San Diego Padres rookie Colin Rea makes his first start of the season this afternoon against the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field. Rea gave up a run in a one-inning relief outing on Opening Day but is projected as a full member of the rotation going forward. What should we anticipate?
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Colin Rea, RHP, San Diego Padres
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-5 WT: 225 DOB: July 1, 1990
Colin Rea was drafted in the 12th round in 2011 from Indiana State University. I noticed him in college because he was from Iowa (as noted elsewhere in the book I pay attention to the Iowa guys) and because he had good size, a loose arm, and a low-90s fastball. His secondary pitches were weak, however, and he didn’t do much until 2014, when he took a step forward in High-A. He then vaulted up the prospect lists in ’15, dominating Double-A, holding his own in Triple-A, then performing reasonably well in six big league starts. Rea still has the low-90s fastball but has developed nice secondaries to off-set the heat: a splitter, a curveball, a cutter; all solid quality pitches. His control is a lot better than it was when he was drafted, as are his mound presence and confidence. If he gets a good defense behind him, he can be a fine number four starter. Grade B-.
Rea led the Padres staff with 22 innings this spring. The results weren't too hot (5.73 ERA, 17/13 K/BB, 25 hits) but given his performance in the minors last year (1.85 ERA in 102 innings) and the fact that he held his own down the stretch in the majors last fall (4.26 ERA in 32 innings but a much better 3.45 FIP), it is logical to give him a rotation spot to open the season.
Will he hold it?
Yes, assuming his command holds up. He has four solid-average major league pitches and a smooth, easy delivery. His secondary arsenal is much better than it was in college or early in his minor league career and it is enough for him to succeed when his command is on. The key thing to watch will be his K/BB ratio, which slipped a little this spring. If that gets back in line, he'll be a solid inning-eater.
I think his command will be fine but as an Iowan I may be biased.