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Prospect Press: Addison Reed, Chicago White Sox
Reggie Yinger | Tuesday January 31st, 2012
Reed hopes to be the closer at U.S. Cellular Field in 2012 (Icon SMI)
Reed hopes to be the closer at U.S. Cellular Field in 2012 (Icon SMI)

From young minor league prospects to rookie big-league talent, Prospect Press will be providing an inside look at baseball's best talent for years to come. Today's Prospect Press focuses on Chicago White Sox prospect Addison Reed.

Reed, 23, was drafted by the White Sox in the third round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He attended San Diego State University and was teammates with Nationals pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg in 2009.

As a reliever in '09, Reed posted a 0.65 ERA with 20 saves and 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 25 appearances. During his junior year at San Diego State, he was moved to the starting rotation and posted a 8-2 record with a 2.50 ERA and 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

In his first full professional baseball season in 2011, Reed breezed through minor league hitters. Between Low-A Kannapolis and Triple-A Charlotte, he had a 2-1 record with a 1.26 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP in 43 games. He racked up strikeouts in the bunches, totaling 111 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings. His terrific minor league performance earned him a brief big-league call-up in late September for the White Sox where he continued to succeed, striking out 12 batters in 7 1/3 innings along with a 3.68 ERA.

Baseball America currently ranks Reed as the No. 1 prospect in the White Sox organization prior to the start of the 2012 season. The right-hander has three pitches in his arsenal. He throws a four-seam fastball that sits between 94-96 mph along with a changeup that sits around 82 mph. His "out" pitch is a late breaking slider that sits in the low eighties. In his short time at the big-league level last season, Reed generated a 19.4 swing-and-miss percentage when throwing his slider, according to Texas Leaguers. Not only does he have great command of all three pitches, but he has very little trouble striking out hitters with his pitches.

In 2011, the back end of the White Sox bullpen consisted of righty Sergio Santos, lefty Matt Thornton, right-hander Jesse Crain, and rookie lefty Chris Sale. Over the off-season, Chicago made several trades, including relievers sending Jason Frasor and Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays. 

Heading into the new season, Thornton and Crain will remain in the bullpen, while Sale will join the starting rotation with the departure of veteran Mark Buehrle. Due to the trades in the off-season and success in 2011, Reed is a "lock" to start the year in the bullpen, according to pitching coach Don Cooper.

While Reed will be given a roster spot in the White Sox bullpen, the closer's role is currently up in the air. With Santos out, Matt Thornton seems like the favorite to start the year pitching in the ninth inning with Reed working in the eighth inning, but that could change quickly. New White Sox manager Robin Ventura may be skeptical of giving a rookie pitcher the ball in the ninth inning, but Reed may force his hand into closing games out.

From a fantasy standpoint, Addison Reed is a great reliever to have on any fantasy team. Even if Reed doesn't open the season as the closer, he'll more than likely be closing by the All-Star break (if not sooner). If he starts the season as a setup man in the eighth inning, his peripheral numbers make him valuable. Reed will also have added value for those owners who play in leagues where "Holds" is a category. Draft him in the later rounds with confidence that he'll be closing soon enough.
Reggie YingerReggie is a writer and the co-founder of Baseball Press. He enjoys fantasy baseball and hates when players bunt in baseball.