Discover more from The Skippers View
The Best Bullpen In Baseball?
The secret to the Reds’ success
The biggest surprise of the 2023 MLB season has been the emergence of the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have been consistently one of the worst teams in baseball for the past decade. They have yet to make a playoff appearance since their 2013 Wild Card loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. This year did not look too different from previous years, as the Reds entered June with a record of 26-30, good enough for third in the very weak NL Central. However, starting on June 10th, the Reds went on a 12 game (Tied for a franchise record) win streak that catapulted them into first place in their division.
A lot of the Reds success can be attributed to rookie phenom Elly De La Cruz, who is slashing .325/.363/.524 with 16 SB in only 30 games. Additionally, rookies Spencer Steer and Matt McClain have had exceptional seasons, registering a 121 and 129 OPS+ respectively. The final rookie standout for the Reds has been Andrew Abbott, who has been one of the best starting pitchers in the MLB. Abbott has a record of 4-1 with a 201 ERA+ and 3.86 FIP through his seven MLB starts. While these flashy rookies have been mostly responsible for the Reds incredible season, the unsung heroes of this club reside in the bullpen.
The Reds bullpen has easily faced the most pressure of any team in the league so far. They have entered 137 high leverage situations and inherited 177 runners, both league highs. Despite this, they have one of the lowest inherited runners score percentages with a mere 28%. The star of the bullpen has been closer Alexis Diaz, who leads the league with 26 saves. Diaz, in his second season, holds an ERA of 2.03 and was selected to the All Star Game. In addition to Diaz, Ian Gibaut has been impressive with a record of 8-1 with a 3.27 ERA, while lefty Alex Young has a 2.52 ERA in 40 games. The Reds young and explosive offense (Top 5 in Runs/Game) is without a doubt the main reason the team has experienced this level of success; the bullpen deserves way more credit.