On Wednesday night in Los Angeles, Raisel Iglesias racked up his seventh loss of the year to go along with two blown saves. Despite still being a well above average pitcher, this year feels like Iglesias has been more vulnerable and cost the Reds more wins. What is really going on with the Reds reliever?

In full disclosure, I have been a proponent of the Reds trading Iglesias for about the past three years. Not because I do not like him, but simply because he has value that I thought the Reds could have taken advantage of. With the Reds being closer to fielding a competitive team than in years prior and Iglesias down to 2+ years left on his contract, I am not sure how I should feel anymore.

For that reason, I have provided facts, statistics and graphs to let you, the reader, decide how you feel. Is Iglesias still the best option in the Reds bullpen? Should he be replaced as the closer? Should Dick Williams and Nick Krall ship him off to a playoff contender (let’s be real, the Reds are not one) as soon as they get an opportunity? Only you can decide. Have fun!

High Level

  • Raisel Iglesias is 29 years old. He is under contract through the 2021-2022 season and will earn just over $9MM per year.
  • Based on current contracts in place, he will be the 16th highest paid relief pitcher in baseball next season. (FYI, the Cubs have $51MM tied up in just three relievers for 2020)
  • In 2019, his ERA is 3.86 in 32.3 IP. For his career, he has a 3.05 ERA in 354.1 IP.
  • In 2019, his FIP/xFIP is 3.92/4.02. For his career, they are 3.50/3.53.

Advanced Metrics

  • In 2019, he has accumulated 0.5 WAR and -0.94 WPA (win probability added). For his career, he has accumulated 6.0 WAR and 5.65 WPA.
  • His -5.58 -WPA (his cumulative negative WPA) for 2019 ranks 3rd worst among MLB relievers.
  • Since 2015, his 5.65 WPA ranks 25th best among all MLB relievers.
  • Since 2015, his 3.50 FIP ranks 59th out of 271 MLB relievers while his xFIP ranks 58th.
  • Since 2015, his ERA- is 73, FIP- is 84, and xFIP- is 86.
  • In 2019, his ERA- is 86, FIP- is 88, and xFIP- is 92.

Splits, Strikeouts and Walks

  • Since 2015, his FIP vs LHH is 4.50 compared to 2.71 vs RHH
  • In 2019, his FIP vs LHH is 7.29 compared to 1.78 vs RHH
  • Since 2015, his K/9 is 23% above league average, his BB/9 is 5% above average and his K/BB is 29% above average.
  • In 2019, his K/9 is 33% above average, his BB/9 is 24% below average, and his K/BB is 8% above average.

Batted Ball Profile

  • Since 2015, his HR/9 is 8% above average. In 2019, it is 4% below average.
  • Since 2015, his GB% is 9% below average and his FB% is 3% above average.
  • In 2019, his GB% is 40% below average and his FB% is 20% above average.

  • Since 2015, his barrel % allowed is 5.5%, his average exit velocity allowed is 86.4 mph and his hard hit % allowed his 29.4%
  • In 2019, his barrel % allowed is 8.2%, his average exit velocity allowed is 89.1 mph and his hard hit % allowed his 34.1%.
  • In 2019, league average barrel % is 6.3%, exit velocity is 87.4 mph and hard hit % is 34.3%.

Statcast Data

  • Since 2015, his xSLG against is 0.359, his xwOBA against is 0.290 and his xwOBACON against is 0.361
  • In 2019, his xSLG against is 0.392, his xwOBA against is 0.310 and his xwOBACON against is 0.418
  • In 2019, league average xSLG is 0.409, xwOBA is 0.318 and his xwOBACON against is 0.370

Below are graphs showing his change in pitch usage and the xwOBA for each pitch over time.


27 Responses

  1. Curtis Williams

    I also feel he should have been traded several times over now. How would the Reds look now if they would have packaged him with Green and another prospect for Yelich?

  2. Matt WI

    Make the tough choice, Reds. Trade if a moment arises. The Brewers just stone cold DFA’d Hernan Perez and optioned Travis Shaw. No time for fan favorites, just getting better. I’ll quietly ignore they also DFA’d a certain second basemen too.

  3. RojoBenjy

    Since 2013, the powers that run the club have balked at trading valuable pieces until the value declines. It’s the classic mistake of 1) overvaluing what you have when teams come calling, and 2) panicking when a stock drops and selling it off. They are both logical fallacies.

    Those that run this team are not self-aware enough to break the cycle. Or if any in the organization see it, they either are afraid to tell the emperor that he has no clothes, or powerless to have their voice heard. What else are we suppose to think?

    Regarding this year and RI, since his stock has dropped, I would not sell, unless someone offers an overpay. Try to recoup some value seeing if his performance improves. If not, isn’t equivocal just to keep him? If he keeps stinking it up, just use him in low leverage situations.

    • Matt WI

      I agree that it would probably be selling low in most cases. Best case scenario for Reds this season would be to catch a contending team experience a significant bullpen injury and get desperate. Not a lot of time for that to happen, but it only takes an instant.

    • Pete

      Agree with you. It should be about building up each player’s value in order to secure a better return on the market. There are a few exceptions to this rule but it should be the rule in general.

      • RojoBenjy

        I knew it had a name! Couldn’t remember it and my Google kung fu was weak.

    • Colorado Red

      Must agree, now is not the time to trade RI.

  4. Jack

    His peak trade value has passed due to his poor performance, as usual Reds held on to a piece that was of no real use to them until too late.

    • RojoBenjy

      “Coming to you from Bob Castellini since 2013”

  5. Centerfield

    Unfortunately the only way to build RI’s trade value is going to be using him in a traditional closer role (where I believe he performs somewhat better). Boston or Atlanta could be suitors. I do agree that closers should ALWAYS be on the block. This may end up being a strategy for 2020 unless another teams injuries create desperation.

  6. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I felt we should have traded Raciel previously, also, when he had value. For, where we were, we didn’t need to worry about having a closer.

    I still feel that. Just now, we wouldn’t get as much value. As this team is performing now, we don’t have to worry about a closer. And, Raciel isn’t the closer he once was. I wasn’t that impressed with him before, definitely not that impressed with him now.

    Now, I can understand if the Reds keep him. They would simply be betting that Raciel will be a comeback player next year. Till the “comeback status” comes up, this contract is a bad contract.

  7. Bill J

    I thought last year Iggy had started to slip and suggested him and Scooter to Atlanta for LH pitcher Gohara and outfielder Pache if the Braves would do it. To late now.

  8. wanderinredsfan

    Needs to be worked into every opportunity possible until someone comes calling with a suitable offer. He needs traded before the deadline, or held until the same time next season. Unfortunately, a sub-par stretch in the meantime would effectively drive his value under water.
    It’s nail-biting time.

  9. Sliotar

    The optics of trading Iglesias now would be horrible, even if it’s the right thing to do long-term.

    His contract was re-done last winter. And, with a hint that he could pitch innings multiple ways, as some sort of version of Milwaukee’s Josh Hader, and that he is (was?) a valuable piece to the Reds.

    Add in the other winter moves, and trading him would be viewed by the public as giving up on this season. I don’t think ownership wants that, even though making the playoffs is a slim possibility.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I don’t believe it’s as much of a “giving up” on this season as most believed that the Reds weren’t going to be in contention this season anyhow, that at best we would be right about where we would be. Fact is, we thought the offense would be a lot better and we thought the pitching wouldn’t be this good.

      I will say, though, also, is Raciel is low priority on the Reds responsibility right now. If someone comes a-calling, then, with the right package, yes, I would send him off. I may even put him out there. But, the Reds need to consider 3 things right now, in no order of priority:

      1) Do we stay with the offense and consider they will come back? Do we go get some? Through trade? Through FA?

      2) Locking up some of the pitching we have that made this staff so good.

      3) Improve the minor league development/instructors/etc.

  10. KYpodman

    They should have sent him to the Marlins, with Barnhart, and a top prospect for Realmuto this past off season.

    • Lwblogger2

      I’m not sure the Marlins would have taken him. His deal isn’t a bad one but the Marlins are fully rebuilding and I don’t think his over $8-million salary would have enticed them. The top prospect and either Barnhart or Casali, yes.

  11. Klugo

    Trade him if the value is there. Otherwise, convert him into a starter. He is one of the few pitchers on the staff who throws more than two pitches. If it doesn’t work out, oh well. If it does, you’ve increased his value for your team or another.

    • Matt WI

      Remember, he was a starter first, and just didn’t appear to have the durability to make it work. I had really high hopes for him back then. Those hopes now rest on Castillo’s shoulders.

      • Klugo

        It’s been a while since then. He should be far removed from his shoulder issues. I haven’t heard anything about it for quite a while. Time to try it.

  12. ToBeDetermined

    I know this isn’t exactly on point of this thread but,
    I have to wonder if he is hurt.

    As a pitcher you can be hurt (not majorly hurt but a sore arm, shoulder, elbow) and still be able to throw the ball just as hard as you previously did. However, where it shows up initially is in lack of location and lack of being able to break off a breaking ball with the usual snap.

    I saw that “slider” or whatever that was that he tossed up there for Bourn that he put into the upper deck it just didn’t really do anything. A very hittable pitch. A meatball they used to call it.

  13. Kelly Green

    Seven losses and 2 blown saves for RI. Can’t trade him now, but we can sure take him out of the closer role. If we had made the move when his struggles began (keeping in mind they began in Spring Training), we would probably, ?? ??? ???? ?????, be a .500 ballclub by now. Salary shouldn’t dictate significance.

    • Grand Salami

      He must rehabilitate himself somewhat to have the grade value we need (him and Hernandez both). He is arguable our most valuable trade asset and we’d be forced to sell low. He only needs 3-5 clean innings to get those numbers closer to career marks. It’d be good to see him do that this homestand. Afterwards, they absolutely need to sell him for solid A/AA/AAA package.

      Forget optics. This is about winning both Iglesias, Roark can net a really nice haul that can help in two years. Considering the terms of the J. Iglesias signing, that would be a big flip.

  14. Lwblogger2

    As the team isn’t in contention but considering Iglesias has 2 more years on his deal, I can easily see both sides of this.

    On one hand there is the “Always be trading Closers” rule, which has been advocated quite a lot. On the other hand you have the “A team that’s going to compete needs someone to close out games.”

    Going on the assumption that the Reds are trying to compete in 2020 and beyond, then I’d be fairly reluctant to trade Iglesias. I wouldn’t actively shop him. Why? Well it isn’t so much about just closing out games. It has more to do with this simple question. Can the Reds get the same kind of production for the same amount of cash? If you move Iglesias then there is a whole in the pen where he was. Either you need to pick up a “Closer” or your in-house options need to close. Who works the high-leverage situations in the 7th and 8th? The 6th?

    Now the wildcard really is this. If the Reds want to use Iglesias in non-traditional (since the 80s), non-save, high-leverage situations, and if Iglesias continues to be resistant to such usage and continues to not perform well in those circumstances; I think you have to shop him. The players don’t run the team. While a player may have a say, at the end of the day the player needs to perform in the situations that managment wants to use him in.

    With the way he’s currently performing, if the Reds do decide to move him, I wouldn’t be shocked at a rather low return. He’s got a good team-record and he’s not having a bad year exactly, but he’s owed pretty good money (not unreasonable). The team wanting to aquire him also may want to use him in those situations he’s been unhappy and non-performant (small sample) in.