Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Jeremy Reed Report

Jeremy Reed, OF, Seattle Mariners
Drafted 59th Overall (2nd Rd), 2002 Draft, Long Beach State
Bats L/Throws L
23 YO, 6'0", 160 lbs

I figure I should review him while he's still technically a prospect. He won't be a prospect after opening day. He'll be a major league ballplayer. And actually, major league ballplayer is probably the best way to describe Jeremy Reed. The kid knows how to play baseball.

2004 Charlotte: .275/.357/.420, 14 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 36 BB, 34 K, 12 SB, 7 CS, 276 AB
2004 Tacoma: .305/.366/.455, 10 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 23 BB, 22 K, 13 SB, 2 CS, 233 AB
2004 Seattle: .397/.470/.466, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 7 BB, 4 K, 3 SB, 1 CS, 58 AB
mL Career: .327/.401/.478, 74 2B, 10 3B, 28 HR, 140 BB, 116 K, 87 SB, 33 CS, 1183 AB

So he isn't going to hit 30 home runs or steal 50 bases in a season. What he'll do is hit line drives into the outfield...a lot. He'll also draw walks at a pretty nice rate and steal a base here and there. I think his particular offensive skill set is well tailored to Safeco Field's cavernous outfield, which will turn a few doubles into triples and spread the defense out far enough to allow him to increase the number of singles and doubles he shoots out into the alleys. Put him in a bandbox and a few more of those deep liners may creep over the wall, but it would limit the number of extra base hits he can sneak into the outfield.

Defensively, he's less suited to play in his home ballpark. The Mariners are planning to make him their center fielder for 2005. He's a tweener, a poor center fielder whose bat wouldn't be nearly as valuable if he's playing left field. The vast stretches of real estate in Safeco is going to further compound his shortcomings. It will be balanced by his bat, but it will make Mariner pitchers work hard to keep runs off the board. On the other hand, he couldn't be any worse than the 2004 version of Randy Winn.

Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA projection system pegs Reed's expected line at .286/.353/.423, which seems just a touch lower than I'd expect him to hit as a rookie. However, it would make him a pretty decent hitter. In years to come, expect him to be a better version of the player he's replacing, the aforementioned Randy Winn, or if you prefer, maybe something along the lines of a good season from Shannon Stewart with a .310/.380/.450 line.

Reed's offensive package is such that it almost ensures that he'll be underrated by most fans and media outlets. There are certain things that get overlooked by the general public, and Reed's strengths are a laundry list of those things. He runs well, but doesn't put up flashy stolen base figures ripped out of a roto owner's wet dream. He hits a lot of doubles and triples. He hits for average, but not to the point where it's going to get him into the race for the AL battle title. He draws a lot of walks. He doesn't strike out, but also doesn't ground into double plays. Now he's going to a mid-sized, west coast media market far beyond the bright lights of glamour franchises like the Yankees and Red Sox. His team isn't likely to be a pennant contender for the next few years. And he'll be overshadowed by teammates like Adrian Beltre, Richie Sexson, and Ichiro in the local papers. The only way he's going to catch the attention of the average sports fan is if he puts together a couple of great months and makes a short lived race at .400.

ETA: Opening Day
4 1/2 Stars

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