Cincinnati Reds’ lefty Tony Cingrani adds cutter to his pitch selection, but is it too little, too late?

Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports /

Tony Cingrani adds cutter to his repertoire after the Cincinnati Reds close the door on him starting.

Tony Cingrani came up as a top pitching prospect for the Cincinnati Reds before he ended up in the bullpen.  Cingrani was solid as a starter in 2013 and 2014, but he didn’t consistently go deep in games in 2014.  He started the season in Reds’ rotation, but ended up injured before the All-Star Game.

When looking at winning percentage, the timing of Cingrani’s injury matches perfectly with the end of the Reds’ chances of making the playoffs.  Through June in 2014 the Reds were in the wild card chase.  When Cingrani got injured, the Reds fell apart.

When Cingrani returned to the Reds he was placed in the bullpen.  He wasn’t successful in that role, yet they made him the primary set-up man for the 2016 season.  When J.J. Hoover fell apart and was demoted early in the season, Cingrani became the closer.  Now they don’t really have a role for Cingrani.

Cingrani is not an MLB quality closer.  In fact, if they could get his stamina back up, he may be a quality starter.  The way the Reds converted him into a reliever is quite curious.

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Two years after the fact, it may be too late.  The window may have closed on Cingrani making it as a starter with the Reds.  Of course, now is when Cingrani decides to listen to the same advice he has gotten for three years and spent the off-season working on another pitch.

The Cincinnati Reds would have preferred a slider to a cutter for Tony Cingrani’s new pitch to help him against lefties.

The cutter will bore into right handed hitters when Cingrani throws it.  It is a nasty pitch that will make him even stronger against right handers.  It is an ideal pitch for Cingrani to add, if he wants to make another go as a starter.

Unfortunately, as a reliever, a slider that would have added more up down action against lefties would have been a superior choice.  Cingrani has done OK against lefties in that he can control their slugging average relatively well.  However, he has never had good enough splits to make him a powerful tool against elite left handed batters.

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This may very well be a case of too little too late.  Hopefully, if nothing else, his off-season throwing regimen will allow Cingrani to have his second healthy year in a row.  The proof will be in the pudding for Cingrani this year.