Name: Jorge Reyes
DOB: December 7, 1987
Named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2007 College World Series as a freshman, Reyes finished the 2009 campaign with a 6-2 record and 4.20 ERA (38 ER/81.1 IP) in 15 games (14 starts) for Oregon State. He struck out 75 and walked 29 while holding the opposition to a .269 average. As a sophomore, Reyes posted a 7.08 ERA across 14 starts, giving up 72 hits and 32 walks in 67.1 innings – seeing 25 extra-base hits against.
He finished his career in Corvallis with a 17-8 record and 4.66 ERA and is remembered for his 2-0 record in the College World Series where he allowed four runs across 12.1 innings in helping the Beavers to a title, beating North Carolina and Cal State-Fullerton. Just as he earned fame as a freshman, his sophomore and junior years did not live up to the hype.
Selected in the 17th-round of the 2009 MLB Draft, the Padres went over slot to sign Reyes on the final day of signing eligibility to a contract worth $200,000, seeing the potential that emerged his freshman year and believing it could be extracted.
"There are really two different sides of him and we have seen both," former vice president of scouting and player development Grady Fuson said. "A couple of years ago he was the College World Series Most Outstanding Player and then was so-so his sophomore and junior years. In the Cape Cod League he pitched very well and our national cross-checkers really liked what they saw."
Reyes was assigned to short-season Eugene – just 20 minutes away from his Corvallis roots. He went 1-1 across three starts with a 1.28 ERA, allowing nine hits and two walks while striking out 12 in 13 innings. He also recorded five double play grounders, including netting one rally killer in each game.
"I don't care where he was drafted, I know Boras was his agent that's probably the reason why he was drafted that late, but we've got a guy that's a top 10 pitcher, the top five guy pitcher in the draft and probably was left unattended because of who his agent was," Eugene manager Greg Riddoch said. "We've got a good one there."
He was so impressive to the staff that they moved him up to Lake Elsinore for the California League playoffs. While he did not see any action, the gesture was a testament to the team's belief in him.
He went on to the Padres fall Instructional League and allowed two runs across seven innings, throwing a first-pitch strike 70.6 percent of the time. He needed just 3.3 pitches per plate appearance to get his job done.
"Jorge Reyes was impressive," Gamboa said. "He performed very, very well at instructs. Very good breaking ball while the changeup is a work in progress."
Armed with a low-90s, moving fastball, Reyes sets the tone early by working down in the zone and pitching ahead. He tops out at 92-93 but is really a sinker ball pitcher that induces early contact. His aggressiveness with his fastball and ability to work inside to both left- and right-handed hitters sets up the rest of his arsenal.
His slider is a plus pitch with late bite that gets hitters swinging over top. It is his preferred pitch when he is ahead in the count, and some believe he could get by with just his slider. It is a two-strike pitch that he will throw in a full count when everyone is expecting fastball.
The changeup is a new pitch that was introduced to him in college. He uses it more to left-handed hitters than righties and worked on mastering the pitch during instructs. He shelved the slider in instructs, outside of strikeout opportunities, and made progress but still has a ways to go. He is currently throwing it too hard, not allowing it to get the necessary drop to keep hitters guessing.
One of the quickest workers in the system, Reyes gets the ball and throws with confidence. His rapid pace between each pitch doesn't allow the hitter to settle into a routine and disrupts their flow.
Athletic, Reyes fields his position well and is good at keeping runners close. His mechanics are relatively clean, as he keeps his line consistent to home plate and maintains a nice balance point by bringing his glove above his head in the windup.
"He's very electric and Greg Riddoch, our manager at Eugene, said he was the best looking of all of our pitchers," Fuson said. "He has a lot of potential."
His ability to induce early contact and get ground balls translates well for Reyes. He can work deep into games with a low pitch count, and it will take quite a few hits to score a single run off him.
"Outstanding," Riddoch said. "Works fast. Commands two and a half pitches, three pitches. Fields his position well. Smart kid and should very easily be able to pitch at Fort Wayne next year in starting rotation. Good-looking player."
Conclusion: An aggressive worker who is down in the strike zone and isn't afraid to pitch inside, Reyes' future depends on the development of his changeup. If he can pick up the third pitch, the right-hander has starter material. If, for some reason, he does not master the slip, he profiles well as a two-pitch reliever.
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