3 under-the-radar Reds players off to a good start in 2023

Cincinnati Reds left fielder Stuart Fairchild
Cincinnati Reds left fielder Stuart Fairchild / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Reds RHP Fernando Cruz has gotten off to a good start in 2023.

Fernando Cruz did not look good on Opening Day. In fact, if we're being honest, Cruz's lack of success after relieving Hunter Greene during the fourth inning is a big reason why the Cincinnati Reds lost their very first game of the 2023 season.

In his first outing of the year, Cruz walked three batters, including two free passes that resulted in runs scoring. The right-hander was only able to secure on out before being removed. Cruz threw 24 pitches in less than inning with only 10 landing for strikes.

But, since then, Cruz has been one of David Bell's best weapons out of the bullpen. Since Opening Day, Cruz has allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out 11 and walking only one batter. In fact, had Cruz not been overused on Friday night (34 pitches) after Connor Overton's brief outing, those numbers would look even better.

Why didn't we see that version of Fernando Cruz on March 30th against the Pittsburgh Pirates? Was it nerves? The weather? Who knows? Who cares? The important thing is that the version of Cruz that Reds fans were able to see last September is the same pitcher who's been on the field during the month of April.

If the Cincinnati Reds are going to have any measure of success in 2023, their bullpen must improve. We all know that Nick Krall and the Castellini family are not going to invest in bullpen arms this season, so any improvement is going to have to come from players already on the 40-man roster or in the minor leagues.

Next. 2 players the Reds mishandled, 1 who's on track. dark