What does Bullpen Ace Addison Reed bring to the Red Sox?

The Red Sox acquired the Mets’ right-handed pitcher Addison Reed at the July 31 trade deadline. Reed has been serving as the Mets’ closer this year, finishing 31 of the 48 games he has appeared in and collecting 19 saves – plus two blown saves, one win, and two losses. He has been good to very good, with his 2.57 ERA (166 ERA+) ranking 47th best among 165 qualifying relievers, and his WHIP (1.122) ranking 55th. He very rarely walks batters with his BB% of 3.0% ranking second-best among relievers behind only Kenley Jansen. He has almost no platoon split; right-handed batters OPSed .699, lefties .656 against him.

For the Red Sox, who have arguably the best closer in baseball this season in the person of Craig Kimbrel, Reed will be the setup man, a role that no one in the Boston bullpen has seized.

What he throws. Reed throws two pitches: A four-seam fastball (“FF”) and a slider (“SL”). Neither are extraordinary for their velocity (his fastball averages 91.9 mph, his slider 81.2 mph) nor their movement, although both have a wide range of movements that add to their deception. Earlier in his career, he also threw a changeup (“CH”) but he has hardly used the pitch since 2014; so far in 2017, there are just two pitches that seem to be changeups.

Pitch usage and trends. Reed treats left- and right-handed batters exactly the same; both have seen 69.1% fastballs and 30.6% sliders. Behind in the count, he is slightly more likely to call upon his fastball (77.1%), but to be fair, he rarely gets behind; only 13.7% of his pitches have come when he is behind in the count (league average is 22.5%)

His repertoire has been fairly consistent over the season, as has his velocity:

Pitch value. Based on total bases yielded per 100 pitches, Reed’s fastball is slightly worse than average, especially to left-handed batters. His slider is the reverse; righties are around league-average against it, while left-handed batters struggle. His slider is also about league average for balls per 100 pitches, while his fastball has an excellent strike rate, with a much lower ball percent than average.

Pitch location. Reed locates his fastball almost entirely within the strike zone, tending to use the outer half of the plate most to both right- and left-handed batters. However, the wide smear showing his fastball location shows that he is not particularly predictable with the pitch, using most of the strike zone and occasionally sneaking just outside it. His slider targets just above or just below the bottom of the strike zone, mainly inside to left-handed batters and outside to right-handed batters.


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Featured image courtesy of Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports.

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Ian is an immunologist and virologist who lives in Atlanta with his wife and two sons. Most of his time is spent driving his kids to baseball and soccer games, during which he indoctrinates his children on the glories of Pedro Martinez, the many virtues of the Montreal Expos, and other important information.

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