When the 2021 season began Daniel Duarte was not playing professional baseball. He had actually signed with Cincinnati prior to the 2020 season, but since the season was cancelled he never played and became a free agent. He was an unsigned free agent until May 20th when he signed with Acereros del Norte in Mexico. A month later, on June 23rd, he would sign with the Cincinnati Reds.
A few days after signing the Reds sent Daniel Duarte to the mound in Goodyear with the ACL Reds in a bit of a “tune up”, so to speak. It was his only game there before joining the High-A Dayton Dragons. The first game was a struggle for Duarte as he threw 1.1 innings, allowed a run, and walked four batters. Over the next two weeks he would appear in three more games, throwing a combined four innings and allowing a run.
After his appearance on July 14th the right-handed reliever would leave the Dragons and he would go join Team Mexico for the summer Olympics. A month later Duarte returned to the organization and Cincinnati assigned him to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts. He allowed two runs over his first five appearances that spanned 6.2 innings. But in back-to-back games in early September he allowed four total runs in just 2.0 innings, including two home runs against Tennessee.
Daniel Duarte would make four more appearances with the Lookouts, giving up two runs in 3.2 innings that included seven strikeouts before their season came to an end. At that point he joined the Triple-A Louisville Bats for their “final stretch” in the final week of the year. Duarte threw 4.0 perfect innings that included seven strikeouts.
For all 2021 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Daniel Duarte Scouting Report
Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R
Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 170 lbs | Acquired: Free Agent (2021)
Born: December 4, 1996
Fastball | The pitch works in the 94-96 MPH that will touch 98 on occasion.
Slider | An average offering that will flash above-average at times. The pitch works in the low-to-mid 80’s.
Change Up | A third offering that can be a bit firm at times that works in the upper 80’s.
There weren’t a lot of innings thrown by Daniel Duarte for the Reds farm system this season thanks to him not signing until late June and then spending a month with Team Mexico in the Olympics. The righty did spend time with what probably feels like a record number of pitching coaches, though. He played in Mexico, then for four teams while in the Reds organization, and then also in the Olympics – all where he had a different pitching coach.
On paper there wasn’t a ton that really jumped off of the stat page in 2021 for Duarte. He had a good strikeout rate in 23.2 innings, but that’s about it as far as the “good” numbers go. His walk rate was higher than you’d like to see, his ERA and WHIP were both solid at best. But we’re also talking about a small sample size that included a month off in the middle of it.
What Duarte brings to the table is a good fastball, a promising slider, and a usable change up out of the bullpen. While his walk rate in 2021 wasn’t great, historically he’s thrown more strikes. Added to the 40-man roster following the 2021 season, he could be an option early on for Cincinnati if and when the season gets started.
Interesting Stat on Daniel Duarte
Hitters younger than Duarte hit .320/.414/.620 against him in 58 plate appearances. Hitters older than Duarte hit .128/.227/.128 against him in 44 plate appearances.
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I had audible confusion when I read the tweet that the Reds selected his contract back in November. I verbally said “huh?” when I read the tweet. He wasn’t on anyone’s radar for protection, I don’t think, but, if he can do what the Reds think he can do, then great!
If there’s a spring training, I feel like he’d have to be absolutely stellar to earn a spot in the pen right away. I feel like the Reds like their guys they had at the end of last year, and, because of that, the opening day bullpen will probably be Cessa, Sims, Santillan, Moreta, Wilson, Garrett, Hoffman, Warren.
They could start the year with 9 relievers if they wanted to, though. With the off day on 4/1 they wouldn’t *need* a 5th starter until 4/9.
Yeah, it’s tough to see a way he’s going to make the bullpen to begin the year unless a whole lot of things happen that are unexpected and unlikely. Certainly no issue with him being on the 40-man, but in the bullpen he seems to be down the depth chart quite a bit as things sit right now.