This is going to be my last article analyzing player performance on the current Reds team (though I will continue to write other articles). I’ve hit all the likely contributors with significant major league experience except those in the bullpen. However, I don’t think relief pitchers merit individual articles because so much can be said about them as a group. Most notably, that they are extremely unpredictable. Correspondingly, everything here should be taken with handful of salt. On we go…

Bill Bray

Bray looks pretty much like he has the last several years when healthy. He’s good at missing bats. His K rate is down a bit this year and he’s been HR lucky, but as always with relievers, we’re looking at small samples. His numbers over the last few years suggest we should expect him to be a tick or two better than league average, making him a good setup man as long as he can stay healthy.

Nick Masset

There has been some serious calling into question of Nick Masset’s abilities around here lately. Certainly, the results haven’t been good in recent games. However, everything I see suggests this is mostly luck driven. Masset has seen his BABIP go from .250 to .291 to .346 over the last three seasons. His true talent is probably close to that middle number as I can’t see anything in his PitchFx to suggest his talent is eroding. Though many will disagree with me, I wouldn’t get shivers at the thought of Masset as closer.

Sam LeCure

I think many of us were surprised at how good LeCure has been out of the bullpen over the course of the season. Certainly, there have been some rough patches, but overall, he’s been good. He may be the classic example of a pitcher who isn’t quite good enough to start in the majors, but makes a very good reliever. His K rate has been much better than it was as a starter. Start him in middle relief and give him more important innings as he continues to prove himself.

Logan Ondrusek

Do not believe the 2.58 ERA. It is almost certainly a mirage.  There is nothing in his track record (major or minor league) to suggest he is that good. Middle relief, preferably in less-than-vital situations.

Jose Arrendondo

Quite simply, he needs to throw the ball over the plate. If he can do that, he can be very valuable. That, of course, is true of many pitchers who never do much of anything. Worth keeping around until he proves he can’t do it.

Aroldis Chapman

I wrote a full article on Chapman a while ago. Suffice to say, if he is part of the bullpen next year, I will be unhappy.

In closing, I really want to stress the relievers should almost always be looked at with a skeptical eye. Even closers not named Rivera rise and fall fairly quickly. Relievers are the pitching equivalent of bench players, often good for a few years right at peak, but falling off sharply. This is why you should never spend a ton of money on them. You never know what you’ll get and you probably have something just as good in the minors anyway.