The Cincinnati Reds have announced that they’ve called up right-handed pitcher Keury Mella and infielder/outfielder Brian O’Grady. This isn’t the first time that Brian O’Grady has been called up this season. This will mark the first time this year that Keury Mella will be in the Major Leagues this season. Mella has been in the Majors in past seasons with the Reds.
When you look at the numbers for Keury Mella this season in Triple-A nothing really jumps out at you. His ERA was 5.05 over 27 starts. That’s slightly worse than the league average in the era of the juiced baseball. His walk rate and his strikeout rate don’t inspire a ton of confidence, either. Not that his walk rate was bad – it was 8.8% – it just doesn’t stand out, either. But his strikeout rate was indeed bad. He struck out just 15.9% of the hitters he faced this season in Triple-A.
But there are some things that we should note, too. Keury Mella isn’t going to be used as a starting pitcher. And he was very good against right-handed hitters this season. Right-handed hitters had a .214/.285/.353 line against him this season in Triple-A. That came with a walk rate of 6.7% and a strikeout rate of 19.0%. The strikeout rate is still a tad lower than you would like to see, but much better than his overall strikeout rate on the season.
It’s left-handed hitters that have had a ton of success against Keury Mella this season. Lefties hit .379/.452/.655 against him with 31 walks and 31 strikeouts in 267 plate appearances this year. The rule should be rather simple: He shouldn’t face a single left-handed hitter in the Major Leagues this season. But there’s a reason to think he could have some success against righties.
Brian O’Grady is coming back up. This will be his third trip to Cincinnati this season. He finished the Triple-A season by hitting .280/.359/.550 with 30 doubles, a triple, and he had 28 home runs. He also stole 20 bases, becoming the first Louisville Bat to ever hit 20 home runs and have 20 steals in a season. In his 10 games earlier this year with the Reds he went 1-12, almost exclusively as a pinch hitter. He can help cover the Reds defensively at first base and all three outfield spots if needed.
Most relievers have pretty big splits. It’s why most of them wind up as relievers rather than starters.