The favorite to fill the fifth spot in the Cincinnati Reds rotation, Tony Cingrani, is working on building his pitch repertoire in his second season in the majors with the club. Cingrani is known for having a fastball that gets on hitters and makes it tough to make contact with the ball. But for the lefty’s sophomore performance, he’s looking to add to that.
According to Reds.com, Cingrani has been talking to fellow lefty Sean Marshall about adding new pitches. Marshall has gave Cingrani advice about working on his slider. He told him that if he throws it from the fastball arm slot, the pitch will look the same on the way to the plate then break away at the last second.
Cingrani used the pitch in his first spring training game of the 2014 season against the Rockies in a 3-2 Reds victory. Cingrani pitched two scoreless innings and struck out the side. Cingrani told reds.com reporters, “It was fun to get back out there and challenge guys. It was getting that arm strength back up there, and I was just attacking hitters. I threw a couple of off speed pitches in there and a couple of sliders. It was good.”
The only worry with Cingrani going into his second season is his health. Injuries to his back caused him to miss the majority of the end of the season last year, with a stint on the disabled list. Reds manager Bryan Price said that that was the only thing that kept his rookie season from being an outstanding one. Price also said that he would like Cingrani to make better use of his pitches this year, and work the strike zone more. Cingrani believes he can be more successful with that by the addition of his slider.
If Cingrani can ride the momentum of his successful rookie year into this year, the Reds have the potential to boast what could be one of the best five man rotations in the MLB. Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos are both “aces” at the top of the rotation, Homer Bailey is growing and maturing into what Reds fans expected from him from the start, and Mike Leake is coming off one of his best years as a Red. The pitching of this team is what will carry them if the offense continues to be inconsistent in producing runs.
Cingrani is set to have a phenomenal sophomore season with Cincinnati. He’s a young, strong pitcher who has the ability to be a leader on this team. Although he will probably fill the fifth spot in the rotation, he is better than most other fifth spot rotation pitchers. If he continues to put his fastball past hitters and works on expanding his repertoire, the Reds can almost expect a solid victory every fifth day.