skeptical. And if they are designated as set up men or worse, closers, this is just a waste of resources. Let’s hope Price is thinking way outside the box AND at least five of the prospective starters really mature into that role, and not just as innings eaters but as effective, nasty starters. But making this decision so far ahead of the season without any effort to explore starting, especially for Lorenzen, is just discouraging.

    • Price “outside the box”, that’s hilarious! While he is definitely clueless, the one thing he is is conventional.

      • Price: respected pitching coach moved up to manager. The Peter Principle in action. Our new GM related to minority owners. All in all, not encouraging.

  5. HAVE THEY LEARNED NOTHING from the Chapman debacle? Seriously – WHY. Why is this town cursed with professional sports management that can’t get their heads out of their keisters? Absolutely maddening. I want to go kick something.

  6. Why didn’t the Yankees make chapman a starter? Why didn’t your beloved Cubs make him a starter after trading for him (many who write for this site love Theo and Maddon – btw a monkey holding a magic eight ball could’ve managed that ridiculously talented team to 100 wins and a World Series)?

    Sometimes there’s just something about personal make up or physical response to the daily rigors of overhand throwing that makes guys relievers. All relievers have better ERAs than when they start. All their metrics are better.

    I was obsessed with Chapman not starting. I hated it. But my question back to those who continue to hate it is this: do you just not believe in the idea that some pitchers just aren’t “cut out” to start or is it that you think you are better at determining that fact than the people who interact with these young men like thousands of times more exponentially more often than you?

    • The Yankees and Cubs acquired Chapman because they needed a closer.

      • Steve
        Very much agreed. But I do suspect that Chapman did not want to be a starter, which Dusty perceived some years ago. Chapman has tremendous physical talent, but he might not have the work ethic to be a starter, which is much more demanding than a closer.
        I have puzzled over this for years, and that is my conclusion. After all was said and done, I don’t think Chapman wanted to be a starter.
        Lorenzen does. I think it would be a waste not to at least prepare him in Spring Training for this task. Agreed, he has learned a lot more in the last year about using his fast ball and getting more movement on it (learning more about adjusting his grip). Lorenzen has a tremendous work ethic and a great interest in learning.

        Time will tell. Let’s not condemn the Reds just yet, until at least Spring Training.

      • Steve, I buy your argument that the Cubs needed a closer. I don’t for a minute buy that in regards to the Yankees. I believe that they already had two studs who could close (Miller, Delances) and a pretty crappy pool of starters. It’ll be interesting to see if the Yankees resign Chapman how they might use him. They could certainly use some starters!

      • You’re right, Steve, and I agree with you about the current situation, but Streamer88 raises a point that seems to me valid.

  7. Steve,

    Maybe Lorenzen and Iglesias want this. If they really had the desire to start, with their talent they would be afforded that chance, right? Maybe I’m missing something.

    • I’m pretty sure Lorenzen has expressed a strong preference for starting.

      • Use your pull and interview the guy then. As abysmal as the Reds pen was last year, the two bright spots, Iglesias and Lorenzen, should be kept in place. There are plenty of live arms that will contend for that fifth starters role, or even fourth if Bailey can’t make it.

        • The Reds front office has better uses of their time (read: any) than conducting an interview with a guy who writes about the team for a hobby.

  8. I can’t help but mention all of the recent talent in bullpens across baseball and how those players developed. Andrew Miller, Wade Davis, and Zach Britton were all guys who struggled as starters early in their careers due to injuries and the workload, much like Iglesias and Lorenzen (granted they had a longer trial time), but now they are 3 of the best late-inning relievers in the game.

    • Actually that’s inaccurate, Miller was a starter for 5 years. His control was terrible, but upon moving to the bullpen (and the stretch) it improved. Wade Davis similarly had years of starting. Of course moving to the bullpen is a way to salvage a good arm, but you don’t need to move them BEFORE they ever start. Remember Jonny Cueto was planned to be in the bullpen (short guy) but there was a need as a starter. That would have been a horrible decision.

      • When I said they had longer trials as starters, I was referring to Miller, Davis and Britton. Miller started for 5 years, as you said, Davis started for 4 years and Britton started for 3 years, meanwhile Iglesias and Lorenzen each only got part of a year as an opportunity. I do think it would be worth it to attempt them starting again, but nevertheless the two having a bullpen career should definitely not be thrown out.

  9. What is it about Cincinnati and incompetent sports ownership?

    • James, it is because people put up with it. Most Cincy fans are sheep(bobbleheads!), and just feel lucky to have a team. And of course “at least we’re not as terrible as we were in the past,” quotes. The press and local politicians follow suit.

      You look at constituents from larger cities, and their expectations are much different, and they hold their teams to a higher standard.

      Nothing here will change unless people put their feet down and demand it. I’m not holding my breath.

      • I think that you describe most fans everywhere, Jesse. The Cubs won the WS this year, but spent the previous 108 fielding mostly non-competitive teams that played to docile, happy fans.

        • Doubt very much that Mets, Yankee, fans are docile and happy, but too true about the Cubs fanbase.

      • Jesse, you’re probably right about Yankee and Mets fans, but they’re probably rarely happy about anything.

  10. Reds pitchers xFIP with at least 40 IP in 2016:

    Lorenzen 3.10
    Wood 3.84
    Iglesias 3.89
    DeSclafani 3.99
    NL AVG 4.16
    Reed 4.29
    Diaz 4.60
    Lamb 4.72
    Finnegan 4.87
    Ohlendorf 4.89
    Straily 5.02
    Adleman 5.15
    Cingrani 5.27
    Simon 5.71

  11. Reds pitchers SIERA with at least 40 IP:

    Lorenzen 2.75
    Iglesias 3.55
    Wood 3.78
    DeSclafani 4.07
    Ohlendorf 4.13
    Diaz 4.28
    Reed 4.32
    Smith 4.56
    Straily 4.67
    Lamb 4.83
    Adleman 4.87
    Finnegan 4.92
    Cingrani 5.01
    Simon 5.34

    Reds front office has said Finnegan and Straily are presumptive starters based on last year. Lorenzen and Iglesias will be in bullpen. Dumb to make either of those declarations in December.

    • Totally agree with you on this. Very little benefit in pigeon-holing someone this early on.

    • Lorenzen was a primary outfielder who dabbled in pitching until age 22. No one questions his physical make-up, mental toughness, work ethic or pitching potential. But, perhaps his lack of a pitching load and low innings mileage during these key years are being realized. He developed a pitching-related elbow injury before the 2016 season, after he pitched 150+ innings for the first time. Maybe the new Reds management saw what every other team and scout did when he was drafted- his potential as a starter sailed during that 3 year period of playing outfield. Most, if not all starting pitchers accrue years and years of innings build-up during those ages-Cueto, Verlander, King Felix, Disco, Straily and Finnegan. Finnegan threw 245 innings in college from 2012-2014. Lorenzen threw 44 from 2011-13.

      Maybe the Reds feel the best chance to win in 2018-2021 is to manage the injury risk to Lorenzen and Iglesias with strategic use out of the bullpen. The injuries to Homer and Mesoraco were crippling to the franchise. Major injuries to these young pitchers would blow up the rebuild and set the franchise back years.

      • Yes, it could be that.

        Here’s Bryan Price talking about ML in September, not mentioning health factors.

        “He’s answered some questions as a reliever that he wasn’t able to answer as a starter,” manager Bryan Price said. “However, personally I haven’t lost any faith at all in his ability to be a starting pitcher. We’ll see what the needs of the team are and what’s in the best interest of Michael moving forward, and try to make a commitment to that early in the offseason as opposed to having it be an unanswered question in the spring.”

        • Interesting somewhat inconsistent quote…why say he still might have starting potential, but decide in the off season where he needs to be?? i guess I would have to agree, why decide now?

        • I am a fan of Lorenzen. The guy seems to have the physical and mental make-up to be an elite pitcher. Realistically though…Do you want Homer and Lorenzen as starters on innings-limits in 2017 micromanaging every start? Its April in Wrigley and Homer doesn’t have his command.. He is laboring in the 3rd inning on pitch # 62 and its 44 degrees. Lorenzen is pitching tomorrow after he only went 5 innings the start before? That’s a tough situation to have 40% of your rotation with kid gloves every start who realistically neither can pitch more than 23-25 starts and 150 innings. You would need 6-7 starters penciled in from spring training…..which actually they could do. I wonder if Homer wasn’t a question mark if they would take a more liberal and longer term approach with Lorenzen. But I understand their desire for some certainty as they plan 2018.

    • Yeah, durablility doesn’t count for anything. Let Iglesias head back to the DL for half the season after 3 starts. That’s using him wisely.

    • Can you post SIERAs for Reds’ pitchers last year facing batters for the 2nd and 3rd time through the lineup? I’d like to see how Lorenzen and Iglesias compare to Disco, et al in that scenario.

  12. The Lorenzen part of this just baffles me. … But I’m convinced they hold out little hope of Iglesias making it through a full season as a starter without getting hurt. So my next concern is, if he is in the bullpen, will he be able to pitch on back to back days? This super bullpen usage only works if the best guys are available almost every night, not every other night.

    • How many relief pitchers are available nearly every night? I’m not being argumentative, I don’t know. But I doubt that many are. They throw fewer pitches, yes, but they’re mostly throwing those pitches at or near maximum effort.

  13. I don’t know whether to scream or to laugh and shake my head. I saw this coming and called it (as I’m sure a lot of us did) the minute they put these two in the pen

  14. I have slowly warmed to the recent importance placed on a teams’ talent level in the bullpen throughout the league. Maybe the league, as a whole, is heading where relievers are getting the same innings as starters.

    Or maybe, Williams is anticipating an inherent weakness in the starting rotation.

    • Make no mistake, the starting rotation will be weak this season. Straily will regress, who knows what you get from Homer…hopefully Disco and Finnegan can take another step forward. I see the Reds signing one or two low cost starting veteran pitchers this offseason (Ryan Vogelsong anyone?).

  15. Comparing what happens in WS with what happens in regular season is comparing apples to oranges,they are 2 different animals but here is what I saw in WS….when Maddon tried to use Chapman for multiple innings in a game his 2016 season ERA of 1.55 ballooned to a post season ERA of 3.52 and I can remember Joe having to go get Chapman at least once to keep game within reach.And of the 3 teams AC has been on so far in his career not one Org has tried to make him a starter.As I see things this last season with Iglesias has proven one thing….not every pitcher can be a starter.

  16. There’s nothing wrong with having Lorenzen and Iggy in the pen IF you have exhausted their chances of starting. Iggy’s injury history may make mgmt hesitant about starting him, but he’s got too much talent to just give up on him.

    You don’t think that mgmt is trying to save money with these two by pigeonholing them as releivers early in their careers?

  17. There are many unknowns on the Reds staff. Who knows what changes lurk in the offseason. By default, infusion of new talent in the bullpen or injuries, Lorenzen might find himself starting.

    • Reds might be telling Lorenzen to be stretched out and in starter mode for 2017 ST…but Reds had one of the worst BP’s in baseball in 2016 and that problem won’t fix itself so if it comes down to throwing some young talent at the problem,I understand why.And just because Reds are using him in BP short term doesn’t mean he’ll never crack starting rotation…after the last few years of fire sales,Reds are in flux right now and will be a for awhile..

  18. Too bad the Reds FO thinks they know what they are doing. I don’t know maybe they do but it sure seems to be logical to give your best arms the opportunity to pitch the most innings just like you want Joey Votto hitting at the top of the order to get him the most at bats.

  19. If it holds its just another bad decision by our team.To not try either one of the guys as a starter is just goofy.The best pitch the most which to me is really simple but what do I know.This year to me is just another year of auditioning especially for the positon players and to take a stand now in December on Iggy and Lorenzen as to there role for 2017 makes no sense.

  20. If the Reds were planning on contending in 2017, I could understand urgency in filling holes in the bullpen. I could *maybe* see the virtue in lining up the late innings with personnel decisions in December. But in a year dedicated to finding out about players, checking role boxes as early as possible seems unwise.

    It may turn out that Lorenzen is better suited for the bullpen. But if it were me, I’d like to find out if he’s the best pitcher in the organization first. Spend a few months doing that and if he still fits better in the bullpen, there’s plenty of time to move him back.

  21. Lorenzen wants to start. From an article in September:

    Lorenzen has a personal preference when it comes to that decision. When he envisions his own success, he’s starting games. He thinks he would have proved himself in that arena this season if not for his injury.

    But he also knows the decision is out of his hands, and doesn’t want to prioritize his own goals over the team’s.

    “I know I can start,” he said. “In my mind, that’s what I visualize. I visualize myself starting. I understand I’m accountable to the organization. They pay me and I’m an employee, so they tell me to jump and I say how high.”


    • knowing you can start is one thing…knowing you can start,pitch 200 innings in a season,stay off DL and be effective is another.Reds rotation may just be hard for Michael to crack,4 of 5 spots (IMHO) are already filled and if I had to guess Rookie Davis is gonna make starter number 5 before too long.I don’t see this as a bad thing…means Reds have enough young talent in Org to staff BP too…

  22. I’m really not sure how to feel. Cincinnati had the worst bullpen in major league history, so that needs fixed.

    Also, some pitchers lack a third pitch, and that forces a bullpen move.

    Finally, some pitchers are simply not effective after X number of pitches or Y times through the order. I have not looked at the sample on either of Iglesias or Lorenzen but I do know that both of these guys were drafted as relievers.

    Regardless, I hope none of this opens a rotation spot for Alfredo’s Simon or veterans like that. I would rather have watched Nuke LaLoosh (sp) or Nuke’s actor Tim Robbins.

    • The entire staff (starters included) were the first pitching staff ever to finish with negative WAR as a group. I think I read that on FG about 2 months ago.

      • Wow! Amazing that the Reds won as many games as they did.

      • The pitching staff also had a million injuries, sending 10 different starting pitchers to the disabled list before May was over.

        They sucked, as a group, but that group isn’t what the Reds are likely to be getting in 2017 either.

  23. MLB bullpens are full of guys who (the vast majority anyway) were starters in college, low minor leagues etc. They’re relievers now because of like 3 reasons: (1) they could not develop a decent 3rd pitch, (2) they were ineffective as starters doubleA and higher (even with their 3rd pitch), or (3) they didn’t have the physical or mental durability to be a reliable starter.

    This last one is very important and often overlooked. People say “the rigors of the bullpen life lead to injuries.” I say incorrect! It’s the converse actually – injuries happen in relievers all the time, because that’s where we stick arm-talented injury prone pitchers!

    I love Sabermetrics. I believe in high leverage middle inning situations, in the shift, in OBP, in *almost never* bunting. But Sabermetrics do not tell you who can handle starting pitching, and who can’t.

    Until we have UCL tension monitors installed on our pitchers, and pitch recognition sensors installed in the retinas of our hitters, we’re never going to know the inner make ups of these guys. Both Iglesias and Lorenzen have demonstrated a general vague injury prone aura about them. I don’t think it’s asinine to lean towards making them bullpen guys.

    • This is the same speculative second-guessing that happened with Chapman. Everyone came up with a million theoretical excuses for why he couldn’t be a starter. Chapman can’t develop a third pitch. He can’t face a lineup a second time. He doesn’t have the mental makeup. He doesn’t want to start. His fastball velocity would decline. Etc. Etc. Etc.

      Maybe that’s right or maybe it’s wrong. It’s speculation. Maybe Chapman, and now Lorenzen, belong in the pen.

      *Try it out and see.*

      No one is saying that *sabermetrics* can tell that Lorenzen *can* handle starting pitching. What I am saying is the Reds should TRY Lorenzen and see. There is NO rush to find Lorenzen’s proper role. Why close the door? That statistic (xFIP) measures strikeouts and walks. Period. Hope those aren’t too new-fangled to evaluate a pitcher.

      Lorenzen could be the best arm on the staff. We know he can hit. He’s a good athlete and can run the bases. He developed a new mentality. I can’t believe the Reds would judge Lorenzen’s potential as a starter based solely on 2015.

      Instead of guessing on “inner makeup” put him on the mound in a starter’s role.

      Someone has the inner makeup to close or pitch in late inning high-leverage situations, but doesn’t have the makeup to start a game? Please explain that one to me.

      • Reds did try Lorenzen in starting rotation in 2015…he was 4-9 with ERA of 5.4 and WHIP 1.659 in 113 innings pitched.Not exactly stellar numbers….and in 2016 out of the pen Michael did much better 2-1 with ERA 2.88 and WHIP 1.080….might just be case of putting the round peg in the round hole…

        • Lorenzen was a different pitcher in 2016, matured. No way the 2015 trial was sufficient. He was 23 for goodness sakes.


        • Thanks for link Steve….good read there.But here we are trying to build a team with stats and using Saber stats or traditional stats or whatever will only take you so far.Eventually it comes down to doing what’s best for team and this may be an example of just that….Reds BP was just plain terrible last season and bringing in Free Agents to plug holes in the past has only been a huge waste of resources.I’m all for the youth movement,IMHO it’s the only way Reds will ever be competitive again and if that means some of future talent has to be directed to BP…I am good with it…

      • All I’m saying is that despite all of our fancy new ways to analyze the game there will be immeasurable factors. Lorenzen wants to start – great!! I wanted to run an ultra marathon but my legs just wouldn’t hold up to the training. It happens, and it’s frustrating.

        Perhaps their medical team is trying to avoid an injury. If you were the GM and Kremchek called you and said – if you pitch this guy more than 100 innings a year he’ll blow out his shoulder. But if you don’t go over 100 he’ll recover every winter and end up Dennis Eckersley – are you honestly claiming with that info you’d say “sorry Tim, I know more than you and I’m gonna go ahead and stretch him out, and blow out his elbow and shoulder, get your OR ready.” ??

        If you looked at him like a number and a row in an Excel spreadsheet you’d be tempted to just run him into the ground. That’s TJS is for right?

        (I know I’m taking huge leaps with unknown pieces of info here. This is a thought experiment, as I understand it, no hard feelings).

        • Think fans over simplify this,there’s a lot more to making these decisions than we see on the surface,after all we are (me anyway) on the outside looking in.And I think you bringing up Kremchek is very valid…and why I always thought Red’s nixxed idea of using Chapman in starting rotation,Med Dept was just worried AC’s shoulder/arm couldn’t take the stress of 200 IP per season.As I remember AC had some physical issues when he was in a reliever for Reds,even spending some time at Louisville before he was make Closer.

        • So, if this is indeed just a thought experiment, what should the Reds do if there is no such info suggesting Lorenzen has durability issues?

        • If there was no such info he had durability issues, and he wanted to start and had the ability, then he would start! Of course! Until he proved otherwise that would naturally be the plan.

          He went on the DL. I didn’t see his MRI. I wasn’t there for his rehab. I don’t know if there’s something medically concerning about his arm. Do you?

          Another thing: not all bodies handle pitching the same. Some starters wake up after 110 pitchers and have genuine soreness, others say it’s a ‘rubber band arm’ like feeling. And everywhere in between. Just because they’re ready 4-5 days later doesn’t mean they’re all identical. These nuances don’t show up in newspapers or in Bill James’ formulae.

        • Nothing like that theoretical Kremcheck call has ever happened, nor will it ever happen. You say yourself you’re taking huge leaps, so why even type it? It makes no sense and has no bearing on sound decision making.

          No one knows ANYTHING. That’s the point. No one has ever said it’ 100% certain that Lorenzen in the ‘pen is a mistake. But not trying him as a starter now that he has his legs under him, IS a mistake.

          Building good bullpens is something worthwhile for winning baseball clubs. The Reds are a rebuilding club. It is worthwhile for them to identify the 5 best starting pitchers available. Lorenzen might be 1 of those 5. You’ll never know if you stick him in the pen.

      • Maybe it isn’t as much inner makeup as it is ability to pace oneself, to back down from maximum effort without losing effectiveness. I certainly don’t know, but it seems clear to me that Lorenzen should be given an extended trial as a starter.

  24. I’d hate to return to the dark days where Chapman closed games and the Reds won 97 games.

    • You mean the days where Chapman had a saves success rate right about on par with any other closer in the league, thus completely negating any talent advantage he provided?

      Yeah, I’d hate to return to those days too.

      • use to be a guy on another board I posted on…claimed any pitcher can be a Closer .As I see things….Hoover and Cingrani blew that theory out of the water in 2016..

        • Well, the point there is that any major league pitcher should be able to get three outs before giving up runs. Hoover not only couldn’t close games, he couldn’t even stay in the majors. We’ll see what other role Cingrani settles into, if any.

          I’m told that one of the Red Sox pitchers in the last few years liked being the set-up guy and didn’t want the “pressure” of being the closer, I can’t see where it would matter, but to some guys, I guess it does.

        • As Vegastypo said, you can’t take fringe major leaguers and apply them to this maxim. Any reliever who is successful in a 6th/7th/8th inning role is good enough to be a “closer.” That’s the point.

          The pressure thing is 100% false, in my opinion. If a guy can have success in front of 40,000 fans on national TV while feeling the urge to earn his multi-million dollar contract, do people really think pitching the 8th versus the 9th is going to move the needle that much?

          Major leaguers excelled under pressure their entire careers starting in grade school. That’s why they rose to the top. Anything someone says about “pressure” is just lip service to the press. There’s no other logical explanation, given the mountains of data points every player accumulates over the years succeeding in pressure-packed situations.

        • Patrick, I do think that, to a degree, there is something to the “pressure” argument. As Yogi said “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical”, and I think this applies to sports in general.

          Athletes, like all people, have a certain “comfort zone” where they are more likely to succeed simply because they feel more confident in that situation. No matter if the “pressure” is from the acutal situation or entirely self-inflicted, if it makes them begin to question themselves or their ability, it can have a detrimental effect on their performance. Colloquially, we like to refer to it as a “meltdown”. I think this phenomena is much more real than saying someone “choked” because they failed in a single instance of a “high pressure” situation, since that is more likely to be their normal performance but taken in a much smaller sample size.

          To wit, English Premiere League teams place so much stock in the mental well-being of their players and the effect confidence has on their performance that in addition to physical therapists, they also employ a team of psychologists.

          I don’t know. I personally believe if a pitcher is talented, no matter where he pitches in the bullpen, he can succeed. But I do think there may be something to it when someone says they do/don’t want to close because they either like/hate the “pressure”, no matter if real or perceived. It’s probably impossible to meassure something like confidence or the effect it has on the game, but with something like this, I say it’s in the statistical “fog” that Bill James mentioned in his analysis of the game. Just because we don’t have a way to measure it doesn’t mean it’s not there, but intuitively, from our own experiences in dealing with confidence and from observing others, it would seem it should have some kind of effect.

      • I’d guess that James was making the case that 97 wins is a good season, and that having Chapman close played a part in it.

  25. Looks to me like Raisel is in bullpen for sure….and even then Reds have to have doubts about him.Jeff Brantley ( who I really enjoy listening to) said over and over during season if Iggy can’t appear in 3 consecutive games as a reliever,that’s not a good sign.Somebody correct me if I’m wrong but don’t think he managed to do that the entire season….

    • Which can be harder to do than being a starter. Getting up every time the other team has a threat on base in late innings. Sometimes you need them, sometimes they are just warming as insurance.

      Maybe Iggy cannot go the innings and the pen will be the best for him. Maybe Lorenzen can handle starting and the pen would be the worst thing for him.

      I agree with Steve, it is silly to make a December 2016 decision on a 2018 player that does not need to be made yet. Lorenzen is a workout warrior and will be ready for starters innings. He may be our best pitcher, he is the best hitting pitcher we have and that is also a factor to get 3-4 abs from him in 20% of our games. I like Dan Straily, but let’s face it, he has a relievers bat while Lorenzen has a starters bat.

      Also, you have the first half of 2017 for auditions, we have an open starters spot. What harm is there in giving him 15 starts. He can always slot back into the pen in July if need be

      • After watching this last season…I’d be real hard pressed to put Straily in Pen,I think he earned his spot in pitching rotation no matter what his batting average is.Winner of 14 games (on a very mediocre team) and only pitcher to come close to pitching 200 innings (191) on staff,I don’t think you can ignore that.If you want to make the argument Lorenzen should be given 5 spot in rotation I can see that…but not at expense of moving Dan Straily.

        • I believe in Straily for a starters spot in 2017 and Lorenzen as well

          By the all star break, you will know what you need to about both of them

  26. I’m holding out hope they will be used for multiple inning roles in a sort of closer rotation, but that would include thinking outside of the box.

  27. If two of the three ( or all three) of Reed/Stephenson/Garrett become good/great major league pitchers then Iglesias and Lorenzen in the pen will be perfect, adding a lefty to go with them

    • Unfortunately, something like 0.6 of them will be good major league starters. ~20% of decent AAA pitchers become decent big leaguers, and I’m not even sure we can put Bob Steve in the “decent AAA pitcher” category, given his proclivity for the BB and plummeting K-rate.

  28. This talk that Lorenzen should be in the rotation is moot. The Reds, a last place, team have done squat at the Winter Meetings.

    Oh wait, the new Gm traded a rule 5 pick for cash and a bucket of balls.

    This inactivity, no ineptitude, will hurt season ticket sales, but the GM will not need to worry, because his Daddy is a team owner.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2017 Reds