Name: Kevin Reese
DOB: March 11, 1978
Height: 5' 11"
How Acquired: The Yankees acquired outfielder, Kevin Reese from the San Diego Padres in December of 2001 in exchange for Bernabel Castro.
Kevin Reese has gotten more than used to being overlooked in the Yankees organization. And, the clock is ticking for the Yankees to add him to their 40 man roster or else someone will likely grab him in this year's Rule 5 draft. Even his roommate, David Shepard said "he always gets overlooked. He is used to it." Used to it or not, it is time for Kevin Reese to get the credit that he deserved. He started the season in AA where he was fantastic and was sent to AAA Columbus by mid season. Reese didn't miss a beat there and hit even better than he did in Trenton. Take a look at his totals for 2004. They are absolutely staggering.
Now, can we even make a case that Kevin Reese deserved the role that Bubba Crosby held with the New York Yankees this year? Well, the fact is that this case can certainly be made. Reese has as good, if not better, outfield skills than Bubba and probably has equally as much speed as well. One thing that Reese had a knack for in 2004 though was the extra base hit. He racked up 50 doubles, 14 home runs and 7 triples. All in total, he had an incredible 71 extra base hits. Not too shabby no matter how you look at it. By far, he was the most valuable player for the Trenton Thunder when he was there and he was just as important in the Columbus Clippers playoff drive.
Time will only tell but what kind of chance does Kevin Reese have of being with the big club next year? Honestly, since we are dealing with the Yankees probably not that good. He would probably be better off with another organization. But, stranger things have happened and maybe the Yankees will wise up and find a reserve role for him in the Bronx. One thing he will get though is a likely invite to Yankees Spring Training next season if he is not taken by another organization in the off season. He was with the team this year also but got only a measly 2 at bats. He deserves to get a better opportunity than that in the spring of 2005.
Whether it is with the Padres organization or the Yankees organization, Kevin Reese could always play a very fine outfield. In 2004, he displayed that as he made a combined four errors between his time in AA Trenton and AAA Columbus. Reese also has a a pretty strong arm which he has improved over his four years in the minors. And, one would say that the above statistics speak for themselves about his hitting ability. The left hand hitting Reese is a complete hitter. He can hit for solid power, take the ball to all fields with authority and is good in clutch situations as well.
So, with all these skills and all these amazing statistics, why hasn't Kevin Reese gotten more recognition? Is it because he is 26 years old? That just doesn't seem like a valid enough reason to try and ignore anyone. Besides that, there is really no reason to ignore him. If anyone forgets, Reese came over in the trade that sent Bernabel Castro to the San Diego Padres before the 2003 season. At the time, he was one of the more highly regarded Padres prospects. In fact, he was working out with the team when he was told of the trade. Who knows, the move may have actually hurt his chance at the big leagues. Don't think that minor leaguers like Kevin Reese and his roommate don't get frustrated because they certainly do. Thunder first baseman , Aaron Rifkin even publicly displayed his displeasure with the organization. But, this off season, he may have a chance to escape to another organization where he could eventually flourish into a solid everyday player.
Batting and Power. In 2004, everything seemed to fall into place for Kevin Reese, including his offense. Reese transformed himself into an hitting machine in 2004, the most noticeable difference was his power to hit the ball out of the yard and into the gaps. Reese has established more power into his game and can provide good punch out of the leadoff spot in the batting order. Also, something even more impressive about Reese are his low strikeout totals. Kevin Reese puts the bat on the ball and that will help him make a move into the Major Leagues in 2005. Another thing to add is that Reese is not afraid to lay down a bunt to get a rally going or to advance a runner along. He is also a perfect hitter to hit and run with considering his ability to slap the ball to all fields and make contact. In short, Reese has improved upon his flaws over this past season, becoming a well rounded hitter.
Base running and Speed. Reese profiles as an excellent leadoff batter not only because of his hitting capabilities but also as a result of his ability to steal bases. Kevin Reese stole a combined 17 bases this season. But, he has plus speed and with some more experience, the outfielder could steal over 20 bases per season. Also, he is quick out of the batter's box therefore he can bunt for base hits and also pad his extra base hit totals because of his speed. Not to mention, he has excellent range in center field and he can make up for sometimes bad routes resulting from his speed.
Defense. Well, we have already established that Kevin Reese brings all the tools to the table as a player and defense is one of his best. In 2004, Reese combined to commit 4 errors all season, mostly played in center field. Kevin Reese has an average to slightly above average throwing arm with good range but sometimes slightly bad routes in the outfield. But, overall his defense is one of his best attributes as he has become a very sure handed player in the outfield.
Projection. Last year at this time, Kevin Reese looked to be more of a fading prospect but things seem to be changing for him lately. More and more, he is looking like more of an everyday player rather than a reserve. That's why it should be interesting to see if the Yankees find a spot for him on their 40 man roster this off season. With his left handed bat, speed and defensive capabilities, there is no reason not to believe that Kevin Reese can be a big leaguer next season and become an everyday player in the coming years.
ETA. 2005. You won't get too much of an argument that Kevin Reese is ready for the Major Leagues right now. However, will it be with the Yankees is the big question. In order to hang onto this blooming prospect, the Yankees will need to protect him on their 40 man roster. If they don't he will likely be a hot commodity in the upcoming Rule V draft.