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Cincinnati Reds: Matt Wisler Spring Training preview

By Brad Griffith
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 30: Matt Wisler #41 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on September 30, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati 6-5 in 10 innings. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 30: Matt Wisler #41 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on September 30, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati 6-5 in 10 innings. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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With an influx of new pitching acquired in free agency, the Cincinnati Reds have some decisions to make during Spring Training. Where does Matt Wisler fit?

No one can deny the new-found excitement that has crept its way into the heart of Cincinnati Reds fans. With the demonstrated desire to improve by addressing their biggest needs, the team is shaping up to make some noise in 2019. Will Matt Wisler, who was acquired by the Reds in a trade with the Atlanta Braves last year, be able to find his way onto the 25-man roster?

With established guys like Michael Lorenzen, Jared Hughes, Keury Mella, and Raisel Iglesias getting all the talk, not much is said about the other pitchers fighting for a spot. With youth as the name of the game, plenty of young arms and prospects need Spring Training as their shot to make a lasting impression. Wisler is one of those guys.

Acquired in a trade deadline deal last season that sent outfielder Adam Duvall to the Braves, pitcher Matt Wisler is looking to contribute in a crowded bullpen. While his numbers certainly weren’t the best as a Brave, he definitely came into a groove in the Queen City. In 11 appearances for the Reds, Wisler totaled 13 innings pitched with a 2.03 ERA. Of those innings pitched, he struck out 11 and had a 0.98 WHIP.

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While in the same season with Atlanta, he pitched 26 innings and ended with an ERA of 5.40 with 21 strikeouts. Even those two averaging to an ERA of 4.28 is still his career high to date. While being a starter was not working out, Wisler is proving to be a dominant reliever in the making. With the additions of starting pitching this off-season, his designation to the bullpen is all but inevitable

With some players, a simple change in scenery does wonders for a career. When he first came to the Cincinnati Reds, Wisler did spend some time in the minors, but quickly was brought up and made a great impression. For Wisler, he could become the next Hughes or Lorenzen and a strong bridge to Iglesias in the ninth inning.

A dominant fastball pitcher, Wisler also has a nasty slider that tops out around 80-MPH, part of what made him a top prospect for the Braves earlier in his career.  A native of Bryan, Ohio, Wisler is hoping his wide array of pitches can make him invaluable to the Cincinnati Reds bullpen.

If Wisler can build off the momentum he had out of the bullpen in 2018, there is a good chance he can slide into a roster spot and shine in Spring Training. If he indeed does make the team, the pressure will be on to be even better than he was, and in more appearances too.

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With the Cincinnati Reds bullpen as an overwhelming strength of this team, only time will tell if Wisler, in a crowded young pitching group looking to make an impact, will be able to succeed. The Reds certainly will have some decisions to make if Wisler performs well this spring.

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