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Jo Jo Reyes

The Braves have slated their top pitching prospect, Jo Jo Reyes, from AAA Richmond to take the injured John Smoltz's turn in the rotation on Saturday against the San Diego Padres. Entering the 2007 season, Reyes was ranked behind fellow lefty Matt Harrison. This was likely a result of Harrison being younger and having advanced to AA half-a-season ahead of Reyes. Jo Jo Reyes has also dealt with injuries in his career and was likely docked a couple of points for being rounder than most scouts would prefer.

This season Reyes has proven to be the better pitcher as he has successfully moved up from AA Mississippi to AAA while Matt Harrison has remained at AA where he has a good ERA but only 61 strikeouts in 97.2 inning pitched. In 23 AAA innings, Reyes has struck out 27 and given-up just 21 hits. His walks are a concerning 10, though.

One thing I notice in looking at Reyes' minor league numbers is the consistency with which he has allowed fewer hits than innings pitched. With a strikeout per inning, this allays some concern, but not all, about his high walk totals. He is a pitcher I could see helping a la Chuck James or struggling as major league hitters lay-off his stuff and force him to throw better strikes a la most rookie pitchers.

Here is some of what John Sickels said about Jo Jo Reyes in his The Baseball Prospect Book 2007:

Although the radar gun gets his fastball at 88-91 MPH, he has a deceptive delivery that makes it "act faster"....an effective slider and change-up arsenal, and when he throws strikes he can breeze through a lineup fairly easily...has to sharpen control further to thrive at higher levels.
Baseball America has this to say about the pitcher it ranked #8 in the Braves organization in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2007:
...a thick-bodied left-hander who does a good job of keeping hitters off balance....has an abundance of confidence and relishes being atop a rotation.
Year Team Lg Age Level W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO K9 WHIP
2003 GCL Braves GCL 18 Rk 5 3 2.56 11 10 45.2 34 16 13 1 14 55 10.84 1.05
2004 Rome SAL 19 A 2 4 5.33 15 14 74.1 84 49 44 10 25 71 8.60 1.47
2005 GCL Braves GCL 20 Rk 0 1 1.69 3 2 5.1 6 2 1 0 1 6 10.13 1.31
2005 Danville App 20 Rk 3 0 3.53 9 8 43.1 37 18 17 3 6 27 5.61 0.99
2006 Rome SAL 21 A 8 1 2.99 13 13 75.1 62 26 25 5 25 84 10.04 1.15
2006 Myrtle Bch Caro 21 A+ 4 4 4.11 14 14 65.2 52 36 30 0 36 58 7.95 1.34
2007 Miss Sou 22 AA 8 1 3.56 13 13 73.1 63 31 29 5 35 71 8.74 1.34
2007 Richmond Intl 22 AAA 2 0 1.57 4 4 23 21 6 4 2 10 27 10.57 1.35