3 Reds players who will have a career-year in 2023

Cincinnati Reds left fielder Jake Fraley (27) prepress to bat.
Cincinnati Reds left fielder Jake Fraley (27) prepress to bat. / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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3. Reds RHP Lucas Sims will have a career-year in 2023.

The Cincinnati Reds bullpen was dreadful in 2022. Part of the reason for the unit's struggles was due to injury. The Reds saw many of their key contributors miss significant time last season.

Tony Santillan, Tejay Antone, Jeff Hoffman, Justin Wilson, and Vladimir Gutierrez all ended the 2022 season on the 60-day IL. Of those five pitchers, only Hoffman appeared in more than 25 games.

But another key piece of the Cincinnati bullpen who was absent for most of the 2022 season was Lucas Sims. The right-hander never really got off the blocks. Sims was injured during spring training, began the season on the IL, and only appeared in six games before being shutdown for the entire season.

Sims' role in 2023 will likely be very different that what it was assumed to be last season. After the departures of Raisel Iglesias and Archie Bradley following the 2020 season, Sims took on more of the closer's role in 2021. The right-hander converted seven of 10 save opportunities, but his ERA slipped from 2.45 in 2020 to 4.40 in 2021.

Heading into next season, fans should expect to see Alexis Diaz acting as the Cincinnati Reds' closer. Last year's closer ascended to the premiere spot among the relief corps after free agent signee Hunter Strickland struggled.

Lucas Sims, along with Tejay Antone, will likely see more time in the seventh and eighth innings; a role that he excelled in during the 2020 season. If Sims is positioned as a setup releiver rather than the Reds' closer, look for the Georgia native to have a career-year in the Queen City next season.

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