5'11" 215 lbs DOB: 4/24/1985
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
Bats: Left | Throws: Right
2008: Vero Beach/Montgomery
Acquired: 2006 Draft, Round 7, 199th overall
Ryan Reid's 2008 season truly was a tale of two halves. Beginning the year in high-A Vero Beach, he pitched 31 ridiculously dominant innings: 14 hits, 3 walks, 35 strikeouts, and just one earned run. After his well-earned promotion to Montgomery, his control deserted him and he struggled: 4.66 ERA on 41 hits and 31 walks in 46 innings.
So, what's the story? Ovbiously, it's unlikely that either statline is the "true" Ryan Reid. In the Florida State League, he was a 23-year old pitching to younger hitters. On the other hand, a 15/1 K/BB rate is astounding. After his promotion, his hit rate jump from 4.1 per 9 innings to 8.0, which actually isn't too troubling, but of course hit rate is a volatile statistic. The real trouble is the walk rate: He went from walking less than a hitter per 9 in Vero Beach to walking 6 per 9 in Montgomery.
Intuitively, that doesn't seem right at all: after all, the strike zone is the same in each league. The reason for the sudden jump is a combination of adjusting to new surroundings, a lack of confidence in his stuff, and just some bad luck. The point is, Reid has better control than he showed in Montgomery and I'd be shocked if he replicated the walk rate. His stuff, however, is a bit more troubling of an issue.
Drafted in the 7th round out of James Madison University in 2006, Reid was considered a starter with fringy stuff. He struggled as a starter in Hudson Valley in his debut before flourishing as a reliever with Columbus' championship team in 2007. He struck out 11.5 per 9, walked 3 per 9, and posted an ERA under 3. His fastball isn't anything special in the low-90's, and his slider is good, not great. He lacks a true 3rd pitch(he has a show-me changeup), which isn't a huge issue in relief.
Despite the iffy stuff and struggles in Montgomery, there are some positive signs. For one, even though his control left him with the promotion, his strikeout rate was a healthy 10.3 per 9. The other thing to like about Reid is that he gets ground balls. One of the reasons there's a bias against short righties is that because of the angle they're releasing from, they're prone to fly balls and home runs. But in Reid's 203 minor league innings, he's only surrendered 5 long balls. It's worth pointing out that Reid's FIP at Montgomery was 3.35, a run lower than his actual ERA of 4.46.
Also worth noting is that Reid pitched for the Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. In 14 innings, he allowed 10 earned runs, but again, struck out more than a batter per inning. Either way, it's tough to draw any conclusions from 14 innings.
For 2009, Reid will be back in Montgomery where he'll have to prove that he's a legitimate relief prospect and not just someone who can succeed in the lower minors. He's not a future closer or even a future set-up man, but if he can reign in his control, he will find a spot in a major-league bullpen.