Let's be honest for a moment. Before the 2023 season began, outside of Alexis Diaz, most Cincinnati Reds fans expected the team's bullpen to be dreadful, right?
With just 17 games left to go in the season, is it fair to say that the much-maligned Reds bullpen has been the biggest surprise of the 2023 campaign?
While nearly everyone throughout Reds Country expected the Cincinnati starting rotation to shine only to see the relief corps falter, it's been quite the opposite. In fact, there's a rather shocking stat that proves how often the Reds bullpen has saved the rotation this season.
Absurd stat proves how vastly underrated the Reds bullpen has been this season.
The fact that the Cincinnati Reds, with a team made up of mostly rookies after a 100-loss season a year ago, are even in the playoff conversation is a minor miracle. But when you see how bad the starting rotation has been, it makes the Reds' playoff push all the more unlikely.
The Reds rotation ranks 28th out of 30 teams in terms of ERA. Only the Oakland A's and Colorado Rockies have been worse this season. Reds starters have allowed the third-most home runs (113), the fourth-most hits (771), and the ninth-most walks in the league.
The Reds bullpen on the other hand has been more middle-of-the-road. With an ERA of 3.95, Reds relievers rank 14th among all major league bullpens this season. Unfortunately, walks are a problem up and down the Reds pitching staff as the bullpen's 263 free passes are third-most among all big league clubs.
But one stat that sticks out like a sore thumb shows the resilience of the Cincinnati relief corps. The Reds bullpen leads the lead by a wide margin in terms of inherited runners. The Reds 280 inherited runners is 30 more than their nearest competitor.
More amazing, however, is the fact that Cincinnati has only allowed 29-percent of their inherited runners to score. Only the Chicago Cubs, who've allowed 28-percent of their inherited runners to score, boast a better IS%.
The Cincinnati Reds bullpen has caught a considerable amount of grief this season, but the fact of the matter is that Lucas Sims, In Gibaut, Buck Farmer, and Alex Young have bailed out the team more times that you can count.
Collectively, those four pitchers have inherited 154 of the Reds 280 inherited runners and have only allowed 45 of those runners to touch home plate. The Reds bullpen is vastly underrated.