James Reeves, successful as reliever before, is finding similar success starting games now.

TAMPA, FL – It’s doesn’t come as a surprise Tampa Yankees pitcher James Reeves has been promoted from reliever to starter since being drafted in the 10th round in 2015. Although Reeves was only given the news three weeks ago, Tampa Yankees manager Pat Osborn said he is confident in Reeves’ ability and has every intention of keeping him in the rotation moving forward.

“As of right now he’s going to stay in the rotation until further notice,” Osborn said. “He’s doing such a good job. He deserves to be in that starting five.”

After dominating earlier this year in Charleston with the RiverDogs, Reeves was promoted to Tampa where he quickly posted a 1.33 ERA in his first ten relief appearances with the Yankees.  Doing quite well, Osborn and company decided to make the move to the rotation where Reeves has found similar success.

Reeves said he’s focusing on adapting his pitch plan to his new role. As a starter, it’s critical for Reeves to have three pitches he can throw for strikes, which led him to adding the changeup to his arsenal. He throws a fastball and a slider, while working on the final addition. Aside from his adaptability, Reeves backs his stuff up with a velocity of 91 mph.

Osborn attributes much of Reeves’ success to his irregular arm action. The way Reeves hides the ball makes him difficult to see, which ultimately makes his stuff better for the Yankees.

“Now that I’ve seen a couple levels, I feel like I’m more confident and I command the ball better than I did before,” Reeves said. “This year I’m just trying to become more of a three-pitch guy rather than just relying on the two.”

The good news is while he continues to work on the changeup it is the on-the-field results that hasn't changed much.  He has posted a 2.08 ERA through his first five starts with a similar strikeout rate.

Reeves was able to show them he was prepared in Charleston, and now that he’s starting with the Tampa Yankees he said he plans to prove himself as a versatile addition to the team. He said he didn’t know exactly what led to the promotion, but he is up for the challenge.

“I throw from a lower arm slot, and have a little deception for hitters,” Reeves said. “I just think if I can get the changeup to be a really consistent pitch I’ll be good.”

Although Reeves’ 2014 season with the Citadel was cut short by an elbow injury, the Citadel’s sports medicine department was able to rehab Reeves for the upcoming 2015 draft.

According to Citadel Bulldog statistics, he worked in seven games, the last against Elon University before sitting out the rest of the season. Despite the injury, he finished with a record of 3-2, an ERA of 3.40 with 10 walks and 36 strikeouts in 39.2 innings.

In 2015, the 6-foot-2 pitcher had a solid professional debut season, posting a 3.08 ERA with as many strikeouts as innings pitched coming out of bullpen for the Staten Island Yankees.

“Coming out of the draft you’re really learning about what it takes for pro ball,” Reeves said. “I’m just going to keep working and varying my pitches for strikeouts.”

Tampa Yankees pitching coach Tim Norton said Reeves is really taking to the role as starter too. Throughout his game he works hard and continues to push himself as a player.  Norton has been working with him to expand his pitch plan to accommodate to starting and to sharpen his command.

“He’s a grinder, and I just think he likes to work,” Norton said. “He’s got a good side-arm, and he’s adapted to the position. He looks great out there.”

“I like his quality,” Osborne said. “He just gets outs. If you can generate outs by strikeouts and you do it often, you have something.”

Osborn said he thinks Reeves is off to a really good start, but he has much more to come. Reeves plans to continue to work on his command and consistency on the mound, but has had a strong season so far.

“If he gets ahead of you strike one with a good fastball then you’ve dug yourself a hole,” Osborne said. “When he comes out the gate ball one, ball two, then that’s when you need to shrink things up.”

Norton said he thinks Reeves is a great addition to the starting lineup. He said Reeves has been working towards adding that third pitch, and he looks better every day.

“He has a consistent routine and the stuff to do it,” Norton said. “He’s proven that he can do it, and his arm has taken to it well.”

“I think I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot this year,” Reeves said. “I’m pretty confident. I’m really enjoying this team right now and winning a lot in the Florida State League.”

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