Check out the previous installments of our Redleg Nation 2018 Season Preview series:

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The Reds bullpen had a strange 2017 season. They started off strong, and by the end of the first half they ranked 10th in the MLB with a 3.97 ERA. The second half featured implosions from now former Reds Drew Storen and Blake Wood, and double-digit innings from Asher Woj-whatever, Tim Adleman, and Ariel Hernandez. The Reds relievers had a 5.52 ERA in the second half (2nd worst in the MLB), and ended the entire season with a 4.65 ERA, the 4th worst in the MLB.

The Reds have made a couple of moves this off-season, and their younger guys have another year of experience under their belt. I am sure the Reds front office is hoping that is enough to have a reliable season from the pen.

The Locks

Raisel Iglesias ranks 8th among qualifying MLB relievers since the start of 2016 in ERA (2.29)

David Hernandez was signed this off-season to a two-year deal worth $5 million. He is projected by ZiPS to post a 3.70 ERA. He has been a high strikeout guy with a good fastball throughout his career. He should really help the Reds bullpen.

Jared Hughes was signed this off-season to a two-year deal worth $4.5 million. Hughes is projected to post a 3.83 ERA. Hughes isn’t going to strikeout guys at the rate of Hernandez, but he induces a lot of ground balls. He should be another nice, but quiet add to bolster the Reds pen.

Wandy Peralta is not liked by ZiPS. It has him projected to post a 4.39 ERA. Peralta is coming off a nice 2017 season, where he posted a 3.76 ERA. His 4.16 FIP made some regression likely, but he has a good chance to be a solid left-handed option in the Reds bullpen.

Candidates

Michael Lorenzen is competing for a starting rotation spot. He will obviously make the team, and if he isn’t a starter, he makes the Reds bullpen much better. Outside of Lorenzen and the four locks above, the rest is a crapshoot. Cody Reed and Amir Garrett are other starters who could end up on the opening day roster in the bullpen. Kevin Shackleford and Austin Brice looked good at times in 2017, and they are options. The Reds also have non-roster invitees with MLB experience competing: lefties Kyle Crocket and Oliver Perez, and Kevin Quackenbush. 

Conclusion

The Reds bullpen is not going to overwhelm many teams. However, the Reds have assembled a nice bullpen that should hold steady in 2018. The interesting thing to watch as we get closer to opening day is if the Reds decide to throw any of their pitching prospects into the bullpen. That would make the ceiling of the bullpen higher.

 

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. So far I like Kyle Crocket as the LOOGY.

  2. Hopefully Shackleford, Weiss and maybe Rainey are given a good bit of innings at the MLB level this year.

    I’m torn on whether Reed should be converted to the bullpen. I kind of feel like that is the best route, so he would take the 7th or 8th spot.

    Does Austin Brice have any options left?

  3. Like to see Garrett make the rotation, Finnegan go to the pen, Lorenzen in the pen. Not sold on Peralta. Had a much better first half last year, struggled down the stretch. Want to see Reed continue to work it out at AAA as a starter. Shackleford looked good last year, Weiss is overcoming injury and looked great the other day. Let the fight for those last couple spots continue.

  4. I still have thoughts time to time of Lorenzen in CF. (Of course, I also wonder what it would be like to have Rose and Morgan hitting 1-2 on this team). Lorenzen is fast and exceptionally athletic. He was not a great hitter, but does anyone know how he was as a hitter in college?

  5. Man, this isn’t the Yankees, but it looks like a major league bullpen! Some of last year’s struggles were the direct result of overuse, brought about by what was arguably the worst rotation in either league. Between improving that, two solid free agent pickups, and the young guys slotting in there, these guys can hold a lead and keep us in it after a mediocre start. Hard not to like the improvements and think a healthier rotation makes this a pretty decent unit. Good write-up!

  6. I just hope we don’t carry someone Price puts in the “long man” role. If a starter can’t get through the first or something, cover the rest with bullpen by committee, take your lumps that game, use the 10 day DL if you have to or just shuttle guys up and down to Louisville, and move on.

    We need the full pen available rather than having one guy wasted in the “break glass in case of emergency role”, and most importantly none of the young guys who could be in that role should have their development set back (again) by keeping them in Cincinnati but not letting them pitch.

  7. This has the makings of a solid bullpen. I just hope that Garrett’s spring training success out of the pen doesn’t relegate him to the bullpen in MLB. Maybe that’s where he ends up but he needs a chance to start somewhere. Right now he’d be in my MLB rotation when the season starts, if I had any say in it.

  8. Garrett should be starting if healthy

Comments are closed.

About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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