NY Sports Dog: Laying in the Reeds

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Laying in the Reeds

This is actually a Ravi piece, but he asked me to post it for him as he is a man on the move of late! Enjoy!

Xavier Nady

John Maine

Oliver Perez

Jeremy Reed

What do all the above players have in common? I’ll get to that in a minute.

Jeremy Reed was drafted in the 2nd round by the Chicago White Sox, with the 59th overall pick in 2002. A year later, he was the Minor League Player of the Year.

He began the year at Single A, and after producing a line of .333/.437/.477, yielding an OPS of .914 over 222 at bats, he was promoted to Double-A, where he found his power stroke, and hit .409/.472/.591, with an OPS of 1.063.

He was promoted to AAA the following year, which included a mid-season trade to Seattle, and played a bit better in the hitter friendly PCL. He earned top prospect status, and a call-up after hitting .305/.367/.455, with an .822 OPS for Tacoma.

Reed began his MLB career on fire, batting .397/.470/.466 for Seattle, with an OPS+ of 149 (100 is average), at the ripe age of 24. 2005 wasn’t as kind to him, as he batted .254/.322/.352, with an OPS + of 84. While not on par with his debut the previous season, his production in 2005 was not terrible for a rookie, especially one who led all center fielders in range factor.

Based on his minor league numbers, Reed was supposed to be a guy who would hit for average, and get on base at a very nice clip, while showing modest power. Then the injuries came.

2006 was tough for Reed, as he sustained some significant injuries, as he hurt his right wrist making a play in spring training, and in July, broke his thumb trying to make a diving catch in extra innings. Reed spent most of 2007 in the minors, this time conquering Triple-A, putting together a ling of .300/.354/.452, with an .806 OPS in 564 AB’s. He only had 13 AB’s at the major league level that year, and never got into a grove. He began 2008 back in Triple-A, and once again showed that the league was no match for him, as he batted .349/.413/.557 with a .970 OPS in 149 at bats. When recalled to the majors in May, he responded by going .269/.314/.360, with an 82 OPS+ on a very weak hitting team while not getting consistent playing time.

This brings me to the question I asked at the top of this post. The thing that the four players have in common is that they attracted the eye of Omar Minaya.

As he did with Nady, Maine, Perez (and Church, some may argue), Omar found a talented player, who had issues with the injury bug, suffered from inconsistent playing time, who proved he was ready, but never had the opportunity to blossom.

Like Maine and Perez, Reed was seemingly a second thought – a body to help offset a much larger deal. However, we have come to learn that these were not just any throw in players, but were in fact targeted by Minaya. Certainly Omar has had some misses, but there is no doubt about his eye for talent, that eye was rewarded by the accomplishments of Nady, Maine and Perez.

This spring, Reed is making his case to join that group, as he is batting .426 over 26 games, while also hitting for power. Though it evokes shades of Butch Huskey, Reed has a pedigree that Butch, though a successful minor leaguer himself, never had. This isn’t to say that Reed will be an all-star, but it will be very interesting to see whether or not a guy, seemingly brought in for his glove, will also be able to get it done with his bat.

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1 comment:

Brian said...

You've got me legitimately excited about a bench player. Well done. Hopefully he's not relegated to 9th inning Endy Chavez duty.

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