Skip to main content

Why Are the Cincinnati Reds Putting Anthony Cingrani in the Bullpen?

The Cincinnati Reds won just 76 games last season, largely due to a Joey Votto injury and Jay Bruce hitting .217.  Their offense was near the bottom in most categories, saved from last by Todd Frazier, but the pitching staff was average to above average, thanks to Johnny Cueto having a Cy Young type season.  But instead of making changes to the offense, which they attempted by acquiring Marlon Byrd, who is turning 38 this year, the Reds traded Mat Latos to the Miami Marlins and Alfredo Simon to the Detroit Tigers.

The Simon deal makes sense as his 22 quality starts last season will probably never happen again, but Mat Latos to the Marlins for Chad Wallach and Anthony DeSclafani is not a win now move.  DeSclafani is just 2.5 years younger than Latos, with 5 MLB seasons less experience.

This has forced the Reds to go with DeSclafani, Jason Marquis, Raisel Iglesias, Dylan Axelrod and Paul Maholm to start the season at the backend of the rotation, until Homer Bailey returns from injury. Cueto and Mike Leake will be the only sure thing every 5 days.

With Cingrani starting the season in the bullpen, he will join Aroldis Chapman, Sam LeCure, J.J. Hoover and Manny Parra.

Cingrani has made just 10 relief appearances vs 29 starts.

as Starter299113.50157125656126671671.229.62.49
as Reliever10013.38161366113231.6312.91.77

He strikes out more batters per 9 innings as a reliever, as you would expect, but he also walks nearly twice as many batters.

He has essentially pitched one seasons worth of games over his 3 year career, and if you told Reds fans that Cingrani would start 29 games for you this year, and finish with a 3.50 ERA and strike out more than a batter per inning, with a 1.22 WHIP, I think they would be super excited for the 2015 MLB season.

Cingrani was limited to 63 mostly ineffective innings last year, got demoted to Triple-A, and spent time on the MLB and minor-league disabled lists with shoulder problems. It’s a shame, because when healthy Cingrani has the raw stuff and off-speed pitches to thrive as a starter, but the Reds are apparently convinced he won’t hold up under the stress of a 30-start workload. - NBCSports

FanGraphs Take on the Reds Playing it Safe