Cincinnati Reds: Ranking the best pitchers for late-game situations

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 4: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 4: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the eighth inning
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 07: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the eighth inning (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

2. Lucas Sims has been the Reds best reliever thus far.

I almost, almost put Lucas Sims at No. 1. If he continues to pitch like he has during the first few weeks, he’ll quickly earn the trust of David Bell in high-pressure situations. Sims, who was picked in 2018 as part of the trade that send Adam Duvall to the Atlanta Braves, leads the Reds bullpen with a 1.08 ERA.

No one in the Reds pen has thrown more innings (8.1) than Sims, which should give you an idea of how confident Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson are in the right-hander’s ability. Sims was a former first-round pick for a reason. Once thought to be a possible piece of the Reds rotation, it looks like Sims is carving out a nice niche as a reliever.

Sims (11) trails only Raisel Iglesias (12) in strikeouts among Reds relief pitchers and opponents are only touching him up to the tune of .107. That’ll play all day long. Sims has also shutdown left-handed hitters with a .059 batting average against.

There’s not much to dislike about the type of performance Lucas Sims has had in 2020. Sims xBA of .141 is among the top 6% in the league. A player’s xBA, Expanded Batting Average, is an advanced metric that measures the likelihood of a batted ball becoming a hit. To give you some more insight, the MLB average is .249 and Sims’ teammate Trevor Bauer leads the Reds with an xBA of .115.