Addison Reed has had a very nice spring training. He's kept the battle for the Chicago White Sox closer role close. Robin Ventura should be happy with Reed's effort this spring in White Sox camp. Sooner or later, Reed will become the White Sox closer this season. But will he win the AL Rookie of the Year Award?
A Look at Reed's Accomplishments
Reed, who the White Sox drafted in the third round of the 2010 draft, came up quickly through the White Sox farm system. He pitched 43 games across all levels of the minors in 2011, compiling a sweet stat line that included a 1.26 ERA, 78.1 innings pitched, 111 strikeouts, 14 walks, a 12.8 K/9 rate, a 1.6 BB/9 rate and 7.93 K/BB ratio.
Reed's end-of-season affair with the White Sox was pretty nice. He had a 3.68 ERA in 7.1 innings across six appearances, striking out 12 batters and walking just one.
In that brief introduction with the White Sox major league club, Reed looked very capable, showing the strikeout ability and control that he demonstrated in the minors.
This spring has brought a nice showing from Reed. He has a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings across 10 appearances, striking out 10 batters while walking four. While his walk rate for spring training is a bit high compared to last year, one might be able to chalk that up to his work developing pitches.
Other Rookies Who May Get in Reed's Way
Two other AL rookie pitchers look to play a bigger role on their respective teams than Reed. Matt Moore is a prodigious starter who seems like the runaway AL Rookie of the Year Award winner. He had a 2.89 ERA in three games at the end of the regular season last year for the Tampa Bay Rays.
In the division series, Moore came through, posting a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings in two games, including a stellar Game 1 start in which he struck out six batters in 7.2 scoreless innings.
Yu Darvish is another popular name for AL Rookie of the Year. He'll figure highly in the Texas Rangers starting rotation to start the season. However, as the track record has been with Japanese starting pitchers, Darvish probably won't be an overwhelming success.
Position players to watch are Yoenis Cespedes, Mike Trout and Jesus Montero. Cespedes has started his major league career well, hitting a home run and a double in six at-bats in his first two games for the Oakland A's. Mike Trout is starting in Triple-A after posting a dismal .289 OBP in camp for the Los Angeles Angels.
He hit the ball hard in 2011 at Double-A Arkansas, collecting 13 triples and 11 home runs.
Montero is a great catching prospect for the Seattle Mariners. He homered four times, doubled four times and had a .996 OPS in 69 plate appearances for the New York Yankees last year. He had a solid spring, posting a .550 slugging percentage.
Reed may have to wait a bit to take the closer role for the White Sox. Ventura may very well decide to place Matt Thornton in the role for four to eight weeks, and then install Reed as the closer. In the meantime, Reed would be allowed to get more experience in a major league bullpen.
As soon as he does take on the closer role, Reed should be a success. His K/BB ratio in the minors was fantastic, and that indicates a promising run in the majors. His 12 strikeouts and one lonely walk showed a great start in the majors last year.
Reed has the stuff to become a high-rising closer, but that might not be enough for him to be named AL Rookie of the Year. Moore will likely be way too good this year for anyone to give a second thought on who will win the award. Still, people would be foolish to count Reed out of the running.