Austin Reich, RHP
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Undrafted Free Agent, Signed June 2019
LAST LEVEL: High-A
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #10 Relief Pitcher
Performance: Austin Reich came into 2021 very unheralded, coming to the pros as an undrafted free agent and posted a 9.24 ERA in 11 games at the AZL in 2019. But Reich put together an excellent year in the bullpens at both Single-A clubs. In 26 innings at San Jose, Reich struck out 47 with nine walks. He got promoted to Eugene, and struck out 51 with just five walks in 34.2 innings there.
One unique thing about Reich is that he was an extreme fly ball pitcher for the 2021 season, with an overall 0.53 GO/AO ratio. Despite that, he gave up just three home runs on the year, combining for a 0.45 HR/9 rate, an excellent rate for any pitcher.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Reich’s rise has been partially due to rise in velocity, as he’s topping out at 95, and he pairs it with a high 80’s slider that has good break. He gets a lot of movement out of his fastball, and has been highly effective with it.
The other side of Reich is that he has been aggressive in the strike zone. keeping the ball in the zone. He struck out a lot of batters, and got weak contact much of the rest of the time.
2022 Outlook: Reich was suspended before the start of 2022 with a positive Amphetamine test, which will cost him 50 games. At 24, Reich is already a bit old for his level, and will get pushed quickly after this delay. He likely will get moved up to Double-A when his suspension is over, likely mid-June, to see if his stuff can hang with more selective hitters.
Future Profile: With his control, Reich is going to look like the kind of pitcher that fits well in a late-inning group of pitchers that keeps runners off the bag. At 95, his velocity isn’t the overwhelming type for a closer, but he still has a ceiling of a setup man.