Rainey worked exclusively in relief while in college, so it was a surprise when the Reds initially developed him as a starter after being selected with the 71st overall pick in 2015. The rotation experiment was short lived, and Rainey moved back to a ‘pen role fairly quickly and debuted in the big leagues last year. Cincinnati dealt the hard-throwing righty to Washington in December for RHP Tanner Roark.
Built sturdy and strong at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, Rainey has a power pitcher’s frame and the fastball to match. He’s not very athletic and mechanical effort causes control issues that have hampered Rainey his whole career. The fastball sits 96-to-97 mph and frequently touches higher, able to scrape triple-digits on his best bolts. His best off-speed is a high-80s slider that shows sharp action and gives a second pitch to miss bats. A firm changeup comes in at 88-to-91 mph, but given the speed of his fastball, the pitch has plenty of separation.
Rainey’s gaudy strikeout numbers are a result of his (mostly) two-pitch mix, with both a fastball and slider capable of missing bats. The velocity and plus stuff give him the tools to pitch high-leverage innings if he’s able to get the walks under control.