Did Tyler Mahle finally figure it out in 2021? It sure looks like that way. The California native put together his best major league season to date and may be in line for a nice pay day if the Cincinnati Reds decide to offer Mahle an extension. Let's put a grade on Mahle's performance this past season.
While Wade Miley deserves a ton of credit for the performance that he put forth in 2021, I'll make the argument that Mahle was the most consistent starting pitcher on the Reds last season. Mahle finished second on the team in WAR, according to Baseball Reference, and led the team in wins.
Tyler Mahle was the Reds most consistent starter in 2021.
In addition to leading the Cincinnati Reds in wins, Mahle also led the rotation in strikeouts (210), tied for the team lead in starts (33), and was second in ERA (3.75), ERA+ (125), WHIP (1.233), and innings pitched (180).
Mahle seemed to put it all together in 2021. No, he wasn't perfect by any means, but it feels like Mahle finally reached the level of play that Reds Country had been expecting of him since joining the rotation in 2018.
Mahle was the youngest of that crop of starting pitchers that joined the Cincinnati rotation in 2018. Along with Luis Castillo and Sal Romano, Mahle earned his stripes in 2018 and was assumed to be a key piece of the starting rotation heading into 2019. However, the acquisition of Tanner Roark and midseason trade for Trevor Bauer put Mahle's future in question heading into last season.
A solid showing last season paved the way for Tyler Mahle to be the team's No. 3 starter heading into last season. His performance in 2021 probably has the 27-year-old still occupying the role as a middle-of-the-rotation starter, but depending on how the Reds front office juggles the roster over the offseason could have a big impact on how Mahle is viewed heading into next season.
Reds pitcher Tyler Mahle was much better on the road.
Tyler Mahle did struggle with home runs once again in 2021. The bugaboo that has plagued Mahle's career since his promotion to the big leagues reared its ugly head once again this past season. The right-hander allowed 24 balls to leave the yard, though his HR/9 wasn't as bad at 1.20. Previously, we'd seen that figure as high as 1.77.
The biggest anomaly on Mahle's 2021 campaign were his home/ road splits. While posting a 2.30 ERA and allowing just a .204 batting average against on the road, Mahle was lit up at home to the tune of a 5.63 ERA and opposing hitters slashed .270/.344/.511. Mahle allowed 18 of his 24 homers while pitching in Great American Ball Park.
All together, Tyler Mahle put together a great season and since we're passing out grades for all of your Cincinnati Reds this season, the right-hander will receive a solid B for his performance in 2021. Let's hope Mahle's success last season catapults him into next season as one of the best starters on the team and, perhaps, earns him a long-term extension with the club.