Reds report card: Grading Alexis Diaz's draining 2023 season

Alexis Diaz became the Reds closer in 2023 and saw a career-high in innings pitched.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Alexis Diaz
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Alexis Diaz / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Alexis Diaz made a name for himself during his rookie season in 2022, and his 2023 performance confirmed what Reds fans already knew - this guy is going to be a problem for opposing hitters.

Diaz, who sat behind Cincinnati Reds' closer Hunter Strickland last season, was elevated to the role of closer in 2023.

While 10 Reds players actually recorded a save this past season, Diaz has taken the mantle as the team's best reliever. But the right-hander did run into some trouble along the way.

Reds reliever Alexis Diaz put the team on his back in 2023

Only Ian Gibaut got the ball more often than Alexis Diaz. The second-year reliever toed the rubber a career-high 71 times in 2023. Among relievers, only Gibaut and Buck Farmer threw more innings than Diaz.

The strikeouts were there, and the home runs were not. Diaz posted a strikeout-rate of 30.1-percent with 86 punch outs in 67.1 innings of work. Diaz recorded 37 of 40 save opportunities. So the right-hander locked down the ninth inning about 93-percent of the time.

Only David Bednar and Camilo Doval saved more games (39) in the National League this past season. Doval let the opposition off the hook eight times in 2023, while Bednar, like Diaz, blew just three save opportunities.

67.1 IP 3.07 ERA 30.1% K-rate. . Alexis Diaz. Diaz grade. A-

If you're looking for one area to pick apart Alexis Diaz's 2023 performance, you could cite the high walk-rate. Diaz issued 36 free passes and his 12.6-percent walk-rate is in the sixth-percentile according to Baseball Savant.

Alexis Diaz went to the All-Star Game in 2023, but over the final month of the season, the right-hander owned a 8.83 ERA and had just as many walks as he did strikeouts. One has to assume the intense workload in just his second season wore him down during the month of September.

Heading into the 2024 season, Diaz will be the unquestioned closer for manager David Bell. Perhaps the Reds front office will add another arm or two to help minimize the number of times Diaz is needed before the ninth inning next season.