Best Cincinnati Reds Ever: Bronson Arroyo v. Jeff Brantley


First Round Matchup No. 4 Bronson Arroyo v. No. 13 Jeff Brantley


Bronson Arroyo played six seasons elsewhere before finding his nice with the Cincinnati Reds in 2006. In his first season with the Reds, Arroyo made his only career All-Star appearance, sported a 3.29 ERA and led the league in both games started (35) and innings pitched (240 2/3). The 29-year-old garnered MVP votes and was the other half to a surprisingly fearsome 1-2 punch with Aaron Harang.

Over his final seven season with the club, Arroyo eclipsed 200 innings in all but one season — he managed just 199 innings in 2011 — and had a sub-4.00 ERA in four of his final five seasons.

The long leg-kicking righty was never a blow-it-by-you pitcher evident by his 5.9 K/9 career mark with Cincinnati, but his ability to eat innings — especially in a time where the Reds’ bullpen was in a similar state as it is today — and keep the Redlegs in the ball game was immeasurable. Despite leading the league in home runs allowed two separate times, Arroyo never started less than 32 games in a season while with the Reds and maintained a winning record in all but two seasons.

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In 2010 Arroyo received Cy Young Award votes — finishing 12th in the NL voting — while sporting a 17-10 record with a 3.88 ERA 1.145 WHIP and 215 2/3 innings. He added a Gold Glove that season as the Reds finished 91-71 and won the Central division for the first time in 15 years.

He’d wear his hair in cornrows as he sought after his 10th win of the season, wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and was a rock star on the side, even playing his guitar in the Reds’ pregame show.

He finished with 105 wins in a Reds uniform, held a winning record and demonstrated his durability and rubber arm with 14 complete games.


Jeff Brantley played 14 MLB seasons and only four with the Cincinnati Reds — but those four seasons were some of the best in his career. In his first three seasons he combined for 87 saves including a career-high and league-leading 44 saves in 1996 when he won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award. In the two seasons prior, The Cowboy was a cog in a Reds bullpen that helped pace Cincinnati to back-to-back division titles.

He had a career 2.64 ERA in his four seasons with the Reds including a sub-3.00 ERA in each of his first three seasons. He struck out nearly a better per inning across his four-year tenure with the Reds, but was always a little wild with a 3.4 BB/9.

Despite just four seasons with the club, Brantley racked up more than half of his career saves (88 of 172) and sported the best peripherals of his career.

Brantley has since transitioned into broadcasting, first with ESPN on its Baseball Tonight show, but has spent nearly the last decade with the Reds’ broadcasting team.

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