On Sunday the Cincinnati Reds sent out right hander Raisel Iglesias to make his Major League debut against the St. Louis Cardinals. He would go on to allow three runs in 5.0 innings with two walks and four strikeouts. It was a solid start and kept the Reds in the game.

The Cuban born pitcher didn’t have a great start, though it wasn’t bad, but what stood out was his pure stuff. He topped out at 95 MPH, which is down from the 98 that he touched once in spring training, but he averaged over 92 MPH with his fastball. He was throwing both a two and four-seamer and mixed them both well, throwing only a few more four-seamers.

He didn’t use his change up much, throwing just a handful of them in the low-to-mid 80’s. He did use his slider a lot, and that pitch was the one that was the one he leaned on. That’s the pitch that’s most interesting.

Last season, according to Fangraphs Pitch F/X data, there was one player who averaged more than 5 inches of horizontal movement on their slider. That player was Mike Leake, who averaged 6.5 inches of movement on his slider. Yesterday, Iglesias averaged 7.4 inches of movement on the horizontal plane with his slider with one that had over 12 inches of movement. That’s an incredible amount of movement that starting pitchers just don’t show on the pitch.

Everything he threw had movement. Lots of movement. His four-seam fastball showed good rising action and some even had some cutting action. The two-seamer showed solid sink and plenty of armside running action. The change up, granted in a small sample size, had some separation in drop off from the fastballs. The slider, as noted above, showed more horizontal movement on average than any starting pitcher in baseball showed last season, and by a large amount.

Iglesias did run into some problems with his control though. He threw 76 pitches on the day and only 44 strikes (58%). That’s not an incredibly low rate, but it’s below-average.

For his first start, his first true game that counts in over two years, Iglesias passed the tests. He kept his team in the game. He showed strong stuff. With Homer Bailey coming back soon, perhaps as early as this week after he made a rehab start in conjunction with Iglesias’ start in Cincinnati, it’s just me thinking out loud, but this doesn’t seem like the kind of arm you move to the bullpen to keep Jason Marquis around as a starter. Marquis had a solid first start of the year, and he had seven strikeouts, but he also averaged 88 MPH with his fastball. Can he continue being successful with an 86-90 MPH fastball? Sure, it’s possible. It’s just not likely. It would seem that the Reds, at least for now, are going to keep him around and make some move with Iglesias, be it to the bullpen or down to Louisville to let him start and build upon his innings.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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