The Cincinnati Reds are calling up right-handed reliever Yosver Zulueta according to Francys Romero. The reliever has spent his entire 2024 regular season in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats. He will be taking the spot on the roster of left-handed pitcher Nick Lodolo. He’s heading to the injured list with a blister that caused some issues in his last start.

Zulueta didn’t join the Reds organization until the end of March. The Cuban born pitcher was put on waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays during the final week of spring training and the Reds claimed him on March 28th. They then assigned him to Louisville.

Historically, Zulueta has had some struggles consistently throwing strikes. And that has been the case this season with the Bats, too. He’s thrown 30.2 innings this season and walked 20 batters to go along with 39 strikeouts and a 2.93 ERA. He’s given up just one home run. Thanks to the low home run rate and a 61% groundball rate (MLB average is 42.5%) he’s been able to keep his ERA low.

He had a bit of a slower start in Triple-A this season. Over the first six weeks he threw 13.1 innings and had 12 walks with 17 strikeouts and an ERA of 6.08. But since May 10th he’s been about as good as it gets. In the 17.1 innings he’s thrown during that time he’s allowed one run on 11 hits and eight walks while striking out 22 batters. That’s a 0.52 ERA and hitters have posted a .183/.279/.217 line against him during that stretch. His walk rate is a bit higher than you would like to see during that stretch, but it’s improved from where it was, and the other numbers have been outstanding.

When it comes to his stuff, he’s mostly a 2-pitch guy. He throws his fastball a lot. His 2-seamer is used 60% of the time and he mixes in a 4-seamer another 8% of the time. His offspeed pitch of choice is a slider that he throws 31% of the time. He also has a change up, but he rarely throws it – just 1% of the time this season, but also hasn’t thrown one in over a month.

Zulueta throws hard – his fastball is averaging 97 MPH this season and has touched 99 frequently. The slider comes in at 87.8 MPH on average. His sinker really sinks, but it is a pitch that generates contact, too. It’s the slider that tends to get swings and misses.

The 26-year-old will be making his big league debut whenever he gets into a game. It’s been a tough road to the big leagues for Zulueta, who left Cuba in 2018, then missed 2019 due to Tommy John surgery, 2020 because the minor league season was cancelled, then nearly all of 2021 when he injured his knee pitching to the first batter he saw in the season and didn’t pitch again until 2022.

You can see Yosver Zulueta’s career stats here.

54 Responses

  1. Melvin

    I assume it’s him instead of Santillan mostly because he has options left?

    • Mauired

      He’s probably only on the team until they need another starter.

      Unless Martinez is going back to the rotation.

    • BK

      As I noted on RML, Young, and Zulueta have arguably performed at a similar or higher level than Santillan AND can be optioned. As Doug noted in the article above, Zulueta appears to have made an adjustment since joining the Reds. He’s pitched very effectively for over a month. I’ll add, Legumina has also pitched really well in relief. It’s hard to make a performance-based argument that any of these four is undeserving. It likely comes down to internal evaluations and of course, roster flexibility.

      • Melvin

        I understand about the options part. Santillan however is a proven stopper so I cant’t say the other too are just as good.

      • DaveCT

        I think the full season at AAA and any coffee he gets at GABP for Legumina will be a big plus for the Reds in 25. For a steeply dealing Farmer, it’s looking like a good deal.

      • BK

        @Melvin, Santillan was a proven stopper in 2021. I would love to see him be that same pitcher again but his last sustained MLB performance is quite dated. I don’t know which of the aforementioned pitchers is the best, but mostly, the commenters here are simply unfamiliar with the options.

    • Longtimefan

      The hits just keep on coming. I hate to say this because I don’t want to jinx him but as reckless as Elly plays he seems to stay injury free and available. That seems to be a major issue with alot of MLB players nowadays.

  2. Tom Diesman

    Other move is Lodolo to DL with finger blister.

    • Melvin

      Poor Lodolo has a hard time staying off the IL.

      • RedlegScott

        At least it doesn’t appear to be too serious this time around.

      • BK

        A few weeks off may prove to keep him available longer into the season, too.

  3. mac624

    The options guy. I assume if Lodolo misses a start, this guy will go back down, and Ashcraft will come back up.

    • Tom Diesman

      They had Lodolo as the probable for Fri vs STL, so I’d guess on Friday we’ll see Ashcraft recalled for that start with Zulueta heading back down.

      • Jason Franklin

        You do realize you are talking about the Reds front office, right? They may go bullpen starter/Martinez/etc. Ashcraft makes a lot of sense, but you never know with the FO.

  4. Redgoggles

    I think the IL treatment is a way to help Lodolo control his innings limits as well. May as well be 100% healthy, to be around to support a run if the offense ever gets healthy/productive. Hopefully Ashcraft can come back productive. No harm in having 6 strong starting options for the second half. Quite refreshing, considering last year.

    • reaganspad

      I was thinking the same thing. but if the blisters are a real thing, lets get him soaking in that pickle juice from the 4th of july platters until after the all star break.

      His curve has to put stress on the skin when he snaps off that uncle charlie

    • DW

      Yeah, this is likely part of the plan…same with the first stint on the IL.

  5. Melvin

    I understand this move. Still though the question remains at what point do the Reds decide it’s time to go all in and put their BEST team on the field as possible (Santillan)?

    Games in June are just as important in making the playoffs as September. If last year didn’t teach us that nothing will. Maybe need to look for a trade partner for Sims?

    • Jason Franklin

      I have this strange feeling they are just waiting for a major bullpen piece to go down/injury before they do anything like bring up a deserving guy like Santillan. It’s a negative way to look at how to run a staff, but it is what they do. Why be stronger by cutting someone who doesn’t deserve a spot (Wilson) and potentially making your team stronger with Santillan?

      • DataDumpster

        It may sound cynical but since someone said it first, I will share my observation that over this year and last, whenever somebody faltered, they soon thereafter got injured and replaced with a token player. I’m not saying I could make better moves but the emphasis always seems to be on short term needs (or other “fixed” plans) rather than the long term best team on the field goal. Maybe that is the plan?

  6. Mark Moore

    So Nick is down until after the ASG break. Feels like we’re snakebit.

    • Old Big Ed

      He was placed on the IL as of June 24 and will be eligible to return on July 9. Unless they have said otherwise, he should be able to have 1 start before the ASG. Maybe they’ve said something about him being available after the All-Star break, but I haven’t seen it.

      Blisters need some time, but they will heal with rest and Stan’s Rodeo Ointment, which was developed by former Dodger trainer — and pro bullrider — Stan Johnston. If all goes according to Hoyle, Lodolo will miss two starts, which fits with his need to limit his innings, anyway.

      In the meantime, the blister won’t prevent Lodolo from throwing other pitches, so he can keep his arm fresh.

  7. AMDG

    What, Yosver?
    I can’t help read that as Whatsoever.
    Whatsoever Zulueta

    I suppose there is a reason they called him up and not Santillian, Busnutz, or Legume.

    Over his past 7 outings, he’s only give up 3 BB’s vs 16 K’s.

    Perhaps he “figured it out”, or the Reds just want to use him before he resorts to walking lots of batters again?

    • Jason Franklin

      Pretty sure the stats you mentioned is a pretty major reason why he is up. Plus, he’s had to battle to make it here and the fans like that.

  8. LDS

    His 61% groundball rate may have played in as does having options. As for putting the best possible team on the field? Two responses come to mind: when have they ever and maybe this is their best team.

    • Jason Franklin

      You may be correct. Without improving the offense by trades, there isn’t much better down on the farm unless they do something most front offices are scared of doing: rushing guys up. That’s not all the time, but it is typical. When Marte gets released from his banishment in AAA, I don’t see much help down in AAA.

  9. Optimist

    This is OK. Much better than the callups/tryouts last season. As Doug and the stats note, there’s plenty of good to work with, and if Zulueta can develop towards Cruz (later development, one dominant pitch) this is a good time to find out. He and Santillan are close enough that it’s arguable that it’s mostly a roster options play, and in any event, it’s surely very temporary. If they’re in serious contention in mid-August (not just looking up at a final WC spot) they’ll have a good gauge on which of the Bats arms are most useful for the final push.

    Also, of all the time and injuries with Nick, this has a minimal effect and may be a worthwhile check on his IP limits.

    The problems are still with the batting lineup, and necessary deadline moves.

  10. Redsvol

    Other than being injured(I know), I see these as good moves.

    This gets Lodolo and extra week of rest that you wouldn’t normally get with a 15 day DL- due to the all start break.

    And bringing up relief help was inevitable. The usage rate for Cruz, Diaz, and Suter is unsustainable. 35 games before July. As we say last year, we use up our relievers and come September they are done.

    We will need all of alex young, gibault pagan and Santillan because we can’t hit 70 appearances and expect them to pitch in the playoffs (rose colored glasses intact).

    • J

      Why do we all act like these guys are all just sitting around ready and NOT ALSO BEING USED IN THEIR LEAGUES GAMES , SO AREN’T THE INNINGS GOING UP FOR EVERY SINGLE PITCHER ALL YEAR LONG ???? USAGE MEANS LETTING STARTERS GO DEEPER INTO GAMES NOT REPLACING A GUY WITH 36 MLB RELIEF INNINGS WITH A GUY WHO HAS PITCHED 35 RELIEF INNINGS IN TRIPLE A , THEY’VE BOTH BEEN USED UP TO THAT POINT .. Sorry about the caps , I noticed to late to change it all but I promise I’m not yelling any of it hahahaha

  11. RedsGettingBetter

    When Lodolo has a bad outing literally means he is injured. The Reds bad luck continues. It’s the second time Lodolo and Friedl go to the IL at the same time. Incredible.
    Zulueta’s description as a pitcher seems to me similar to Alexis Díaz right now. Two-pitch guy with a 4SFB at 95-97 MPH and a slider that can get swings and misses, but Zulueta has a sinker to get ground balls. He has a control struggles too.

  12. Anthony

    Old saying.. when there are too many coincidences its no longer a coincidence. Every pitcher under this medical training manager and pitching coach has been hurt at one time or another. Makes you wonder whats going on that we dont see with this nonstop?

    • Longtimefan

      Derek Johnson has always been looked at as one of the best pitching coaches in baseball but it sure seems like alot of pitchers that we’ve had that were horrible here go elsewhere and become solid contributors. Look at this year alone Lively,Weaver,Strickland, and Law. A change of scenery has worked wonders for them.

      • Jay

        Lively and Law weren’t bad here really … Take out that 11 run start for Lively when he just took one for the team and there shoulda been reasons to keep him around … Strickland had previous success as a closer and had a few bad years not just in Cincy but how long will the resurrection last with him and the same can be said for Weaver , a bad pitcher can find something and have a good stretch , its why he’s even be given more chances but Weaver has to do it for a whole year 1st atleast

      • BK

        To pile on to Jay’s comments…Law had his best seasons with the Reds—statistically, he was better last season according to ERA+.

        Weaver came to the Reds to start. He’s relieving with the Yankees. Was he open to a different role with the Reds or did he prefer being released? I don’t know the answer, but it should be considered that his role changed.

        Strickland sat out all of last year after multiple seasons of middling performance. Jay is absolutely right about Lively, one game badly skewed his 2023 ERA. He pitched well for the Reds after developing in Korea.

        One more point, these are all fringy pitchers—a #5 starter and three low-leverage relievers. By definition, their results will have volatility.

    • Optimist

      Without knowing any of the data, I suspect the Reds staff injury rate is well within MLB norms. Also keep in mind a blister is very different from an elbow or back injury.

      • Old Big Ed

        The Dodgers are having a miserable time keeping their starters healthy. Kershaw had a setback in his shoulder in the last couple of days.

  13. MBS

    I like the move, as was said earlier, Ashcraft will probably be up in a few days, so this is just a cup of coffee for a kid that’s having a real nice year in AAA.

  14. LDS

    Jordan on the bench – Benson back in. Mr. Mediocrity does it again. We know what Benson is doing. Play Jordan enough to find out what he can do.

    • Kevin H

      Heck even Soto. To me it’s too a point of feeling bad for benson. I know these are mlb players, however has to weigh on the young ones. Martini is a better option at this point and that’s not saying much.

    • Old Big Ed

      I would have sat Fairchild against Keller, as opposed to Jordan, and played Benson in CF. Pedro Borbon hit RH pitching better than Fairchild does.

  15. Mark A Verticchio

    This will really hurt Lodolo’s all star chances. As to who should be the Reds representative right now I would say it’s down to India or EDLC with Greene having an outside chance If he can pick up a few more wins before they are chosen.

    • Old Big Ed

      The Reds are better off with Lodolo not pitching in the All-Star game. Lodolo may want to go, and it’s hard to blame him for that, but the team’s interest is in giving him the time off.

      Elly is the “Star” that people would want to see.

      • Jason Franklin

        De La Cruz does get the most airtime from the Reds. That is not his fault, but how MLB wants to promote him. So if he makes the team due to popularity, than what’s new? Most of the team is usually just a popularity contest anyway. And I agree that pitching in the All-Star game for an inning is a pretty big waste of a pitcher (but I am sure Lodolo would love it).

  16. Roger Garrett

    Doesn’t surprise me at all.Its all about match ups in the outfield with all the lefty swingers.I love Will Benson because he is a Red but he is just in a bad place mentally and he can’t hit anything up in the zone regardless of velocity.With him and Elly on any given night we see 5 or 6 punch outs and thats a fact.Elly ain’t going down cause he can help win games in a variety of ways and the Reds by playing Benson are hurting him and the team IMO.Its just wrong.No bigger fan and wish he would turn it around but his confidence has to be shot.

    • Old Big Ed

      They are going to keep Benson for the time being, because they have no other option at CF, except Fairchild, who cannot hit RH pitching. Benson at least has a .712 OPS against RH pitching.

  17. Melvin

    Levi Jordan:

    vs. lefties – .293/.333/.414
    vs. righties – .306/.404/.455
    Overall – .302/.384/.827

    Livan Soto:

    vs. lefties – .276/.348/.328
    vs. righties – .299/ .399/.409
    Overall – .292/.384/.769

    Will Benson:

    vs. lefties – .095/.264/.214
    vs. righties – .215/ .293/.419
    Overall – .192/ /.666
    Last 7 games – .000/.118/.000
    Last 15 games – .111/.158/.111
    Last 30 games – .191/.291/.338

    Of course Jordan can play outfield and Soto can too. Soto hasn’t even played yet.

  18. Melvin

    I personally don’t agree that we need to keep Benson up because we need another CF. No way in my view considering what he gives us.

    Chool played CF for an entire season here.

    Winker even played some CF. 😀