Reds reliever Art Warren proved his mettle during surprising 2021 campaign

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Art Warren (77) throws a pitch.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Art Warren (77) throws a pitch. / Kareem Elgazzar via Imagn Content

The Cincinnati Reds bullpen was an unmitigated disaster in 2021. Collectively, the relief corps' ERA was an eye-popping 4.99, good enough for 13th in the National League. Still, a few stalwart performances stood out, but few were more surprising than Art Warren's 2021 campaign.

Warren, who was acquired from the Texas Rangers during the offseason after spending his early years in the Seattle Mariners organization, was left off the Opening Day roster. Warren was optioned to Triple-A Louisville to begin the 2021 season and had a very inauspicious start.

Art Warren had tremendous success with the Reds in 2021.

Appearing in 15 games at Triple-A Louisville prior to being called up by the Reds, Warren had thrown 16 innings but his ERA was sitting at 5.06. Butt, digging a little deeper, you'd see that Warren's FIP was 1.36 and the right-hander's xFIP was 1.22. The bottom line is, Warren was the recipient of some bad breaks.

The 28-year-old got the call in mid-May and threw two innings, recorded two punch outs and two free passes. However, Warren didn't allow a run to cross home plate, saw his brief appearance in a Reds uniform was a success.

Warren was sent back to Triple-A, but recalled once again in June and became an important piece of the Cincinnati relief corps. Before succumbing to an oblique injury prior to the All-Star break, Warren saw action in 16 games spanning 12.1 innings and posted a 13.86 K/9 and 2.19 ERA.

Art Warren returned from the 60-day IL in September and was right back to his dominant ways. The Ohio native appeared in eight games down the stretch for Cincinnati and didn't allow a single earned run while posting a 17.55 K/9 and an absurd 54.2% strikeout-rate.

I have to admit, I did not see Warren as a key piece of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen, but the bottom line is, his 1.29 ERA was the best of any pitcher on the team. That speaks volumes about the potential Warren has and he should be considered a big part of David Bell's bullpen next season.

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Art Warren is a two-pitch hurler whose slider was flat-out dominant last season. I'm not sure if I'd go as far to consider Warren as a high-leverage reliever just yet, but his 2021 campaign will definitely get him some consideration for that role heading into next season. Warren receives a solid B+ for his work on the mound this past season.