Yesterday, I reviewed left-handed reliever Joe Beimel. Beimel's tenure with the Rockies appears to have been cut down - not by God, but by #22 PuRP Matt Reynolds. The rookie ate up AAA hitters in a ridiculous hitting environment in 2010 (55 IP, 67 K, 16 BB, 2.29 ERA, 2.55 FIP, .179 BA all. vs LHB) before finally getting the long-deserved call to the big club in mid-August.
The big 26-year-old lefty (he's 6'5", 240) didn't miss much in his MLB debut season, posting a 2.00 ERA in 18 big-league innings. He started his career with 6.2 scoreless innings, worked 18 of 21 scoreless outings and even held his opponent hitless in 14 of 21 trips to the hill. Reynolds, who hails from Knoxville (sounds familiar) posted an 8.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in his all too-brief-stay, impressive numbers to be certain. Only premier setup men Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle managed better for the Rockies in 2010.
But those numbers were not without precedent for the 2007 20th round pick. In over 221 minor league innings, Reynolds baffled minor leaguers to the tune of a 9.5 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and 4.59 K/BB. Those strikeout numbers are fantastic for a pitcher given the title of "Best Control" in the organization by Baseball America a year ago. And he does all of this with a low 90's fastball, a low 80's slider and a low 80's "split finger."
|2010 - Matt Reynolds||1-0||21||0||0||0||0||0||18.0||10||4||4||2||5||17||2.00||.83|
I would be remiss if I did not point out his .192 BABIP and 91.2% strand rate in 2010 that are sure to regress heavily, pushing his ERA into the backwards E's. But as we saw with Jhoulys Chacin from 2009 to 2010, a couple of months to get one's feet wet can really aid in confidence going into the next season.
After becoming the first 2007 draft pick to reach the majors, Reynolds has been given an all-but-guaranteed job in the big league bullpen to start the year. There, he will join Franklin Morales as the two left-handed relievers in purple pinstripes. With Morales' erratic past, that means Reynolds would get the call to face the best left-handed hitters late in games. Minorleaguesplits.com is not up currently, but he did handle left-handed hitters very well in the minors.
But don't shove him into the Beimel set-up/LOOGY role just yet. Of the 33 right-handed batters he faced with the Rockies, he struck out 11 and allowed just five hits. He exhibits subtle yet well above average deception in his delivery, as I saw in Colorado Springs in June, which shields the ball and his throwing arm for a long period, especially for right-handed hitters. Moreover, he has thrown over 73 innings in each of the past two seasons (only Matt Belisle threw that many among 2010 Rockie relievers), so stamina is not particularly an issue.