Jesus Reyes signed with the Cincinnati Reds on August 28, 2014. He had gone undrafted as a 21-year-old out of ASA College in New York. If you’ve never heard of the college before, you aren’t alone. The school has had several players drafted over the last 10 years, though.
With the late signing date, Jesus Reyes didn’t debut until 2015 when he pitched the entire season in Arizona as a 22-year-old. He had some success there, pitching 50.1 innings with a 3.40 ERA. Last season he moved up to Dayton and that’s when he took a real step forward, working between the bullpen and rotation. With the Dragons he posted a 2.40 ERA in 93.2 innings pitched and seemed to get better down the stretch. Between those two seasons he posted a ground ball rate of 57% and 62%. For context, the Major League average ground ball rate is usually around 47% in a given season.
This season the Reds have the 24-year-old right hander in Daytona’s rotation. While he’s considered old for the level he’s at, this matters a little bit less for pitchers than it does for hitters. With the Tortugas this season he has posted a 3.78 ERA in 15 starts, already a career high. He’s improved his walk rate for the third straight season, dropping his walk rate down to 7.6% this season to go along with an 18.8% strikeout rate.
Once again, he’s generated a very high rate of grounders. This season he’s just a tick over 60%, ranking 6th best in the Florida State League among pitchers with at least 40.0 innings pitched. Many of the ground balls that he gets are a result of his sinker, which works in the 92-94 MPH range that shows very good sinking action. He’ll reach the mid-90’s at times and has been up to 98 MPH. The main secondary offering he goes with is a slider in the mid-80’s. That pitch can show good, hard biting action at times and also helps generate plenty of grounders.
What’s in the future for Jesus Reyes
In the long run, it’s likely that Jesus Reyes winds up in the bullpen. He’s had a lot more success against right handed hitters than left handed hitters in his career, and that’s still holding true in 2017. But, as a reliever you can see two above-average offerings with his sinking fastball and slider coming out and both playing up from where they are now. Already showing strong velocity, in shorter stints it could take another tick upward and he could really let it go rather than pace himself as a starter. A mid-90’s sinker that routinely touches higher along with a hard biting slider could play very well in the future.