Heading into his start today against Rochester, Buffalo’s Sean Reid-Foley sported an impressive 10.2K/9, the fourth-highest rate among starting pitching prospects in the Blue Jays system.
The other side of that coin was his 7.8/9 walk rate, highest in the organization by a fair margin.
The 30+-pitch inning has long been SRF’s nemesis, but if the results of this start are any indication, he may have found that less is more. Reid-Foley usually sits in the mid-90s with his fastball, but on this occasion was regularly in the low 90s, and pitched 8 innings for the first time in almost 3 seasons – you have to go back to a May 31 start for Lansing in 2016 for the last time he threw 8. He picked up his first W of the season as the Bisons topped the Red Wings, 4-3.
Because he dialled his velo back, SRF was around the plate more often, and walked a season-low 2 batters while fanning 8. He seemed to get stronger as the game progressed. The only blemish on his record for the day was a 2-run HR to Rochester DH Wilin Rosario in the 2nd, but Reid-Foley had command of all of his pitches, working his fastball-slider combo to great effectiveness. SRF retired 12 of the last 14 hitters he faced, and needed only 8 pitches to get through his final inning of work, which included a pair of Ks. 10 ground ball outs were evidence of weak contact coming from staying down in the zone. He threw 102 pitches on the day, 66 for strikes. More importantly, Reid-Foley avoided a lose-the-strike-zone inning, allowing him to pitch deep into the game.
Reid-Foley seems to be desperately looking for answers this season after a 2018 campaign which saw him make his MLB debut. The owner of an ERA over 6 when the game started, SRF had dropped in the Blue Jays system depth rankings, and has been passed over several times when there had been an opening in the big club’s rotation.
This was only one start, but the Blue Jays have to be encouraged – it was the fourth straight outing Reid-Foley had pitched at least six innings.