The year was 2011. Frank McCourt owned the Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp was on the team’s center fielder (and an MVP candidate) and Logan White was the Dodgers’ scouting director. That June, the club decided to select Stanford closer Chris Reed with their first round pick in the draft.
The organization took the southpaw with the 16th overall pick because they believed he could start. Early returns were positive, as Reed posted solid numbers in A ball and Double-A Chattanooga. In 2014, Reed posted an impressive 3.22 ERA in 23 starts with the Lookouts, before moving to Triple-A and suffering from pitching in high altitude.
Now, with a new player development staff, the Dodgers have decided Reed is better suited back in the bullpen. The left-hander is now listed as a reliever on Double-A Tulsa’s roster. Reed has made six relief appearances during his professional career, including four in 2013 and his transition coincides with this being the Dodgers’ first season affiliated with the Tulsa Drillers.
Reed lost some velocity when he moved to the rotation and attempted to re-invent himself as a groundball pitcher. He had some success with that approach, using a sinking fastball to induce a 1.85 ground-to-fly ratio since his debut. The Dodgers would likely prefer that he alter that approach in short stints.
With the Cardinal, Reed regularly sat in the low to mid 90s and added his wipeout slider to overwhelm hitters. In his junior season, he produced a 2.54 ERA in 28 games with 48 strikeouts in 49.2 innings. His changeup has progressed as a pro and could continue to be a weapon against righties.
This move obviously isn’t ideal, as Reed would have provided more value were he able to stay in the rotation. However, increasing his chances of contributing at the Major League level is in the best interests of the organization. Reed is currently on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster and hopefully will return to his amateur form to further the chances of realizing his dream of reaching the show.
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