At 28 years of age, Colin Rea is having a bit of a renaissance this year, his first in the Cubs system. A former Padres farmhand, Rea signed a minor-league free-agent deal in the offseason and has been coming on strong the past six weeks at Triple-A Iowa. For the year, he has a 3.24 ERA that includes a 1.93 split in May.
Rea doing well enough that if the Cubs needed a starter from the minors, he could very possibly get a call if something happened to Adbert Alzolay, God forbid, or if the Cubs need to fill a spot on short notice.
Height – 6’5”
Weight – 235 lbs.
Throws – Right
Age – 28
Drafted in the 12th round in 2011
Rea’s journey has been a pretty jagged one. The Padres took him after spending three years at three different colleges, including Northern Iowa and Indiana State. In his first three full seasons, his career was up and down and his performance was never really consistent.
Despite the struggles, Rea slowly worked his way up through the system and was assigned to Double-A San Antonio in 2015. Over 12 starts and 75 innings, he put up a 1.08 ERA and struck out 60 batters while only walking 11, eventually earning a promotion to the next level.
At the end of the year, he was the Padres’ number four ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline. He opened the 2016 season at Triple-A and even manged to get six starts in the big leagues. He was then traded to the Marlins and only pitched in one game for Miami, during which he injured his UCL and required Tommy John surgery. The Marlins returned Rea to the Padres and he missed all of 2017.
The 2018 season was reminiscent of Rea’s early career in the minors as he struggled to come back from surgery and dealt with an additional lat injury that slowed his rehab. He had a 5.73 ERA over 75.1 IP, but did strike out 70 batters. This year, however, something seems to have clicked for Rea at Iowa. Maybe it’s just having a renewed confidence in himself after putting the elbow issues behind him.
“I want to be that guy that goes out there every five days and competes for his team and is making 33 starts a season for the next 10 years,” Rea told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register. “That’s kind of what drives me. Whether that happens or not, I don’t know. But I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen. It’s not so much to prove to other people; that’s kind of what I want to do for myself.”
Right now, Rea is in a good stretch and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s got plenty of competition when it comes to getting the call to Chicago and he’s going to have to continue to be dominant just to get a shot, but he could certainly be a factor in the second half.