In the past few seasons, Reds Country has seen many relievers come and go, whether dominant or not. As we (hopefully) near the start of the 2022 season, there's a lot of questions as to who's going to be part of that bullpen.
Last few seasons the bullpen has been a disaster with a lot of inconsistent numbers. Last offseason, the Cincinnati Reds signed more than six veteran relievers to bolster the bullpen but none of them really worked out. Instead, those players pitched less than 20 innings and owned a 5.00-plus ERA.
The 2018 Cincinnati Reds bullpen was the real deal.
The 2018 Cincinnati Reds roster had a lot of many forgotten players such as Scooter Gennett, Jose Peraza, and Adam Duvall. The headliners in the bullpen were Jared Hughes, David Hernandez, Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, and Raisel Iglesias.
Probably my favorite Reds reliever of all-time, Hughes had a team-best 1.94 ERA and a 4-3 record in 2018. While having a BAbip of .254 and accumulating an amazing 63.6% ground ball rate, the most impressive stat of all Hughes' accomplishments that season for him was his RE24 which stands for the amount of runs saved in the situations he was in was 23.1.
Another notable veteran from that team was Hernandez. The right-hander was signed to a minor-league deal and given an invite to spring training with the hope to bringing experience to a young bullpen. Hernandez exceeded expectations.
During his 2018 campaign, Hernandez had a 5-2 record with an exceptional 2.53 ERA. Over 64 innings, the former 34th-round pick kept hitters to a .200 batting average and left hitters guessing with a 25.6% strikeout-rate. Hernandez also had a FIP of 3.38.
Raisel Iglesias was dominant as the Cincinnati Reds closer in 2018. During that season, Iggy picked up 30 saves and held a 2.38 ERA. He was able to keep batters guessing as he had a 3.2 K/BB ratio and a 10 K/9 ratio over 72 innings. His WPA for 2018 was 1.6.
Our favorite two-way player Michael Lorenzen was solid as he had a 3.11 ERA and a 4-2 record. Mikey Biceps kept the ball on the ground as he had a 49.4% ground ball rate and did a good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark.
The Cincinnati Reds 2018 gave the team a blueprint of how effective a bullpen can be. A solid mix of veteran leadership coupled with some talented rookies and young players can always lead to success. Unfortunately, the Reds haven't found the right mix of late.