Given the Reds ballpark being a home run heaven for hitters, getting pitchers that induce ground balls is generally a good thing (lets just pretend the Kirk Saarloos experiment never happened). I went through and ran tons of data through www.firstinning.com and checked out the groundball percentage on most of our relievers with a decent sample size to work with. I came down to the top three guys in ground ball percentage and it worked out that all three are some of the better relievers we have.
Derrik Lutz, drafted in 2006 out of George Washington University, led the way with inducing groundballs. The right hander turned 60% of the balls in play against him into ground balls. On top of that, he also was striking out a solid 19% of the batters he was facing.
Josh Roenicke, the Reds best relief prospect, is not just a guy who can throw 98 MPH but he also gets a ton of groundballs. Last season split between Sarasota and Chattanooga the UCLA product turned 55% of the balls in play against him into grounders. To top that off, he also struck out 29% of the batters he faced last season, which when coupled with his groundball rate is a very strong combination.
Tyler Pelland began the year as a starter, but was quickly transitioned into a reliever where he had quick success. The lefty split time in Chattanooga and Louisville. Pelland also is a hard thrower out of the bullpen, although with a little less velocity topping out around 95 MPH. The former starter turned 50% of the balls in play against him into groundballs while also striking out 25% of the hitters that stepped to the plate against him.
Tomorrow I will look at the starting pitchers to see how they fare in churning out groundballs.