Cincinnati Reds Rookie Pitcher Alexis Díaz

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The Cincinnati Reds‘ rookie pitcher Alexis Díaz is giving the fans something to cheer about. Their team currently has the worst record in baseball, which now sits at 14–30. However, he is proving to be reliable and appears to have earned the confidence and trust of manager David Bell.

Never a Top Prospect

Cincinnati Reds rookie pitcher Alexis Díaz was never considered a top prospect in the Reds’ organization. Díaz was drafted in the 2015 MLB draft, and worked as a starter. He missed the entire 2016 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He really never put up great pitching numbers until he was converted to a reliever in 2021.

Last Year at Chattanooga

Last year at Double-A Chattanooga, Díaz worked with Pitching Coach Rob Wooten on his pitch selection, including an adjustment to his four-seam fastball. He was moved to the bullpen full-time, and seemed to excel in a bullpen role as he finished the season with a 3.83 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings over 35 games.

He pitched well against both left and right-handed hitters. Lefties had an average of .173 against him; right-handers had an average of .206.

Makes 2022 Reds Roster

He was added to the Reds’ 40-man roster in November with an invite to spring training. It was not an impressive camp for him, but he did showcase his fastball and slider.

When spring training came to an end, most thought Díaz would be assigned to Triple-A Louisville. He would showcase his pitching there before the Reds would decide to bring him up to the big league club. However in a surprise move on April 7th, Manager David Bell announced that Díaz had made the Opening Day roster.

His Debut

Díaz made his debut against the Atlanta Braves on April 8th, and struck out two. After his debut, Bell mentioned he would ease him into different pitching situations, letting him adjust to being an MLB bullpen arm. For a rookie who did not pitch in 2020 and was at Double-A last year, he needed to build confidence at the MLB level as well as experience with different pitching situations. Well, that confidence certainly has shown. Díaz opened the season with seven straight scoreless appearances.

Through 18 games, he has a 0.92 ERA and 24 strikeouts. Díaz has shown a slider that he uses to offset his fastball.

First Career Save

Cincinnati Reds rookie pitcher Alexis Díaz has become reliable that he was called upon to close out an extra-innings game on May 16th against the Cleveland Guardians. Both Tony Santillan and Art Warren pitched earlier. Bell turned to him to close. He did not disappoint.

Entering the tenth inning with a runner on second, he struck out the first two batters he faced. He then walked the next two hitters to load the bases. After a mound visit from Pitching Coach Derek Johnson, Díaz was able to gather his composure and struck out Jose Ramirez to pick up the save.

Long Season

It is going to be a long season for the Reds and their fans. They currently have the worst record in baseball. Their starting pitching has been horrible. They have the highest ERA, and are near the bottom of every pitching category. When they do get a quality start and the lead, the bullpen has struggled to keep it.

Their regular closer, Lucas Sims is on the IL with back issues. Bell has decided to use the closer-by-committee strategy. However, both Santillan and Warren are struggling in the closer spot. Reds fans would like to see Díaz as the full-time closer sooner rather than later. This could only strengthen Díaz’ abilities by giving him more experience at this level. And, it would at least allow fans to have something positive to cheer for.

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Players/Managers Mentioned:

Alexis Díaz, David Bell, Tony Santillan, Art Warren, Jose Ramirez, Lucas Sims, Rob Wooten