The Cincinnati Reds have a lot of young pitchers on their staff. Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Alexis Díaz, and Graham Ashcraft are just getting their careers underway. Perhaps that's the reason.
Or maybe it's the baseball itself. We've heard constant complaints about a pitcher's ability to firmly grasp the baseballs being used throughout Major League Baseball this season. Just ask former Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen.
After hitting Justin Upton in the head about a week ago, the Los Angeles Angels starter said (via The New York Post), “I don’t know what Major League Baseball is playing with these baseballs, but [the ball] fully slipped out of my hand. It's just crazy man."
The Reds leads MLB in hit batsmen.
Whatever the reason may be, the Cincinnati Reds lead Major League Baseball in hit batsmen. Reds hurlers have plunked a league-leading 40 batters. The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are tied for second with 34 apiece.
The main culprit for the Reds is currently on the IL, so the rest of the league can relax for the moment. Vladimir Gutierrez leads the team with six hit batsmen on the season. Gutierrez is well off the pace for the major league lead, however, as Atlanta Braves pitcher Charlie Morton has hit double digits. The 38-year-old has hit 10 opposing hitters.
Both Tony Santillan and Hunter Strickland have hit four batters each, and Alexis Díaz has bruised three batters. The three pitchers effectively make up the backend of the Reds bullpen. That's not a problem you want to see from the relievers you rely upon the most.
Relievers Ross Detwiler and Jeff Hoffman haven't hit a single batter this season and neither has Connor Overton. Daniel Duarte doesn't have a hit batsman on his stat line either, but he's pitched in only 2.2 innings this season due to injury.
On the other side of the coin, the Cincinnati Reds are among the Top 5 teams in baseball when it comes to being hit-by-pitch. Reds batters have been struck 39 times in 2022. But that's well off the pace set by the New York Mets (51). Last year, Cincinnati led the league in that category (105). Jonathan India led the NL, being plunked 23 times during his rookie year.