The Cincinnati Reds are still trying to “get the pitching” and C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reports tonight that the team is in serious discussions with left-handed pitcher Zach Duke.

In the 2018 season, Zach Duke split time between Minnesota and Seattle. With the Twins he pitched in 45 games with a 3.62 ERA in 37.1 innings. He allowed 44 hits, no home runs, had 15 walks (4 intentional) and he struck out 39 batters. His time in Seattle was not nearly as good. With the Mariners he pitched in 27 games and threw 14.2 innings with a 5.52 ERA. He walked 6 hitters and had 12 strikeouts. He only gave up one home run for the Mariners. Between his two stops it totaled 52.0 innings and a 4.15 ERA.

As a left-handed reliever the first thing we all look for is how a guy performs against left-handed hitters. In 2018, Zach Duke was rather dominant. The sample size was small – he faced just 99 lefties – but he held them to a .220/.283/.319 line with 7 walks and 25 strikeouts. Things were not so strong against right-handed hitters. They hit .311/.403/.370 against him. Not much power, but he walked 14 batters with just 26 strikeouts in 141 plate appearances.

It would seem that for some reason he was used rather incorrectly most of the year, as he faced 42% more right-handed hitters than he did left-handed hitters despite numbers that clearly showed he was not nearly as good against them.

Over the span of his Major League career, dating back to 2005, Zach Duke has been a ground ball pitcher. Last year was the highest rate of his career, getting a ground ball 59.4% of the time a batter put the ball in play against him. If he’s used a tad differently in terms of the types of hitters he faces, he could be a very interesting pick up for the Cincinnati Reds bullpen.

14 Responses

  1. Doug Gray

    It’s certainly possible, especially if they are looking for a LOOGY type of guy. I don’t think they want Amir Garrett to be only a LOOGY. And I’m not sure any other lefty has a clear and better resume heading into the spring than Duke among the other internal guys.

  2. Mondo Duke

    That puts the Reds over the top. Start popping bottles, start popping bottles.
    If they bring Zach Duke in that probably means Cody Reed will be in AAA rotation.
    No relation.

  3. Eddiek957

    I’m sure it will be a minor league deal

  4. Ramos

    Doug I’ve gotta say, please cool it on Twitter. Between your righteous crusades against Pete rose (who cares), constant complaining about owners (fine) and tweeting of every thought that pops into your head from computer complaints to which way the wind is blowing, it’s becoming unbearable. You have a chance to become a modern day reds pillar and voice and you’re squandering it. Just offering constructive critisicm. I like you and your content, but my twitter feed has become the life and whimsical thoughts of Doug Gray. Back to basics my friend!

  5. CFD3000

    Can’t say I’m excited about this news. But if I squint a little and look from a funny angle the positive spin could be that neither Amir Garrett or Cody Reed would be relegated to LOOGY duty, and he’d probably be an upgrade over Wandy Peralta. Reed needs to start somewhere, and Garrett also has too much potential to be used in such a limited way. But that’s still a lot of qualifiers to justify adding a pitcher who probably will be mediocre at best. Pass.

  6. Scott C

    Definitely an upgrade from Wandy Peralta. I think it would be a good move. It would allow Garrett and possibly Reed although I would rather see Reed in Louisville starting if he is not starting in Cincinnati. The depth of pitching will continue to get deeper.

  7. Roger Garrett

    Good teams have a guy that can come in and get lefties out in high leverage situations but don’t we already have that in Garrett or Reed or maybe Krol.I would like to think we need guys that could go multiple innings and get righties and lefties out.My thoughts are he is a soft tossing lefty that could not go more then one batter or one inning and when asked to do more would get exposed especially to the long ball.Just think we could do better but it will be how he is used.Heck our starters could get us to the 6th or 7th and his one batter appearance could be all he is needed to do.

  8. Streamer88

    Introducing “cagey” veterans to our mix would frighten me in the past but mainly because of incompetence at the manager and front office levels.

    It’s funny to say because David Bell has not yet managed a game for the Reds, but I trust his ability to utilize the Dukes and Krals of this offseason to win games and develop young talent, in close concert with DW.

    Is this sentiment shared?

  9. Matt Esberger

    I think he was previously with the Reds in 2nd half 2013. If can get for cheap he can be an asset in mid-late inning situations against likes of Rizzo, Schwarber, Yelich, Carpenter. He tailed off in Sea last year but the K/9 is still near 9.0 and doesn’t give up the gopher ball very often.