Chris Heisey was traded for Matt Magill, as you may well know. Magill was drafted in the 31st round of the 2008 draft (a few picks after the Reds went for Joey Housey – who pitches in Quebec these days), so he's really as impressive a story as Heisey simply for making it. But the 25-year-old has only got a 27-inning cup of coffee in 2014, where he struck out 26 (that's good!) and walked 28 (that's bad). More like Matt Magoo, am I right?
Anyways, he will likely start the season in AAA Louisville but could end up a shuttle candidate depending on how the Reds figure out their bullpen (which really needs figuring out). But I want to point out something here:
Bryan Price was named pitching coach early after the 2009 season. Here's the Reds' major pitching acquisitions since then, their bb/9 before, and their bb/9 after:
- Dontrell Willis (7.7 -> 4.4)
- Jose Arredondo (4.8 -> 5.3, after a year off)
- Sean Marshall (2.0 -> 2.4)
- Alfredo Simon (3.1 -> 3.2, but 2.7 the next year!)
- JJ Hoover (5.8 -> 2.9, both numbers AAA)
- Jonathan Broxton (6.4 -> 1.2, but he was injured in the before year. 4.0 bb/9 the year before that)
- Manny Parra (5.4 -> 2.9)
- Zach Duke (3.5 -> 1.7, midseason acquisition)
- Dave Holmberg (2.9 -> 3.2, both numbers AAA)
The Reds had a team 3.6 bb/9 in 2009. That went to 3.2 in 2010.
It's a bit shaky and imperfect, but hey, these are pitchers. But there's definitely a trend of Price targeting live arms and using some pixie dust to have them dramatically cut down on walks. This is also in several different seasons, so I think there's something specific to Price here and not a league-wide drop in walks.
My point is, the Reds have a history of taking guys who have trouble finding the strike zone and turning them into useful members of the pen. There must be something that the Reds liked in Magill, and I'm inclined to trust them here. He's clearly got some live stuff, and there's a decent chance that Price knows how to help him harness it.
Something to look forward to with our newest Redleg. Welcome to Cincinnati, Matt.
(Also, Jeff Francis pitched a game last year for the Reds? Anyone remember that?)