Cinco de Mayo was Addison Reed‘s coming out party as the White Sox’s flame-throwing phenom notched the first of what are sure to be many big league saves. Really, Reed’s move to the ninth inning was just a matter of when; the team never saw Matt Thornton as a long-term option, and his abominable April made their transition to Reed very easy.
One look at Reed’s minor league numbers is sure to make any stat geek giddy — he averaged 12.88 K/9 and just 1.66 BB/9 in 108.1 innings — and it looks like last year’s “pedestrian” 8.84 K/9 is simply a benchmark for 2013. He’s still plagued by fly balls (42.7%), which means more homers than we’d like in the very hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, but Reed appears to be on the cusp of fantasy stardom. Or at least as much stardom as a reliever can have.
At a Glance
Strengths: SV, K, K/9, WHIP
Neutral: W, L, ERA, BB/9
Best case scenario: Jonathan Papelbon (PHI)
Likely scenario: Jason Motte (STL), Joe Nathan (TEX), J.J. Putz (ARI)
Worst case scenario: Joel Hanrahan (BOS)
Addison Reed 2013 Fantasy Projection
The strikeout rate will come up; of that much I am certain, however how much it rises is hard to gauge. Reed tailed off a little with his strikeout rate as the season wore on, but I expect development in year two. The saves will be there just as they will for any full-time closer, so Reed’s value comes down to his ERA and WHIP. With a .323 BABIP last year, Reed was probably a tad unlucky even though he allowed line drives 24.4% of the time. Fly ball pitchers tend to have lower BABIPs that ground ball pitchers, though, so I’d expect some regression to the mean, and that should really help his WHIP. We project 1.10, but anything in the 1.05-1.20 range sounds good to me, especially given his improved second-half walk rate. We also listed Reed’s ERA as “neutral” solely because he seems like a prime candidate to have a higher ERA than his FIP due to his propensity for long-balls in a hitter’s park, but improvements with his FB% will turn that “neutral” into a “strength.”