For the second time in as many days, the Cincinnati Reds have acquired a relief pitcher their 2021 bullpen. Cionel Pérez was a former top prospect within the Houston Astros organization. Pérez was traded to Cincinnati in exchange for Luke Berryhill, the Reds 13th-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.
This is yet another move forecasted by general manager Nick Krall before the offseason began. Pérez has one minor-league option remaining, something that Krall was very focused on after the conclusion of the 2020 season. The Reds GM wants the capability to move relievers up and down I-71 from Triple-A Louisville to the big leagues.
Cionel Pérez is the latest player to join the Reds bullpen.
Cionel Pérez was a relatively high-profile signing out of Cuba back in 2016. At 5-foot-11-inches tall, Pérez doesn’t have the prototypical size that teams look for in a starting pitcher. For his major league career, Pérez is 1-1 with a 5.74 ERA over 20 appearances, all of which came out of the Astros’ bullpen.
Pérez joins Amir Garrett as the only left-handers in Cincinnati’s bullpen. The Reds still have some openings on their 40-man roster and will surely invite some veteran southpaws to join the team in Goodyear, Arizona.
As recent as 2018, MLB Pipeline ranked Pérez among the Top 5 prospects within Houston’s farm system. While working his way up through the Astros’ minor leagues, Pérez had there pitched that rated at least above-average.
This past season, while only appearing in seven games, Cionel Pérez made some strides in several areas of his game. The left-hander, according to FanGraphs, boosted his ground ball percentage to a career-best 58.8%. Pérez also cut his hard hit percentage from 48.4% in 2019 to 33.3% last season.
What is Cionel Pérez’s future with the Reds?
I think it’s safe to say that Pérez will, at the very least, bounce between Triple-A Louisville and the majors next season. With the Cincinnati Reds bullpen devoid of left-handed relievers outside of Amir Garrett, David Bell will surely be looking for left-handed bullpen help.
Pérez adds another wrinkle into the competition for Cincinnati’s relief corp. Garrett, Lucas Sims, Tejay Antone, and Noé Ramirez are all likely locks to be part of next year’s bullpen. Pérez will join the likes of Sal Romano, Ryan Hendrix, Riley O’Brien, and José De León for the final spots on the Reds 2021 Opening Day roster.