The Cincinnati Reds have called up right handed pitcher Tanner Rainey from Triple-A Louisville. To make room for him on the 40-man, and 25-man roster the team has cut Yovani Gallardo.
There’s a bit to unfold here, but let’s start by talking about what’s coming in. Tanner Rainey was with the Reds in spring training almost until the end. He pitched in seven games out of the bullpen and allowed two runs in 8.1 innings. The big right hander also struck out 13 batters. But, he did show some control problems, walking six along the way.
It’s the control that is a question when it comes to how quickly Tanner Rainey can find success in the Major Leagues. In Daytona during the 2017 season he struck out 77 batters in 45.0 innings, but he walked 22. That’s a batter every other inning. For a reliever that’s not terrible, but it’s far from good. When he was promoted to Double-A Pensacola, his ERA improved – it was just 1.59 in 17.0 innings. But, he walked 11 batters in that span with 27 strikeouts. This season with Triple-A Louisville he’s walked one batter in 2.0 innings, and he’s struck out five of the six hitters he’s faced.
When Tanner Rainey is on, he’s got some of the best stuff you’re going to see out of the bullpen. He sits in the upper 90’s, touches triple digits, and he’s topped out at 102 MPH. The fastball might not even be his best offering, though. His slider is a plus pitch, too. It’s got hard, late biting action and is a real put away pitch. If he’s capable of finding the strikezone, he’s going to be a real difference maker. But, it may be beneficial to use him in the early in the Majors in situations where a walk won’t necessarily hurt you as much and try to ease him into things given his control concerns.
The Yovani Gallardo experiment didn’t last long
Now, when it comes to Yovani Gallardo, the question is basically this: How did this happen? When the Reds signed him at the start of the season, he was coming off of a spring where he was just cut by the Brewers, and was leaving behind the previous two seasons with a high walk rate, a low strikeout rate, and an ERA over 5.50. The move made no sense in the beginning, and there was not much of a reason to think that there was something left in the tank. Less than two weeks later, after somehow being used in close games at the Major League level, that experiment is now over. It’s great that the Reds decided quickly that it wasn’t going to work. But, how they decided to give it a shot in the first place remains confusing.