Each Tuesday we look at the Cincinnati Reds farm system as they get set to begin a new week against a new opponent. With Monday off in the minor leagues this year for the organization that gives us Tuesday as a fresh starting point to both look back from and look forward on.
Is Tony Santillan the next guy?
The Cincinnati Reds pitching has been bad. More so, the bullpen has been atrocious. The non-Tejay Antone relievers on the Reds this season had a 6.50 ERA. On top of that they also have allowed 40 of 84 inherited runners to score – that’s 48%. The league average rate this year is just 36%.
Cincinnati needs help in the bullpen and when looking at the minors there isn’t exactly any clear answer in the Louisville bullpen. There are a few guys having success there, but they’ve also been guys who have had some big league experience and haven’t found much success. But then there’s Tony Santillan, who is having an outstanding year in the Bats rotation. In his start on Friday night he struck out 13 batters and hit 98 MPH on his 110th pitch of the game.
Video from the Louisville Bats
On the year he’s posted a 2.51 ERA in 32.1 innings with 12 walks and 45 strikeouts. He throws hard. He’s throwing strikes. His slider has been baffling hitters at the Triple-A level. Santillan doesn’t have any relief experience in his career, but if the Reds aren’t going to make any trades to bring in someone to pitch out of the bullpen, he might make the most sense to fill in a multi-inning role every few days just to give David Bell a potential option to look at besides Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims.
Mark Kolozsvary helps Team USA qualify for the Olympics
Just because you have trouble spelling Mark Kolozsvary doesn’t mean you may not recognize the name. If it sounds familiar it’s probably because he was a member of the Reds 60-man roster last season and spent his summer at the alternate training site at Prasco Park. Or maybe it’s from this past spring when he was in Goodyear alongside the big league club. Perhaps you heard about the home run he hit off of reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber?
Well, it appears that we all should have been paying more attention to what Mark Kolozsvary was trying to tell us with that home run and that was that he was going to come out of the gate swinging. In his first 12 games of the season in Double-A with the Chattanooga Lookouts he hit .349/.417/.674 with 10 extra-base hits. Long know for his defense, the catcher out of Florida was just beating up on Double-A pitching. That combination caught the eye of Team USA who was looking to the minor leagues for a catcher to join the team as they attempted to qualify for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The last week of May, and the first week of June saw Mark Kolozsvary leave the minor leagues and join up with Team USA for a brief training camp and then a qualifying tournament. Team USA went 4-0 and earned a spot in Tokyo. Kolozsvary played a huge role in that as he hit .417/.588/1.000. His average was second best on the team. He led the team in home runs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS (duh), and he also finished second on the team in runs scored.
Checking in with the Daytona Tortugas highlights
When the season began the Daytona Tortugas had four of the Cincinnati Reds Top 10 prospects on the team with outfielder Austin Hendrick, infielders Rece Hinds and Tyler Callihan, and pitcher Christian Roa. Unfortunately injuries have put every single one of them on the injured list and none of them are currently active for the team. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some highlights from this past week, and if you follow minor league baseball much you’ll know that it’s not exactly easy to get highlights on any regular basis from the Low-A South where Daytona plays. Only one team in the entire league broadcasts their games with a video feed. Several teams in the league literally don’t even broadcast the games via radio/internet radio. Down in Daytona, though, we are getting some highlights every so often and Tortugas broadcaster Justin Rocke put together a few clips from the weekend.
HIGHLIGHTS: Tortugas vs. Threshers (June 5-6) from Justin Rocke on Vimeo.
Yes to Santillan; but why not let him start and move Hoffman to the pen? Then we get Lorenzen back soon. That should be a boost, although it may take Lorenzen a few outings of blowing it before he finds his form.
Because Hoffman’s already out of the rotation. He’s on the IL, and Gutierrez has pitched well enough so far that he’s probably taken Hoffman’s spot.
Agreed with Lorenzen coming back should be a boost.
Gotcha, yes. Well, I hope they move Hoffman to the pen when he gets off the IL.
Hoffman is not currently pitching, so someone else would need to go to the pen. That means one of Mahle, Mikey, Vlad, Castillo, or Gray would need to move out of the rotation. Which of them are you taking out of the rotation?
With Vlad’s performance thus far, Hoffman may well already be in the pen.
Hoffman can’t pitch out of bullpen he has NO idea of strike zone! He needs to take assignment to AAA and learn to throw STRIKES!
I do not know if Santillan is the answer. But I do know the Reds have a chance to make the playoffs if they strengthen the bullpen. IMO this means making an actual trade, not just picking up relievers who have been cast off by other teams.
Making an actual trade for a quality reliever would mean giving up someone like Santillan, and his 6 years of control, to get said reliever. What quality in the minor league system are you willing to part with, considering there are promotable assets within the system that can help right now?
Why does a trade for a good reliever have to include Santillan or another pitcher? The Reds have a glut of outfielders or others with no place to play and also non-pitchers in the minors. If ownership really wants to win they have to put timid aside and take chances.
Which outfielder are you trading that has enough value to bring back a quality reliever? Senzel is injured, so not him. Naquin may or may not be injured, but if he’s healthy he’s your starting center fielder for the next five weeks so it’s probably not him? Akiyama doesn’t have trade value. You aren’t trading Winker or Castellanos. Aquino probably doesn’t have much trade value.
Now look at the minors – who are you trading from there to acquire a quality reliever? Half of the Top 10 prospects in the organization are hurt right now. You aren’t trading Greene or Lodolo or Barrero or Hendrick for a reliever. The position players in the minors right now is very thin for the most part.
I guess the point is: It would probably just make more sense to bring up Santillan than to trade for a reliever who is a known, quality reliever given the cost of acquisition and what the team has to move.
How come Akiyama has no trade value… I would think with how he came on last season and the fact that he is not injured and his past in Japan would at least get us a decent bullpen arm.
Why would Akiyama have trade value? The Reds have basically told every team on the planet that he’s their 5th outfielder behind Senzel/Winker/Castellanos/Naquin. And he’s making $7M a year with a career .623 OPS. If the Reds traded something of value for that guy people would literally storm Great American Ball Park and set it on fire.
In the absence of a trade to bolster the bullpen, then YES!
Santillan would probably help the bullpen situation and getting some major league experience would almost certainly help Santillan. Bring him up while he’s on a roll gives him the best opportunity for early success. Hope they do this.
I’m not crazy about a move to the Pen unless they simply do not view him as being capable of starting in the the big leagues. Moving guys between the rotation and bullpen has always seemed like a receipe for injury. The rotation is going to need another starter at some point this season, bring him up then and let him start until he proves he can’t. No need to waste another asset attempting to fix the front office’s sketchy decision making over the past off season.
We have alot of 5 inning starts so anyone that can pitch 2 innings effectively and allow Bell to save TA/Sims for the 8th/9th is not a waste.
I do wonder why they have Santillan throwing 110 pitches when thats obviously not their philosophy at the big league level?
If the plan is to move him to the Pen and keep him there I am all in. If they are planning to move him back and forth not interested. I know some teams have had success but mostly the pitcher ends up with arm issues and career is over. Just not worth the risk. They drafted him way back in ’15 and have slow played him this far. Now that he looks like he could contribute meaningful innings to the rotation the FO is going to bump him to the Pen. I know the club swept the Cards and can see .500 again but let’s slow down a little. I want the team to win but I am realistic and understand that general requires a long term commitment from the FO we just have not seen.
@Indy> They’ve got Hunter Greene on the same regimen. Off the top of my head, his 3 most recent starts were 99, 101, and 106 pitches respectively. My best recollection is Nick Lodolo was on a similar plan up until the finger blister he is yet to return from.
So, like you, I wonder if David Bell read the same memo as the development folks? Or perhaps they are trying to push these guys along?
I’m with Kris on this… Keep him starting and if Vlad falters then call him up to take his place and send Vlad back down. I am tired of watching this team take pitchers who have been starters and think they should be bullpens guy and wonder why they either get hurt or they no longer are good at Starting… Aka… Chapman, Overall Lorenzen (though he has had a few good starts), and Iggy come to mind lately.
Vlad Gutierrez has just 6 strikeouts with 5 walks in 10IP……barely an upgrade over Hoffman. Bullpen piece on a good team.
Santillan should’ve been the first option, but alas. He’s gonna be a workhorse #3 type starter just like Mahle. The Reds know that, which is why they’re not bringing him up to be a low leverage reliever. Injuries happen and Tony is the depth piece the organization has been lacking forever and what will keep them in contention all season.
What? Are you basing his results on strikeouts? 1.00 Whip. 1 run and then 2 runs allowed in each of this two 5 inning starts. 5 innings pitched is pretty much average for a David Bell managed team, but you can’t blame that on the kid, since he only threw 67 pitches in his 1st start, and 77 in his 2nd start. Oh, and let’s not forget his two starts were also against the Cardinals and the Cubs, which are two of the best in the division. Not sure what you are looking for in a young pitcher, and I have no idea how this kid will do in the future, but as of right now, he has been a 9 out of 10 results-wise.
Correct he has done a pretty nice job so far. I am thinking it will continue too. I have always liked this guy and hope he continues to have success and develops even farther into a nice 3 or 4 guy in the rotation. I don’t know that he could be considered a #1 or 2 guy at this point.
In a lot of rotations Mahle probably could be their #2 guy already. He sure has turned into a nice starting pitcher. If old Castillo is slowly coming back to form then Mahle is our 3rd best pitcher again and that’s pretty darn good. Vlad is essentially our #5 and his results have been perfectly fine for that spot in the rotation.
Yes, but go double barrel and bring up San tillan, and San martin. The could be the San dmen, putting teams to sleep lol. Ridiculous nickname for a pair of relievers. If Santillan can effectively fill the same role that Antone does, that would be huge. You could set them up like mini starters. 3 innings AKA start day, but being used in relief, 2 days off then 1innings AKA throw day, 1 day off, then repeat.
Day 1 Antone 3 innings
Day 2 Santillan 3 innings
Day 3 NA
Day 4 Antone 1 Inning
Day 5 Santillan 1 inning
Day 6 Antone 3 innings
Day 7 Santillan 3 innings
Day 8 NA
That set up is heavy use, and not all games would require these guys blowouts etc. But when they are needed a lot, two guys could cover a lot of innings in a short period. Most times it would probably not be this dense of usage. Hopefully Sims continues his current streak of good games, and Sanmartin hopefully can help too. Garrett refinds himself, and Doolittle is too bad, just bring him in with clean innings.
Makes no sense really given that each day will have varying situational needs.
It wasn’t meant to be a rotation, it was only meant to show how much you might be able to use the duo if needed over a week. Obviously you use them as the situations call for them.
Quote from above
“That set up is heavy use, and not all games would require these guys blowouts etc. But when they are needed a lot, two guys could cover a lot of innings in a short period.“
Yes, bring him up and make him a middle reliever. Fill the role originally held by DeLeon and Hoffman–multiple inning bullpen guy who can hand it off to Antone or Sims.
The Cards have done this successfully for years–they let their pitching prospects get their feet wet in the bullpen before moving them into the rotation. Let’s get with the program.
Thank you Doc. If Santillan or Greene or Lodolo (or others) are judged to be throwing MLB quality pitches on a consistently reliable basis, why waste those pitches in the minor leagues when the MLB team is dying for bullpen help?
We are seeing all 3 of the guys I mentioned by name are stretched out to 100 pitches per outing at their current level. Hold one of them back as a depth/ injury replacement starter but get one or two of them up to help in the MLB pen knowing they can be prepped as a starter in future seasons.
My opinion is to leave Santillan as a starter, I think a trade for a reliever or two is what we need. Doesn’t need to be a big name, just someone who can throw strikes, need middle of game relievers.
But who do you trade to get them? If you want to acquire a quality reliever then you’ve got to trade a guy like Santillan….
I am thinking of a mid level reliever. Yes you would have to trade something but I think the top three pitchers in our minor system would not have to be on the trade. I know the Reds wouldn’t do it but as the trade deadline approaches pick up some salary to get some help in the bullpen.
Disagree with that. If we can’t be more creative than that, then Krall needs to go. I read a day or two ago, which I thought was a good idea, and that’s to trade for Ian Kennedy. No way it takes a Santillan to pry him loose. I’m not going to spend the time doing Krall’s job, but I’m sure there are plenty of options out there.
Santillan, why not. They have to do something about the bullpen.
After calling up Santillan, send Sims to Tampa Bay for Taylor Walls. The Reds need a REAL SS. Walls can pick it. He also has good bat control, on-base skills.
Cardinals lead MLB with the most hit batters. Punks.
The Pittsburgh Pirates reincarnated!
Does anyone think that Nick Krall will make any trades before the deadline that actually help the club?
I don’t care who comes up or who they trade to acquire some bullpen help but they have to do SOMETHING! This bullpen has to be considered historically bad. If the FO fails to do ANYTHING, how can they expect the fans to accept it? The Reds have a chance to win this division, if management sits on their hands, it’s nothing short of negligence.
It’s not management sitting on their hands. It’s ownership sitting on their wallets.
Well, they are paying some dude to be a GM. What are they paying him for? To be a scapegoat that no one wants to seem to believe has any control or power to do anything? Are they paying him to be a facade? At the very least, it has to be somewhere in the middle. Krall could convince ownership to make some moves if he could come up with some moves that ownership would be willing to get behind. He’s a businessman. Do business.
Exactly. If the Cubs ownership is crying poor, good luck getting the Castellini’s to buck the trend.
No, it’s not ownership sitting on their wallets. When you take a job, you deal with the parameters in which you have to abide by. I don’t believe Krall took the job and said, but since you all sit on your wallets, we are going to be subpar, and have the worst bullpen on record. Sorry, but that’s a horrible excuse. Maybe reference the Tampa Bay Rays, and see how that’s working for them? Krall needs to exceed expectations, because that’s what successful people do in their jobs.
I’d like to see how much Gutierrez’ stuff would play up in shorter stints out of the bullpen. He needs more swing-and-miss to be effective longer term. Give Santillan a shot in the rotation when VG moves to the pen; he has a better profile for a starting pitcher at this point.
This may be right on.
Exactly what the Reds “should” do, so very little chance it happens.
I would agree with that. I wanted Santillan to replace Hoffman, but one way to improve your pen is to further strengthen your rotation. Santillan as a starter and Gutierrez to the bullpen with Hoffman to follow and Lorenzen the 2nd half would improve the depth. Still need external help ASAP imo from the left side. Garrett and Doolittle and Cionel Perez haven’t got it done. Need a trade for a dominant lefty.
I don’t understand why people are judging this kid on his K’s, as if that’s what matters. So far, in an admitted short sample size, he’s the best starter on the team. He’s been extremely effective with his pitch count, and maintains a 1.00 WHIP. His K rate is hardly in worse than Miley, who has been the best pitcher on the team this season. It seems that even when we get a guy who is getting it done, people still aren’t happy with him. I’m unbelievably excited about this kid thus far, and yes, I originally wanted to see Santillan get the shot, but thankfully, so far, he didn’t.
Santillan now, Hoffman soon, and Lorenzen in July would give the bullpen a much needed boost. And consider Reiver Sanmartin if any of those fail or don’t return.
Hoffman never. Lost cause. Please no.
Hoffman’s slash line in the first inning this year is .194./.310/.250, so he would seem to fit very well in relief.
If they add Hoffman, Lorenzen and two of the threesome of Santillan, Sanmartin, and Vladimir Gutierrez, then the bullpen would likely stabilize. It will take 2-3 weeks to do that, though, plus a bit longer for Lorenzen.
Santillan has pitched 32.1 innings this year, and I as a wild guess I would think that the Reds want him to get about 100 innings, so as to prep him for next year. I could see where they may want to give him another 3-5 starts at AAA before bringing him up as a reliever. Greene and Lodolo are in the same boat, although Santillan is probably thought to be capable of more innings this year.
The Reds have some very promising internal options for the bullpen, but they have some liquidity or availability issues with those options over the short run.
I’m all for bringing up Santillan IF it means that Lodolo goes to Louisville.
Lodolo has more experience than Mike Leake did when he made the big league team out of spring training.
Lodolo now > Mike Leake at the beginning of his career…
I agree, if they bring up Santillan, Lodolo should move up to AAA. I would keep Greene in AA until at least Allstar break. After the break, and as they both are nearing their inning limit, bring them up to finish the year in the pen. They will be set for the Rotation in 22.
There was some solid contact being made vs Greene in his last start, his 2nd against the Huntsville squad, prior to the HR as he was clearly running out of gas at 100+ pitches. As a starter, I think he needs to be up to AAA to get hit on a more regular basis so he can learn the adjustment process.
As an emergency reliever, this year only, he has Chapman stuff to just blow folks out then leave them in knots with a slider already better than I ever saw from AC and would probably be the strongest short term bullpen choice.
Maybe the decision comes down to whether they want him MLB rotation ready to start 2022 or are willing to start him at AAA in 2022 and move him up during the season.
I agree about challenging Greene. If they feel he’s not being challenged in AA, then by all means bring him up to AAA. I’m guessing they don’t think he’s ready for the transition yet. Greene has 107 inning as a pro. If I remember correctly, he sat out part, or all of his senior high school year. I just want him to get enough innings under his belt this year to be a starter on opening day 22. The Reds know a lot more than me, about what he needs to do that.
I would not bring up Santillan. You can never have too much SP.
The Reds play 15 games in 15 days-10 of which are against first place teams. It’s almost a certainty the Reds will need another SP at some point. You never know when and in a season of unprecedented soft tissue injuries, now is not the time to weaken your strongest and most important asset- SP. Santillan is performing well and is stretched out and in his routine and ready if/when called upon to go 6 innings and 100 pitches.
Reds just had their most important 6-1 stretch in a very long time and it couldn’t have happened without strong, deep and consistent SP. Miley recently missed a start, Hoffman recently walked off the mound in the middle of an inning with an injury. You never know when you need an emergency starter.
Good point, but…in order to make and advance through the playoffs, you need some things to go your way. Health is one of them. I see the benefits of bringing our best talent on board and hoping things work out. If they don’t work out, you haven’t lost anything. We cannot make it with the pitching we currently have. Nothing wagered nothing won.
Add another soft tissue injury to the list
Everybody is taking about the Reds bullpen because ERA wise they are last in the majors. However, I would like to put something else in perspective, Reds No 1 and No 2 starters have a combined record of 3 wins and 12 losses. If only they were bad enough to be 7 and 8, which by the way still would be an awful record for your supposedly aces of the staff, the Reds record would be 32 – 25 or 1 game behind the Brewers/Cubs.
My point is, the Reds NEED Castilloand Gray to step up and pitch much better or this team is no going anywhere.
Sonny Gray has pitched well. The team hasn’t scored any runs when he’s been on the mound. That’s why he’s got 1 win this season – not because he hasn’t stepped up. Castillo….. he needs to step up.
Yes, Doug, you are spot on! I have jokingly said that Sonny Gray is the Reds version of Jacob deGrom. The Mets score few if any runs for deGrom and if not for his ridiculous ERA of 0.62 he would have even fewer wins!
Reds need to sweep the Brewers and run off 10-12 straight wins. Yep, unlikely. Not looking for the 1916 Giants. Just make a statement. Think 2019 Washington Nationals, 18-8 in June. And there’s likely no better time than now.
Ill have what you are having
If Santillian is called up, I’d vote for starter. I think looking at the usage patterns of Reds’ pitchers would be somewhat fruitful. For example, the thing that jumped out at me on Doug’s piece today was Santillian still hitting 98 on his 110th pitch. When was the last time a Reds’ starter hit 110 pitches in a game? I think Miley did or came close earlier this season. Push the starters to go 6+ IP and use the bullpen in a more selective fashion and see if there are any pieces that can be salvaged. Who is a better candidate for a traditional closer – Sims or Antone? Identify the proper role for all the pitchers and use them accordingly. Quit the shotgun approach of pitcher x hasn’t pitched in 5 days, it’s his turn.
No need to go outside to fill a need unless you can’t do it from within.The one thing we do have in the minors are pitchers.Sure bring the guy up.Stop with the development stuff and if he should start or not etc etc.Lets see if he can get big league hitters out.He is a pitcher so let him pitch.
Most definitely. They should immediately bring Santillan up, along with Greene and Lodolo. The bullpen has cost us several games already this year. The only two deserving to be in the pen is Antone and Sims. A couple others have shown promise at times, but I’m surely not sold on those. The rest of the bullpen is awful. I don’t understand why they won’t bring some of these young arms up. Of course, there’s a lot I don’t understand about decisions being made in the Reds organization.
While the majority (excluding TA & Sims) of the Reds bullpen has been atrocious, Bell’s inability to recognize who’s on, when things are going south and react quickly (replace the pitcher) has contributed significantly to those losses!
I’ve said each of the past two years, Bell doesn’t know how to run a bullpen and rotation very well. So many examples of him taking starting pitchers out in the 5th inning or 6th inning when they are performing very well even. Honestly I am amazed when any Reds starter gets a Win. I know it’s not a good stat to judge a seasons performance by but Then maybe they need to redefine what a Win is for a starting pitcher so it has meaning again.
That you’d need to “redefine” a stat means it probably needs to just go away completely.
Some Interesting Facts for Reds Fans:
-Castillo has the highest ERA. among qualified players.
-The entire pitching staff is 29th among all teams in ERA and 2nd highest BBs with three fewer games played than the Cardinals, who lead the league.
-Exceptions to the poor performances:
1. Antone is a stud this year. 1 hit and one BB per three innings. ERA 1.41, WHIP .72, WAR 2.2
2. Miley and Mahle are both in the top 15 in ERA and WHIP among qualified pitchers with a 2 and 2.2 WAR respectively.
3. Gray is above average with a WAR of 1.4
4. Sims and Doolittle have positive WAR’s
5. Hoffman is .3 WAR
6. Gutierrez looks good so far (very small sample)
7. The remaining pitchers with a decent sample size are below 0 in WAR
8. Lorenzon should be back in relief soon
9. Santillan (Louisville)has an ERA of 2.51 and a WHIP of 1.08. He has 45 K’s in 32 IP. He is 24 and could be ready to go.
-India has the highest OBP for all qualified rookies and is 13th in OPS among all 2nd basemen
-Winker and Castellanos are 1 and 2 in BA and top five in almost every hitting category including 2 and 3 in OPS.
-Tyler Naquin is 7th in BA, 5th in OPS among qualified center fielders.
-Joey Votto is 24th in OPS among all first basemen.
-Tyler Stepheson and Tucker Barnhart sit at 10 and 12 in most batting categories among all catchers.
-Schrock sits at 12 (limited sample size) and Moustakas sits at 17 in OPS amongst all third basemen.
-Suarez has the second lowest BA, .162 among all qualified players and an OPS of .609. He is on track to threaten the all-time strikeout rcord.
-Farmer has a BA of .205 and an OPS of .582
-Jose Barrero SS (Louisville) has a BA of .281 and SLG of .506. He will field as good as any shortstop we have and would likely hit no worse.
-Reds rank 20th in fielding percentage and are tied for 10th for the most errors.
-Suarez has 9 of the team’s 36 errors, Farmer and India both have 4 in second place
Reds won’t have so many pieces in place for years to come IMHO.
What conclusions would you draw?
Bring up Santillan and try a 6 man rotation. More innings from starters, less needed from the bullpen. It might be worth a try.
Plus you haven’t even considered Sims in your equation. He could be the filler between these two. The rest of the pen would be for mop up with Dolittle getting only full start to finish innings, where he seems to do a lot better.
PS. Is it just me or does anyone else hate Dolittles Arm thing he does by his face before each pitch.
Sorry the site gave me an error and I was replying to someone above. about using bullpen pieces each few days. Sorry about the confusion.