Prospect Profile: Jo-Jo Reyes
Name: Jo-Jo Reyes
Jo-Jo Reyes was taken in the 2nd round (43rd overall) of the 2003 draft out of high school in California. He spent 2003 in the Gulf Coast League and was very successful. He went 5-3 with a 2.56 ERA while striking out 55 in 45 innings. He also only allowed one home run in his 10 starts. After pitching well in the Gulf Coast League, Reyes skipped Danville and went straight to Rome in 2004. That may not have been the right decision as he struggled all year. His hits and walks went up as his strikeouts went down. He finished the year with a 2-5 record with a 5.33 ERA. In 2005, the Braves opted to send Reyes all the way back to the Gulf Coast League. After doing well there again, he was promoted to Danville mid-way through 2005. He only struck out 27 in 43 innings in Danville but he did go 3-0 with a 3.53 ERA. His 0.99 WHIP in Danville had a lot to do with his low ERA.
Jo-Jo played the first half of the season in Rome and was impressive enough to be the starting pitcher in the all-star game. In 13 starts, Reyes went 8-1 with a 2.99 ERA and 1.14 WHIP to go with 84 strikeouts in 75.1 innings. This earned him a promotion to Myrtle Beach in the second half where he was somewhat inconsistent but had decent overall numbers. He went 4-4 with a 4.11 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. His strikeouts decreased and his walks increased but his strikeout rate stayed at a solid 7.95/9 innings. Overall, 2006 was a great comback year for Jo-Jo and he will look to continue his success next year.
I think Jo-Jo Reyes could easily be anything from a #4 starter to a middle relief pitcher. If he continues with his success that he has enjoyed this season he could be a #3 starter. I might project him higher except that he really hasn't shown any reason to be excited at all until the first half of this season. If his strikeout numbers slide at the upper levels of the minor leagues, Reyes might just be another Horacio Ramirez. If he wants to be any better than that, he must continue his success and not let his strikeout numbers drop.
Projection Update: After seeing a complete season from J0-Jo I think his ceiling is a little higher than a #4 or #3 starter. Lefties who strike people out are hard to find which makes Reyes very valuable. If he maintains his strikeout rate, his ceiling is very high but the most likely occurrence is that his strikeout rate will decline as he ascends through the minors which would make him more like a #3 or #4 starter.