Whatever Happened To Jo-Jo?

Truth be told, I am a little disappointed in myself right now. I got so horny about the Yunel Escobar half of the recent blockbuster deal that I neglected to talk about the other guy coming to your Toronto Blue Jays. I just had so much to say about the Cuban shortstop and didn't really have space or time to give Jo-Jo his due.

Well that is just completely unacceptable to me. And today I had an opportunity to think about and research "the other guy" in the Escobar trade.


LHP Jo-Jo Reyes was selected in the 2nd round, 43rd overall, of the 2003 Amateur Draft out of high school in California. He was given an $800,000 signing bonus to skip school and play baseball full time.

Currently the 6'2, 230lbs southpaw has accumulated 1.132 years of MLB service time and is scheduled for arbitration from 2012-2014. I am not sure how many, if any, option years he has left.

The big lefty features the following pitches in his repertoire:
  • a 4 seam fastball that sits at about 91mph which he uses over 50% of the time
  • a slider that hits the gun at about 83mph and he throws it about every five pitches
  • a 2 seam fastball that comes in at about 89mph
  • a change up between 83-85mph
  • a slow curveball at about 76mph
It is safe to say he is pretty much a fastball, slider kinda guy. The other 3 pitches only get mixed in less than 10% of the time. From what I have read his best pitch is either the change up or the curveball depending on who you ask. Makes you wonder why he doesn't throw them a little more?

Jo-Jo made his debut as a 22 year old in the show in 2007, which also happens to be the year he was listed as the Braves 7th best prospect. He had breezed through their system in a very short time and pretty much struck out a batter an inning everywhere he made a stop, except the big leagues.

200419A Rom 1514074.38444102571-2405.331.466
200722AA MIS 1513073.3632953571-8103.561.336
200722AAARIC 66036.025421239-4001.001.028
200722MAJATL 1410050.75535930271.242206.221.678
200823AAARIC 88039.0311021638-1102.311.205
200823MAJATL 25220113.0134731852781.5331105.811.646
200924AAAGWI 1514066.0682162432-4202.861.394
200924MAJATL 65027.02721413212.160207.001.481
201025AAAGwi 1210047.1573081550-1505.701.529
201025MAJATL 1003.31092320.8600024.303.900
3Yr Avg

As you can see, Jo-Jo has been used almost exclusively as a starting pitcher up till this year. He had some success in the minors but struggled considerably when pitching to MLB hitters.

I was able to find out why that is courtesy of the Atlanta Braves Examiner:

In 2009 Reyes held opposing batters to a .220 average through his first 50 pitches, but after that point they hit .318 off of him. The first time through a lineup he held the opposing offense to an average of .189, the second time .216 and the third time the batters caught up to him and hit a robust .417 off the lefty.

I think a look at his splits will help answer the riddle as well. I will try to sum up his MLB career for you:

In 698 plate appearances right handed hitters are hitting him at a .320 clip. He also has served up 27 of his 33 homers to them. Angry Little Girl.

On the other hand, in 186 plate appearances lefties have only managed to hit .215 against him. Happy Cat.

Alright. Seriously. Is any of this sounding even the slightest bit familiar?

Can you say David Purcey redux?


Disclaimer: Normally I am completely against converting starters into relievers unless they are old or injury prone *cough* Dustin McGowan *cough*


The brain trust needs to tell this young man to simply pick two or three of his best pitches and drop the rest. Then they need to send him to the bullpen full time to dominate in a situational role. I'll bet the Braves had just figured that out this year and most likely ran out of the patience needed to see the transformation through.

I doubt we make the same mistake.


  1. If you look at Jo-Jo as a lefty specialist, then the downgrade from Collins to Reyes nets out to a relatively small cost.

  2. Tool,

    Thanks for checking in.
    The numbers seem to support that idea at the Major League level for sure.
    In the Minors, he seems to be just fine starting:

  3. Thanks for that. I too had kind of forgotten about the 'other' player. Lefty specialist or middle reliever?

  4. Mattt,
    Either or would be fine with me. I do think he would be most effective in a specialist roll as opposed to a 1 inning roll.
    Certainly neither of those are what he was expected to be when drafted but both are valuable to a Major League team none the less.

  5. Good luck with JoJo the idiot circus boy...


    The pet is getting shelled