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Reds Bullpen & Other Musings
- Updated: March 20, 2012
Spring Training is in full swing at this point and as usual every team is learning who’s who and, most importantly, realizing what they have to work with for the upcoming season. For the Reds, this year, that focus is on the back end of the bullpen which will feature Bill Bray, Nick Masset, and Ryan Madson.
Bill Bray, a 28 year old lefty, pitched in 79 games throwing 48.1 innings for the Reds last year with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. Last season Bray was virtually unhittable the first month of the season but struggled in May and again in August. He then rebounded nicely in September notching 9 strikeouts in 6 innings pitched. The only setback to Bray is his recent Spring Training injury. Stamina seems to be the Achilles’ heel for him so far. Last spring involved arm issues followed the spring with a strained groin. As of now Bray is slowly working back into form and should be ready for Opening Day. He will most likely be used as the 6th or 7th inning guy/lefty specialist again in the 2012 season.
Nick Masset, a 29 year old righty, was used in 75 games last season tossing 70.1 innings for the Reds last season with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. Last year Masset had up and down outings all season long. Masset was either totally in the zone with a strikeout or two an inning, or he walked at least two batters per inning. This explains the higher than normal WHIP. Masset has also missed some time the spring with shoulder soreness. While this is not a major problem it did however interrupt a somewhat productive spring featuring 1 2/3 scoreless innings with a pair of hits and walks given up. Since he is the most durable of the three pitchers listed above there should be no worries here. The biggest issue for Masset is to put last year behind him and return more consistent if he wants to return as the setup man for the Reds.
Ryan Madson, a 31 year old righty, was involved in 62 games with the Phillies last season. In those 62 games he recorded 32 saves and had a 2.37 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP. Last year in Philadelphia Madson was the setup man for closer Brad Lidge who faltered and spent most of the season on the disabled list. Assuming the closer role Madson had a great year, as did the rest of the Phillies winning 102 games. This offseason the Reds nabbed him around the same time the Phillies signed Papelbon. Madson’s contract is for 1 year worth $8.5 million with an $11 million option for 2013. Focusing on the 2012 season he’ll fill the closer role for the departed Francisco Cordero who had saved a total of 150 games with the Reds over four seasons. While fans have seen little of Madson this spring due to minor irritation in his right elbow, he will definitely provide an impact and is certainly one to watch.
On a different note one guy to pay attention to is Zack Cozart. A shortstop listed as the 5th best prospect in the Reds organization. Decent power, decent speed, he also has good defensive skills. He has had a strong showing this spring, and he could wind up starting at short during the season at some point. I predict he makes the Opening Day roster as a bench player.