Cincinnati Reds: 5 bold predictions for the 2021 season

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds after hitting a two-run home run. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds after hitting a two-run home run. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches.
CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 20: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

3. Lucas Sims, not Amir Garrett, leads the Reds in saves.

I’ve been banging this drum all offseason, and I’ll continue to do so heading into the regular season; Lucas Sims, not Amir Garrett, should be the Cincinnati Reds closer in 2021. Until Garrett shows that he can successfully get outs versus right-handed batters, I’m not convinced that AG can handle the rigors of being the team’s closer.

Amir Garrett is one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. I love his passion and tenacity on the mound. That alter-ego, AG, is a fierce competitor that no left-handed batter wants to face. However, right-handed hitters took Garrett to task last season.

When facing left-handed batters, AG was lights-out. Garrett did not allow a single ball to the yard and left-handed hitters had a paltry slash line of just .043/.214/.043. But, when facing a right-handed batter, Garrett allowed four home runs and an opposing OPS of .807. If he wants to be the Reds closer, Garrett must improve his performance against right-handed hitters.

I’m sure he’ll be given the opportunity, as David Bell finally gave Jesse Winker the chance to battle left-handed pitchers last season after being benched almost every time a southpaw stepped onto the mound in 2019. But, Bell will also have other options in his bullpen, including fellow left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle, along with Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone.

I think we’ll see a closer-by-committee, which is what Bell wanted to do two years, using Raisel Iglesias as his bullpen ace. Look for both Garrett and Sims to get opportunities to close out games in 2021, but I’ll give the edge to the right-hander this season.