Cincinnati Reds: Predicting the bullpen after addition of Sean Doolittle

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Sean Doolittle #63 of the Washington Nationals delivers the pitch. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Sean Doolittle #63 of the Washington Nationals delivers the pitch. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – SEPTEMBER 25: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Will Lucas Sims or Amir Garrett be the Reds closer?

Assuming that Sean Doolittle occupies a role other than the team’s closer, who David Bell trots out onto the mound at the end of the game with his team holding a lead likely comes down to two players; Amir Garrett or Lucas Sims. I’ve advocated since Raisel Iglesias was traded that Sims should be the guy, but Doolittle’s signing seems to signal it may be Garrett.

It’s not to say that I believe Garrett would be a terrible option as Cincinnati’s closer, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth; provided the opposing team’s lineup is left-handed heavy entering the ninth inning. Garrett’s track record against right-handed hitters is not good, and that’s what makes me hesitant to anoint AG as the team’s closer.

Garrett put up tremendous numbers during the abbreviated 2020 season. AG was counted on 21 different times last season and recorded his first career save. The hard-throwing left-hander has made no bones about it; he wants to the the closer. However, right-handed hitting opponents put up a .231/.268/.538 slash line against Garrett. Against fellow lefties, Garrett allowed an OPS of just .258.

Sims, on the other hand, rose to prominence last season, and his spin-rate is among the best in baseball. Sims has a fast and deliberate approach on the mound and struck out 34 batters over 25.2 innings in 2020.

Sims, a former starting pitcher, has a yet to record a save, but that shouldn’t affect Bell’s decision to go with the Georgia native. Sims lefty/ righty splits are more equal, and in fact, the 26-year-old actually performed better against left-handers (.527 OPS against) than he did against right-handers (.582 OPS against).