Addison Reed has pitched in the big leagues since 2011, compiling a career ERA of 3.53, a FIP of 3.07, and a strikeout rate of 25.6%. He came up in the White Sox organization and pitched for the White Sox until being traded to the Diamondbacks before the 2014 season. The Mets then traded for Reed in August 2015. Reed eventually became a critical bullpen piece for the Mets, serving as setup man for closer Jeurys Familia in 2016. Reed also has closer experience, with 106 career saves, mostly with the White Sox and Diamondbacks.
What Went Right in 2016
Reed made some mechanical tweaks in the minor leagues in the Diamondbacks organization shortly before being traded to the Mets. He shortened his stride length, which he credited for improving his command because the delivery was easier for him to repeat. Reed also made improvements with his slider, dropping the OPS against the pitch down to an outstanding .432 in 2016 after sitting over .700 before joining the Mets. The changes helped Reed break out as one of the best relievers in baseball in 2016. Reed ranked in the top 10 among relievers with a 1.97 ERA and 1.97 FIP, along with a strikeout rate of about 30%. He had 40 holds in 2016, easily the most in baseball. The next-highest holds total was 29.
What Went Wrong in 2016
Not much that Reed could control went wrong for him. Reed’s biggest fantasy issue was that he didn’t get a chance to compile saves after Jeurys Familia’s success as a closer in 2015 installed Familia as the unquestioned ninth-inning man for the Mets. Familia kept pitching well in 2016, posting an ERA of 2.55, FIP of 2.39 and strikeout rate of 26.2%. Familia also was healthy all season and threw 77.2 innings, which ranked in the top 10 among relievers. Familia’s production and durability left little opening for Reed to break through and earn saves. Reed only registered one save all season.
What to Expect in 2017
The door is finally cracked open for Reed to burst through and earn some saves. Familia will likely be suspended for the first month or so of the season, which will install Reed as the closer. I don’t think it’s likely that Reed runs away with the closer’s job even if he pitches extremely well, but there’s always the outside chance that it happens. Familia has pitched 233 innings in the regular season in the last three seasons, the second-most in baseball, and was heavily used in the 2015 playoff run to the World Series. It’s possible Familia starts to wear down and has some issues either with run prevention or injuries, which would then give Reed more of an opportunity to close.
The Great Beyond
Relievers are notoriously volatile and difficult to project from season to season. Reed is a good example; he was demoted to the minor leagues less than two years ago and now has a legitimate case as a top-10 reliever in baseball. It’s hard to say what Reed will do in the coming years, but I am confident in his skills for 2017. His delivery is deceptive as he throws across his body, making his velocity play up above its radar-gun readings. He hides his slider well behind his fastball, and his command of his pitches has been very good since coming to the Mets. I think he is legitimately one of the better relievers in the game, and if he can somehow run away with the closer’s job in 2017, either via injury or performance, he could bring back a lot of value in fantasy drafts.
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