Raisel Iglesias allowed 52 hits in 72 innings pitched in 2018 (that’s good). Twelve of those hits surrendered were home runs (that’s bad).
As one would expect, there’s a decent correlation between home runs allowed and ERA. The lower a pitcher’s HR/9, the lower the ERA as a general rule. Keeping the ball in the park is a skill that translates to actual value.
Iglesias’s HR/9 rate of 1.5 and his ERA of 2.38 jump out as an outlier on a scatterplot comparing the two metrics. It’s an exaggeration, but not a gross one to say that the only way Iglesias allows runs to score is if someone hits the ball out of the park. That’s either good luck (a lot of his home runs allowed were solo shots) or bad luck (other than home run rate, Iglesias’s peripheral stats were stable and we might expect his future home run rate to bounce back into line).
Either way, we can safely conclude that Cuban closers are awesome and the Reds should arrange to get more.
This is also a good time to generally mention that the Reds have a really good closer and also were very successful with respect to the team’s two primary relief corps reinforcements (Hughes & Hernandez). And yet the bullpen, in total, was still awful, allowing 5.06 RA/G (worst in the NL). That’s a modest improvement over 2017’s 5.36 RA/G (also worst in the NL) and 2016’s 5.27 RA/G (3rd worst in the NL). Ongoing problems that aren’t adequately addressed, creatively or otherwise, point to a lack of skill, resources, interest, or awareness (or some combination thereof!) from management, with a potential allowance for bad luck built in if, you know, the bullpen didn’t suck three years running. Relief pitching is more important now than at any other time in the game’s history and our favorite team is effectively punting. Cool.
Raisel Iglesias owns a career record of 11-17, with 64 saves and a 2.97 ERA (142 ERA+) over 321 innings. He debuts on the all-time Reds list at #234.