Alexis Díaz continues to look like a grizzled veteran on the mound, but the Cincinnati Reds rookie is performing at a high level despite never playing above Double-A during his time in the minor leagues.
Díaz is, without question, the most impressive reliever in the Cincinnati bullpen. Recently, it would appear that David Bell shares that same sentiment as the right-hander has been used in more high-leverage situations of late.
Last night, after Luis Cessa encountered some trouble in the sixth inning, Díaz entered with runners on first and second and two outs. Díaz did allow a base hit from Jace Peterson to score Omar Narvaez.
However, Díaz shutdown Kolten Wong, inducing a fly out to end the inning and the Milwaukee Brewers' rally in the sixth. The rookie returned to the bump in the seventh inning and dispensed of the heart of the Brewers' batting order without allowing a hit.
Alexis Díaz has been the most impressive rookie on the Reds this season.
Aleix Díaz has made 13 appearances out of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen and has surrendered just one earned run. The right-hander has 16 punch outs in 14 innings of work and only six free passes.
Díaz owns a sparking ERA of 0.64 and and ERA+ of 700. According to FanGraphs, Díaz has a 3.22 FIP and a 28.6% strikeout-rate. One look at Baseball Savant will show you just how dominant Díaz has been this season.
Alexis Díaz is tops in the league in fastball spin-rate. He's also in the 89th percentile or better in whiff-rate, hard hit percentage, and expected batting average. In short, Díaz has been getting a lot of swings-and-misses, and when he's not getting strikeouts, there's little chance of a batted ball resulting in a hit.
Before the season began, I would have told you that Lucas Sims, Tony Santillan, and maybe even Art Warren would be closing out games for the Cincinnati Reds. However, after seeing how well Alexis Díaz has performed to begin the 2022 season, David Bell may have another arm to turn to with the game on the line.