Homer-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park are giving this Reds pitcher fits

This was always a concern.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Emilio Pagan
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Emilio Pagan / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds identified a problem this past offseason and went out of their way to recitify it. The Reds bullpen made a valiant attempt to help keep the team's playoff hopes alive last season, but the starting rotation continually put the relief corps in a tough spot.

The quartet of Buck Farmer, Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, and Ian Gibaut were overworked and ultimately fell apart down the stretch. Reds President of Baseball Operations saw the need and addressed this past winter.

Cincinnati brought in several relievers from outside the organization, including Nick Martinez, Justin Wilson, and Brent Suter. But the first player the Reds signed once free agency began was Emilio Pagán. A respected veteran, Pagán had one flaw that Reds fans were hoping he'd left in the past. Unfortunately, it's come back to haunt him during the early-going.

GABP is giving Reds RHP Emilio Pagán fits

The one thing that every single Reds fan knows is that pitching at Great American Ball Park can turn even the best hurler into a sitting duck if he doesn't keep the ball on the ground. That's where Pagán finds himself at the moment.

Pagán made two relief appearances over the weekend after the Redlegs returned home, and the right-hander allowed home runs in back-to-back appearances. Pagán's ground ball rate on the season is 35.7%, and thus, he's fallen victim to the long ball.

After posting a home run to fly ball ratio of 18.5% in 2022, Pagán was able to see that number dwindle to just 5.3% last season. Unfortunately, pitching at GABP has seen that figure skyrocket to 21.1% during the first month-plus this season.

But of the four big flies that Pagán has surrendered this season, none have come on the road. Opposing batters have crushed Pagán to the tune of a .737 slugging percentage while pitching at GABP. That number drops to just .250 on the road. Pagán owns a 1.80 ERA on the road, but his 8.31 ERA at home is unsightly. This is what GABP does to fly ball pitchers.

Pagán has done a marvelous job of striking hitters out this season. Pagán's 34.8% chase rate is among the top-10% in baseball, and he's striking out one of every four batters he faces. But if Pagán can't figure out how to keep the ball on the ground, the idea of coming home after a long road trip won't bring fond memories.

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