2 years ago

This story was excerpted from Mark Sheldon’s Reds Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

One Reds reliever who has been off to a nice start overall is right-hander Art Warren. Entering Wednesday, Warren owned a 4.15 ERA, but four of his first five appearances were scoreless. According to Statcast, he ranks in the 89th percentile for whiff percentage and the 95th percentage for chase rate. Much of the credit has gone to his use of a slider that’s becoming his most effective pitch.

In a particularly impressive outing in the eighth inning on Sunday, Warren worked a scoreless eighth inning with one walk and two strikeouts. Of the 20 pitches he threw, 18 were sliders. Warren, who was 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in 26 appearances last season, has become one of manager David Bell’s key late-inning options in 2022.

I asked Warren a few questions on Tuesday afternoon.

MLB.com: What has been behind the success of your slider so far this season?

Warren: I think, for starters, being convicted behind every pitch helps. I think the slider is definitely getting more chase than my fastball. What I am trying to do every day is spin it like it’s a fastball. I want to make sure it’s coming out of the same window and it’s on the same line as a heater. If it sells that it’s a fastball away, hopefully we get the swing and miss we’ve been getting so far.

MLB.com: When did it start really clicking?

Warren: I give a lot of credit to our pitching department. As soon as I came over here in Spring Training last year, we talked about, “Hey, we like your slider. Let’s use it a little bit more.” I used it more in Triple-A last year. I know there was a game in Memphis where I threw it a handful of times and it clicked. I felt the release point was on. It felt really good for me. I kind of “found it.”

On Sunday, it was another one of those moments where that’s why I threw it so much. I felt it was on and I felt like it was coming out just as a fastball. It felt like I could throw it wherever I wanted that day. It was just one of those days where you have it, so you use it. It’s the game within the game. The more you use it, the more you get a better feel for it.

MLB.com: How do you like getting more high-leverage situations?

Warren: I love it. I want to do everything I can to help this team win and being in those high leverage innings, I feed off it. I want to bring energy to the club. I embrace those opportunities and try to run with them.

MLB.com: How did it feel to notch your first save (on April 10 at Atlanta)?

Warren: It was awesome. I hope I get more chances. But that’s the beauty of our bullpen. I truly believe we have a number of guys who can go out there and get that job done in the ninth. I definitely get excited for a save opportunity.