While the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation has been quite the mess this year, the team's bullpen has improved in a lot of ways.
From one of the worst in all of baseball last year, to one of the better ones this year, the Reds bullpen has seen its share of success. Justin Dunn's return could improve the bullpen that much more.
The 27-year-old right-hander hasn't seen the major league field at all this season. Dunn was put on the injured list in early-March in order to recover from inflammation of his right rotator cuff. The Reds organization expected him to be shut down for a few months, but it's been a bit longer than they anticipated.
Reds news: Justin Dunn readying for return after rehab moves to Triple- A.
Justin Dunn, who was at one point slated to return in early-August, now could be seeing his return to the major league field in early-September. On August 16th, it was announced that the Reds were sending Dunn to the Arizona Complex League on a rehab assignment.
Reds manager David Bell announced that Dunn will work out of the bullpen when he is activated off the 60-day injured list, as there is no need for another starting pitcher at the moment.
Despite the bullpen's improvement, adding Dunn could definitely help. Dunn had a decent showing in 2021 prior to being traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Cincinnati Reds. He started 11 games for the Mariners, and despite his 1-3 record, tallied a 3.75 ERA.
Over those 11 games, Dunn only gave up six home runs, and walked 29 batters, while striking out 49. Dunn was bothered by a shoulder injury that lingered into the 2022 seasonand put up a 6.11 ERA in his final seven starts of the season. He only walked 17 batters, but his strikeouts were down greatly, to just 21.
Justin Dunn was never a great strikeout pitcher, so using him out of the bullpen could very well be one of the better decisions that David Bell has made. Nonetheless, Dunn is nearing his return to the majors, and his presence in the bullpen shouldn't be anything to scoff at.