3 Reds pitchers who will be tested early and often in 2022

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jeff Hoffman looks on.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jeff Hoffman looks on. / Emilee Chinn/GettyImages
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Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tony Santillan (64) checks the runner at first base during a spring training game.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tony Santillan (64) checks the runner at first base during a spring training game. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

2. Reds RHP Tony Santillan will be tested early and often.

It still hasn't been decided what Tony Santillan's role will be with the Cincinnati Reds in 2022, but it;s looking more and more like last year's rookie is ticketed for the bullpen. During the start of the season, it's easy to Santillan coming on in relief for two or even three innings of work. But as the season goes along, the right-hander could be a weapon late in games.

Much like the aforementioned Jeff Hoffman, Santillan tried his hand in the Reds rotation last season. In four starts, the former second-round pick went just 16.2 innings and posted a respectable 3.78 ERA. However, opposing batters were lighting up Santillan to the tune of an .883 OPS.

Santillan was sent back to Triple-A Louisville midway through the season with the idea of transforming the right-hander from a starter to the reliever. The difference was staggering. Santillan appeared 26.2 innings out of the Reds bullpen and posted a 2.36 ERA while allowing a measly .173 batting average to opposing hitters.

Tony Santillan is still in the mix to open the 2022 season as a starter, but with Reiver Sanmartin, Nick Lodolo, and Hunter Greene in that group as well, the Cincinnati Reds would be better served to allow Santillan to come on in relief in the event that one of the rookie starter struggles.