Earlier this year Baseball America named the Texas Rangers as having the best minor league system in baseball. Their impressive ranking comes in part because of the prospect depth they have across various positions, particularly pitching. Reliever Jimmy Reyes is one of the of those pitchers, and if he continues performing the way he has during his first few seasons, he could be in Arlington before long.
Reyes, a southpaw, was taken out of Elon University in the seventh round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He may have gone even higher, but at 5’10”, he lacks the height traditionally associated with pitching success. Now three years into his professional career, he has shown that the only thing that matters is talent, and he has plenty of that.
Reyes has been nothing short of spectacular thus far in his career. He has appeared in a total of 92 games in relief, going 14-5 with a 2.36 ERA and seven saves. He is a strikeout pitcher, as evidenced by his 157 punchouts in 144.2 innings. He even helped close out a combined no-hitter this past season. More information about his career statistics is available at: http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=reyes-001jam.
Having reached High-A in 2012, Reyes is in a good position to start this coming season in Double-A. If he continues to pitch well there’s a good chance the soon-to-be 24-year-old could be in the majors before the end of this season.
I was able to interview Reyes this past offseason and found him to be both intelligent and engaging. It’s impossible not to root for such a player to achieve his dreams of playing in the major leagues!
Jimmy Reyes Interview:
Who were your favorite team and player growing up and why?: My favorite team growing up was the Marlins. I was never really an avid fan, but they were the hometown team so I felt obligated. My favorite player growing up was Roger Clemens. Obviously when I was younger I had no idea what he was doing off the field, but I loved the way he attacked hitters and played with intensity and fire.
What pitches do you have in your arsenal, and which one do you think you need to improve the most?: I throw a four-seam fastball, sinker, slider, and changeup. I think all of my pitches have room for improvement, so it’s tough to say I should just concentrate on one. I'm a perfectionist, so if they aren't perfected then you can bet I'm working on them.
Can you run through what your 2010 draft experience was like?: Leading up to the draft I was both nervous and excited. I was extremely excited that I had got drafted and that I was one step closer to my dream, but I was sure glad it was over. Patience is not something I possess very much of, so as the draft unfolded I just wanted my name to be called and get ready to take the next step.
How noticeable is the difference in talent as you progress through the minors?: Each level you move up, both hitters and pitchers tend to make less mistakes. There are extremely talented players at each level, but a majority of the players who continue to move up do a better job of making adjustments and master their craft.
Run me through what you eat during a typical day during the season?: My usual day during the season starts with oatmeal with dried fruit and a banana for breakfast. When I get to the field I will probably make myself a sandwich for lunch. I have to get pretty creative because I have one just about every day. After batting practice, the clubbie will put out a spread that usually consists of rice and either chicken or meatballs. If I worked out that day, a few teammates and myself will take turns whipping up a protein concoction with different fruits (again you have to get creative). Dinner is usually provided by the clubbie, and can be anything from pizza to chicken and mashed potatoes.
How much competition exists between players on the same team; knowing that there are only a certain number of openings to advance to at any given time?: The teams I have been a part of probably aren't the norm but we are actually pretty supportive of one another. Every player knows that ultimately if you do your job and perform well you will continue to advance.
Have you had any interactions with or advice from Nolan Ryan?: Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to meet Nolan Ryan yet. He may have seen me throw in the bullpen during spring training, but other than that, no.
After you signed your first contract, did you do anything to treat yourself or celebrate with friends and family?: After I signed my contract and received my bonus money, I decided to treat myself to a fidelity account! Not as exciting as a car or lavish celebration, but I think I will save all of that when I reach my ultimate goal of making it to the major leagues. I did go out to a nice dinner with my family and a few close friends, but other than that it was pretty low key.
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