White Sox spring training storylines: Keeping tabs on Addison Reed's slider

Rich Pilling

The presumptive White Sox closer needs to work on his non-fastball offerings to lock down the ninth inning

In an otherwise uneventful 4-0 loss to the San Diego Padres, Sunday's game offered me a first look at Addison Reed, who apparently is attempting to harness the powers of the gigantic gold chain, a la Chris Sale.

You can see the way he recorded those three outs here:

While you won't see it in any of the out pitches, Reed did throw four sliders among his 12 pitches, including three consecutive sliders to the last batter he faced, Jesus Guzman.

Reed's slider is basically going to determine whether he's going to have the closer job for years, or merely lease it on a month-to-month basis. He had two problems with it last year -- a lack of reliable late break/tilt, and an inability to consistently get it down and away to right-handed hitters. He tended to miss thigh-high and away, sliding (too literally) sideways out of the strike zone.

He knows he needs to get off his fastball, so we should see more of his secondary offerings than we did last year (which shouldn't be too hard). I doubt he threw three sliders in a row at any point last year, because he went quite a few outings without throwing three non-fastballs total.

There are no grand pronouncements to make, because, I mean, we have four whole pitches to look at. At first glance, his location was where it needed to be (pitch chart), and the amount of snap is still on the softer side.

Here's a good one:

Reedslider_good_medium

Here's a more ordinary one:

Reedslider_meh_medium

Make of it what you will. I'm not making anything of it yet, but it'll be interesting to see what it looks like at the end of the month.

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