Cincinnati Reds Week-in-Review April 1.0


The rebuild that should’ve never been a rebuild is in full swing. Guess what, kids? When the bullpen does its job, the Cincinnati Reds win games. When the bullpen doesn’t, the Cincinnati Reds do not win games.

2014 Reds Bullpen: 31 losses

2015 Reds Bullpen: 31 losses

The first week was a success because the bullpen did its job, except for the grand slam off J.J. Hoover that worked into the Reds’ only loss of the week. So the Cincinnati Reds sit atop the NL Central standings at 5-1, yes 5-1, and in first place.

  • What is going right:

Eugenio Suarez is hitting everything. When I say everything, I mean .435/.500/.957 with four HR and nine RBI everything. He is also leading the team in hits (10) and total bases (24). The most exciting or impressive stat is only one strikeout in 23 at-bats for Mr. Suarez.

Hey, you guys that wanted to trade two-time top-10 MVP vote-getter Jay Bruce: all he has done this first week is hit .391/.417/.739 with a Suarez-tying and team-leading 9 RBI, capped off with today’s walk off game winning RBI triple.

Opening Day starter Raisel Iglesias made his second start of the season yesterday and has kept the team in both games. His 2.31 ERA through 11 2/3 innings has shown glimpses of what’s likely to come over 34 starts and 200+ innings in 2016. Iglesias has struck out 12 while only walking two, which has been helpful because the only alarming stat is the 14 hits he’s given up.

How did we start off this weekly review? Oh yeah, the bullpen. So far it’s the culprit of this week’s only loss. The reason why the Reds have five in the win column is the bullpen’s 3.12 ERA and if you take out that pesky grand slam, the bullpen has a shiny 1.06 ERA in 17 innings. It’s just that 1/3 of an inning with Hoover’s grand slam that blemishes the overall performance of the bullpen so far.

  • What is going wrong:

Starting pitchers are only averaging a little over five innings per start. 27 2/3 innings over 5 starts isn’t enough to keep the bullpen fresh. As good as the bullpen has been, this trend will not stay over the course of a full season.

The Schebler/Duvall platoon is stunting both players’ development. Both these hitters have shown signs of all-out producing, only to be sat the very next day. While Scott Schebler is hitting .286 along with Adam Duvall‘s .308, that part statically is working in the short sample size, but having either one on the bench at a time leaves a run producer on the bench. They had five doubles between them in the first week over 27 at-bats.

Keyvius Sampson is picking up right where he left off last year. After a dismal 6.54 ERA in 2015 over 52+ innings, Sampson has come in and given up hits off his less than stellar movement fastball. While he does hit the mid-90’s, it sits straight and allows the hitters to basically tee off on him. The Padres organization released him knowing this and the Reds are trying to turn him into Alfredo Simon 2.0 into the bullpen. Let’s hope his spring stats of 12 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings and 2.89 ERA start to show up this month. Control is also an issue as he walked six in those 9 1/3 innings. I’m still trying to figure out how Drew Hayes got sent down with an 0.82 ERA over 11 innings with a 15 strikeout and 4 walk spring.

What happened to Devin Mesoraco? The All-Star catcher’s first week of 2016 has culminated in a .125/.222/.125 slash line. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to anything this bad or anything THAT good above because it’s all such a small sample size, but still, two singles and two walks out of Cincinnati’s surgically repaired catcher the first week of the season isn’t what we were all expecting. I’m just glad he’s out there catching though. Once Mez hits his stride, having an extra 25 HR bat in the lineup will be crucial to this year.

  • Overall Assessment:

The Reds are off to a great start. The rotation is keeping them in games and the bullpen is answering the call more often than not with a cast of characters you normally wouldn’t think you could rely on. Blake Wood, Caleb Cotham, Tony Cingrani, and Jumbo Diaz all have 0.00 ERAs and have combined for 12 relief innings. It’s remarkable that the bullpen had as great of a first week as it did. The overall 3.00 ERA for team pitching will keep them in games, but we all have to agree that Hoover has to step up into the closer’s role or someone else has to lock these down. The offense is creating runs and that is something it hasn’t really done since 2013 with Shin-Soo Choo getting on base. Now it’s Suarez being the all-world OBP man.

I can’t wait until Joey Votto starts hitting.