Cincinnati Reds build bullpen around Wandy Peralta and Michael Lorenzen

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds discovered their recipe for success in the bullpen during the 2017 season.

In 2016 the Cincinnati Reds had one of the worst pitching staffs in team history.  They set a record for most home runs ever allowed in one season.  The only team in the National League with a worse bullpen ERA than the Reds in 2016 was the Colorado Rockies.

Michael Lorenzen joined the Reds’ bullpen in mid-season 2016.  It is the addition of Lorenzen and current closer Raisel Iglesias that prognosticators credit with turning the bullpen around.  Lorenzen was a starter, but appears set as a back end reliever going forward.  He’s part of the reason, the Reds should have more staying power going forward than the Milwaukee Brewers.

In 2016 Lorenzen pitched 50 innings over 35 appearances going 2-1.  He had an ERA of 2.88, striking out 48.  He also picked up ten holds and two blown saves.

In 2015 Lorenzen started 21 games for the Reds.  He went 4-9 with an ERA of 5.40.  He was only a touch better than a replacement pitcher.  That sent him to the bullpen along with his injury history.

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In 2017 Lorenzen was the primary set-up man in the bullpen.  He pitched 84 innings over 70 appearances.  He had two saves and an ERA of 4.45.

After the trade of Tony Cingrani to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cincinnati Reds put all of their faith in Wandy Peralta.

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The Reds traded Tony Cingrani to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade deadline deal.  He reconnected with former minor league catcher Yasmani Grandal in a losing effort for the Dodgers.  Cingrani was injured during the 2017 season giving Peralta his chance.

Peralta made his MLB debut in 2016.  It was rough.  He had an ERA of 8.59 over ten outings.

This season Peralta responded.  He is not a traditional lefty specialist.  His splits are similar against both lefties and righties.

In 2017 Peralta went 3-4 with 16 holds.  He threw 64 ⅔ innings over 69 games.  The Reds often protected him by not letting him face the opposition’s best right-handed batter.

Heading into 2018, Peralta and Lorenzen are set to set-up.  They have the stuff and the experience.  If Igliesias ends up leaving, then Lorenzen is the short-term heir apparent to close games.

Next: The Reds' top prospects are updated

Now the Reds just need to build both the rest of the bullpen and the starting rotation.  However, there are plenty of excess starting pitchers that could go to the pen.  Then again, the Reds could add more talent during the off-season too.  That is the greatest part of being a fan of a rebuilding team during the off-season.  Every day could bring improvement.