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40-players-in-40-days-jo-jo-reyes | October | 2009 Articles

2009 Archives

40 Players in 40 Days: Jo-Jo Reyes

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Jo-Jo Reyes is a guy that always falls through the cracks when I look at the Braves' roster. It's easy to look at his stat sheet, see a 6.09 career ERA in a not-insignificant 190-inning sample size, and write him off. Injuries became an issue at the end of May when he strained a hamstring covering first base for Atlanta. He was limited to just 21 appearances (19 of them starts) this season across two levels, and his stuff was clearly never quite all there (his K rate was an unusually low 4.28 per nine innings in the minors, and his fastball velocity in the majors was down noticeably from its 2008 level). It seems like he's been around forever since he was thrown into the fire at the tender age of 22, with all of six Triple-A starts under his belt, so it's easy to forget that he will still be just 25 years old next year.

And there's still potential in a 25-year-old southpaw with pretty good fastball velocity, and two other major-league-caliber offerings in his arsenal. He's always had problems allowing home runs in the majors, but when you consider the fact that he's always been a groundball pitcher, that may be a fluke issue resulting more from a sky-high 14.8% HR/FB rate than any problem with his skill set. Of course, issues with his mental makeup, which appear to have affected him in the majors in the past, may linger, and of course beyond all that there appears to be zero room for him in the 2010 Braves rotation. Discarding him would be a mistake, but does he have trade value? Could he be a poor man's J.P. Howell (a lefty reliever that can still pitch multiple innings and be more than just a specialist)? Or will his career .936 OPS allowed against right-handed hitters relegate him to LOOGY duty?

It's a bit difficult to see where Reyes fits into the Braves' 2010 plans, and while another season at Gwinnett wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for him, he might be able to bring back, say, a reliable middle reliever in trade if sent to a team who could give him a real shot to fulfill his midrotation starter potential.

The bottom line: Reyes still has potential, but his value may be greater to another team than it is to the Braves. He could join the 2010 bullpen corps as a lefty specialist, but that strikes me as something of a waste, given Eric O'Flaherty and Boone Logan's presences in the organization. Could he be packaged with Kelly Johnson perhaps to bring back any substantial return?


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