We wrote about this yesterday when the rumors were floating that the Cincinnati Reds were in serious talks with Zach Duke, but he’s signing with them according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 1, 2019
As noted yesterday, there could be a way to maximize his production versus how he was used in the 2018 season by the Mariners and Twins.
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.
Last season he posted a 4.15 ERA between his stops in Seattle and Minnesota. The left-handed reliever also had a huge ground ball rate at 59.4%. Coupling him with Jared Hughes and Michael Lorenzen gives the Cincinnati Reds bullpen a trio of high ground ball rate guys to go to in just about any situation throughout the game.
The Reds efforts to get the pitching keep paying off as they have added plenty of depth to their rotation, and as a result their bullpen. This signing just keeps that going. Contract details are not yet available, but this post will be updated once they are.