This starter is destined for the bullpen when the Reds rotation returns to full strength

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ben Lively
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ben Lively / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

Ben Lively has had a pretty interesting career. The Cincinnati Reds selected Lively in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Since then, Lively has bounced around to the Philadelphia Phillies, Kansas City Royals, Arizona Diamondbacks, and even the KBO as part of the Samsung Lions.

However, Lively's career came full circle in January of 2022 when he returned to the same place it all began. Lively spent all last year with the Louisville Bats, going 2-5 with an ERA of 4.09. He also put away 79 batters via strikeout, in 77 innings pitched.

Lively re-signed with the Reds on a minor league deal, and pitched much better to start this season. Before being called up, Lively had a perfect 4-0 record, 2.33 ERA, and managed to punch out 16 batters.

Ben Lively is destined for the bullpen when the Reds rotation returns to full strength.

While the Reds have the worst starting rotation in the NL, there is some potential there. However, with Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft on the IL, it's been a bit of a mess. When the Reds starting rotation is fully healthy again, fans should expect to see Ben Lively moved to the bullpen.

The Reds bullpen is ranked fourth in the NL in ERA, and adding Lively to that could add depth to a good bullpen. The Reds bullpen has an 3.88 ERA and 250 strikeouts. They gave up just 25 home runs, and have a WHIP of 1.32, the bullpen is more than doing it's part, and adding Lively to the bullpen could help it even more by providing even more depth.

With the call-up of Andrew Abbott, who has been on fire for the Reds pitching rotation, there is a lot to be excited about. Lively, who made his first start on May 20 against the New York Yankees, hasn't necessarily pitched poorly, but has shown signs of why he belongs in the bullpen.

Can Ben Lively maintain his effectiveness? Luke Weaver, who may also be considered for a relief role, has appeared in 124 games since he began his career in 2016, and Lively seen a major league field just 33 times. Weaver has the pedigree to remain in the starting rotation as the Reds No. 4 or No. 5 starter.

With a good portion of the Reds starting rotation on the IL, it's likely that Ben Lively remains a starter, for now. However, looking ahead, Lively seems ticketed for the bullpen.

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