3 pitchers who could help fortify the Reds exhausted bullpen

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Daniel Duarte
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Daniel Duarte / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds received a much-needed extra-inning victory over their division rival on Monday night. After three straight losses to the New York Yankees, Nick Senzel's walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning helped Cincinnati snap their losing streak.

But, the Reds may be looking for reinforcements before Tuesday's contest. Ian Gibaut has pitched in three of the past four days, Alexis Diaz threw more than 30 pitches on Monday night, plus Buck Farmer (28), Alex Young (16), and Lucas Sims (17) all logged significant time on Monday night.

The available arms in David Bell's bullpen may consist of Kevin Herget, Silvino Brancho, and Alan Busenitz. Forgive me if I lack confidence in that trio. Are there any relievers down at Triple-A Louisville who should be called up before Tuesday's game?

1. Ryan Nutof could help fortify the Reds exhausted bullpen

It's a bit surprising that Ryan Nutof is still slugging it out in the minor leagues. At 27 years old, Nutof has yet to make his major league debut, though last year's performance certainly had him on the door step.

Nutof spent most of last season at Double-A Chattanooga. According to FanGraphs, Nutof posted an ERA below 3.00 along with a 10.70 K/9 and a strikeout-rate of almost 27.0-percent. The numbers aren't quite there through his first several weeks at Triple-A Louisville.

Nutof owns a 6.05 ERA and 18.3-percent strikeout-rate. More impressive, however, has been the right-hander's ability to induce ground balls. Nearly 57-percent of the balls put in play against Nutof are on the ground. Every Reds fan knows how well that plays at Great American Ball Park.

Unfortunately, when the opposing batters do get the ball in the air, it's not uncommon to see it leave the yard. Ryan Nutof has a 1.40 HR/9 this season compared to the 0.33 HR/9 he posted in 2022 at Double-A. Nutof is an option, but there are probably better pitchers available.

2. Daniel Duarte could help fortify the Reds exhausted bullpen

Daniel Duarte has had an unconventional start to his major league career. The right-hander was added to the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster prior to the 2022 season after putting up solid numbers in the minor leagues during 2021.

Unfortunately, an elbow injury sidelined the right-hander for almost all of his debut season with the Reds. Duarte appeared in just three games last season for Cincinnati before eventually landing on the 60-day IL.

Duarte was in camp this past spring, but failed to make the Opening Day roster. Instead, 26-year-old accepted an assignment to Triple-A Louisville and has been one of Pat Kelly's most reliable arms for the Bats.

Since the beginning of May, Duarte has seen action in eight games, hurling 8.2 innings two-run baseball. The hard-throwing Duarte owns a 1.04 ERA through those eight appearances out of the Louisville Bats bullpen and has struck out 10 of the 37 batters he's faced.

Daniel Duarte would need a spot on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster, but he's performed better than Joel Kuhnel this season, The Reds could designate Kuhnel for assignment and option another reliever back to the minors in order to make room on the roster.

3. Joel Kuhnel could help fortify the Reds exhausted bullpen

Speaking of the aforementioned Joel Kuhnel, one of the easiest ways to add a fresh arm to the Cincinnati Reds bullpen would be to recall the 28-year-old. Kuhnel is already on the Reds 40-man roster, so a quick one-for-one is very doable.

Kuhnel has been on and off the Reds 40-man roster for the past few seasons, so there's obviously something the coaching staff likes about his makeup. Kuhnel suffered through a shoulder injury in 2021, but made over 50 appearances for Cincinnati last season.

You know what you're going to get with Kuhnel. He's going to keep the base paths clear with a career walk-rate less than 10-percent, but he's also going to get hit, and hit hard. Last season, according to FanGraphs, Kuhnel's hard-hit rate was nearly 40-percent. That's not very encouraging.

As mentioned earlier, Kuhnel is struggling at Triple-A this season. The right-hander is 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA and nine strikeouts in 16 innings of work. On merit, Kuhnel has not earned the opportunity to make it back to The Show, but with so many injuries, he's one of the few relievers in the minors who's currently on the 40-man roster.

Fernando Cruz has yet to begin his rehab assignment, Frank German joined the organization earlier this month, Ricky Karcher has been wildly erratic, and Levi Stoudt is a starter. If you're looking for help from the 40-man roster, Kuhnel is probably your best bet.

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