I meant to write this post last year and never did. Then I meant to write it this Spring and never did. Now PTI has stolen my thunder by talking about it on their show last week. Since I have an evening at home by myself with nothing to do, I’m finally getting around to answering the question that I know everyone on the internet has been wondering since right around 2008.
But before we get to that, don’t expect this to become a regular thing. I might write something every couple of weeks, but I’m still retired.
Now back to the burning question that no doubt has you on the edge of your seat:
How on Earth is Jo-Jo Reyes still pitching in the Major Leagues?
In case you don’t know who Joseph Albert Reyes is, I’ll give you quick rundown and some vital stats. He’s a 26-year old left handed pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2nd round of the 2003 Draft and made his Major League debut against San Diego in July of 2007. Being a Braves fan, I was excited about Mr. Reyes and his potential to be that lefty starter that the Braves hadn’t had since Tom Glavine left. That excitement quickly turned into disappointment. Reyes has been nothing short of awful since then.
The Braves lost the first eight games that Reyes appeared in (starting seven, long relief in one) before winning in his final three starts of the year. All told, Reyes finished with a 2-2 record and a 6.22 ERA. He walked 30 and only struck out 27. That should’ve been the first bad sign, but he was a 22 year-old rookie. He deserved a little leeway so he could get his feet wet, right?
The next season Reyes earned a spot in the Braves’ rotation and he did well right up until about the middle of June. Then things took a turn from mediocre to historically bad. On June 13, 2008, Reyes got the victory in a 5-2 win over the LA Angels to run his record to a respectable 3-4 with a 4.42 ERA. By respectable, of course, I mean you don’t get random blog pots written about you with those numbers. Here’s the thing, though: Reyes hasn’t won a game since.
I realize that wins and losses are kind of a silly metric for pitchers, but generally the better pitchers win more games and they certainly don’t go almost three years without winning one. Reyes finished out 2008 with 3-11 record. His final 12 starts looked like this: 0-7, 7.81 ERA, 30 walks and 28 strikeouts.
Now he’s had some close calls and some games that he should have won (in a 2009 start against the Cardinals, he pitched 7 innings and gave up one run, but he was on the wrong end up a 1-0 ballgame when he was pulled. The Braves would score two runs in the 8th and win the game 2-1). He was only given six games to prove his worth in 2009. He failed every test except the aforementioned Cards game. He was sent back to the minor leagues where he pitched really well. He’d get the call again in 2010…
…and would fail again in 2010. This time he was only given one chance and he gave up 9 earned runs in two and third innings. He pitched innings 4-7 in what turned out to be a 17-2 loss at San Diego. The Braves had seen enough and in June the Braves shipped him to Toronto as a cursory part of the Yunel Escobar-Alex Gonzalez deal. That’s what’s called “addition by subtraction” for Atlanta. He didn’t pitch in the majors again last year (which is why I never wrote this post) but was given a shot to start for the Jays this season.
So far: Seven starts. Zero wins. Three losses. 5.00 ERA.
I don’t know what the Jays have planned for our young hero, he’s only 26 and has done well all through the minors. Still, you can’t keep running a guy out there with a streak like this.
All in all, his streak looks like this:
25 games started
1064 days (2 years 11 months) since his last victory
7-21 team record in his appearances
Career ERA+ of 68. (100 is exactly average, higher is better)
No matter how you slice it, Reyes has been shockingly bad. I can’t figure out how he’s still on a roster anywhere. But good luck to him. It’s only kind of funny to watch something like this happen.