Today we traded Randy Wolf to the Astros for RHP Chad Reineke.
As discussed a while back, given his contractual situation - free agent at the end of the year - Randy was a likely candidate to be traded before the deadline. The fact that the Astros had interest also wasn't a great surprise considering the history Houston's GM, Ed Wade, has with Randy going back to their days together in Philadelphia.
Though we didn't want to be in this position when we signed Randy last December, we are excited to add Chad Reineke into our system. This winter Baseball America rated Chad as the Astros' 7th best prospect, marking the second consecutive season that Chad has appeared on the Astros' top ten list. A 6'6" RHP, Chad is currently on the 40-man roster and a starting pitcher at AAA Round Rock. After being drafted in the 13th round in 2004, Chad went from short-season A through AA in 2 1/2 years with a combined 3.12 ERA in 283 ip. In 2007 in his first season in AAA, Chad split time between the rotation and the pen. This year he has pitched exclusively in the rotation (except for one 6-inning relief appearance) and has amassed 112 innings so far. His overall line is: 4.41 ERA, 112.1 ip, 112 hits, 35 walks, 100 strikeouts.
According to our reports, our scouts believe Chad has the potential for both a plus fastball and plus slider that could play in either the rotation or toward the back end of a bullpen. Houston certainly recognized this as well, as Reineke started seeing some time in the pen in 2007 similar to what Chad Qualls did when he was in AAA for the 'Stros. As a rotation pitcher, Reineke normally pitches around 90 mph, but our scouts have clocked him as high as 94 mph out of the pen, so we understand the reasoning. At 6'6" his angle to the plate has given hitters trouble, which could serve him well in both roles.
In each of the past two seasons Chad has gotten off to slow starts, posting a combined 8.66 ERA in April. In the months after April, however, his ERA has dropped to 3.71. In fact, over his last seven appearances, Chad has posted a 1.84 ERA over 44 innings with 30 hits, 11 walks, and 44 strikeouts. All in all, Chad is an interesting prospect whose arm, performance, and experience puts him pretty close to Petco. Hopefully, he'll have a chance to help us relatively soon.