In all the discussions of the bullpen shakeup following the departures of Huston Street and Matt Lindstrom, I haven’t heard many people talking about the role of Matt Reynolds for next year’s Rockies. So just where does this guy fit?
Let me start by saying that I believe Matt Reynolds is a very good pitcher. When he first came up in 2010, he was excellent in his 18 innings pitched, allowing just 4 earned runs. That was obviously a small sample size, but the Rockies were making a playoff push at the time, and Reynolds came through when we needed him. I think he is still that pitcher, and I hope he’ll get a fair shot at doing it again in 2012. Last season was a little tough for him. He appeared in 73 games because Jim Tracy tended to use him as a lefty specialist, so he frequently saw just one batter and then was replaced. He recorded an ERA of 4.09 and a BB/9 rate of 3.2, both numbers I’d like to see go down. However, he also struck out 5o batters in 50 innings, and he kept his HR/9 rate below 2.
If Tracy wasn’t so in love with match-ups, Reynolds could potentially fit comfortably in the 7th inning, especially now that Lindstrom is gone. I’d like to see him get a chance there, but I don’t know whether he will. He might have some competition, too, as some of the young guys competing for rotation spots could wind up in the pen to get a little more experience. The good news for Reynolds is that only one of those guys, Josh Outman, is a lefty, so he stands to keep his spot. Perhaps Tracy can be convinced to give him a regular set-up role, but my guess is he’ll have to perform more consistently as a specialist before that day comes.