by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Reds’ Tony Cingrani has long been an intriguing player for fantasy owners, though a transition to the bullpen and consistent home run problems have consistently sabotaged him of any value. Just look at his HR/9 from the past few seasons:
– 2013 – 1.20
– 2014 – 1.71
This season he struggled coming out of the bullpen, including a 6.56 BB/9, but the Reds have been stretching him out during his rehab assignment and the results have been impressive. In 14.0 IP he has posted 18 K vs. 6 BB to go along with a 0.00 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.
The key? It’s hard to say for sure, but one of the big questions has always been his reliance on his fastball. According to John Fay if the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“Cingrani started the spring in competition for a rotation spot, but he was moved to the bullpen because the Reds were concerned about his lack of off-speed pitches. He’s worked on a change-up and a breaking ball while on rehab.”
Exactly how much he’s thrown the pitches is obviously unclear, but the results have been there. If he has been able to develop those pitches, even a little bit, it should go a long ways towards his success. He’s always shown an ability to generate swings and misses (9.4% SwStr% in the Majors), so any extra wrinkle to keep opponents off guard will help.
This season, though the usage has been limited, his slider (71.43%) and change up (100.0%) have generated impressive Groundball per BIP. The home run issues? They shouldn’t be there if he has figured out and improved the pitches.
Is there risk? Absolutely, as Cingrani has been hit or miss. However with the Reds expected to rebuild and Cingrani already expected to get a start on Wednesday, the opportunity should be there. Now is the time to stash him, just in case he truly has figured it out.