Jesus Reyes began the season in extended spring training. The 23-year-old joined the Dayton Dragons the first week of May and made one appearance that week, tossing 4.0 innings of relief. He allowed two runs with two walks and two strikeouts. He didn’t take the mound again for nine days. Reyes returned against South Bend with 2.0 shutout innings and two more strikeouts. Three days later he made a spot start and struggled. Great Lakes scored three runs in 3.2 innings against him with three walks and two strikeouts. He finished out the month well, throwing 11.2 innings with just two earned runs allowed (1.54 ERA), but only had two total strikeouts in that span. For the month the right hander posted a 2.95 ERA in 21.1 innings, but had seven walks against just eight strikeouts.
The first week of June saw Jesus Reyes throw 5.0 shutout innings over two relief appearances, but walk five batters with four strikeouts in that span. He returned to the mound on the 11th and gave up a run in 2.0 innings. Six days later he would make a spot start against Great Lakes. He threw 5.0 shutout innings with three walks and four strikeouts. Reyes didn’t pitch again for a week, then made three relief appearances to finish out the month. In those games he allowed just one earned over 7.1 innings with seven strikeouts. In 19.1 total innings the righty posted a 0.93 ERA with 11 walks (two intentional) and 17 strikeouts. He also didn’t allow a home run for the second straight month.
July started out slow for Jesus Reyes. He only pitched twice in the first 11 days of the month, throwing 5.0 shutout innings with two walks and four strikeouts. On the 16th he would allow three runs in an inning against Wisconsin, but rebound well with 2.1 innings of no earned run baseball on the 20th. That carried forward the rest of the month as he was charged with just one run in the final four games of the month. July saw the least amount of usage in a month so far for Reyes. He posted a 2.45 ERA in 14.2 innings with seven walks and 15 strikeouts. He also held batters homerless for the third consecutive month.
After spending all of July in the bullpen, Jesus Reyes returned to the rotation for August. He threw 5.0 shutout innings on the 3rd against West Michigan. Six days later he didn’t allow an earned run in 4.0 innings against Lake County. He struggled some on the 14th against South Bend, giving up five earned in 5.0 innings with six strikeouts. He also allowed two home runs – the first two of the season. On the 19th and 24th he would throw 6.0 innings each, allowing just one combined earned run with 10 strikeouts and three walks. The month ended on a down note against Bowling Green. He would allow five runs in 5.1 innings. In his final start of the year the right hander allowed one run in 7.0 innings. Over the final five weeks he posted a 2.82 ERA in 38.1 innings with 12 walks and 28 strikeouts.
While splitting time between the bullpen and rotation, Jesus Reyes kept runs off of the board. He posted a 2.40 ERA on the season in 93.2 innings pitched. A big part of that was keeping the ball in the park, giving up just three home runs all season. He had 37 walks and 68 strikeouts on the season, but that ratio did improve as the season went along.
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Jesus Reyes Scouting Report
Fastball | A strong pitch with good movement that shows both sinking action and armside run. The pitch works in the 92-95 MPH range. He will also mix in a 4-seam fastball that he throws a bit harder, topping out at 98 MPH during the season. It’s a bit straight and he doesn’t go to it too often, but he will sneak one in there at times just to show he’s got that big velocity.
Slider | An above-average offering that works in the low-to-mid 80’s. The pitch shows good 11-5 movement.
Undrafted out of college, Jesus Reyes has come out and turned himself into a real prospect. The combination of velocity and movement helped generate a big number of ground balls for the right hander. In the 2016 season he had a ground ball rate of 63%, among the best in the entire organization. He profiles best as a reliever as he lacks that third offering that he can go to, and he will already be 24-years-old when the 2017 season begins. Left handed hitters had much more success against Reyes than right handers did, likely because he lacks the secondary offering to put them away. Lefties had 20 walks and 21 strikeouts against him, hitting .253 in the process. He held right handers to a .186/.267/.244 line with 17 walks and 47 strikeouts.
He needs to improve on his control, but if he can cut down on the walks a little bit moving forward, he’s got the stuff to be a quality 7th inning reliever.