Art Warren was the Reds most underrated rookie performer in 2021

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Art Warren (77) throws a pitch.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Art Warren (77) throws a pitch. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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When it comes to rookie performers in 2021, the Cincinnati Reds roster was littered with first-year players. But the most underrated rookie on the team was relief pitcher Art Warren.

It's easy to dismiss Warren as a rookie as he did make his major league debut in 2019. However, the right-hander's time in the bigs that season amounted to what's commonly referred to as a cup of coffee.

Art Warren was the Reds most underrated rookie.

Warren appeared in six games during the 2019 season for the Seattle Mariners, logged just 5.1 innings pitched, struck out five batters, and didn't allow a single run. Ironically, Warren's debut came against his hometown Reds on September 12, 2019.

Warren was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers about a year ago and was designated for assignment last December. The Reds swung a trade for Warren, sending cash considerations to the Rangers.

Art Warren began the 2021 season at Triple-A Louisville. After nine games for the Bats, the Reds bolstered their bullpen by adding the University of Cincinnati alum to the active roster.

While some would raise an eyebrow at the promotion due to Warren's 5.23 ERA with Triple-A Louisville, his 21 punch outs over 10.1 innings certainly caught the attention of the Cincinnati front office and coaching staff.

Warren did not disappoint following his elevation to the big league roster. Before hitting the IL with an oblique injury, Warren posted 21 strikeouts over 14.1 innings, a K/9 of 13.19, and an ERA of 1.88.

Art Warren's absence over the All-Star break was noticeable. The Cincinnati Reds bullpen, which was already struggling, saw the likes of Josh Osich and Michael Feliz closing out games.

Warren returned for the Reds stretch run in September and the right-hander didn't allow a run over 6.2 innings of work. During that time, Warren posted a ridiculous strikeout-rate of 54.2%.

Warren relied on a mix of fastballs and sliders this past season, going to the latter 58% of the time. Warren's breaking ball has great movement and he worked the upper part of the zone with a fastball that averaged 95.2 MPH.

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On a team with Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson, it's easy to forget that Art Warren was in his "rookie" season as well. Warren will be a key piece of the Cincinnati bullpen heading into 2022.