Decreased velocity could be sign of something more troubling for this Reds pitcher

What's wrong with Buck Farmer?
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Buck Farmer
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Buck Farmer / Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/GettyImages

Buck Farmer was one of the Cincinnati Reds most reliable relief pitchers in 2023. Farmer made 71 appearances out of the Reds bullpen last season and helped keep the team afloat down the stretch. Farmer went 4-5 with a 4.20 ERA, punched out 70 batters, and recorded three saves.

The Reds decided to bring back Farmer this offseason, signing the right-hander to a one-year, $2.25 million deal. Farmer pitched well this spring, racking up 12 strikeouts and walking just one batter through nine games during Cactus League play.

But Farmer's start to season has been troubling. Monday's performance against the Seattle Mariners was a reflection of just how poorly the veteran has performed this season. But Farmer's early-season struggles have been highlighted by a dip in velocity.

Decreased velocity could send Reds RHP Buck Farmer to the IL

Last season, according to Baseball Savant, Farmer's four-seam fastball averaged 93.9 mph. He went to the heater 43% of the time. During his first seven appearances out of the Reds bullpen this season, Farmer's four-seamer is sitting at 91.2 mph, and he's turning to his fastball just 15% of the time. That's a drop of almost three miles per hour. Combine that with his usage-rate, and there could be more going on that Reds fans are unaware of.

With the rash of pitcher injuries popping up throughout Major League Baseball this season, Reds fans are hoping that Farmer's name isn't added to that list. Spencer Strider (Atlanta Braves), Shane Bieber (Cleveland Guardians), and the Reds own Tejay Antone have all been ruled out for the season following elbow injuries.

The Reds have reinforcements working their way back to the big leagues. Ian Gibaut, who was suffering from a forearm injury throughout spring training, could be back on the mound when the Reds return from their road trip on Friday. Sam Moll, who was slowed by a shoulder injury, is on a rehab assignment as well.

Look for one or both of those pitchers to return to the Reds roster later this month. If Farmer's struggles can be attributed to an injury, fans could see the 33-year-old to wind up on the 15-day IL. If not, the Reds may be forced to designate Farmer for assignment. Based on his performance this season, if Cincinnati DFA's Farmer, chances are good that he could accept an outright assignment to Triple-A Louisville and remain in the organization.

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