Righthanded pitchers in the low minors with a fastball that sits in the high 80s and a pitch mix that lacks a pure plus rarely get added to the 40-man roster for the purposes of protecting them from the Rule 5 draft.
But 22-year-old Denyi Reyes distinguished himself in 2018 in a way that defied his level and his raw stuff, convincing the Red Sox to add him to the 40-man.
In 155.2 innings for low Class A Greenville and high Class A Salem, Reyes went 12-5, 1.97 along with 8.4 strikeouts and just 1.1 walks per nine innings.
Reyes’ fastball tops out at 92 mph—below average for the big leagues—and based purely on shape, neither his curveball, slider nor changeup would be described as above-average. Yet Reyes showed standout command of the full mix, along with a willingness to mix his pitches and change sequences in an unusually mature fashion.
“You don’t have to throw 100 (mph) to get guys out,” Red Sox pitching development analyst Dave Bush said. “You don’t have that kind of success by accident. It doesn’t just happen. Sometimes he gets viewed as having below-average stuff, but there’s a lot of uniqueness to what he does that allows him to be successful.
“No, he doesn’t light up the radar gun, but he creates angles and utilizes his pitches in a way that, quite clearly, was very successful. I like guys like that because that’s a different kind of puzzle.”
The 6-foot-4 Reyes—who is relatively new to pitching, having converted to the mound from shortstop after signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2014—struck some evaluators as imperturbable, sufficiently self-aware and self-assured. Even with just six Carolina League starts on his résumé, he had a chance to compete well enough in the big leagues to stash on a big league roster as a Rule 5 pick.
Boston didn’t want to risk losing a potential back-end starting option, and so it protected Reyes with the expectation that he’ll open 2019 in Double-A Portland.
“We didn’t want to lose him because we think he keeps getting better,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said.
— After several years in which the Red Sox essentially had a department for international pro coverage, the team has restructured its international scouting coverage, folding it into its international amateur and pro scouting departments.
— The Red Sox added Greg Morhardt—best known for signing Mike Trout for the Angels in 2009—as an area scout in Canada.