As the White Sox limp to the finish, a bright spot has emerged for next year. No, seriously!
Reed, a 2010 third-round pick, didn't quite go on the Chris Sale fast track, but he's on the one next to it. John Sickels appears to be spot-on in his post-draft assessment of Reed:
Very polished, Reed throws 89-92 as a starter but hit the mid-90s when used as a closer in '09. He has a good slider and changeup. If used in rotation, he looks like a number three or four starter, but if he moves to the pen he could move very fast as a closer through the system. -- Minor League Ball
After starting two games in rookie ball last year, the Sox moved Reed to the bullpen, where he predictably began to have dominant results, finishing his 30 innings of work with a 13.20 K/9.
As a full-time reliever in 2011, Reed blew through four levels of the Sox farm system before being called up to kick off September. In 78 1/3 innings between Kannapolis, Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Charlotte, Reed struck out 111 opponents while walking just 14 -- a 7.93 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
In 4 2/3 innings with the major league Sox, Reed has struck out eight with just one walk. A small sample, yes, but consistent with his minor league K/BB. So that's good.
Reed's fastball has averaged a few ticks over 95 mph, while his slider looks to be a fantastic secondary pitch. He hasn't thrown his changeup much (six times, according to Texas Leaguers), but he hasn't really needed to.
As opponents build a larger bank of experience on Reed, he'll need to utilize his changeup more, but for now his fastball-slider combo has been lethal.
Reed's meteoric rise should allow the Sox to move Sale to the starting rotation next year, and while that could mean more meaningful innings for Will Ohman, whatever struggles he may end up having hopefully will be offset by Reed's successes.
A bullpen of Sergio Santos - Matt Thornton - Jesse Crain - Addison Reed - Will Ohman - Zach Stewart (?) - wild card hardly looks to be a problem heading into 2012. Too bad bullpens actually don't win divisions.