1 underrated Reds player who will outperform expectations in 2023

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ian Gibaut.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ian Gibaut. / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds claimed Ian Gibaut off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers back in early-July. An 11th-round draft pick in 2015, Gibaut put up solid numbers for a bullpen that was one of the worst in all of baseball.

Gibaut's stuff is not in question. The right-hander has a fastball that sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and his changeup is a plus-pitch. He'll also mix in a slider on occasion.

After seeing a sporadic amount of time in the majors while playing for the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, and Cleveland Guardians, Gibaut finally accumulated a fair amount of opportunities for Cincinnati in 2022.

Look for Reds RHP Ian Gibaut to outperform expectations in 2023.

With so many question marks surrounding the Cincinnati Reds bullpen heading into the offseason and free agent spending likely nonexistent, it's quite likely that Ian Gibaut will return for his second stint in the Queen City next season.

Gibaut made one appearance for Cleveland before being cut, was picked up by the Dodgers, then claimed off waivers by Cincinnati. In 34.2 innings of work, the 28-year-old posted a 4.67 ERA but a 3.03 FIP.

Gibaut also limited the damage via the long ball (0.78 HR/9) and commanded the strike zone quite well (12.46 K/9). Walks were a problem, however, as Gibaut allowed 18 free passes (4.67 BB/9). But with a walk-rate of 11.3%, a lot of managers will be a bit more forgiving when a pitcher also carries a 30.0% strikeout-rate.

Ian Gibaut will not be the Reds closer in 2023; that job belongs to Alexis Diaz. In fact, with the returns of Lucas Sims, Tony Santillan, and Tejay Antone, it's doubtful that Gibaut would even appear after the seventh inning unless the Reds are trailing. But that doesn't mean that the right-hander won't bring value to next year's club as a middle reliever.

The bar is set pretty low for Gibaut and many of his fellow relief pitchers, but the Houston native has the type of stuff that will allow him to outperform expectations. Look for Gibaut to be a fixture in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen next season.

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