Sunday, December 29, 2013

Reds bullpen ranked 7th-best in baseball

Is the bullpen one of the greatest strengths of the Reds? Absolutely. In my opinion, it goes without question. 

But how does Cincinnati's relief core compare to the rest of the league? Well, in the mind of ESPN's Buster Olney, Bryan Price's 'pen ranks 7th-best in baseball.

Here is an excerpt taken from Olney's recent "top 10 bullpens" piece:

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the Reds should be on this list because Cincinnati hasn’t formally announced whether Aroldis Chapman will be a closer or a starter. For argument’s sake, let’s assume that Chapman will return to the bullpen -- and if that’s the case, the Reds will again have a strong group of relievers. (Last year, Chapman averaged almost 16 strikeouts per nine innings.)

Sam LeCure, J.J. Hoover, Jonathan Broxton, Manny Parra and Logan Ondrusek will all pitch in for a team that finished seventh in bullpen ERA last season.

For what it's worth, Olney ranks the Pirates and Cardinals ahead of the Reds at No. 4 and No. 6, respectively. And in case you are curious as to where the Reds 'pen finished last season, you will be pleased to know they ranked 7th in MLB in team ERA (3.29) and eight in strikeouts (489). However, Reds relievers did lead all of baseball in batting average against (.216),  too.

Considering the Reds have all major pieces returning from last year, I fully expect Cincy's bullpen to be one of the team's primary strengths again come 2014.

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