For this weeks Minor League Scouting Notebook we will look at three right handed pitchers. Reliever Josh Ravin and starters Chad Rogers and Greg Reynolds.
Josh Ravin turned heads last fall when he hit 101 MPH while pitching in the Arizona Fall League. He has always been a hard thrower, but hitting triple digits and then going one over the double zero really grabs attention. He was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, likely due to his strong performance in the Arizona Fall League where he had 13 strikeouts and just 2 walks.Control has been a problem for Ravin throughout his career, so his showing in Arizona was certainly a pleasant surprise. This year he has battled control once again, with 10 walks in 14.2 innings pitched. In his last two appearances he had 5 strikeouts without a walk, so I decided to go back and look at the video from the two games. The stuff was quite good, with his fastball ranging from 92-97 MPH on the stadium guns and his curveball is still a true put away pitch. He was able to work the outside corner with his pitches and when he did miss, he was missing outside. With that said, his release point was still all over the place on the horizontal plane. There was a consistent cluster where most of his pitches were coming from, but several pitches were pretty far off of that cluster to the left and to the right. The stuff is there for Ravin to be a dominant relievers, but being able to consistently throw strikes, which goes directly back to repeating his mechanics, is going to be hurdle for him to get over.
Chad Rogers now has 67.1 innings at the Double-A level where he has posted a 1.74 ERA with 17 walks and 57 strikeouts. He has been very, very good in his transition back to a starter after moving to the bullpen his first year as a professional. His strikeout rate is up significantly from where it was in 2012 with Pensacola or Bakersfield. This season he has struck out 25% of the batters he has faced, while last year he was at 19% at both levels he pitched at. His walk rate is also up from last year, though it is still at a good level. Last year in the Prospect Guide I noted that Rogers would have to improve his change up if he was likely to remain a starting pitcher. With improved numbers this year I wanted to look into that and see if it was something that he had improved upon, so I went back to the video from several of his starts. The change up hasn’t really improved much as it is still a pitch that he throws in the 83-84 MPH range, which is probably too close to his fastball velocity of 88-92 MPH to keep hitters off balance. When he is on top of his game, he can pound the corners with his sinker and his slider is good enough to put hitters away.
Greg Reynolds is not a prospect. He lost his eligibility way back in 2008 at the age of twenty two. After multiple arm injuries and just one short stint back in the Majors after that 2008 season, Reynolds is now a 27 year old playing in Louisville. His numbers have been downright bad since the start of 2009. From 2009-2012 he posted a minor league ERA of 5.46 and had a strikeout rate of just 11.2%, which is very, very low. He has gotten off to a strong start for Louisville though, posting a 2.98 ERA through 42.1 innings with a strikeout rate that is up to 17.3%. However it is much higher than that over his last three starts at 27.2%. With his three most recent starts being so productive and very much against the long track record of what he has done, I went back and watched a few of his more recent starts. Reynolds is tall guy, coming in at 6′ 7″ and the downward plane alone on his fastball will cause some problems, but he also throws a sinker with real good movement on it. The pitch sits mostly in the upper 80’s though and can touch 90-91. His main secondary pitch is a quality curveball in the 77-82 MPH range. His third pitch is a change up that while he can sell it as being a fastball with the same arm action and release point, isn’t enough to trick hitters as it comes in in the mid 80’s and is too close to the velocity of the fastball to truly fool hitters. He will mix his pitches well, and despite his curveball being a good pitch, he has gotten a lot of his strikeouts on his fastball. He can sink it and he can run it back over the plate when he wants to. While he has been used as a starter in Louisville, I wouldn’t be comfortable bringing him up to the Majors as a starter as someone to rely on. However if you put him in the bullpen and have him throw just the curveball and the fastball, I think there is a chance that he could be somewhat successful.