Jun 2, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover (60) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 5-4 in eleven innings. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Analyze That: Jonathan Broxton vs. Other Setup Options

Apr 7, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton (51) pitches during the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park. The Reds defeated the Nationals 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to make the case that this year, the Cincinnati Reds Bullpen have let a few get away from them.

Sure, it’s baseball. It happens sometimes. I mean, after all, the Reds are currently 35-22 and 2.5 games behind division leading St. Louis Cardinals. But could they be closer? Maybe even on top? You betcha they could be.

In 2013 the Reds starting rotation, Tony  Cingrani included, is a combined 23-11, which means the bullpen isn’t looking anywhere near as hot.

It seems one player getting a fair share of the blame is Jonathan Broxton. Broxton, a trade deadline acquisition and big off-season signing for the Reds hasn’t been awful in the least bit, but he has definitely been a tad shaky. Sure it’s not all fair to him dealing with the injury to bullpen mate and fellow set up man Sean Marshall (0-1, 2.57 ERA), but 2-1 with a 4.63 ERA isn’t so great either. Not to mention three blown saves.

Remember when I said the Reds were 2.5 games back?

To the point, Broxton is a talented pitcher, no doubt about it and is capable of being a set up man as we have seen in the past. Heck, the guy has even been a closer in the past. Maybe Dusty Baker and Bryan Price could consider a shake up until Broxton can get it back together. I can give them a few ideas or options. Worth a suggestion, right?

Let’s start with one of my favorite guys on the team, Sam LeCure.

Sam isn’t exactly a big time pitcher among Major League fans, but the guy can pitch. LeCure has had a few titles for this Reds team, from starter to long relief to mid-relief. Maybe setup guy wouldn’t be so bad for a guy who throws a lot of strikes.

Sam LeCure this season is sporting a 1-0 with a 1.16 ERA in 21 games pitched. in 23.1 IP, LeCure has 25 Strikeouts and just nine walks. Compared to Broxton’s 15K/ 10BB. LeCure gets my vote, sure, but lets gander at two other names.

Alfredo Simon is another one you may think about.

Simon is a bit of a dark horse yes, but a 4-1 with a 2.73 ERA, and not giving up an earned run since April 27th vs the Washington Nationals is pretty impressive. The only worry there is who would be the long relief man if the Reds run into trouble.

But another interesting puzzle piece, why not J.J. Hoover?

0-4 looks bad, yes, but Hoover hasn’t been all that bad this year when looking at the big picture. A 3.47 ERA, 3 saves and 23 K’s in 32.1 IP. Hoover could be a big part of the Reds bullpen for years to come.

Just a thought, could cause a stir, but could be a nice help.

What are your thoughts?

Tags: Cincinnati Reds Reds Bullpen

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